I am stuck in Yalova. Nwargo begs for help, everyday his position becomes more helpless, and I am friendless in Yalova. Ahmet is dead.
Will you go to Africa? You have everything required if you have been to the Ministergarten as I trust you have. Oh yes the day is dark and the hydrofoil does not move with the seas high and choppy. The weather, gray as it is, mocks the idea of human progress. I stay in Yalova with the rain and Ahmet's ghost; we worry together about Nwargo, that friend of mine who I miss so deeply now and the junk is close at hand again and the dens are full of the gullible and the possessed and I joined them in the deepest part of the night that swirled and ran on into abstract visions that approximated hell and ran over me like clouds lit from behind by the moon until I fell into a doorway senseless. Daylight brought dogs running out into the mud, scrawny and ill-fed, they barked and ran alongside me like the beggars in Falaba during that fighting there, what was it? Ten years ago now? The scars still seem to trace nightmares and I remember you said, when we lay there in the city famous for its resistance to slavery, that we were slaves to our sense of right and we both laughed and laughed and then you found us that palm wine that almost killed us and we toasted Sengbe Pieh. When we woke up the bodies and the dogs there...and I tried to shoot one and you stayed my shot and insisted that nature has a deeper idea of what life is than we ever can and the whole time I wanted the junk and we drank palm wine and shot at anybody who looked RUF so that the refugees might find some semblance of survival. Amid the madness were Mercerier and Villarceau (dead now, one of Ranger's) and the city disappeared so that even now nobody knows if it is a city or not anymore.
I know that Ahmet died nobly and that I think of the past to leave this pain of my heart that weighs as only sin and loss can weigh, but is this arrogance? Was it simply fate? How was he killed in those baths? The open eyes stared into the steam and the blood mingled with the waters and then joined them, disappearing back into the earth. His wounds were small, two expert plunges of a thin knife, slightly flexible, which made splinters of his right lung and his liver, but how was he identified and who set up that meeting with me only not to show? Why was I spared?
Night came as his murder became the ritual of the survivors (the identification, the wailing, the muttered and shocked plans for burial) until I fled, taking comfort in the meeting of a woman who called herself Asena. The night terrors and the old desires seemed lost in the moment's comfort, but like always, the illusion gave way to the unyielding hours and we looked at each other across the void of darkness until finally she broke the silence and bridged the distance with a caress. How I wished it had been enough! She claimed she knew of Ahmet, and that knowledge that he was helping an outsider had angered some of the locals who felt they could make no better deal than the Canuck's. Asena's skin was soft and her manner yielding but afterwards, thoughts turned north to Tallinn and I could not stay, though I knew the streets of Yalova ran with intrigues, jealousies and death. Where the Canucks are, after all, there is always discord.
Out in the silent night, I felt once again the tug of addiction and the skin puckered up, dying for the juice and Yalova was rotton with possibilities. The night ended with my defeat and morning found me penitant and sleeping in a broken doorway, that dreamless warm sleep that ended with a shopkeeper swiping at me with a broom and dogs barking, the sun still pink and soft against the morning star and the gray dawn. At the hydrofoil's pier I found a bathroom and the mirror showed the roadmap of last night's ravages; I looked broken and old. I washed my face and begged forgiveness of Ahmet until I realized I was weeping into running water thinking of that ribbon of blood that traced the distance between life and death. Youth has no place in this dangerous game. But time is up, and storms roll in with Franco-threats. The Canucks know I am here and they know what a prize I am for them. I have liberated a bicycle from some unfortunate however, and hopefully soon I will be far enough removed that before they realize I know what they know of me being here, I will have found some method of extricating myself from this hellish detour that has only been defeat and despair. What doorway that is not called home can soothe this soul? Soon the downpour outside must end and I will push to Bursa. We can make no more of the events of the last few days: what has been, has been; of this place, let me say that I when I think of it, I will mourn Ahmet and praise the kindness of that pseudonymous lover. Of other events, I have told you, enough is said for now. Remember Falaba, remember that there it was not always you saving me, and it was not always me verging on the lost. Do this and I will find my way.
And I will apologize to Nwargo for Yalova.