I am sitting on my balcony listening to the sounds of The Village. Below me the most prominent sound is that of my in law’s shouting at the top of their lungs. I wander downstairs to see what today’s issue could be only to find them sitting happily in the sunshine warming their old bones.
My mother in law, Refika calls me over, “Gel. Otur”. Come and sit. I sit by them and pour a glass of cay (which, to their constant horror, I put milk in). It is quite nice in the sun but you can feel that winter is not far away and it was bloody cold this morning when I took Hurley for a walk. I wonder if Refika invited me over to put an end to their squabble. No, it was definitely continuing with me right beside them. I watched them argue back and forth and although I am no expert in the Turkish language I quickly realise that the argument was about who ate the last yumurta (egg).
The Turk’s parents have been married for over 50 years. Happily? I just couldn’t say, they appear resigned to the fact that they are married to each other (I feel that way about The Turk most days as well). I look at my mother in law’s face. Deep wrinkles may line her face and cloudy eyes are tired but she still smiles despite her illnesses. Her scarred and callused hands tell me that she has worked very hard over her years and for probably little reward. Hursit on the other hand is looking jolly and starts talking animatedly (and loudly due to his deafness) to me despite the fact that I can understand little of what he is saying. Now retired his day is a repeat of the day before – a trip to the Jokey Club to place a bet on a horse, followed by long (an no doubt philosophical) debates with his friends and neighbours at the local tea house before returning home to his dinner which has been prepared by Refika before removing himself to watch either a horse race or the news on television. If his horse has won he will sing the night away İyi akşamlar which is no doubt his favourite song. Give him a few wine or rakı and you will hear that freaking song until dawn!
Watching Refika and Hurşit happily argue has made me realise that The Turk and I are exactly the same! Every conversation that we have is basically an argument (which is what happens when you mix a Turkish man with an Australian/Italian woman) and I am the first to say that I would divorce him in a heartbeat to anyone who will listen! Does this mean that The Turk married his mother?