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Vana Manasiadis

Hectic Hector

Then Hector moved into the flat downstairs. He tied his vespa to the front gate and paid his first bond.
People said that he’d been the Stay of Troy, but I couldn’t see it. He seemed restless – or preoccupied: we could hear him pacing
from the kitchen to the lounge and back again and he fiddled with things – his keychain, loose change,
an eye pendant to ward off the bad luck connected with fresh starts. He kept his long hair pulled back into a ponytail,
wore track pants and old nike sneakers. So you see, there was really nothing very Troy-like about him at all.
Schliemann said: his brow is not heavy enough – is not in the style of the great warriors, and the Joneses added:
his skill with the garden shears isn’t anything to write home about. Only the Rawhitis saw something monumental in him:
What ponytail eh? Hector’s hair’s in a tikitiki-topknot bang on his crown; has a peacock feather sticking out of it and a bone comb.
Whatever the truth of it, he got into the habit of collecting old radio parts. He filled the flat with wires, transistors.
He amassed large quantities of knobs and dials. Mum worried: who is going to clean up this chaos when Hector go? This confusion,
as it looks to me? But she needn’t have worried – Hector tidied every last inch on the night before he moved out.
He put the finishing touches on his ham radio, vacuumed up the unnecessary fragments, checked his pendant and left the key in the lock.
Over the years, if we turned the dial of our radio too far left by mistake, we’d find Hector talking to elderly relatives;
listening to news of wars and soccer wins, betrothals and wakes – staying in touch over the static short waves.
He never went back for a visit. He bought a three bedroom house, with sea views, in Maupuia and a Honda Chariot – in which he’d sometimes go for drives around the bays.
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