Saturday, August 18, 2007

Passé, Alive and Well

The house in the picture was small and simple, painted in white and blue with a couple of olive shrubs growing in the front yard. It looked nice and bright under the clear Mediterranean sky, except that it was abandoned.

My friend Suat's family was forced to abandon their house when the island of Cyprus was divided. Being of Turkish extraction, they had to resettle in the Northern part of the island. Recently the political barrier was lowered enough to allow for visits between the two parts. My friend and his siblings had eagerly made a trip across the border to visit their childhood home, and taken the picture that was shown to me.

The attachment of my friend and his family to their old modest home, even though they currently own much more valuable properties, in a way parallels my feeling when, a few months ago, I made a little emotional visit to a place I had not seen since I was ten. I climbed the hill, sat down on a stone step, felt my heart sink at the sight of negligence while my eyes were registering the familiar details etched in my childhood memory yet oddly unfamiliar now that I was viewing them through adult eyes.

The past, despite being the past, still resides somewhere in our present, all alive and well. Like a dear old relative who refuses to pass away.

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