WHERE WORLDS MERGE
Years ago I went to Ephesus with my friend Cynthia from Maui. We were exactly the same age, both born in the Year of the Tiger, 1950. We both love cats. She even has cat eyes! Cynthia’s former husband had run off awhile before, leaving her in the unfinished mortgaged dream house in the middle of the Hawaiian jungle, all alone. After a year she still felt lousy and came to Turkey with a friend on the Sufi Dervish spiritual trail.
Sufism’s genesis was in Konya, and it was in Konya that Cynthia found true spiritual healing in the form God chose to best get her attention: Hakan, a handsome young carpet salesman. Sound familiar? That old story leading to heartbreak? Surprise, they made it work.
It took some doing. Hakan went to his friend Lewis at the Consulate in Ankara. “I’m in love and there’s a problem,” he said. “How could love be a problem?” asked Lewis. “No permission,” said Hakan, “Nobody believes us.” He explained the huge and visible age difference. “How old are you?” said Lewis. “Oh, about five,” said Hakan. “It was then,” Lewis told me later, “that I knew how much I liked him.” Lewis met Cynthia and told Hakan, “If you don’t marry her, I will.” He stood up for them at their wedding and got Hakan a visa. Hakan and Cynthia moved to Maui and started an import business. I met her at the Kybele Hotel in Istanbul, just after I moved here in 2004. It was their umpteenth buying trip and Cynthia needed girl time while Hakan stayed with his family in Konya, lovely people who adored Cynthia and lived with the TV always on and the halogen light always overhead. And back then there was no coffee to be had in Konya.
Cynthia traveled with a coffee maker and Hawaiian coffee that dissolved spoons. She had the kind of high-cheekboned, big-lipped blond beauty so beloved by trophy collectors. Wide hips, a lot of good makeup, tons of jewelry, lots of fringe and swishing skirts and cleavage, trailing rose perfume, and these Turkish men just put up their paws and howled. She was ten pounds overweight then and only looked more alluring. We had a great time. “They make a big fuss of us here,” she said with satisfaction.