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Greek-American Stories: Yiannis’ Passing

All four were seated comfortably in Dixon’s that Sunday when they noticed Yiannis saunter in, looking pleased. When he’d seated himself, Dimos asked, “you’re looking chipper on this sunny Sunday. What’s causing it?” After a few sips of his coffee, Yiannis announced, “hopefully, I’ll have very good news to tell you all next week.” Awaiting further details, no one spoke. But George lifted his head and looking concerned, said, “we’re going to miss you.” Scrunching his face, Yiannis said, “I expected something like that from you, huge mouth! Well, I’m not going anywhere.” Turning to the others, he explained. “I did a few physical tests with Dr. Arostakis last week. Then, I called to ask how they looked so far. He said, so far they all look as if you’ve passed, but, he’ll not have all the results for another few days.” John asked, were you worried about something? You didn’t mention anything last time we saw you.”

“We’ll, I didn’t want to worry anyone for nothing,” he said, reaching out for a donut. “But, I think it’s a good thing to keep a check on everything.” They all agreed. George nodded, saying, “well, let us know! I’m sure we’d all like to hear of your passing.” Yiannis’ expression was one of satisfaction while the others suppressed an urge to laugh. He continued. “As you all know, I had my grandkids for the weekend. Barbara’s house was being painted. They are a handful, let me tell you.” “Come on, Yiannis!” said John. “I’ll bet Areti loves having them over!”

”Spoils them like they’re royalty – bakes them cookies and they always tell her, ‘oh, thank you, Yiayia’. But, when the ice cream truck comes by and I send them out for ice cream, it’s not the same, I can tell you. I hand them money and when they come back they sit around, watching T.V. just eating it.” Kipreos asked, “oh, You mean they didn’t say ‘thank you, Papou’?’” Yiannis shook his head. “That’s not what bothered me! They didn’t give me back my change!” Shaking his head, John said, “that’s kids for you, Yiannis. It’s just being kids!” Donuts gone, coffee finished, they all decided to call it a day.

The following Sunday found them all at their table, coffees in hand, donuts centering the table – and each waiting to hear whatever news they had, all excepting Yiannis who sat saying nothing until John, noticing his inattention, asked, “well, Yiannis? Hear anything more about your tests?” Stirring his coffee like it contained molasses, Yiannis nodded as if he had very disturbing news to report. “Yes, I heard! Dr. Arostakis called my house and gave me a detailed list from each test.” He paused, again. Growing anxious, Dimos prodded him. “You told us that he thought they looked passable. That’s what you told us last week, Yiannis. Something happened?” Still hesitant, Yiannis decided to take up a donut, slowly savoring. Impatient, Dimos asked him for details. “Yiannis! Don’t keep us in suspense! What happened?”

Taking in a deep breath, trying to find some solace from the donut, he lifted his head and said, “well, I passed the tests but…” Another deep breath, another long pause emanated from our downcast friend, causing the others to become more concerned. Sensing his tension, John reached out and gave a resounding pat to Yiannis’ shoulder. “…but one of them. Is that what you’re trying to say, Yiannis? What one didn’t pass?” No response. Then, Dimos spoke up. “Listen, Yiannis? Whatever it was there’s always something somewhere that’ll help in some way. Today’s technology is so advanced, so promising that all you have to do is look for it.” Nodding soulfully, Yiannis, shaking his head, said, “I know! But…” Kipreos, always sympathetic, said, “We’re here for you! You know that! Whatever it is we’ll go to bat for you, Yiannis. Tell us what made you so unhappy and we’ll do something about it. You’ll see!”

Lifting his head, Yiannis managed a faint smile. “You mean that, guys?” They all agreed, unanimously, wholeheartedly, making Yiannis smile. Dimos insisted. “Just tell us which test didn’t make the grade?” Setting down his empty cup, looking up at his friends with newfound hope, he informed them, “oh, I passed all the tests satisfactorily. But, on my way out when the receptionist handed me the bill, I passed out.”

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