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  • Writer's pictureMellissa Briley

Love or Nothing

Updated: Sep 9, 2023

Location: Athens, Greece

Subject: Theory on love, difference between agapi and erotas

Love or Nothing

….Erotas e tipota

The graffiti in this photo says, “Love or Nothing” and at the bottom it says, “Two riot police for each protester” A powerful photo, however my translation cannot do justice.

Love in Greek is agapi. Agapi speaks generally. You can say you love an animal, love your family, love a friend or lover.

Before I moved to Greece – I worked in health care, holding the hands of the confused, terrified and dying. After a tough day at work, I promised myself that my last word or thought in this life, would be love.

But, “erotas” is the essence of the meeting of elements, overriding laws of physics. Air, fire, earth and water gathered into a single molecule, escaping the atmosphere and exploding into a star. This is my imagination speaking, of course, but history has proven, erotas can build or burn empires. Erotas is where everything begins and everything ends.

Erotas is flooring the gas peddle while entering the Parkway, swiftly looking in the mirrors and glancing behind you, merging into traffic. Watching and feeling the RPMs climb, and listening, embracing the power of the engine. Feeling the wheel under my hands, all senses attuned to every inch of my car. And finding that sweet spot in the left lane, where other drivers were closing in at 90 mph – the fastest I’ve ever reached was 110 mph – but I knew I could go faster.

Love is the exit sign. Destinations and reality have to be met. But having to adjust to the flow of 45mph traffic... in all its frustration.. because I knew my car was capable of so much more.

What is the purpose of erotas? Perhaps it is the last lifeline thrown down, when all is about to end. An invisible beauty revealed, an unsung song heard by deaf ears, the miracle of a fallen tear noticed by a stranger, an invisible supernova of something that is opposite the sun. The Pleiades... aka the seven sisters: a stellar nursery. The birth of stars; the combustion of elements. As mentioned, I wanted my last word/thought to be a simple word of 4 letters: love. But now, I will look up to the stars and say erotas.
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