The Faithful Retainer

We enjoyed mezes and drinks in Sofiye’s lush garden and we were in joyful, mellow mood. Towards the end of the evening Sofiye’s maid emerged from the kitchen having washed up and wiped down. She joined us at the table to eat a modest meal of pasta and salad. She asked Sofiye about Liam and me and Safiye asked us how she should reply. ‘Honestly,’ we said. We studied the maid’s mystified expression as she grappled for several minutes to make sense of the information. We thought it cruel to persevere so we settled on cousins, and she seemed calmed by the clarification since village people like to keep it in the family.

The teetotal maid became quite intoxicated by the laid back charm of the evening and, with reckless abandon and without warning, whipped off her head scarf to reveal dark, silky hair fashioned into a single squaw-like platted ponytail which she draped across her left shoulder. Excited but anxious, she looked to the assembly for approval. We gave her an ovation. Sadly, it was but a brief moment of sovereignty. She replaced the head scarf as we left to totter home down the lane.




6 thoughts on “The Faithful Retainer

  1. I love people’s ability to ignore the obvious and carry on believing whatever they’re comfortable with, no matter how implausible. A friend of mine (foreign) walks around her neighborhood hand-in-hand with her partner (Turkish). Rather than go with what is clearly true, the neighbors all talk about them as though they’re sisters. You know, because sisters separated at birth, of different nationalities, one Jewish and one Muslim, brought up in different language environments, only to be reunited in their 30s in that little neighborhood in Istanbul is so much easier to get one’s head around than the two of them being lovers…

    Never mind my mother-in-law’s insistence that underpants need to be ironed for hygiene. “It’s the dirty water in Turkey, ” she explains to me slowly as though I were a half-wit child. “It makes you sick. You don’t understand this because you’re foreign. Mikrop!”

    “Yes,” I ask her. “But do you iron the lettuce after you wash it?”

    “Mikrop! Mikrop! Hasta olursun!” blah blah blah. And don’t even get me started on the dangers of air…


  2. It reminds of days long past when ladies of a certain age who lived together were considered spinsters and people felt sorry for them because they couldn’t get a man. Little did they know….


  3. And all those bachelor uncles people believe in, even though all you have to do to get married in Turkey is, apparently, finish military service and announce your intentions to get married.

    No matter. A lot of us Nevada kids still believe our beloved dogs went to go live on a nice farm in Elko. No, really. That’s what happened.


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