Savouring the Potential
Shortly after arriving in Antalya in September, we took a trip to Istanbul to attend the annual coffee festival and explore local shops; we were on the lookout to find things to add character to our new home. When we returned to Antalya to settle in, I thought more about one of our shopping excursions.
On the hunt for good finds, the list in our heads could have gone for pages: nightstands, lamps, rugs, dishes, candlesticks. Starting from scratch, we needed everything. Here in the capital city, though, we needed only what we could fit in our suitcases.
It’s the word “jazz” that drew me in: big, bold font and in English too. I leaned over to pick up the record from its bin under the table and I held it in my hands. The cover was black except for the white words detailing each song and artist on the back. A man’s face, passionately playing an instrument, blasted from the cover beneath the “JAZZ” that had drawn me in.
“Let’s get it!”
My husband saw me from across the room and excitedly whispered this encouragement my way.
“But, we don’t have a record player!” I persisted. We also didn’t have a dining room table and yet, my hunt for candlesticks still seemed necessary.
He pushed more: “It will make a great decoration in the meantime.”
This idea didn’t sit well with me, but in a way I couldn’t express. We ended up putting the record down and walking away with a rift between us. My husband wanted the record, and I still wasn’t comfortable with the purchase.
As we walked through the cobblestone streets that day, in and out of other stores, touching pottery and towels and even eventually finding my candlesticks at an antique shop, I pondered my aversion to owning this record I could not hear.
I would be trapping the music inside a cardboard sleeve. I would knowingly be subjecting this round piece of magic to a few years (until we could get a record player) of life as a decoration. That’s not what records were made for.
For my husband, we would be owning a piece of beauty. We would grasp in our hands potential and hope of music that we could one day hear. We plan on buying a record player, just once we own things like a dining room table and a refrigerator and could spend some more time saving.
I felt the tension; my husband savoured the potential.
A week has gone by and my candlesticks are sitting ornately in the centre of our dining room table. We have a refrigerator sitting in the hallway, waiting to be installed to its proper place. We both have spent the week fumbling through communicating our needs in this new home, as we buy and set up instillation dates and ask taxi drivers to bring us back to our apartment.
There’s a difference I notice, in how my husband communicates. He savours the potential. I’m feeling the tension.
I smile and nod when my Google translate question gives way to lengthy explanations I cannot understand.
My body freezes up and my eyes go wide as the cashier asks me a question, simply wondering if I would like an itemized receipt.
He persistently and politely repeats “Only a little Turkish” and asks more questions, to make sure he got the details right.
He calmly observes hand movements, pointing out that the cashier has her hand gently placed on the printer.
I do wish that we bought that record together. When we sit at our table with candles lit and jazz music playing from our Spotify, I long for the day the music will come from a real record. In the meantime, I will also choose to see the potential inside of us. We have the potential to know this language, to communicate well and to deeply experience relationships.
It may take a few years and maybe we’ll have our record player by then, but I’ll savour the process in the meantime.