She murmured something under her breath.

Not looking at me.
“What did she say?” I whisper in his ear.
We are standing close to each other.
My hand brushes his, and he shivers slightly,
Tickled by my breath on his neck.
I am his inamorata for the few months I have left in Turkey.

 

His cousin laughs and they exchange bemused glances.
I instinctively know that it was something they won’t repeat.
Her mind is addled with age, but she has retained her sweetness.
She didn’t make me kiss her hand and press it to my forehead, despite my youth to her wisdom.
She forgave my stilted Turkish pronunciation limited to polite phrases and thank you.
I glance down at the small fire they are making among the barren pistachio trees.

These fields, only miles away from the Syrian border have been in their family for generations.
The beautiful expansive view from their tiny balcony back at the apartment reveals
hundreds of sapling rows and a small white stone store house, with stairs leading up the side.
My paramour escaped to Istanbul with a mind too full for the pistachio fields to contain.

 

Love at first sight isn’t reserved for a person.
I left pieces of my heart on the dusty side streets, and in the windswept pistachio fields.
I left them with the crooning büyükanne who, in her surprise at the darkness of my skin
muttered something to her young relations and made them chuckle embarrassedly.

 

They tell you when you travel, what great adventures you can have. To open your soul and let it be forever changed.
They never warn you about the things you must leave behind. The old pieces of yourself that no longer fit, and the beat in your chest that now lies buried in far-off loam.

 

The Things We Leave Behind

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