When the heartbreak after the death of a beloved is too much for my soul to surpass, my memory box yields a surprise: death itself battles a lethal fight against a gregarious force – the steadfast power in us which grows each time we send dear ones onto their so-called “final” flight. Our undying love never leaves their sight. Thus, death bows down before its own unwavering plight.
The Sun and I talk to each other every day about you and how I stayed away. I never had much to offer in terms of worldly gifts. My love for you, however, is forever there. Unlike my words, it never hesitates. It is thunderous. It is wondrous. It is here to stay.
Fast and furious, the urge to be around you roars over me once more. One more evening has arrived after another day without you. 24 more hours have come and gone. Yet, my old frame is still the same one.
Though I loved and will love you infinitely, my outer Self is known for its negligent expressions. Of this flaw, even my One-and-Only had her share. My thoughtless ways of the past undress my soul today, leaving it totally bare.
Forgive me for my phone calls’ rarity! Forgive me for all those times when I was absent from your lives! Forgive me for who I am not and have not been able to be.
You have loved me unconditionally. I know, I have missed my chance to be with you as often as I could. I wish wholeheartedly once again that I would be understood.
The fragile soul had never been undressed to this ultimate extent. Back then, she had decided to be a once-only lover. She should have known all along not to attempt such a fatal risk. Still, she does not regret being left this bare. Nor does she resent the one for whom she had stripped herself of expectations, guilt, fault, and blame.
The yet-innermost turbulence trashed her apart many a time. A violent slash tore her into a blindness of the temporary kind. The ego cast guilt, fault and blame on the other. But it also dared to expect. Not even massive masses of tears mended the scars. Nor did they suffice to revive the spirit from its raging death. The fragile soul had against all odds resolved to pace steadfastly its torturous path.
From the beloved then, she borrowed a new breath to ensure an absolute stillness of the heart. She tried in vain to regain her courage toward a gate that is opened ajar at best. She sought peace and salvation from the lover’s final request: not to expect, nor to blame; not to assign fault, nor to designate guilt . . . just to be dead.
I believe the records date back to the early eleventh century. You would know, my love, as we have also shared our profession. The patients would be seized for an extended procession. To the bloody altar, they would be slowly lowered down. They would begin to drown in the agony of their pain. With a swift gash, their appendix, liver or one of the intestines would appear in its carnage glory. The spectators’ eyes would revel in their gory inventory.
Can you see now, my beloved, how it had felt at the time of my alive-autopsied end?
Do you ever reminisce about our sensation? I do! I had lain on the emerald ground, unwrapping myself in the softness of your scent . . . alongside the compassionate creek of our first encounter . . . cradled by the rays of the afternoon sun.
Do you ever look back on the tiny ripples anew? I do! They had slowed down to honor our euphoric reunion. Witnessing our fiery souls flow into one another, learning and approving.
The wind envied our harmonious spread, and assembled its brutal forces. Thus came the abrupt end. Like a lightning. Fiercely brash.
I had kept my delicate “i” at bay, hoping for you not to float on. I have since pampered, re-dressed and preserved the ‘what ifs’ of our oft-resounding dread. They insist on haunting me yet. My old self thus is entangled in a merciless no-exit-thread.
Would you have possibly favored me instead, had I opted to defy the boulder at the barricade?
Have you ever eaten helva, my love . . . accompanied by the sizzle of the slowly melting butter – anxious in its wait to savor each sugar flake, while the aroma of the browning flour oozes into your delightful breath, and milk drops – raptured in a dance of a most delicate blend, craving the urge to taste the ultimate feast?
Have you ever made helva, my love, when its core ingredients were scarcely found?
* Helva is a traditional Turkish dessert; a sweet dish that is said to have originated in the Middle East and Central and South Asia.
A warm zephyr became my wrap this morning. It reminded me of my Mediterranean’s gentle air. Its vigor of the past, however, no longer stunned me. It still felt lovely, but it faded in me as a memory.
I think I know why it arrived at my doorstep and touched me affectionately. After your brief visit in my dream last night, my version of you had stayed on my mind. No! I did not cry this time. So, please be at ease!
While I have the chance, I want you to tell you where I am today: even then when I hit many a bottomless pit in our days gone by, I have always been grateful to you. I thank you for all the spiritual gifts. I thank you also for all the heartaches. In sum: Thank you for all that which we meant to each other.
As you can see, I let you in only to thank you once more. Be well, dear heart! Be very well! Today and forevermore.
~ ~ ~
From my upcoming new book of prose poetry, Letter-Poems from a Beloved (the original poem was published in my Aflame, Memoirs in Verse, and appears here in its revised version)
Accompanied by my imaginative theatrics, the story spread fast and consistently. My immediate and extended family, ever so eager and ready, would confirm that hearsay voluntarily: I was a dancer with a sprite’s flair, that I would improvise ecstatically. Whether over a real or an imagined tune, I would deliver my role as the honor guest of a yet-unheard beat. Leaving every loved one in awe, giving each an extraordinary treat.
Dance steps have always known how to find in me a most loyal companion. I, after all, had the dedication as long as I received undivided attention.
Ample laughter from an adoring audience was always alive. Without me on that imaginary stage, not even a single cadence had a chance to thrive.
In later years, that young bliss came back to me. On a day when I had concluded it was long dead. Hence, I submitted to the magic of the music in my head. However, I did so in disguise. For, my Self was still afraid to re-appear. The melodic joys, thus, ceased to be.
A government office in our precious Ankara . . . it was not yet evident that you had been struck by dementia. We were in the lobby, waiting for one of the employees to call my number. Many people in the waiting hall seemed to be in some kind of a slumber. Business as usual in Turkey: addresses to modify, IDs to renew. And, I had been away for too long. With this process, there was no room left for me to prolong . . .
Your anxiety was probably higher than mine. I still felt like I stayed longer than necessary in that line. Already back then, you were quite fragile. Though, you gave me your usual alert, “Have confidence, my girl”-smile.
Dad, that day, you told me once again how proud you were of me. The fast fading light in your aged eyes mirrored your love for me repeatedly.
When I asked you for my favorite dessert, you didn’t skip a beat. The Café where we both enjoyed it was quite a treat. That afternoon, 2015’s high summer tasted like cool lemonade. A favorite phrase Mom used to formulate.
Sharing a rich serving of Dondurmalı Kazandibi with you was one of the last gifts life has given me of you. Less than a year later, we no longer had you.
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