So, where was I? And where am I now?

Female Trapeze Artists

Female acrobats on trapezes at circus. Hand-colored lithograph by the Copyright by the Calvert Litho. Co., Detroit, Michigan, ca. 1890.
From the Library of Congress
[PD] This picture is in the public domain.

I was away on vacation for a few weeks, back home in Turkey, visiting, hugging and talking to friends and family, remembering what it feels like to be loved…

No, I take that back. I do feel loved now, here in Montreal, so far away from Anatolia, but being back there gave me space to err… Spending evenings with parents helped me remember the feeling of having a safety net underneath my acrobatic jumps between jobs and housing quests. It reminded me they would be there for me no matter what I did, and they would not let me fall even when I missed a swing…

Seeing my friends, observing the sincere happiness in their faces to see me, knowing that they accept me with every attractive and weird aspect of my personality gave me confidence… They embraced me and invited me to days where social anxiety was a thing that only belonged to an outside world among strangers… It gave me confidence to make silly jokes and voice experimental ideas that had not yet fully formed but needed to be pulled and tugged at to find its final shape and place in my head.

Being back home gave me confidence to reassert who I really am, without having to censure thoughts or actions in accordance with who I am frequenting.

And now, after almost two years in Montreal and more than a year at a steady job, I feel a similar fort of friends building up, though still in its preliminary stages of construction in certain ways… I feel more freedom in my moves and fewer filters before words formulated in my head become words in others’ ears. I feel greater courage in taking bold steps as I slowly bond with a small but strong group of allies.

Yet, one thing that cannot be subsidized is the safety net family offers. I have to accept this as the cost of immigrating away but it does not change the fact that I miss crowded family gatherings. Although we do not celebrate Easter holiday in Turkey, I wish I could be at my grandparents’ dinner table, waiting with cousins for our share of the chicken…

Happy Easter! Enjoy all the love you find!

Sand, Sea and …

“Let’s go, come on! It’s just one weekend and we both need a break!”

He did not need to say much to convince me. It was April, winter was just over, the city was still cool, and the sombreness of the muddy days was still hovering over the streets.

I needed to get away from everything. From my job, the seriousness of all the files endlessly piling up and deadlines that had somehow managed to get hold of my life. I felt boring and flat like the city I lived in. So, I said: “Why not?”

Thus, off we drove to the warmer southern coast.

When I was a kid, my parents used to take me to tiny solitary beaches hidden between rocky entrances. In those remote pieces of saved land, I lay drying on a towel on the sand with the sun warming my back while water found its way down my skin. As the smell of the sun-dried towel dug its way into my memory, I listened to the humming of the earth under me. I listened to small creatures tunneling their way in the sand, building kingdoms, reigning the underworld. I followed tiny grains of sand all the way to the line where the water brushed over the flattened shore. I listened to the rustle of the waves. I listened to the power of water to give and take, as waves moved to and fro.

Watching the world from such a close angle at such a quiet spot made me also realize how inescapably lonely I was. My parents were there on the beach with me, but they were somewhere else, on another land. While I saw the sand grains or heard the force of the water, they were watching a different world from mine. Thus, I accepted a reticent existence to be shared with no other.

Until I met him.

He, too, was quiet like I. Bit by bit, with words unuttered, from shy sparkles in each other’s eyes, a slight touch, a breath let out in silence, we grew closer. Little by little, we allowed each other in. We allowed ourselves to be discovered by the other. In silent whispers, we spoke and we shared our existence.

We shared nights and days together; meals at the dinner table and chocolate in bed, wine from the bottle and tea under the blanket. We shared our thoughts and aspirations, our likes and dislikes, our passions and fears. We grew tomatoes and shopped for chairs. We grew on each other, internalized one another…

So, when he suggested a trip to the seaside, I knew my answer. We both needed to be away from the solid cement of the city to recalibrate our gentle harmony.

Thus, we boarded our car and drove southward towards sunnier days.

We found a nice quiet beach, just like the ones my parents used to take me. We soaked ourselves in the sea water, until all city gloom was cleansed from our bodies, and swung our weights on the cool soft waves till we felt as light as a feather.

When I lay on my towel, and watched the sand, this time, the grains took me to him, at the line of the water brushing the sand. This time, the sound of the earth and water, blended with his soft strokes on the water. This time, my world was not solitary. I had him to marvel at the grandiosity of the sea and the complicated beetle realm with me. I had another pair of eyes and ears to absorb the surroundings with me.

Lying on the towel, I watched him, enter the water, and peacefully, I closed my eyes.

When I woke up, I listened to his steps on the sand and followed with my ears his actions. I heard him behind me, drying with his towel. I turned around, smiling. I saw his towel, disarrayed on the sand. He was not there.

I looked at the open water, searched for his head bobbing over the surface. I examined the sea, not to miss him in between the waves, and reflections of dimming light. I watched carefully, to see him appear from a deep dive, or come back from a long swimming venture.

I waited to catch sight of him in the sea and over the land. I searched him in between waves and rocks. I looked for him until I could see nothing in utter darkness. Finally, I returned, once again, utterly solitary in existence.

In time, I came to accept, with quiet trepidation, that nature, whose power I deferred to, whose processes I admired and sought to find equilibrium in, had fumbled up the joy I had found in another. The waves offered me company in my loneliness, but took away the break I had taken from my isolated existence.

