I met my grandfather Nikos Theodosakis in the summer of 1972, I was 9, and in Crete with my parents. He was in his mid 80’s and spent most of the day sitting on a chair in the courtyard in front of his house, which used to be a small cafe during the war. Leaning against his house, surveying the passing pedestrians and cars, he had one hand on his cane and the other holding this cigarette case, turning it, fidgeting with it and occasionally opening it up and lighting up a hand-rolled cigarette. I spoke no Greek, he spoke no English but I remember just standing next to my namesake, fascinated by him as we exchanged animated futile conversations with only our hands. When I hold this case in my hand, I imagine the decades he did the same, and somehow there’s a comfort in that connection.

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