Book Leak No. 2.
Phantom twin syndrome: from English; [state of being]
Mourning the loss of yourself while living. Filling in the blank spaces between her and I. Sorting sorts. Mine, hers.
I can’t imagine this, right now, not being ours. The airplane. The journey. The guy sitting in the row behind me snoring, his blonde tipped hair sinking up and down with each exhale. She will walk down the aisle from the bathroom, plop down onto the blue fabric seat, snatch my hands and rub them between hers like flint to steel.
She’d say, “Ari!” and smile like a child waiting to ride her first roller coaster. Subtext buzzing between us. We were wrong, this isn’t right. We should not have done this. I don’t want to do this. Who will start our fires. Why did we decide separation?In line for different roller coasters. Five month ride in a single seat. Longest we’d gone was three weeks. What happens after three weeks?
Shock: from English; from Turkish; from silence; [worlds colliding violently]
Wanting comfort. The skyline breathing salt air and brown haze. Sky is sky anywhere you go, but these constellations have shifted. They are out of place, out of line. Have I fallen out of orbit?
Standing eight stories above the ground in Istanbul. The incline and decline of hills marked by rooftops. Pottery orange shingles and brick buildings. They are collapsing, crumbling from the top, windows blown inward like pockmarks on the edifice, trees and grass sprouting from the rubble. Neighboring buildings stand erect. Life inside. Life around me—above, below, on all sides. Clothing lines strung from windows of occupied flats, shirts and dresses hung on the horizon. The streets—narrow, disjointed, pavement pulled apart—invisible from this height. Only brake lights, stopgo stopgo, to my line of vision. And they disappear over the crest of each hill surrounding me.
Questions to help rationalize: Liv, where are you?Olivia. My twin. My moon. The anchor to my orbit. Why aren’t you next to me? This bizarre place, Istanbul! is screaming back at me. “Patience with everything,” she said. The word will take on a new meaning everyday—communication, jet-lag, culture, meeting people, mental mapping. “You just got to be patient, Ari.” You are the only one who understands, still. You’re doing this too. You are conquering a foreign country, an island one and a half times the size of Delaware. Istanbul has to be close to the size of Delaware. It is the middle of the night in Cyprus. Are you asleep? Will I ever sleep? I can’t wrap my head around all of this. I need yours too.