The Meaning In The Middle

I know far too much about the woman across the aisle.  I noticed her just a couple of days ago. She’s a student named Angela.  She was walking by my seat and the hand she used to hold onto the bar – right at my eye level so I wasn’t visually eavesdropping or anything – had her student id card.  Angela has really nice taste, I want to ask her where she got her tote.  It has soft, muted colors and big flower print and looks both young and mature at the same time, which is perfectly appropriate for Angela, a college student who is mature enough to want to go to Turkey.

Yesterday she was reading a travel guide to Turkey, today a Turkish language book.  It’s the book I used when I took Turkish years ago.  I took it because I studied linguistics in college and Turkish has a cool feature: infixes. These are like suffixes and prefixes, but they go inside the word.  In English we look for -ed and -ing at the ends of words and re- and un- and the beginning, adjusting our sense of time or direction accordingly.  In Turkish, you look for that modifying information in the center of a word.

I took the class with my friend Clare, another linguaphile because it was being offered at the Piedmont Adult School, lasted only a few weeks and cost less than $50.  This was before Clare got sick.  I would pick Clare up at the train station and we’d drive up the hill to the high school where the class was held.  One day, Clare didn’t show – that’s not when she got sick, she got sick many years later – and instead of going on to the class, I went home.

I hate it when people don’t show up for things we are supposed to do together.  It makes me wonder if I exist.  So I went home, but it turns out Clare was just kept late at work.  She managed to get to class, taking two buses and was shocked when I wasn’t there.  This was before cell phones, so she had to take three buses to get home to call me and asked where I was.  I felt so bad.  Even now, I wish I’d gone to class that day and trusted that my friend would have had a perfectly good reason for being late and would need a ride home.

Even with the infixes, I didn’t last with Turkish longer than the class.  I’ve never been all that interested in Turkey except for the Trojan war. For a long time I wanted to know what Turkish Delight was because Edmund in The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe liked it so much he was seduced by the White Witch. That must be really good stuff, I thought.  But it isn’t all that good, certainly not good enough to betray Aslan for some.  Edmund was a chump.

Angela was on Lesson 2 and the day before she’d been reading a tourist guide to Turkey so it seemed like she was more interested in actually going to Turkey rather than just learning about the infixes. And as I was trying to see what Lesson 2 had been about, I noticed a small wound on her inner arm.  It wasn’t long, but it had been deep enough to need a stitch. What had Angela been doing that she got stabbed in the arm?  What wounds do we inflict on ourselves unknowingly? If I knew her, I’d email Anglela this link to photos of Turkey that someone posted just today on an email list. .

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