Changing Jake

Alex visited her grandparents in Patmos every year since the age of four. After five years, she returns, memories of past summers at Patmos filling her with excitement. But when they tell her that Eula, Yaya's old and bestest friend, has asked them to look after her bratty teenage son Jake, Alex is far from pleased. Not only does she have to cart Jake around Patmos, but she's expected to make him from a brat to a decent human being, and from what she's heard, Jake is far from being anyway near nice, let alone intelligent.
But with a boiling hot sun, beautiful surroundings, and Alec's determined attitude to life, can she do it?
This is entering into the Sony award competition so lots of feedback would be great.


1. Back to Patmos


I can see it. Just at the top of the hill. The white dome. The black curve windows. The porch, with pappau lying in the hammock fast asleep.

'Yiayia! Pappau!' I drop my suitcase at the bottom of the stairs, and run all the way up. Pappau awakes, startled by the sound of flip flops slapping against marble, and my heart goes out to his brown, wrinkled skin and fluffy white hair. The comfort of his arms around me and the smell of sea in his worn cotton shirt is like re-visiting seven years ago, when I first met my Bapi at the very same place I'm standing here now.

'Alexa!' Yaya appears at the door, pulling me into a fierce embrace. 'Alex my little moro! Ah you have grown so tall!' She presses her withered old hands against my cheeks, scanning my face with watery blue eyes. 'Come in, tutu, come in.'

Inside, the walls are painted all different kinds of orange. I remember my favourite wall, the one with just the right amount of yellow and just the right amount of orange. It is covered with tiny marks made with red felt tip, showing how much we have grown over the years. We being me and my sister, Rofi. She is eighteen and has decided not to come this year, due to the fact that her boyfriend, David, who is twenty and wears a two piece at all times, has asked her to come and spend the holidays with him and his family in London.


'See your room, Alex, I made your bed.' Yaya pulls me into the tiny room at the back of the house, where you can see the entire of Crete. I have spent half my life in this room, painting and re-painting, sticking and glueing, hanging and hammering. Last year, I settled with a light blue. Already my mind envisions walls of creamy white, saffron pink, perhaps sage green like the plants crawling along the cottage walls. Blue seems to small, too shy, too...fifteen.

'We get you lunch, alex, are you hungry?' Yaya looks at me eagerly, and I nod.

'Yes, yaya, very.' I follow her into the kitchen, where there is a small round table covered in a blue checked cloth. Bapi is busy whipping up some yogurt, honey, and sultines.

'Here, is good.' He sets it down in front of me and pats his stomach, his golden tooth gleaming. I laugh, and take a spoonful. It is delicious.

'I unpack your suitcase.' Yaya turns back down the corridor.

'Ah.' Bapi watches her leave, shaking his head.

'What is it Bapi?' I frown, watching how his brown forehead creases. He shakes his head.

'Nothing, moro. Yaya should be saving her energy, thats all.' I want to ask what he means, but there is something about his face that makes me think I should I leave it.


'So what will you be doing this summer, tutu?' Bapi smiles at me, taking a puff of his cigarette. 'Will you be down at the rocks like you always are?'

I shrug, glancing at him curiously. Bapi never asks me what I do. He just lets me do what I want.

'Why, Bapi?'

Yaya is standing by the doorway, one hand placed on her chest. She is looking at Bapi sternly, as if to say 'Stop talking before you say something stupid'.

'What is it, yaya?' I look from one to the other, wiping a trace of yogurt from my chin.

'Ah, Alex.' Yaya comes and sits beside me, looking guilty. 'I-Bapi and I need to ask you a favour.'

I nod. 'Of course, I will do anything.'

She smiles. 'I know you will, tutu, but this is a big favour. Maybe one that you won't like.'

'Tell me, yaya.'

She sighs. 'My friend, Eula, has a son. She move to America long ago, have this boy, Jake.' She turns to Pappau. 'A few weeks ago Eula calls me from America. She tells me she wants Jake to come here, to Patmos. Apparently he is-' She stops, trying to find the right word. 'Full of this-what do you call it? Atti-tood?'

I stifle a giggle. 'How is this Jake full of attitude, yaya?'

'Eula says he plays on one of those- ah, what is the word? Hand game con-sole?' She narrows her eyes in confusion, shaking her head. 'She is worried about him. She says he is distant, moody, obsessed with video game and televison. She asked me whether he could stay with us for a few weeks, just in the summer.' Yaya looks at me nervously, biting her lip. 'I told her I had a niece named Alex who would be more then welcome to show Jake around Patmos.'

'What?' It comes out sharper then I intended, but I can't help it. Take some moronic, american school boy around Patmos, to all my special places? To the rocks by the sea? To the shack on the sand? To the clifftops over the village?

'I know you like spending your summers here by yourself, Tutu, but think of this as a challenge.' Yaya smiles at me, putting her hand over mine. 'Open up this boys mind. Show him how you see things, how there is more then just screen.'

'But yaya-'

'Hush. I need you to do this for me, Alec. Bapi and you will be taking Tera and tepi down to the port where Jake will be arriving. He's going to have to ride on Tepi with you-ah ah-' she holds up a hand to silence me. ' You will go now.'


I open my mouth again to complain but I feel Bapi's hand on my shoulder.

'Come, tutu. I'm sure the boy will not be as bad as you think.'



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