Friday, September 07, 2007

Remembrances from lives past, 3

I was living in Provincetown, renovating my family's cottage before I began this adventure into an ancient modern myth. My wife had gone off to Turkey on a Fulbright seven months before, amidst our floundering marriage. It was now early April. Evening began to streak the sky, so I went out to the dunes of the Provincelands. As was not uncommon in those days, in that place, I entered into an elevated state of consciousness. The sun was setting, and directly opposite in the sky, a full moon was rising. Standing between them, a series of profound visualizations cascaded across my mind. At the same time, I realized that I needed to make another effort to save our marriage. I wrapped up my work and was on the road a month later.

The following excerpt continues off where Part 2 (posted 9/5/07) ended. The moment of reunion...

Edirne, Late April

...After I had walked about two k's in complete silence, a car passed. The driver stopped and opened the door for me. I shrugged and got in. My Turkish was very rough, but I understood that he worked at customs and was driving back to Edirne (eh-DEER-neh). Perhaps he was going for lunch, or perhaps he was curious about the crazy American who didn't mind walking all morning. I tried to explain to him that I was looking for my wife who was somewhere in Edirne. No, I didn't know the hotel. No, I had never been to Edirne before. Actually, no, I wasn't even sure if she was there. For the sake of my self-respect I hoped he assumed I simply could not express myself clearly. Surely no one would travel halfway around the world to meet someone they claimed was their wife, in a town of over 100,000, relying on nothing more than a chance encounter on the street. Until I tried to explain my intentions to this man, my plan hadn't struck me as being utterly absurd!

In no time we had entered the confines of Edirne's narrow cobblestone streets. I had no idea where my driver was going, or where he intended to drop me off, but in short order it was clear that he planned to drive around until we found my wife. Thinking back on it, the man must have been utterly fascinated by my madness. We passed over a muddy river lined with trees and parks. Ignoring my mounting excitement, he played the tour guide, explaining that this was the site of the famous Turkish mud-wrestling contest, a yearly event that determined the best wrestler in Turkey. Indeed, the contest was due to begin in less than two weeks, so I gathered. I, on the other hand, was more interested in the bridge we drove over, a beautiful series of stone arches hundreds of years old. He then turned down a narrow street crowded with pedestrians and little shops, and as if it were meant to be (and perhaps it was) I SAW HER! She was thinner, prouder, more aloof than I remembered. I shouted "There she is!" forgetting my driver knew no English, but I think he understood. He quickly stopped and I burst out of the little car like a meteor, shouting "Nancy, Nancy!" She turned, and with a smile like Mona Lisa's (I swear that's how I remember it) we embraced briefly.

How can years of resentment, anger, suspicion, unhappiness, and all the things that can make marriage hell, how could they dissolve so effortlessly, so utterly? We went back to her hotel. I could still hardly believe that she had actually decided to come to Edirne to meet me after all. We made love, quickly, intensely, surprised, then went out to explore this gorgeous town, once the capitol of the Ottoman empire. (We have been back since, and it really is a little pearl.)In the following weeks I kept waiting for the ax to fall, but it never did. After two days in Edirne we returned to her apartment in Istanbul. Day by day, being together got easier, not harder, and we began to believe what we were feeling: restored love. Somehow, between the polarity of a setting sun and a rising full moon a world of negativity had been reversed, and I can explain no more today than I could when it happened.

So we prepared to travel together. Again.

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