The codes that friends share

Each friendship has its own unique codes. Friends share coded words, expressions, gestures, references, preferences, clothes. These codes are often public since they are meant to generate intensity and devotion, not secrecy and exclusion.

The night Pantelis Polychronidis and I became each other’s “other self” one of us, I don’t remember who, told the other: “I’ve been waiting for you for thirty years.” This became instantly part of our code, to be repeated often in moments of mutual affirmation and celebration.

Such a moment breaks out in the middle of this particular live performance of a popular Greek song, “I was growing up for you.”* The first half of the performance has a voice and a piano that sound like an Edith Piaf chanson from the 1940s. Then, at 1:40, right before the 2nd verse, the style shifts as the band ushers in a bouzouki to discharge a fiery zeibekiko dance. At this point Pantelis gets up from his side of our desk, I start clapping, he raises his arms, I sing, and he dances. I can see him dancing every time I recall this song. The codes shared by friends never cease vibrating and gyrating.

October 23, 2014

* Εγώ μεγάλωνα για σένα/ I was growing up for you (2012)

Στίχοι: Γεράσιμος Ευαγγελάτος, μουσική: Θέμης Καραμουρατίδης


Εγώ μεγάλωνα για σένα // I was growing up for you

και μάλωνα για σένα στους δρόμους // And I was quarreling for you in the streets

με τα υπόλοιπα παιδιά // With the rest of the kids

τα βράδια ίδρωνα για σένα // In the nights I was sweating for you

και στον ύπνο μου για σένα // And in my sleep for you

τολμηρά είχα κρυμμένα μυστικά // I kept bold hidden secrets


Μετά ωρίμαζα για σένα // Then I was maturing for you

και σκάρωνα θλιμμένα στιχάκια // And I was coming up with sad little lyrics

που δεν τα διάβαζε κανείς // That no one was reading

ετοιμαζόμουνα για σένα // I was getting ready for you

και δεν άκουγα κανένα // And I was listening to no one

που μου ‘λεγε πως ίσως δεν φανείς // Who told me that maybe you won’t show up


Και περάσαν οι ζωές μας // And our lives passed by

δεν βρεθήκαμε ποτέ μας // We never met

και τη θέση σου την παίρνουνε σκιές // And your place is taken by shadows

μ’ αγαπάνε με φροντίζουν // They love me, they are taking care of me

κάπου κάπου σε θυμίζουν // Now and then they remind me of you

κι εσύ έρχεσαι και φεύγεις όταν θες // And you come back and leave whenever you want


Κι έτσι ζω μόνο για σένα // So I live only for you

ετοιμάζομαι για σένα // I’m getting ready for you

ερωτεύομαι για σένα // I’m falling in love for you

περιμένοντας εσένα // While waiting for you


Για σένα ήμουν και γινόμουν // For you I was and I was becoming

το καλό και το κακό μου // My good and my bad

και δεν είχα μόνο έναν εαυτό // And I didn’t have only one self

για σένα άλλαζα σα φύλλα // For you I was changing like leaves [change their color?]

τη χαρά και τη μαυρίλα // Happiness and sadness

και το σπίτι μου είχα πάντα ανοιχτό // And I kept my house always open


Για σένα τράβαγα πιστόλι // For you I was pulling out the gun

από φόβο μ’ είχαν όλοι // Everyone was afraid of me

και δεν άντεχε στο πλάι μου ψυχή // And no soul could stand by my side

φανταζόμουνα εσένα σε νοήματα χαμένα // I was imagining you in lost meanings

και ήταν όλα μια καινούρια σου εκδοχή // And everything was a new version of you

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