I feel restless quite easily, which is partly why I live in Istanbul. I can’t rationalize spending all day on the beach under an umbrella, although that is exactly how I spent my day today. My tendency to eavesdrop became void in the midst of Turkish conversations that I can’t understand, so the talking became mere background noise as I read my book on a chaise longue.
Someone asked me why I wasn’t in the water and I explained that I have painful burns on my thigh and on my stomach and didn’t want to aggravate my wounds by wading out into the Black Sea. A couple friends were curious about the severity of my burns, so I inched up the hem of my dress, only to pull it back down when the gasps and eeeeews signified they’d seen enough. It’s bad, the result of my attempt to fix coffee immediately upon my arrival here from the States. Boiling water and jetlag are not a good combination.
Even after seeing my gnarly raw flesh, one woman in our group suggested I go in the water anyway, that the salt water would help my wound heal faster. For all I know, she’s right, but the thought of salt water stinging my vulnerable flesh made me cringe. I decided to stick to my burn cream and lavender essential oil.
Şile Beach filled up quickly. Women’s attire ranged from bikinis to abayas. I watched from my chaise longue on two separate times when abaya-clad women were slowly escorted into the water by men I’m assuming were their husbands. The men handled these women as if they were helpless, fragile half-formed beings that might get swept away in the calm water or drowned in the undercurrents if it weren’t for their manly supervision. Later, my friends and I sat around one of the restaurant’s outdoor tables and talked about relationships. Whenever women speak their truth, there is usually one woman who defends men by saying, “Yeah, but there are really great guys out there.” Yes, I know there are. We all know. But when we’ve been burned, we try to protect ourselves. I know what that’s like all too well.