Behind Konyalılar Etli Ekmek

There’s not too much to say about Konyalılar Etli Ekmek itself. It was the from the second issue of Time Out Istanbul that I wrote all the reviews for, so I was feeling more sure of my position there. A friend had also started writing for them again and it very much became a central part of my life in Istanbul. Something I was doing for myself.

And as evidence of that I was venturing out to new places, dealing with navigating myself around the city and relying on myself. I was getting to know the city on my own terms a bit more with the independence that had brought me to Turkey in the first place.

Once, in the summer he came back when I was feeling the distance from him physically and emotionally, but had not actually done anything with the person that led to the intensifying of that distance, we were with two friends of his, a recent couple, very much in love who later married. She asked him, in front of me, what it was that made me special for him. She wasn’t being mean, she wanted to hear something romantic I suppose. Or she saw what we should have – our complete lack of substance as a couple, I don’t know.

I was all ears for his answer because I didn’t feel like I knew. I knew other people – my snake like student and the guy I was becoming interested in, I could easily have said what they liked about me but with him it always felt like I was trying to pass an exam, continually needing to resit it but not sure of the topic of the paper. And he didn’t have any particular answer, he said something really vague or inconsequential or something about me being a good person.

Of course he didn’t describe me as independent or intelligent or well travelled and resourceful. He not only didn’t see those things, he didn’t value them. He always maintained later that he thought I was clever, but he was always telling me the opposite and didn’t put any weight on my opinion about anything. Praise about being clever would come from some silly thing a child might have done. And he clearly said that my years of living abroad were a waste of time and I had nothing to show for them – a fear that I held deep down too and one that, reflected back at me from him, increased the filing down of my own personality.

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