Wednesday, July 31, 2013

What I ate

There on the shore of the Bosphorus on 
that baking hot summer evening, 
hotter still when Rudy and I stood next to the bearded 
old man and his small grill, waiting for him to wrap 
two fish sandwiches.With sweat pouring 
down our faces, we searched for a place to sit 
but gave up and strolled as we ate. 
The fish was cheap and delicious. 
We went back for more almost every day, sometimes twice. 
Our hotel room was unbearably hot.  
The window opened to an alley so narrow 
no breeze could ever find us. Many times 
during the night, we stood up in the dark 
and soaked our bedsheets in water 
and then laid our naked bodies on them, 
feeling cooled only for minutes. 
But we were happy. We were still in love. 
I didn’t know if we would stay together forever 
but I felt sure that whatever happened
would be fine with me. Being very young, 
I expected my future to keep changing. 
No matter how delightful the present, 
I wanted the future to be even better 
and knew it would. When I returned to 
Istanbul a few years later with a different 
young man, one who was afraid to eat fish 
from the Bosphorus, who could afford a room 
with air conditioning, those wet sheets 
were much on my mind and for the first time, 
the past seemed a little sweeter than the present 
and I was no longer certain my future 
would be the one I desired.
Istanbul August 1970