Saturday 23rd June, 2012

The small amphitheatre is overlooking the round stone platform; in its midst is placed a grand piano, nothing else.

The heat of the summer evening is stifling. We are sitting close to each other on yellow cushions on the hard stone surface, eagerly awaiting the concert. The sun has just descended behind the mountains in the distance and the landscape below us is bathing in its afterglow. The sea in front is stretching out to eternity, its pale blue colour melting into the sky above the horizon.

In the stillness I notice the curtains. Two pale cream coloured curtains with beautiful embroidery in shades of brown are gently moving in the slight breeze. They mark the entrance of the performers, a little bit to the side of the main stone steps leading down from the public entrance to the stage. As the curtains separate for short moments with the breeze, I can catch a glimpse of the landscape behind. Facing west, the sky is pink and lilac behind the dark grey contours of the mountains. A small lamp lights up some green bushes in the garden behind, offering a hint of the oncoming darkness.

I keep admiring the curtains and feeling elated every time the bulge in the thin cotton separates to allow me to view the splendour behind.

Suddenly I see figures behind the curtains, shades embracing each other in turn. The performers and the lady hostess about to present them. Four graceful women in silhouette in the twilight, probably unaware that anyone is watching. This makes the moment so magical for me.

The sky is painted dark crimson with a new moon only a few days old, as the three lady performers enthral their audience with opera, arias and Greek songs.

Occasionally the dog of the hostess strays over the stage in wonderment of the many people paying her attention, and a cat or two walk along the top ridge of the theatre looking down. It is an evening to enjoy for everyone.

As it is the opening concert for a whole summer programme, the hostess is inviting everyone to a party afterwards. Plenty of food and drink served in the house next door with the awesome view of stars in the sky above and stars in the form of village lighting below in the vast landscape spreading out in front of us.

There is plenty of time to mix and mingle. A multitude of nationals, young and old.

Dancing is promised. After a while the hostess disappears to turn on the disco music. The stage is now cleared. The grand piano has been moved.

The first musical tones to flow into the night air come from “Dancing Queen” by Abba. The stage is lit but empty. I take the chance. I walk down the main stone steps to the stage, remove my shoes, and start dancing.

Alone on the round platform, I spread my wings and fly. I am all movement. I could not resist because my first thought on hearing the music was: “Panos is here”. My beloved Greek man, who has been gone for the last five years, is still with me. Abba was his favourite music and became a signature during our car rides together throughout Greece. He used to swing his solid body in the passenger seat as I was driving, shaking the car. We had such fun. He should see me now, swinging my slim body to the musical tones of my Swedish compatriots.

As the next Abba song rings out people start joining me on the dance floor. It seems to come natural to them to dance to the familiar rhythm of Abba. The disco night continues with old and new hits, Latin American rhythms and other tempting music.

I check with my driver and fellow passenger when they want to leave. They are not dancing, only watching. Soon, they say. Then I hear people calling out for more Abba. There is a chorus rising up into the night sky: More Abba, Abba, Abba!

As “Dancing Queen” makes its second debut this evening, I join the crowd for a last dance. The stage is full of swirling, jumping, dancing men, women and children.

What a night!

I am being watched by Panos. I am certain of that.

And we are all being watched by the Magic Curtains, behind which the music centre is hidden.

Amma Magi

Missionary of Life