I delayed making a decision on whether I would testify at the trial until this August, when I returned to Greece, this time on holiday with my fiancé Tony and his family. It was the first time I’d been back to Greece since the incident, and a couple of weeks into the trip I was sitting alone, in an outdoor square in Nafpaktos. And that’s where it happened. I wasn’t approached by any strange men, and I didn’t see Jesus. It just hit me. If I don’t open my mouth about this now, I will always regret it.
A few days later, Tony spoke to his cousin, also named Tony (yes, it really is like that scene in My Big Fat Greek Wedding with Nick, Nick and Nick), and Tony’s wife Sofia. He told them about what had happened to me in Athens in 2005, and asked whether I could stay with them during the trial. Being the lovely people they are, their first reaction was shock that we’d even ask - rather than simply announce when I would be arriving and how long I would be staying, as I suppose is the Greek tradition. And then Tony - Cousin Tony, or “Adoni” in Greek so we’ll call him that just to keep things simple – said something to my Tony.
He said, “No matter what happens during this trial… no matter if the guy is convicted or not… Natalie has to put this behind her.”
And I realized then that he was absolutely right.
Hence, the name of this blog: The Beginning of the End. I took it from a Tracy Chapman song called “The Rape of the World”. I realize that’s a bit dramatic, and that the song is symbolic. But still, it works. Because no matter what happens, after I fly back from Athens this time, it’s The End. “Justice” (whatever that means) may not be attained. But I have to let go of everything, and I have to move on. The space this is taking up in my life for the past three years has to be freed for other things. I feel like I’ve lost too much of myself to this already.