ANGEL WITHOUT WINGS
I stood at the overcrowded JFK airport newsstand,
and eyed books to help me pass the nine hour that would
hopefully help me pass the nine-hour flight to Alacati,
Turkey where my husband Jack and I would spend the
next several months.
The books laid in neat rows on gleaming chrome shelves; romance, fiction, non- fiction. My fingers glided over the book covers until I noticed one about angels. A beautiful rosy-cheeked cherub with long white wings stared back at me, Your Guardian Angel. I picked it up and thumbed through several pages, then placed it back on the shelf. My search continued until I saw Tomorrow’s Sorrow. It sounded like a good mystery that would keep me interested throughout the trip. I wasn’t looking forward to the long trip that would take my husband Jack, a photographer and me to a small village of about seven thousand people, nestled on the shores of the Agean Sea.
“Flight 1084 to Istanbul, Turkey will be boarding at gate 38,” a shrill voice announced.
“Got something interesting to read, Kate?” my husband asked, as he suddenly appeared from the crowd.
“Hope so.” I shifted my carry-on bag to the opposite shoulder and walked toward the gate with, Tomorrow’s Sorrow, tucked tightly under my arm.
We finally arrived in Istanbul, where we rented a car and drove to Atlacita, Turkey. There, we rented a house close to the beach where Jack would begin his assignment. He unpacked his gear and started out the same day we arrived. He was excited about taking underwater pictures of a rumored ancient city hidden in the shores of the Agean Sea, located near the small village of Atacati.
After settling in, I looked forward to resume my early morning walks and looked eagerly forward to the new trails that lay before me.
However, Jack was a little concerned about me walking alone in a strange country, not knowing the language or area. Our neighbors warned us about a pack of wild dogs had been spotted several miles from where we lived.
Jack promised to join me, but we both knew this would never happen. He liked to sleep late; I was a morning person.
“Jack,” I whispered, “I’m going for a walk today. Care to join me?”
“Mummm, Nmmmm, ahhhh,” he mumbled and pulled the pillow over his head.
“I take that for a ‘no’,” I said, and reached for my sneakers.
Although the sun wasn’t up yet, the birds chirped loudly, determined to wake up the entire neighborhood. How Jack could sleep through that I’ll never know. Surely, the feathers in the pillow couldn’t soundproof all that chatter.
I dressed, grabbed the house keys, and opened the front door. Tommy, the community dog, was asleep on our front porch. They gave the title, ‘community dog,’ because everyone fed him. I was also puzzled about his name, a Turkish dog in a Turkish village, with the name, Tommy?
When we first arrived in Turkey, Tommy was in our neighbor’s driveway with a large gash on his neck. The local vet said he had lost a lot of blood and the neighbors were afraid he wouldn’t make it. No one knew for sure what had happened.
He was about the size of a Great Dane, only more powerfully built with an enormous square head, short white fur, and dark-brown eyes that looked soft as velvet. He was a Kalgon, a breed native to the mountains of Turkey.
I knelt down and patted Tommy’s head, careful not to get close to the wound. He sniffed my hand then laid his head back into his crossed paws.
I locked the door, walked down the driveway, turning only once, to see Tommy settling back into a restful sleep.
There are few sidewalks in Turkey, so everyone walks along the side of the road, dodging cars, donkey carts, motorcycles, and bicycles, which makes an inter-resting walk.
The smell of pine trees on each side of the road was intoxicating. The clean scent cleansed my lungs and cleared my head. I closed my eyes and breathed deeply, holding in the rich fragrance for as long as I could. A gentle wind blew through the pine trees and made a soft rustling sound that calmed my nerves and soothed my spirit.
When I opened my eyes, I noticed an ancient donkey cart, with wobbly wooden wheels coming down the narrow dirt road, painted in rich, bright colors. There were blue cornflowers, orange pumpkins, yellow corn, and bright red peppers painted on the cart. The Turks love color. The brighter the color, the happier the spirit, they claimed. A tiny donkey, with long pointed ears, pulled the huge load of fresh vegetables. I knew only a few Turkish words, but I smiled and said, “Metabaw,” which meant hello. He tipped his flat brown hat, smiled, and displayed one gleaming gold tooth, so prized by the older Turks.
So-o-o, I knew I had just met a man of some means.
As I passed a herd of wide-eyed cows, I laughed at myself when I heard, “Good morning,” come from my lips. Sheep ran to the fence to check out this strange American woman wearing shorts and thick white sneakers, pumping her arms wildly through the air.
A few dogs barked but settled back into a lazy sleep once again.
The natural beauty of the countryside overwhelmed me. The silver-leafed Olive trees that grew to be a thousand years old stood magnificently on each side of the road and the ancient fig trees, with their dark twisted trunks, had just began bearing small purple fruit. Their huge leaves looked like tiny green kites flying high in the sky. They twisted and turned in a sudden gust of wind that brought a delicate scent of oregano that drifted down from the distant mountains.