The young boys, maybe seven and eight, were high-strung after eating souvlaki. It was time to travel down the streets of Patras some more. The two families crossed the street. The older boys, maybe twelve and thirteen, were to go with the one mother, the younger boys with the other. The one young boy stood frozen, his back to the street, peering into the window of a retail store. The other young boy walked over to him, stood to the left of him, peered through the window too and put his right arm around the other boy’s right shoulder. The two—short, almost identical in height—would peer together at the toys in the shop’s window. The mothers kept talking but were getting ready to go separately. Over lunch, they spoke Italian; now they spoke English. Come boys, the one Mom said to the young boys. Come. The boy loosened his grip on the shoulder of the other and walked steadily to a narrow shelf outside that contained childrens’ books and put his hand upon some and held it still. The other boy, who originally took the initiative entered the toy store by four steps. Come on you two, the mother said. The boy loosened his grip on the books and came closer to his Mom and stood still; the initiating boy turned 45 degrees and stood staring up at the woman in silence. Come on you two. She would say again, intensifying but not yelling nor being menacing. The boy would continue to stand in the foyer of the shop. Come, come on. The boy would finally leave the shop and waddle behind the two of them, ever slowly, not looking down, nor looking up. The Mom and older two boys parted south cheerfully, the Mom with the young boys began crossing the street. Hands, boys, hands. The one boy would clasp her right hand, she would leave her left outward jarred behind her for a few moments as she walked, the two walking for the corner on the northeast edge of the street’s block. They would walk north then east in a dog-leg pattern around the sidewalk, the initiating boy would walk behind them, never taking her hand. She never asked again that day. Both young boys would walk crestfallen.
The hero image above is of the entertainment district of Patras, Greece. Patras is a port city, medium in size in western Greece, situated at the eastern tip of the Gulf of Patras which runs into the Ionian Sea.