An Apple Tree Tucked in The Mountains

Longanikos is a tiny Peloponnesian village tucked into Greece’s mountain-folds. The main street within Loganikos is just big enough to provide for its 500 inhabitants. One family pharmacy that is owned by Andreas Angelopoulos and run by his 3 oldest sons. Niko Raptopoulou’s hardware store. The fish market that sits at the top of the hill. Evanthia Antoniou’s bakery filled with baklava, melomakarona, and kourabiedes. And the one food market in town: “to katástima tou Spyros ” or “Spyros’ store.” Spyros’ store is not only a food market but a place to socialize. Outside of the store sit two beach chairs and a blooming apple tree. Each day, Spyros relaxes in one chair and the other is occupied by his rotating friends. He soaks in the sun as he munches on an apple that he picked from the tree himself. Inside, the store is run by his family. His oldest son Leonidas sits at the register and Dimitris and Aris pack the shelves. His three oldest daughters, Katerina, Agapi, and Sofia assist their mom in raising the seven younger children. Together, the family of fifteen works so that Spyros does not have to lift a finger.

At the end of a long day, the family returns to their one-room apartment that sits above the market. Mattress pads coat the floor and a small stove sits in the corner. The thirteen children are expected to stay quiet and let Spyros rest after all of the ‘work’ he completed that day. Occasionally, Spyros guzzles a bottle of ouzo from the store with his friends. On those nights, when Spyros stumbles up the stairs, the thirteen know to scatter and remain silent.

On one of those ‘occasional’ nights, when the children were supposed to breathe quietly, his youngest daughter Elektra did not know her place. She remained in the center of the room and played with the raggedy doll that had been passed down to her by her siblings. Spyros, more intoxicated than most nights, became immensely angry that the five-year-old had disobeyed him. He lifted her infant body and stood still as the fifteen others watched him, unsure of what to do. Suddenly, he tossed her out the window. The child flew and disappeared from the view of the family. Leonidas raced down the stairs to save her. He exited the store and found Elektra sitting there, safely, in the apple tree. Leonidas picked her out of the tree, the same way Spyros picks his apples each day.

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