Two girls and the end of a day

January 21, 2014


I was watching the light go through the large glass of beer. It came from the stage, spreading itself through the yellow liquid and through the letters EFES stamped on the glass. The woman’s hand holding the glass is unsteady, so beer flies around, drops, filet, white froth. Wood floor, bodies dancing. The woman is laughing, head back, white dress with small red flowers, short curly hair. I am absolutely mesmerized by the play of light. The band is incredible; clarinet, electric guitar, keyboard, 8 string bass sitting in the back, three percussionists at the front on Cajon, darbuka, djembe & some electronic pad.

I must remember this moment. The colors, the woman, the pulse of the music prodding the bodies. My own body that cannot stop moving to the beats. I never drink at these events. I see everyone else getting under the influences. I watch and feel in silence. Maryam passes by, she works and works. She smiles her thousand moon and suns smiles, her skin is what I imagine the softness of a cloud would be. Sometimes she’ll dance with me for a few minutes of music and step away in the rhythm back to work.

I keep looking around. Everyone, so beautiful in their mad creations. Karakedi. I know many here and many know me. Some I don’t know but they know me because I play here. These days I get many friend’s requests from such people on Facebook. Some faces I remember seeing, some I don’t.

The night stretched long. The band played 3 encores, the last one lasting a good 15 minutes, a wild gallop through Turkish songs, dance hits, jazz standard, by the end I wasn’t really doing much more but look at one player than the next in wonder.

Maryam is off, shift over. We leave together. If I was a man this girl would be in such big trouble with me. But I am just another woman, so I gaze at her and feel so lucky to know such a free soul. Maryam is from a Muslim country when she was just a child she had written on the wall next to her bed that “ One day I will be free.”

One day she escaped. The story is spellbinding. She wrote it with the rhythm and nerve of one of a racing Quarter Horse.

“Read more of your book to me…” I asked.

“I read all that I have written so far…” she said. Ah… too bad.

She is writing a book about her story. I want to write music to her story. On the baglama. Each time I’ve sat down with that on my mind, really great melodies came to me. I need to sit with her and talk, not with my voice but with the instrument’s voice.

All these moments, I try to keep remembering them. I hope my memory card will capture and retain those… not fail me. Everyday here has so many of these moments. I don’t know what I’ll do with them all… it’s like all those photos…



Sarah… Sarah is leaving. She had a party last Saturday, I was weak, tired and could not find the courage to go. I have been in a sort of denial this last week or so about it. I knew the moment of separation was coming but I tried to harden myself, blind myself, silence myself so it would not scar me. I texted her and realized that she is leaving tomorrow she leaves in the wee morning hours. Sarah has been an island of green grasses and soft winds in the midst of this sea of otherness. A fresh breeze of understanding. Common ground. Another beautiful free spirited free spirit. She spent 2.5 years in Istanbul. A while back, one night she couldn’t sleep. She got online, bought a flight home and then was able to fall sleep. It was time. I love the way she came to this decision. So very organic. Today we met, quickly walked down to Galata tower area where she bought gifts for her sister and a soft leather reversible hand bag, dark green on one side, bright apple green on the other. We walked back up to Istiklal.

“I could eat soup…” She said.

“Yeah I could eat too.” I replied. I have to apply myself to eat these days. I just learned I am impossibly anemic, with a 5 for iron and very low B12…

We wandered our way towards Taksim, she had one idea, then another, then we ended up at Nizam anyways, her mind is jockeying two countries, two realities, past and future and right now, so who cares where we eat. I feel honored to have these last few minutes with her but somehow I end up getting into all sorts of personal things… emotions, talking about emotions… what the heck…

We walk back to her place, the studio is in shambles, deconstructed, a presence being erased here. She gives me her shampoo, face wash, paints, brushes, a level, gesso, a bucket and some natural dye. It’s not sad. I mean I will miss her so very much but I feel that it will be so right for her. We have tea. We talk, her mind wanders back to her task of wrapping all this up before the morning. I know this job of erasing a life. Done it 2 major times and some minor times. A major time being about liquidating everything because there will be no future whatsoever in a particular place. A minor one is knowing that you are coming back.

Sarah I will miss you. I did not lose it until I got to Chillout where I burst in tears for 4 seconds. I cannot cry, it’s stupid. It’s useless. It is not honoring her experience. It is a kind of selfish self absorption. Sarah is going to shine in that life of hers, and that, that is a beautiful thing.


What else? It’s late. I need to go sleep. Had a busy day. We had an 18 or so people dinner, friends from Neverland came down, for Ayna, her sister passed away. We have manti, 3 kinds of salads. Yuksel cooked. I go back to paint. Then a walk. Then practice. Got to learn that thing…



3 Responses to “Two girls and the end of a day”

  1. Charlotte Says:

    I know that feeling of “erasing a life”. I did that when I finally left Wisconsin for good (which I truly attempted TWICE!). That was a little over three years ago… or around 30,000+ bike miles ago. I do miss some of the people, but not the place… and certainly not the -20 degree F weather.

    Three years here (in the American Southeast) and I have JUST decided to stay.

    Los Angeles was calling me… big time.

    You know what, though, for people like me and you… the world is our hometown… and with the wonder of the internet, we are never more than a few moments away from checking in with those we love.

    I enjoy hearing of your adventures because you always follow your heart!

    Hugs and kisses!


  2. Forrest Robinson Says:

    From start to finish, this was such a BEAUTIFUL post, Danielle. You described everything in such picturesque fashion – from Karakedi to the absolutely special relationship you and Maryam have (I honestly have no idea how you would ever imagine leaving a place so wonderful as Istanbul), to your courage to not become sad about Sarah’s departure. Both Maryam’s and Sarah’s journeys were eloquently described. Blessings upon you and this beautiful journey you have been on, Danielle.


  3. Heather Bejar Says:

    Danielle, that was such a beautiful post!

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