~ written after a phone call on July 2, 1984~
What exactly did you expect to hear from my lips
when you casually picked up the phone
and decided to ask how I had been
and what I had done with my life
in the last fourteen years?
It wasn't your fault that we lost touch –
but to get a grip on my thoughts
and tell you everything
was too much for me to bear.
So – I stuttered foolish, incidental phrases
that I don't even remember.
What I remember of that moment though
is digging my nails into my tanned, thirty something skin
to feel that I was not living one of my recurring dreams –
To hear your breath in my ear as if you were near,
to hang on each word when you said
that you thought of me – even if occasionally –
night after night, year after year. . .
To hear your victory at sounding like a detective,
finally tracking me down; your pride at what you had done –
You have no idea how redeemed I did feel
to hear if only just that.
So many nights I had cried myself to sleep
wondering if you could really forget
your first love, your great flame,
and our first awkward kiss that started it all.
Why did you not even attempt to write
to the one who loved you all her life?
But then, I was to blame too.
I had moved – without a forwarding address.
I had taken an unlisted phone number
to become a nobody in this senseless world.
I had gotten married – just to get over you.
What a foolish thing to do!
How could I tell you that and more
in an overseas, long distance call?
Did you have any idea of what I really ached to say –
how I longed to yell, to declare
that it was you I still loved?
Then we exchanged our co-ordinates
and promised to keep in touch –
and we kept our promises.
And over the last twenty odd years,
we even got to see each other.
You were still my heart throb –
my first love, my handsome Dutch boy,
my only faithful love
and I – another man's wife and a mother.
The strange thing was that
when our fingers locked in affirmation
standing under a starry night of a late August
in my motley suburban backyard –
I felt in all the forsaken years
I had betrayed you – and not my mate.
My four year-old was asleep,
(his father out drinking with his buddies at some pub)
Could you see through my contrived look
of pretended happiness as I tried to hide
the mistakes of an unfulfilled life?
The one consummate wisdom of my years:
I could have given all at that moment
just for the chance to start over –
for it was always you that reigned in my heart.
Yes, I felt that I had betrayed you
by promising another man
to honour, and cherish and be truthful.
While I knew in my heart
that all were promised to you.
That is why I felt no regret or guilt
when I responded to your reluctant kiss
and allowed the meeting of our familiar lips.
Like a moth around a flame
I keep pirouetting in a daze.
I know one day one of us
will subside in this perpetual maze – .
either me, your stubborn moth
or you, my consuming flame will
sink into a pool of molten tears.
Meanwhile. . .
as the candle still burns
what do you expect me to do?
My marriage is over
My son and daughter are young adults.
I too have grown a lot through what life has offered.
Yet, there is still a part of me – my Achilles' heel –
I know I will melt again at the very sight of you;
for it is you that I always loved
and love you always –
you know –
I will !..
Füsun Atalay ~ Copyright © Will of my Own - 2012