A tale of stolen love – stolen by terrorists for a cause that doesn’t matter – not in the real scale of things.
There was a flash in his head. Brilliant, blinding, and deeply penetrating.
His eyes blinked opened to the virgin light of day. There was barely enough to see, but round the edges of the wooden shutters he could make out the cool greyness that announced night was over. At first he just lay there enjoying the sensation of the cosy warmth and softness of his bed. But then, as his brain stepped up a gear, his whole body jerked itself to attention with the realisation that it was Thursday the 20th November 2003. Pleasure hormones were released somewhere inside his body, and he almost tingled everywhere with pleasurable anticipation for the day; he had remembered that this was the day they were going to arrange the first most important step towards their wedding. He almost leapt from his bed!
— o-o —
It took only two buzzes of the ‘phone to wake her. Her sleep, at best, had been patchy and intermittent throughout the night. There was so much excitement within her! As she went to bed, she had felt as though her heart would fairly burst. How could she sleep when just so few hours away lay the key to their future together?
It never occurred to her that it could be any one else on the end of that ‘phone. He always rang. Every morning. To wake her with the sound of his voice. He had, ever since they were old enough to understand that they were in love, and that they were soulmates. She picked up the receiver, and with absolute confidence spoke the words, “Hello darling…”
The sound of her voice brought light to his day, as it always had, ever since they had first met. He remembered it well, even though some of the periphery of the memory was blurred: They were in Yildiz park. They had been taken there by their parents.
The sound of her excited voice, the sound of her laugh, her enchanting laugh, on the wooded slopes of the park, was still there inside his head ready to be re-played at his command.
At the time those sounds had added to the magic of this first encountered with her. He pondered for a moment about the wondrous nature of chemical attraction… pheromones… embedded genetic preferences… whatever it was that made one human being be drawn to another in that special magnetic way.
“I’ll call for you in thirty minutes…”
“I’ll be waiting… mwah….”
“Kisses back. See you soon….”
— o-o —
She had been hiding herself from her younger brother crouched behind an old oak tree. And he, playing the same game with his own brother, Erol, had chosen a similar tree some way away. Between them was a parting through which each was visible to the other. They exchanged glances that seemed to continue for hours.
As he inspected his freshly shaved skin, he questioned himself, ‘How old were we then? … Maybe twelve or thirteen?’
He was always angered by his inability to be precise. He always wished that he could remember such important things with the crystal clarity that she could.
But then, ‘Whatever… it doesn’t really matter… We met… We fell in love…’
He splashed water over his chin with cupped hands.
What was it that made them each seek out further hiding spots that progressively drew them closer together? … Until they were behind adjoining trees… and then finally, behind the same tree… giggling quietly with each other as they frustrated their siblings? He grinned with the memory. He felt the tingling excitement that came from deep within his belly, radiating downward to his groin, and he shivered.
— o-o —
She was still so excited, that her whole body was brilliantly alive. The sensation was painfully sweet. She too had been remembering their history as she washed and dressed.
It started, for her, a little later than their hide-and-seek meeting in Yildiz park. It started from when their parents had introduced themselves to one another, later. And she, standing beside her father – protected by his powerful arm draped gently across her shoulder – had blushed at the realisation that there was another reason why she enjoyed this boy’s company, other than just the thrill of the game.
Yes, there was another thrill: She felt it renewed as it coursed through her body… When he had looked across from his parents side – their eyes locking with one another with unnerving accuracy.
She never thought herself – themselves – lucky that they were born to more unorthadox parents from a religious point of view. Parents who were less controlling than those of their devout Muslim friends. Parents who became friends after that Yildiz meeting. It seemed a natural course of events that allowed their love to blossom and mature during the years that followed, albeit under the traditional, watchful, and guiding influence of loving parents.
— o-o —
Neither of them had eaten breakfast so they stopped to buy a simit each, for later, from a perspex-walled blue covered cart stationed on a corner of the road. They walked on, excitedly discussing their application; the future they saw together in London when he took up his job at his uncle’s wholesale kilim business; the plans that they had, after their wedding, to have children of their own. A home together. The rest of their lives together.
At the doorway of the Consulate, he held the door open for her, and she walked ahead.
The blinding flash was accompanied by a deafening thud and a violent rush of air as first all the oxygen was consumed, and then new air and smoke rushed in to take its place.
— o-o —
His eyes blinked opened to the dim and dusty light of day. He could barely see, but around the edges of his vision he could make out the cold greyness of the dusty floor. Someone was bending over him. He felt a cool dampness between himself and the floor. They were saying something, but he could not hear above the roaring sound that permanently boomed in his ears. He struggled to understand; To comprehend what, if anything, was a dream, and what, if anything, was reality.
Now they were moving him. Lifting him into a seated position… leaning him back against the wall.
That was when he saw her dress. It was the white one. The one with the little yellow daisies printed here and there… But the upper part was stained red. It was still covering her headless and legless torso, and still in her right hand was the small paper bag containing the simits.
That was the moment that he comprehended this reality was his awakening to a nightmare. A nightmare that would only end, when his life itself was ended.
© Allen Ansell 2007, 2022