Below is a small excerpt from a book-length essay (still in progress) called It Is Waiting For Us. The essay is about Varosha—the place of my parents’ birth that has stood empty since 1974, partitioned from all humankind by a chain-linked fence, barbed wire, and armed Turkish guards.
Twenty minutes ago the sky was not grey. I had paid for a sunbed and an umbrella. He opened it for me, brushed the sand off the blue plastic. My book is open on my lap, but instead I am watching the waves. It is late afternoon and I am one of only three tourists left on this beach. I am stuck. No car. I have to wait for my father to pick me up. I pray it does not rain. The man whose job it is to sweep the sand off my bed, says, “The weather’s gone bad.”
“Yes. But I can’t leave. My father is picking me up.”
The man has the rich brown skin of people who spend their days working on the beach. He body is lean and strong, much younger than his sixty or so years. He stares at the sky, “This morning promised such a good day.” I ask him if he thinks it will rain.
“No,” he says, now staring at the sea. Without taking his eyes off the waves, he asks, “Where are you from?
“No, where is your family from?”
“They might give it back to us,” he says, “It’s been forty years, but you never know.”
He brushes the sand off the sunbed next to mine. Stands behind it, and goes back to staring at waves.
“You know,” he says, “Our enemies are not the only ones to blame. In my village, we lost eighty-three people. One day, my neighbor came home to find his mother and his wife shot dead.
“Yes. He went through the village with a rifle, lined up all the villagers he could find, and shot them all. Eighty-three dead. Now, we call him our enemy. But we would do the same, in his place, right?
He doesn’t wait for my answer. The back of his T-shirt says: Bring out the Beast. He walks to the next empty sunbed. Brushes the sand off the blue plastic, & begins to close another umbrella.
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