The Summer Will Come
Set in the 1950s, the story begins in Cyprus. EOKA, British rule, and the fight for Enosis (unity) disrupt the world of two Greek Cypriot families, living in different villages on the island. They are desperately trying to cope with the unpredictability of this fractious time. Circumstances over a five-year period push both families to escape to London where, as immigrants, they struggle to settle, face new challenges, trauma and cope with missing their homeland’s traditions and culture. Both families’ lives cross paths in London and it seems that happier beginnings could be theirs. But at what cost? A story of passion for a country in turmoil, family love, loyalty and treachery and how, sometimes, starting over isn’t always as imagined.
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‘If I see another gherkin I’ll be sick,’ Margarida said as she rolled three portions of oily skate and an extra scoop of chips in the last of the newspaper.
‘Oh Mags if I see another pickled onion I’ll be sick,’ said Elena and although she was exhausted, the backs of her lower legs aching from her high heels, she was still smiling.
Both girls fell into the plastic chairs as the last of the punters walked out. The hours passed without Elena hardly realising and it was past eleven o’clock when the girls finally turned round the fish-shaped ‘CLOSED’ sign on the door as her aunt and uncle left for the night leaving them to clean up. Both girls stunk of fish and deep fryer fat and they still had at least another half hour of work to do before being able to call it a night.
‘D’you fancy going out?’ asked Margarida, mischievousness spreading across her face, as she concentrated on brushing the bits of batter leftovers from the warming trays.
‘Where?’ Elena’s spirit perked up straight away. She leaned on the mop, the steamy pine of ZAL hung in the air.
‘My old school friend runs it, he’ll let us in for a night cap if we hurry. He’s always up late with his groupies.’ Margarida threw the scoops, shovels and scrapers into the deep sink in the back corner of the shop and the clanking against the porcelain of the sink echoed around the empty shop.
‘They can soak overnight with the fish trays,’ she said.
‘Gosh, Mags it sounds like fun but won’t we get caught?’ Elena was wiping over the metal plaque on the wall. Her cloth dragged across the embossed words ‘RESPECT AND LOVE GETS THINGS DONE’, tacky as it clung to the grease. She rubbed with vigour until it wiped clean.
Both girls disappeared into Elena’s room above the shop and got changed; there wasn’t enough time to wash their hair but at least they changed their clothes. Elena put her ear flat against her mum’s bedroom door and when she couldn’t hear any movement crept in and took some money out of her purse. In stockinged feet she was in and out as quiet as a mouse.
They walked leaning into each other, their arms interlocked as they both smoked a cigarette. Elena’s ankle kept going over as she tottered in the high heels Margarida had lent her which were at least two sizes too small. But she was glad to be out in the open air. They sneaked to the back of the bar and rapped on the door with their knuckles until eventually someone came and answered.
‘Mick, it’s me Mags. Let me in.’ Margarida let out a sigh of relief as she heard him unbolt the door and pull it open to reveal, in contrast to the dull exterior, a shiny, spacious bar.
‘This is Elena. My posh cousin all the way from London.’
‘Well…hello…pleased to meet you,’ said Mick taking Elena’s hand and kissing it gently twice before straightening up; he was over six feet tall and despite his long roman nose and thin lips, Elena found him attractive.
‘Pleased to meet you too,’ said Elena stifling a giggle, unsure whether his actions were genuine or a showy act. Behind him she saw three angelic-like girls, sitting in the amber light of the cracked wall lamp. A couple of lads threw peanuts across the table at each other sending the nuts in all directions.
‘I finally meet the mysterious cousin from London,’ said Mick.
‘Yep! What music d’you like?’
‘Oh, umm…Cliff Richard, Buddy Holly, Shirley Bassey…’
‘I’ll see what I can do for you.’ Mick walked over to the Juke Box with a swagger Elena wanted to laugh at.
‘You’re my living doll,’ he said turning back to her, as the popular Cliff Richard tune blasted out. Two girls sprung to their feet to dance.
‘Come on,’ they both said to Elena and Margarida, but Mick had already taken Elena by the hand and pulling her gently was moving to the beat.
At first shy, Elena gingerly hopped from one foot to the otehr but as she gained her confidence she swung her hips and twirled in towards Mick and out again as he held her by the hand. She pirouetted like a ballerina. The music draped her like silken swathes. She loved listening to music and now she realised how much she liked dancing to it. They danced together through Eddie Cochran’s C’mon Everybody and Elena drank Coca-Cola with something in it, but she wasn’t sure what.
Elena kicked off her shoes in the middle of the song, glad to be able to wriggle her toes free. She danced with Margarida and Mick and even laughed at her stockings now snagged from the rough wooden flooring, sticky with spilt drink.
‘We gotta go, Els,’ said Margarida eventually, pointing at the clock behind the bar. She pulled Elena from the seat she was slumped in.
‘I wanna stay. I’m having such a good time. I feel alive!’
‘You most certainly are,’ said Mick, slurring his words and leaning in to kiss her. Elena moved towards Margarida’s outstretched hand and Mick’s kiss landed half way between her lips and her left cheek.
‘Guess we gotta go then,’ said Elena, her smile radiating her otherwise tired, now pale face.
‘See you tomorrow?’ asked Mick.
‘Not a chance,’ said Margarida as she fiddled with the lock on the door.
‘Night night, Mick. It was lovely to meet you,’ said Elena and she blew him a kiss.
Mick caught it, put his fingers to his lips and pretended to faint as he fell back onto the banquette.
‘If we get caught…’ said Margarida as they walked home like baby deer taking their first steps.
‘If we do, it was worth it and…’ Elena didn’t finish her sentence as she threw up on the pavement and all over her cousin’s shoes.
‘Oops,’ she giggled.
‘Let’s get you home.’
Born in London to Greek Cypriot parents Soulla Christodoulou spent much of her childhood living carefree days full of family, school and friends. She was the first in her family to go to university and studied BA Hotel & Catering Management at Portsmouth University. Years later, after having a family of her own she studied again at Middlesex University and has a PGCE in Business Studies and an MA in Education.
Soulla is a Fiction author and wrote her first novel Broken Pieces of Tomorrow over a few months while working full time in secondary education. She is a mother of three boys.
She is a compassionate and empathetic supporter of young people. Her passion for teaching continues through private tuition of English Language and Children’s Creative Writing Classes as well as proof reading and other writing services.
Her writing has also connected her with a charity in California which she is very much involved in as a contributor of handwritten letters every month to support and give hope to women diagnosed with breast cancer. One of her letters is featured in a book ‘Dear Friend’, released on Amazon in September 2017.
When asked, she will tell you she has always, somewhere on a subconscious level, wanted to write and her life’s experiences both personal and professional have played a huge part in bringing her to where she was always meant to be; writing books and drinking lots of cinnamon and clove tea!
She also has a poetry collection, Sunshine after Rain, published on Amazon and The Summer Will Come is her second novel. She is currently working on a third novel Trust is a Big Word about an on-line illicit relationship that develops between two people.
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