I sometimes catch myself reliving a moment as my seven year old self. I clearly
remember feel the times when I wanted to tell about the pain and confusion I’d felt ever since a certain summer trip. I remember walking into a conversation about my step-grandparents. I remember the admiration and deference with which they were being discussed; the respect given to a learned elder. I remember feeling a reverse flush; the blood being drained out from the cheeks down to the throat, squeezed into the esophagus, and exploding into shards in the pit of the stomach.
Flashback. The long coach trip from Ankara to Istambul. Cold, bony hand on thigh. Two strangers. Daddy’s new in-laws. The strange house with the wild garden near the Bosphorus. Garden door, opening in the middle of the night. Cold hands.
That same awkward, inappropriate moment, repeated, after returning home to mother. Sitting on the bed, unpacking suitcases and cataloging the new wardrobe. Mom’s critique of the new fashions and the permissiveness of the clothing. “Hmm, the hemlines must be higher in Ankara…” Then, the talk about clothing inviting looks and impressions. Talk about virtue and character. Talk about perception and propriety. Reverse flush. Shards exploding. Thoughts racing, inner voice shouting. Again, it’s just not the right time. Inner child crying.
Forward to the present. A family Thanksgiving party. Everyone milling about. Sitting in the living area with the Bishop, his son, and my daughter. Bishop talking to Girly, smiling. Caressing her cheek, hand rests on thigh. “No!”
Sitting silently on the drive home. Is now the right time?