Lucy Jensen
Lucy Jensen

“You’re here.” I hear your whisper. It comes down on a wisp of wind from the mountains above your home. Where your shell now lies still, and your spirit is at peace. Once listless and always searching, you finally slowed your quest to live what you had left in this life as furiously as possible. You are eternally stopped in your plot above the bay where your face is forever turned to the sun. Just as you liked it.

You called out for me in the night. My first night in your house. The place where you lived and loved and where you passed. “Sister!” It came to me loud and clear. From my sleep, I heard myself respond “Yes?”

“Where is Mum’s top? The white one,” you ask. (You were always stealing my things and apparently hers!) It wasn’t the welcome greeting I was anticipating, but it was something.

Later in Cirali, the whisper becomes a gush of joy as the wind brought you back to me. I hear your voice loud and clear as I sit at our café and watch our water. You tried to beat me at Scrabble every time we were there. You probably did, even if cheating was required. You were always a bad loser.

Six years ago, near to the day, you lay below on the sands right here and me, not wanting to leave my watch over you, let you sleep. But you didn’t properly sleep. Never, not really. One eye forever ready to quickly open, lest you miss a thing. From birth to death, always that way. No time for sleep right now. That can come later. You can sleep forever later. Rush rush rush, no time for anything. Can we stop, I ask. Can we not be always running away, running toward … who knows.

Oh, there you are, a dragonfly. You cross my path on a dry mountain road where there is no water. My dragonfly. You flit one way and then, later, the other. You are here with me. Will-o’the-wisp. Brief. Rush rush. The dragonfly. Our eternal shared symbol. There’s the proof. There you are.

Later in the sea, your sea, my sea, you are here with me again. It is Cirali, about your favorite place on the planet, where we had our last time together in the sea, and the waves are dancing for me as we reunite — you, me and the water. The clouds are full of large salty tears, and you are here again with me in the water, same as it ever was. I hope it is not the last time. I always hope that.

We feast on the deck of your house where you always were. It is now the mecca of serenity that we always hope to find. The children of your best friend are here, older now, their language more complex, but they are here, and you know, and it is exactly as you wished. You would and should be at the head of the table, Queen of the feast, laughing and leading the dance. You are likely watching all of us from the branch of a tree close by. Another rose sits at the table now, but she has not replaced you. You are still everywhere in the house and all around. Everyone talks about you; you are present not past. You would love that.

The lady is a quiet companion of your beloved Ali, and he is now much happier than when I last saw him five years ago. They are good friends, and you love that especially. Couldn’t have planned it better if you had tried. From broken pieces of life and a period of 40 years as friends, they came together in the twilight of their lives and made life better for each other. A long time ago, you were friends with the lady rose and you had told her to leave her horrid husband and to divorce and she followed your counsel, though it was a hard path to take. Now she is safe with your Ali in your home, and I see you smile that it all happened as it did, when it did.

We feast with your friends. Long tables with sumptuous Turkish foods, lovely wines. No, my baby sis, there’s no replacing you. You are a part of their family and will stay that way. Now they are spending lots of time in your mountain home at Indircik and the house is a home once again. Ali is growing and watering his garden and your old dogs are loved once more.

I had thought to take home some of your pictures from the walls, some jewelry from the box, but find that I cannot. I know more now of the final words and gifts and how it all went down at the very end. I find my peace in leaving it all behind, a living shrine to you. They remain at your home in the mountains, exactly as it was. There will be no gaps on your walls. Others may be saddened by this, but they are not here, it is as you wished and who are we.

I laugh at myself getting lost on your roads where everything looks the same and, eventually, I find myself finally back in your first hometown in Turkey, the home you had for yourself by the bay with its turquoise blue waters, shops and restaurants along the front — many years ago when you were young, single and — dare I say it — crazy.

“It is the same,” an old friend of yours notes in the Street Café. “It is the very same as it ever was.” I had not known I would so enjoy an afternoon alone on your old beach by the bay, but I so did. Delicious aquamarine seas, a quiet pebbly beach. The season has not yet started, but the people are getting ready. It is their time of year to make some proper money. There is an air of quiet anticipation as summer is finally on her way. The water is warming, and the sea calm, just as we love it. I think I shall wait to see one of your oldest friends around here. I know you’d like that.

I told you I’d come back, and I did. I came back again.

(Part II of “A Letter to My Sister” will be published next week.)

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Soledad columnist Lucy Jensen may be reached at [email protected].


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