Caring and Being Cared For

His mother, his sweet mother, with her blessed hands and soft face and tender heart—would tell him that she worried for him. For what was a man without a wife? Lonely, she would say. Homeless, she would say. Uneasy and worst of all he had no one to care for, no one to take care of him.

He could never say anything to his sweet mother the truth of his womanizing ways would break her heart. He could never tell her about his adventures as a soldier in the big city. He could never tell her that he had been taken care of by different women in different ways. He could never tell her about the Baroness, how he and the Baroness understood one another and their respective needs. The thought of marriage would never cross their minds, for that was a relationship of pleasure, the kind of pleasure that is brought on by the night.

Alexandra Julianovna Verjenskaya awoke in him a desire to write poetry, a want to caress her lovely face, a need to give himself to her. He had known passion but he had never known love. Alexandra Julianovna Verjenskaya, was the girl he wanted to bring home. He would tell his mother that he would not be lonely for he had someone to care for and someone who cared for him.

The war did not stop, it did not give him pause to do as he planned. The army demanded that he save his feelings for he was to be in the battlefield. His father, his country, his fellow patriots, friends and comrades, demanded that he give all of him when the bullets flew past them at the frontier. Şura, as Alexandra preferred to be called, vowed to wait for him. He wrapped her deep in his heart, underneath his armor, to protect her from harm.

It is strange but predictable how much one is shaped by one's environment. Inevitably, what is happening around you, those around you, what you do shapes who you are and the decisions you make. As fate would have it the one woman he wanted to bring home, he would be unable to.

His father and him had been inseparable, alike in so many ways. Both stubborn, both reeking with endless rage when made angry, both demanded loyalty, both held themselves to the highest standards. Seyit always knew he would serve the Czar as his father had. It was his greatest source of pride, to have followed in his father's footsteps and to have excelled as a soldier and army major. However after having witnessed what he had, he did not want his brothers involved in war, he saw his brother's admiration for his military suit, he noticed the excitement in his face when Seyit spoke about the battlefield. But Seyit vowed to that Osman, his youngest brother would not know a battlefield, Osman's life would be a peaceful one. Osman would marry a beautiful Turkish girl, perhaps one of the neighbors. He would pick up the mantle at the farm after their father died.

Did Seyit ever regret being part of the Czar's army? Not once. It gave him his lifelong friends. It brought him to the ball where he had met Şura, his little woman.

As stubborn as he was he brought her to Alushta, his hometown, but he knew his father. He brought her as close to his home as he could. He brought her to their guest house, he would talk to his father first. He had never disobeyed his father, he needed to clarify to him his feelings; Şura was not an adventure he had in Petrograd, she was his destiny.

As fate would have it, the father and son who shared a loving bond, would with great cruelty severe that bond. Stubborn in their ways, they would not speak. They only destroyed, picked at one another's weaknesses until they ran our of words with which to insult. They were ravishing each other apart, father against son, his family left to take sides, just like their nation, neighbor fighting against neighbor in an endless war, that wanted the aristocrats' head on a platter.

But his father always protected him. When the communists, the Red Army, came to hunt down one of the Czar's bravest soldiers, his own son, Kurt Seyit Eminof, he would not give him up. He died protecting him. He would never betray his son even when he felt betrayed. As fate would have it Seyit would never be able to say goodbye, or to apologize had be wanted to, not to his sweet mother, not to his father, not to his brothers.

Fought as he did to not have Osman fight in the battlefield where guns and bullets killed . Osman died by the gun of someone who had been a soldier, one of Seyit's friends. In the chaos, one of his soldiers and dearest friends, had become a traitor, a communist.

With his family buried in the ground, he tried to save Osman, he had avenged his brother, but Seyit could not stop the blood pouring out of his brother's wound.

He would always live with regret. Regret that told him he could have done better. He should have saved his family, he should have seen that Misa was a traitor. Lost in thought Seyit left a part of him with his family. The part of him that trusted, the part of him that was capable of unconditional love.

They had died because of him.

His father's words…

"..Never bring that woman to this house and don't come as long as you're with her."

"I'll live as if you never came back from the front."

And his mother's pleads … All were seared into his brain. Try as he might, he would never be able to tune them out.

Late at night for the years to come they would haunt his dreams. They would quietly whisper until one day they began to shout.

On board on that ship that promised safety, he could only hug the corpse of his youngest brother. He barely had the mind to remember that Şura was beside him. He barely had any room in his arms left to hold her too.