Saturday, June 25, 2011

Windsong – Breath of Being (Chapter 21 – Sinan Qua Non)


Being The Beginning Sunday, January 23, 2011


1 The Exchange Sunday, January 30, 2011
2 bildende Kraft Saturday, February 5, 2011
3 Gossamer Wings Friday, February 11, 2011
4 Nemesis Saturday, February 19, 2011
5 Odd Shoes Friday, February 25, 2011
6 al-Rûh Friday, March 4, 2011
7 A Love Supreme Thursday, March 10, 2011
8 The Three-Cornered Light Thursday, March 24, 2011
9 Serendipity Tuesday, April 5, 2011
10 The Watchman Friday, April 15, 2011
11 The Upright Way Sunday, April 25, 2011
12 Angels Wednesday, May 4, 2011
13 The Cave of Montesinos Tuesday, May 10, 2011


14 Idols Tuesday, May 10, 2011
15 Nightingale Sunday, May 15, 2011
16 The Perfect Square Sunday, May 22, 2011
17 Haunting Thursday, May 26, 2011
18 The Uncontainable Wednesday, June 1, 2011
19 The Ear of Malchus Monday, June 6, 2011
20 Mauvais Pas Wednesday, June 15, 2011
21 Sinan Qua Non Saturday, June 25, 2011
22 Spirit-Level


23 Witness
24 Alcibiades
25 Ney
26 Birdsong
27 The Vanishing Point
28 The Cat Walks
29 The Approximate Likeness of Being

Becalming Unscientific Postscript

Chapter 21

Sinan Qua Non

“Thou marble hew’st, ere long to part with breath:
And houses rearst, unmindful of thy death.”

Ode 18

‘Don’t fucken’ move!’ Jack Dawson screamed as he moved with surprising speed across the restaurant courtyard. Inspector Gerrit Flatley and Ismâil the bookseller followed close behind him. Cormac McMurragh hesitated. He looked first at the oncoming men and then down at Rio before he dropped his raised hand and rushed through the door that linked through to the main dining area. Jack diverted his angle of approach to try and cut him off.
‘No! Stop Jack,’ Rio suddenly cried out.
Jack pulled up, shook his head and reluctantly walked back towards to where she sat. Gerrit Flatley had got there first. ‘Are you all right, Rio,’ he asked, gently taking her hand as he reached her. Her left cheek had reddened and having doused her napkin in iced water was holding it against her skin. Jack tried to barge through.
‘I’m ok, you two,’ she said, as she stood up. ‘Excuse me, I’m going to the toilet.’
Jack wanted to follow her but Flatley held his elbow. He pulled away and glared at the policeman.
‘Let her be, Jack,’ Flatley said sternly.
‘Yes Mr. Dawson, it is better I think,’ Ismâil agreed, slightly out of breath from the excitement. He lit up yet another cigarette as he added, ‘Anyway you and I have business to attend to. My car is outside. Let us go now and complete the arrangements. We have to, what is it you say, strike while the hand is hot.’
Jack Dawson hesitated and growled back, ‘Iron! Strike while the iron is hot.’
‘Whatever! We should go,’ the bookseller said impatiently as he turned to leave.
Jack looked at Flatley. ‘We’ll all meet up back at the hotel. Say 6.00 pm.’
‘Ok!’ the policeman agreed.
Jack hesitated again, looked in the direction of the toilets, then at the departing Ismâil. ‘Look after her, Gerry,’ he said before he headed for the steps.
‘No worries, Jack! Of course I will.’ Flatley called after him as he sat down.
The policeman’s slightly satisfied smile disappeared as Jack Dawson stopped briefly at the lower rung. ‘Oh, by the way Gerry! Look after the bill will ya. There’s a good cop!’
Jack’s laughter followed him out of sight.

‘Why did you bring me here?’ Rio asked as she hugged close to a wall to allow a battered truck, laden down with western style toilets and watermelons, negotiate the narrow street. They had taken a taxi from the restaurant with the intention of heading straight for the hotel but Flatley had suddenly insisted on being dropped off at the Sirkeci railway station. Standing on the pavement he had asked her what she and Mac had argued about, and what caused him to get so angry. She had declined to elaborate and after a short period of silence between them they then had walked through the maze of streets to the rear of the Yeni Camii and onwards and upwards toward the magnificent presence of the Suleymaniye mosque that dominated the old third hill of Byzantine Constantinople.
Flatley suddenly took Rio’s hand and squeezed it hard. ‘Whenever I come to the old city, I feel I have to walk amongst its streets, like a penitent seeking its blessing, breathing in its aromas, its resonance . . . its message. It has always had that effect on me,’ he said.
‘But where exactly are we Gerrit,’ she asked.
‘Just a little bit further,’ he replied as he strode forward, pulling on her hand.

They entered Mimar Sinan street from its south-western end beside the hamam of the Süleymaniye and kept walking until they reached the small triangular apex at the head of the street where a small domed sebil stood. Behind this screen, at eye level and difficult to see because of the high walls, was a marble sarcophagus with a turbaned tombstone at its head. She watched as Flatley read the inscription on the southern facing wall.
‘Well,’ she demanded.
‘This is the tomb of Sinan the great, if not the greatest architect of all time. As modest in death as he was in life! He designed the Süleymaniye behind us and also most of the crowing architectural achievements of the Ottoman empire, without which it would not have been remembered, except for its brutality.’
Sinan qua non,’ she said. He laughed and hugged her tenderly. She liked the feel of his arms about her.
‘And you Rio, are a sine quo non, an indispensable person, like Süleyman’s Roxelana, a person without whom I can do nothing, and who for the first time in my life dominates much of what I think and what I wish for,’ he whispered into her ear. ‘That is why I brought you here, for the echoes of love built into the walls.’
She withdrew from him, disarmed by the intensity. ‘You’re serious, Gerrit. Aren’t you?’
‘Yes. Very! Sine fraude!’ he replied.
‘Thank you,’ she said quietly and leant forward to kiss him on the cheek. He turned his head slightly and their lips met, tentative at first but then hungrily finding each other waiting and wanting. A passing truck blared its horn at them, the driver glaring disapprovingly. They pulled apart. Rio held him tight.
‘I’m impressed by the way,’ he laughed.
‘By what?’ she asked. 'My technique?'
‘Ha, ha! No. Your Latin. I thought it was only us kids who were schooled – branded even – by the Christian Brothers, who could still quote their Latin.’
‘There is much about me you have yet to learn,’ she said as she buried her head into his shoulder.
‘What do you suggest we do now?’ he asked…and hoped.
‘What else is there?’ she groaned in need.

They walked hand in hand, stopping frequently to steal a kiss in darkened doorways and shadows, until they reached the hotel entrance. They brushed past the burly concierge and disappeared into its oblivion. Further down the street, a shadow hidden in a shadow watched and the screech of circling seagulls masked a cry of pain and joy.

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