Leaving the safety of the caravanserai behind

The car is cutting through the darkness like a big, hot, round-shaped meteorite falling from the sky. The sema is still shaking its earthquake inside me as my eyes, right one still wet, are wandering among the lights of a distant town.

“You are engaged to be married, I say pretending to be outraged at the passes he’s making on me, like an innocent, naïve eastern European. (Does that even exist? I wonder). “Can men in Turkey have several wives?” I ask, putting on a curious face.

“Well”, he says pausing and leaning back in his seat, ” No. But they can have several girlfriends. Secretly…”

“Oh, I see…” I reply and, although I have absolutely no interest in him, it is finally so clear to me that I never want to be anybody’s secret anymore and don’t what my life to be about secrets. So I giggle as if I received his answer as an innocent joke between buddies, wrapped up in a thin, golden layer of flirtatious attention. 

“I see you are writing sometimes”, he says.

“I am a writer.” I swiftly reply and, for the first time in my life, I feel comfortable saying that and I know it’s true, not something I am merely pretending or aspiring to be. This is it.

“Really? I hope you don’t write about me. Or I’ll come to Romania and…”

“You need a visa for that.”

“No, actually, I don’t. I’m a special citizen.”

“Really? What makes you so special?” I ask, inviting him to impress me.

“My father”, he says hesitantly. “He is an imam… You know what an imam is?” he asks and continues without waiting for my reply. “The leader of the mosque.”

“So your father is an imam and you aren’t a religious person…”

“Yes. I pray, I believe I God but I am not a religious person. It is not important. I will tell you, you should know three the things about Turkish men: firstly, they are aggressive. They are nice in the beginning , but when they know you are theirs, that they have you, they will show you their anger. You know, we cannot help it. It is what we have seen our fathers do…”

“Are you saying this because of my purple eye?” I ask, trying to make a joke because I would hate to have to take this seriously.

“No, I am serious. Secondly, they are very jealous. And, thirdly, they are not good in bed.”

At this point I’m laughing.

“Really, because we are not allowed to have sex, we can’t be good. Maybe some of us are born with a good potential, but since we can’t practise, we are bad. I don’t know about your experience…” he adds and pauses for me to answer.

“Well, a lady never tells.”

“No, a gentleman never tells. And I am a gentleman. So I never tell about my experiences. All my friends like to brag about their adventures, but not me. But I can see your potential. You don’t have to tell me.”

“Really? What do you see?” I take a risk and push him and, although he is not touching me, I can feel the boneless and fleshless and skinless part of his right arm already pushing against  my left shoulder and his hand sliding down the inner part of my thigh. I gently push them away. 

“You are an amazing girl. But not to date. To marry!”

“How come?” I ask laughing.

“You are too good.”

“Damn, I blew it again”, I add pushing my head back and laughing even harder. 

” No, really.”

“OK, it’s good you already have a fiancé then. I am safe.”

“Well, I like dating and I am interested in relationships. And girls. Not just to have sex with them, you know. But to know them. I am interested in their body. I have books at home about the woman body. Their shapes, functions, you know… Red hair would look good on you, by the way.”

“Really? Did you get that idea because we are just crossing the Red River?”

“No, I am good at this. Trust me, I have seen many people… I live with my family. But when I want to be free I go to a hotel, you understand me. Do you live with your family or alone?”


“That is good. You are free. You can date several guys.”

“Why would I want to date several guys?”

“You see, I told you you are too good.”