GIRLS: Kalimera

It was around nine o'clock in the evening, the sun had set hours ago and it was getting rather cold. Winter was closing in, making the short days rainy and grey and the long nights freezing and pitch dark. Cecilia had just finished her usual Monday yoga class and was heading back to her flat on the other side of town. She sat by the bus stop, cuddling up in her thin bomber jacket and thought "When will I ever learn? I wouldn't be freezing if I had brought my winter jacket" as she smoked a cigarette out of hunger. She knew she ought to stop smoking if she ever wanted to really benefit from her yoga but she hadn't had the time to eat dinner and smoking really helped, but apart from that, she repeatedly told herself that she'd quit sometime in the near future.

The cold was slowly creeping in through her glove-less fingers, up the sleeves of her flimsy jacket and around every little strand of hair on her now shivering arms. "Okay, don't think about the shivering: stop shivering! Don't think about how cold it is. Relax, it's not cold, it's not that cold, I'm not cold. The bus will be here soon. It's not cold, I'm not cold" she thought over and over again. Cecilia was unlucky enough to not wear a proper jacket the first cold winter day that year. But on the other hand, she had always been the type to underestimate the weather and was more or less used to this type of uncomfortably cold situations. Cecilia would deny the winter every year, telling people that she would not wear a winter jacket until fully necessary, meaning that she froze though October and half way through November. And even then, when she finally took out her winter coat, she would forget her gloves, or leave her scarf at home with the excuse that it wasn't even cold- at minus something degrees. This meant that she always had a bit of a cold through every winter she could remember, except for the ones she spent in warmer countries.

The bus was late; a good ten minutes late, which was strange given the day and time. The 21 was almost always empty on Monday nights and it wasn't snowing or raining which sometimes led to the buses not being on time. Cecilia knew the driver, it was always the same man driving this route: a fifty-something bearded Greek male who always had an annoyed look on his face, but was actually very kind and friendly. Every time she took the 21, he would greet Cecilia as she beeped her monthly card against the machine and stepped in onto the warm bus. She always answered with the only Greek word she knew: "Kalimera!"-even if it meant good morning and it was night time.