A Picture of Heaven

A Picture of Heaven

A Story by Roger Denton

A Short Story


There was nothing left. I could see the land through the train’s window, and I could tell… There was nothing left.

Seven years had passed since I had left my country, to be a student in Scotland, Edinburgh. My parents had some money, which we pretty much spent on my studies. I also had to get a job, which I did as soon as I had the chance. Now the train was bringing me back… in some way. But there was more to it than that.

I always wanted to become a writer. I didn’t care whether what I wrote would be considered as literature of good quality, or something less than that. All I ever wanted since I was a little girl was to write. So I studied literature. I had finished my studies in history in Greece before the war had broken out. During the economic crisis I was studying about the fall of Constantinople, and the ancient Greek civilization; also, about the Ancient Rome, and the European history, the history of the Balkans, and the Ottomans. I hated it at first, but I loved it later on. I learned how to read and analyze, how to understand politics and economy, I learned about the birth of the idea of the Greek nation, and I learned where I was supposed to belong. And after I found out my roots, I rejected them, for the sake of my dreams, and my plans, and my purposes. My country, my history, they were not capable of giving me the freedom to live the way I wanted to live. Most of all, history taught me how the world works. It is all a problem and we, people, are trying to live with it, solving it with the best way we can as we move on in life.

And this is what I did. I solved my problem the best way I thought was possible. I left. Then the war broke out, while I was lost into my studies. But these studies opened my mind. I turned towards Greek literature, the Greek classics, and there, I found out about the ideology of nations, the sense of belonging to a country, to a culture, to a past, a history. It was more than something I had found out, it was something I had felt, as this is art’s biggest advantage. It teaches one through emotion. An experience is the best way to learn. Or so I think.

I decided to travel back. I know I couldn’t stay for long. Now the train had stopped in Pareklisi, the village I come from, in the northern part of Greece, in Thrace. I got off, holding my luggage, just a bag filled with clothes. My camera hung from my neck. I walked around the station, and I only saw four more travelers getting off the train, and some others waiting for them. Relatives, I supposed.

Clouds hung from the sky. It was about to rain, and I could feel it. I felt as if I had reached the end. My roots, they were nearly gone. Pareklisi was almost destroyed by the war. Only a handful of residents still lived there, and I was wondering whether my family was still alive. I hadn’t heard from them for seven months or so.

I walked in the empty streets. The air smelled like ashes. Some houses had been burnt down, and the remains smelled of ash and smoke. I turned left in the end of the main street of the village, and walked for a couple more minutes, and there was my parents’ house.

There was no one there, I could tell; I felt like I was in a cemetery. Silence of the dead prevailed. At other times, the house was filled with laughter and joyful voices. Now it was silent, as if a devil had sucked its soul.

The door was open. I stepped in, and walked around for a while. Everything was decomposing. Even homesteads die when life gives way to loss.

There was nothing for me there. I had to go. Before I did so, I stopped for a while, and took a picture of the house. The windows, the entrance door, the wooden chair and table in the yard: A picture of our family’s heaven.

For a moment, as I waited for the next train to Athens, I thought that it was too late for me to discover my roots, to decide where I belonged. But truth is, it wasn’t. What was lost still lies inside of me; my parents, my family; they are always alive inside of me, and will always be.

The train arrived four hours later. I had all the time I needed to think, remember, feel, and cry. I was all alone in the station anyway. I got on, and sat somewhere. It was empty again. I turned on my camera, and looked at the photograph I had taken.

You are still alive, I thought. You are always alive for me.

I closed my eyes, and slept throughout the whole journey.

© 2012 Roger Denton

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A great picture of Greece, and of someone finding out where she really belongs. It's really an encompassing story, stretches the reader's mind and imagination.

Posted 8 Years Ago

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Added on March 3, 2012
Last Updated on March 3, 2012


Roger Denton
Roger Denton


I have been writing since the age of 10. 12 years have passed since then. I am still writing, in English, not in Greek, which is my first language. Therefore, I am trying to improve my English. There .. more..