The Poet's harem:
One lady about my age.
Three little girls under the age of seven, one of them being a chubby cherub that sat on the young woman's lap.
One little boy who is not harem material but let's say, for the fun of it, he was part of the Poet's fan club.
The poet lead them to the railing, seating the girl our age directly next to us and disappeared into the ship's interior, re emerging with raisin bread for everyone. I was touched as I always am when I see someone feeding someone else. It just does my heart well. They were happily devouring the bread as the poet sat next to the girl.
To return to a much, much earlier post, I was all wrapped up in love with a Greek sea captain at this stage of the trip. I was thinking a lot about families, wracked with confusion about the whole ordeal. Did Gokce want a family?
"Yes. Desperately. But who to have one with? That is the problem," said she.
She commenced with a hearty helping of baby talk, cooing and laughing with the dark eyed sweetie so young she hadn't started to speak. Not Turkish, not English. Just squawks of sheer joy. She asked the mother what was the baby's name, to which the mother responded. It's been too long since I knew the exact name; I'm fairly sure I'd written it down at the time but the notebook must be stored in the same cubbie of my parents' attic along with the rest of my worldly belongings, but I did not forget what the name meant.
"Queen of the Roses."
I want to know what bad can happen to someone who goes into the world with a name like that?
Through small-talking she learned that the poet was the woman's father and all of these his dear grandchildren. Gokce was complementing the mother on her little queen, explaining in Turkish that we had just been discussing our issues with finding a partner, starting a family... and then the poet interrupted her and began speaking in a soft, firm way. She was listening to him as if he was a prophet, which, could very well be, but I was lost until she finally returned to me with a gentle face and started the translation.
"He says, we should not look for love. It is here. If we could be our true selves, we would all be saying to each other, 'I love you.' But we cannot because we are afraid. We don't want to be hurt. But there is nothing to be afraid of, because life is what is right now. You, me, him, her, the moon, the water... there is nothing else but now, and it is full of love."
It's all a little fuzzy now but I still remember that moon and the way my eyes welled up at his words through my sufi mystic, because that's what happens when I hear the truth. It fills me up so much it pours out of the corners of my eyes.
Gokce and I said goodbye to each other and my adventures continued the wrong direction on the wrong bus, heading back to Izmir. Finally I have to admit my "adventurous" spirit gave way to my exhausted body and I was a little tired of wandering aimlessly. One hour after I should have already arrived, I did get to Istanbul to another friend, one who was expecting me, which is an indescribably nice feeling. Finally collapsing on a makeshift sofa bed in the middle of the night...just as indescribably pleasant.
Writing all of this now, I'm getting the lessons with the same impact that I did the first time. It's like someone turned a light on in my chest cavity, and if I can just turn all of my attention there and away from this enormous head of hair, angst, and over-sensitivity, if I can just remind myself that it is the light in my chest cavity that is guiding the way and making people respond or not respond, love or not love, life seems simpler. Time seems less relevant. Everything more manageable.
It's like I'm part of the sea; not just one wave.