Sometimes, in between the streets, on my way to work, buying tomatoes at a store or on the window of a furniture store, I catch a glimpse of him. Momentarily, the loneliness is lifted until it sinks in again and I am reminded, nature gives and takes at its own will, and we can only watch and accept it.

Written in response to “Weekly Writing Challenge: Threes”

http://dailypost.wordpress.com/2014/03/03/writing-challenge-threes/

The Guilt

“Don’t blame the sinner.”

She has been repeating this for a while now. I can relate to the expression. Life is not all black and white. Foreseeing your moves is sometimes not so easy. It is not a game of chess that we are playing. There can be unexpected incidents. Making the right decisions, coming to the right conclusions is not always clear cut. So, yes, the sinner should not be blamed.

“Don’t blame the sinner.”

Yes, she is right. People have weaknesses, they can make mistakes. They are entitled to erroneous moves. Everyone should be given a second chance. Even those who commit sins deserve to be loved and forgiven. Blame the sin, not the sinner. Yes, this is definitely true…

She keeps saying it over and over again. It is getting weary. The more she says it, the less meaningful the sentence is getting, like those words kids repeat over and over until words are dissected and turned into unconnected sounds.

She said it once more. Is she trying to convince herself by mumbling it endlessly? I can tell she is having difficulty coming to terms with “it”. She is playing with the strap of her purse, twirling it between her fingers, with the shadows of doubt passing through her eyes. If I were not sitting so close to her, I would have thought she was desperately praying with a rosary in her hand.

She said it once again. She seems so piously in pain. She could take any pain inflicted on her. She would only respond with a prayer, as long as she can hold onto her rosary. She looks so weak and frail, so easily breakable, so consumed in guilt…

There she goes again. She looks out through the window once in a while. She has these really sad eyes. They seem a bit moist, similar to those of a sad little puppy. She seems to be in need of something, but would never utter a word to ask for it, like a well trained pet.

And again… Her meek voice is so annoying. I cannot think anymore. The expectation to hear the same words once again… Knowing that she will not stop until we get to the last stop, that she will carry on, in the same manner… It is so irritating.

Not again! This reminds me of that ancient torture where they tie you up motionless and drip icy water on your head one drop at a time. You get to a point where you think they are cutting your head open. That is exactly how I am feeling right now.

Oh God, please not again!

And she did it! How long is this road? How far is this stop?! I cannot take it anymore. I am trapped here, in the middle of nowhere! I need to get out of here. I cannot take this woman anymore. She is suffocating me!

“Don’t blame….”

No! How can I shut her up? Is there no way of stopping her? Is there no way I can put an end to this?… She is about to say it again, she has turned towards me… Her lips are moving, she is going to say it!

“We shouldn’t have done it! We shouldn’t have! We just took part in the killing of a live being! I want to believe it was a moment of weakness, but how can I live with myself? How can you live with this guilt? We have murdered God’s creation!

“I keep telling myself, ‘don’t blame the sinner,’ but I am just not convinced. All this time, I thought I was a good person and now, look at what I have done! 20 years! I have lived 20 years as a strict vegan only to indulge myself in heaps of meat at an open buffet!”

Word Count: 639 The Speakeasy prompt for this week (#149) is to use “Don’t blame the sinner.” as the first line.

And make some sort of reference to the below picture:

No flowers for me, thanks!

The husband I have under my “jurisdiction” is a sensitive man though lacking in romantic chromosomes. The sole romantic action he has ever undertaken, apart from lending his lighter to a friend who was about to propose to his long term girlfriend, was scanning a comic I liked and mailing it to me when I went overseas.

But you see, at the time, we had been together for only four months. In other words, he still felt the need to woo me, which worked, giving me hope for future surprises…

A hope to be diminished in the years to follow.

On one Valentine’s Day, a time of the year we had never celebrated during our relationship of then four years, -since being the “intellectual” individuals we were, we saw it as a pretext for increased commercialized expenditure-, I decided I did want to obey the industrialized shopping day.

Despite my negative opinion about the day, given that we did not celebrate our relationship on any other day, I needed a change! I needed a “festivity” to show our love for each other.

So I called him on a mid February day, only to hear a woman’s voice, that of his mother.

I asked her to wake him up, which normally I would have never done and she would have never accepted. No one shall perturb her precious baby’s sleep, but she must have heard the determination in my voice, because eventually I heard his sleepy response at the other end of the line.

“Huh?”

Thus, began my instructions:

“Get up, come over here to my place. On your way, buy me a bouquet of flowers. If possible, daisies. When you get here, act like it is a surprise and say ‘Happy Valentine’s!’ when you hand me the flowers”.

Being an engineer, he did an excellent job following clear instructions.

However, when I found out the price of the damn plants, I felt terrible. Plus, the flowers died a few days later, and guilt took over.

So, we went back to no celebration…

Especially, NO flowers!!!

So far, it has worked fine. We enjoy our evenings together, watching “Walking Dead” or cooking, or simply lying at the opposite ends of the sofa, our feet touching while we surf the internet on our laptops. These give me more pleasure than any high priced flower doomed to die in a few days. I think what we are doing is spreading the heightened pleasure that lasts a single day throughout the whole year…

Or so I would like to think… :D

PS: I am still expecting a major proposal. After five years of relationship and three years of marriage, he must have figured out what I like, right? And he can’t go wrong! What are the chances I will reject him after having officially said “yes” a long while ago?…

Written in response to WordPress Weekly Writing Challenge (http://dailypost.wordpress.com/2014/02/10/writing-challenge-valentine/comment-page-4/#comment-310890)