For your eyes



Close your eyes. Or at least put yourself in that space where time stands still. Just for a second. It wont’ take long.

It’s early evening, the sun has almost gone and there’s a slight breeze that tickles your skin.

In the background, you hear the evening prayer blurting out the speakerphones of the Ayia Sofia church on the other side of the divide. Yes, you’re in the centre of the old town of Nicosia, in a one-way street that leads to one of the countless check points standing tall across the Green Line.

To make it clearer, you’re standing in front of the opened shutters of one of the numerous carpentry shops on the alley. There’s lots of people surrounding you but like you, they’re all looking towards the shop.

Intertwined with the sound of Victoria’s voice reading the pages of the diary she wrote fourty years ago as the 1974 war began, the evening prayers accompany Arianna, as she dances to the motion. Or should I say emotion.

Slowly she enters the room holding a torch, reminiscing the intimacy of the diary’s words but also the ‘darkness’ in which all peoples found themselves as the island was invaded. Arianna’s allure gradually gains a more disturbing tempo. A shivering disturbance, for at this point, we’re already one month into the invasion, Victoria has nearly been evacuated from the island.

The performance terminates with Arianna gathering remains of salt she has used to, in my eyes, bring notions, or emotions which refer to time; what we gather throughout our lives, in our souls but also in our surroundings. Yet in the end, the salt remains on the floor, only to be pushed around by the pages of the diary that Arianna has thrown up in the air in a gesture of euphoria.

For that was then. And now is now. The one thing that hasn’t changed since then is the dividing line that currently stands to your right. And the memories are a tribute to this.

Now open your eyes. Talk a walk down town on Kleanthis Christofides Street and go and see the exhibition which remains after Monday’s opening. And see for yourself.



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About Melissa Hekkers

I am freelance journalist and author, who has frequently been featured in mainstream news outlets and other publications in Cyprus. Recently, I've been focusing on developing my writing, promoting my own books and teaching creative writing to children and adults. My most recent publication (2020) - Amir's Blue Elephant- pushes the boundaries of creative non-fiction, and recreates the moments that marked me the most, whilst volunteering in refugee camps in Lesvos, Greece, and during her ongoing involvement with the refugee community in Cyprus. In 2018 I published My Capre Greco Mandala which is the third in a series, an interactive colouring book about the biodiversity of the Cape Greco peninsula in Cyprus. My Akamas Mandala, the second in the series, is a colouring book inspired by the variety of endemic plants found on the Akamas Peninsula. In 2016, I published My Nicosia Mandala, the first of the above series, an innovative, interactive colouring book about the historic fortifications of the old town of Nicosia. I also focuses on silenced communities in Cyprus: I writes about migrants and refugees, both as a reporter and a features writer; I profile them and teach them creative writing skills. In 2007, soon after graduating with a Communications degree, I published my first children’s book in both English and Greek entitled Crocodile, which won the Cyprus State Illustration Award. In 2012, I launched my second children’s book Flying across Red Skies (in English and Greek), using an experimental approach to literature, for which I was nominated for the Cyprus State Literary award. My third, similarly well-received children’s book was Pupa (Greek and English), published in 2014. In between the last two books, I published my first free-verse poetry book entitled Come-forth. In 2019 she was contributing author to the anthology Nicosia Beyond Barriers: Voices from a Divided City, published by Saqi Books, London