Stavroula Tsouprou: They’ re looking at you

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Stavroula Tsouprou

 

They’re looking at you

 

02-BitaLACK AT THE CENTRE, jet black, like an empty dark room. White of the eye all around, not always shiny nor symmetrical. And in the middle a medley of colours, limited, of course, but not easy to define. They’re looking at you. They’re searching for you or they’re passing you by. They want to impose upon you or to tease you. They’re frightening you or they’re trying to appease you. They’re looking at you.

       Chaos between you. You’re looking at them too. You fix your gaze in the centre of them. What is there? You move on a little. Where are you going? Is there a way through? It seemed to be a dead end before. No, it passes through. Hesitantly at first, you fumble for supports. The environment familiar for the present. Cares. Pretences. Fear. You stop here. You meet yourself; fear. Better for you to go back. If you go on any further, you’ll be trapped. You meet yourself: now your image is there too. That interests you. Out of cowardice you put this in front of you, something familiar, in order to gain time. In the end? How do they see you? As you are? (How are you?) You don’t understand. You’re only you from the outside: your aspect as it is in the mirror. From the inside?

       I told you to leave. Now it’s too late. So, look. Enjoy it.

       A mass of mixed-up reactions, of behaviours tender and harsh, of ages from nought to mature, of actions meaningless to dangerous. But all of these, many you’d forgotten and others you remembered characteristically, it’s as if they’re illumined by their colour that is different, by the brown pupil of the eye, constant presence, protection usually and rarely punisher. So, you see yourself differently. Through the brown filter, filter of affection and pride, filter of sacrifice, filter of dignity, you’re not your familiar self. Foreign, strange, creation of someone else, prop of someone else. Imprisoned there, with obligations that must be discharged, with prices that, unbeknown to both sides, you have been charged.

       Go away, leave. You’ll see the future and you’ll be horrified. Better not to know. Go back. Swim with wide strokes in the brown and get out. Be careful not to fall into the hole, into the empty room. It’s not for now.

       Cling onto the white of the eye and jump outside. That’s it. Here we are. They’re looking at you still.

 

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Source: They’re looking at you (Grigoris Editions, short stories, 2013).

 

Stavroula Tsouprou (Athens) holds a doctorate in Greek Literature from the National and Capodistrian University of Athens, as well as language diplomas in English, French, Italian, German and Spanish. Systematically involved with Literature Theory, she has published studies on earlier and contemporary prose-writers and poets. She is a regular contributor to the daily and periodical press. Three volumes of her essays have been published: Tasos Athanasiadis:”With the eyes of our generation”, The “childis” stories of Cosmas Politis and Trial Readings. Her first fictional work is the collection of short stories They’re looking at you (Grigoris Editions 2013).

 

Translated by Alexandra Douma

Alexandra Doumas studied Social Anthropology at University College London (UCL). Over the last forty years she has translated into English hundreds of Greek scholarly books and articles, mainly in the disciplines of archaeology, social anthropology-folklore studies, Byzantine art and Modern Greek history, as well as catalogues of major exhibitions and information panels for museums and archaeological sites. She collaborates with important cultural institutions in Greece and abroad, as well as with leading publishing houses in Athens.