The Turkish family that had been on the grounds with us, was nowhere to be seen anymore. Maybe they had enough of the pile of rocks, and left the premises. Maybe they were in the same cistern we ducked into half an hour before. J had gone in first, but hadn’t paid attention to the height of the passage. He was tall, the doorway was not. He bumped his head hard, and cursed violently. “Look, does it look bruised you you? It feels bruised. And it fucking hurts!” He pulled back his hair, and I could see a tiny mark the size of a €0,01 coin on the top of his skull. I gently kissed it, he cringed. “Ouch, that’s sensitive..” “Sorry babe, just trying to make it feel better”, I said. He said nothing, but smiled and walked along the wall.
It was hot, almost 35 degrees Celsius, and the sun hung high in the sky. Sweating, and a bit buzzed, he pulled of his bright blue t-shirt, and flung it over his shoulder. We both had about half a Smirnoff left, and I took a sip, grateful that the bottle against my lips prevented me from uttering my thoughts. “When I said my shop’s closed, didn’t that make you angry?” He asked, and yet he didn’t ask. It was a statement in a line of other statements. I said, “How could I be mad? It’s what I’m used to, it’s the story of my life”. “How do you mean?” “Well, I’ve been in love a couple of times, and all those times, the feelings were not reciprocated. So I know what it means not to be loved in return. I can’t blame you for not feeling the same for me, so no, I am not angry.” “Have you considered that you might have liked them too much?”
The fact he asked that question, hit me in the face. It hurt. It was exactly the question I had been asking myself years before, trying to come up with an explanation for how and why no man I ever loved, loved me in return. I said I had considered that possibility, and let the conversation fall silent for a moment. What about his question was it that hit me so hard? The fact that he could accuse me of loving people too much, maybe even accusing me of smothering, or the fact that he seemed to think there existed such a thing as too much love, especially when it came to a connection as strong (yet with implications still unclear to him) as ours? Or was it the fact that he pinpointed exactly the thing I had been wondering for years? I thought about how sad it made me feel to think that the other half of my soul recognized the possibility of me overwhelming others with the loving capacity in me. It hurt me to think that he didn’t feel himself worthy of so much love. The look on his face when he said it cut through me like a knife.
The tip of my sandal caught behind a loose rock. I tripped, and almost landed flat on my face. My camera was still safely in my hand, with the strap around my wrist, but I have no doubt that if I were to fall, it wouldn’t have survived. He was a few meters behind me, but came all but running towards me when he saw me stumble across the courtyard of the ancient castle. “Be careful!” he said, in an almost angry voice. Why did he sound angry? Was he mad at me for almost breaking my camera? For not paying attention? Or was he mad at me for -almost literally- falling for him? I said nothing, but just looked at his face and smiled. Ah, he’s worried about me getting hurt. For the last few days, I had been having a little trouble staying on my feet. Funny, the effect this man has on me physically… I let my hand rest on his side for a second, and then pulled away. We were standing close to a higher wall of the castle. This part had a window in it, and through that opening we had a perfect view of the clear blue ocean. Turkey’s hills were visible in the background, interrupted only on the horizon by a white cruise ship.
He stepped back, but I put my hand on the hem of his shirt. It was loose on the sides, barely touched his slender frame. The shirt was nice, fit his form, and his boyish charm – small shoulders, no fat and slim arms – showed really well in this. Damn, I love this color on him. I leaned against the edge of the hole in the wall, giving my feet some rest while I admired the view on both sides. “You okay?” he asked. “Yeah, perfect”, and I leaned in to kiss him. He pulled back.
“Now kiss me like you mean it” In bare seconds, he bridged the distance between us and pushed me against the wall, pressing my but into some rock. I didn’t notice. His hand grabbed the back of my neck, the other one he left hanging. Towering over me, our lips locked like magnets. Every inch of him that he had been holding back so stubbornly in the last two days, now exploded like a piece of popcorn. His mouth made the words he couldn’t speak out loud, his tongue danced the dance he didn’t dare show. There was no telling where I ended and he began, what was him, what was me. Then all of a sudden, he broke away, surprised, gasping. A little dizzy, I took a breath. Whoah. Now that’s what I’m talking about.
I turned around to face the sea we both loved. “Are those Turkish cruise ships?”