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Voyage to Greece

SYNOPSIS

Nick, a divorced Greek-Australian man of 35, who works in the community sercives sector as a legal consultant, lives with his girlfriend Belinda, a blonde Australian woman of 32, who works at a public radio station, in inner-city Melbourne.

Nick and Belinda attend a Greek wedding reception, in a modern reception centre. It is the same centre in which Nick had his own wedding reception, six years previously, marrying Mary, a Greek woman with similar physical features to Nick. Attending this reception causes memories and unresolved feelings to come flooding back to Nick, revealing him to now be a somewhat dislocated being, not able to function fully and properly, in the psychological and emotional senses: he seems to have a love-hate relationship with his Greek culture, simultaneously understanding it and comfortable with it, yet also wilfully withdrawing himself from it.

They drive home and resume their lives, the following day visiting Nick's mother, Evgenia. Evgenia is a home care worker for the aged, enjoying her work, and she is also learning English at her local TAFE. She has vague plans, however, to join her husband Kostas, who has been back home in Greece for the last couple of years. Both Nick and Belinda have good relationships with Evgenia, but, back home, between themselves, Nick's inner conflicts manifest themselves in their own relationship, causing Nick to not be fully engaged in their interaction.

Still, things look up: the wedding reception seems to have provided a minor catharsis for Nick, for he now begins to be more purposeful work-wise, and also more settled with Belinda and their lifestyle. But everything is put on hold as news comes through from Greece that Kostas is seriously ill, causing Nick and Evgenia to quickly board a plane to go to him.

On the plane, the memories come back once again for Nick, and the full picture is now revealed: how Nick had pleased his family by completing a Law degree, opening up a practice, marrying Mary, and having a son, but then how he reacted against Kostas' increasingly nationalist (overflowing into racist) fervor for all things Greek, by closing his practice, adopting a more relaxed lifestyle, and splitting up with Mary and thier son John (who are now in Athens). The memories come back for Evgenia too, of a husband who was once charming and dashing, but who then developed into a bully (beating her) and into someone with a severed identity, never being able to fully settle in Australia, always having a hankering for his homeland.

Arriving in Athens, they then train it to Larisa Hospital, in the Thessaly region, where they stay by Kostas' deathbed. Kostas dies, without being able to say a word to Nick and Evgenia, though perhaps conscious of their presence. They take him to his village, Karya, next to Mt. Olympus, for the burial. They stay in the village for ten days, each mourning in their own way: Evgenia with some sadness, but also with a kind of subtle wisdom and acceptance, qualities she has built up over the years, and Nick with more detachment, but also with a sudden awareness that even his father had a rich and soulful inner life, a life that Nick was never able to connect with.

Evgenia returns to Australia, but Nick goes to Athens, to see Mary and their son John, who is now 6 years old. Mary is settled and active, and friendly towards Nick. Nick spends some time with John (who does not know that Nick is his father), in the process enjoying being with him, but also feeling a profound disconnection with him. Belinda, in the meantime, is concerned about Nick, wondering when or even if he will return.

Some days pass and Nick realises that Mary and John have a life and that he is not a part of it. He begins to slowly accept things, and resolve conflicting emotions within him. He returns to Australia, and to Belinda, who is waiting for him at the airport. Nick's sense of self now seems clearer, and Belinda notices this renewal. They go home.

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Bill Mousoulis 2008