21 - End of the Road

At half-past noon, I crawled out of bed, leaving Elena blissfully in dreamland. Something sounding an awful lot like an infinite number of gamelan players, bonked and clanged insanely, just beyond a tall hedge. It was surreal, and by crikey, it was hot! I booted the laptop and free-jacked Internet access from randomly appearing, wireless networks.

Marmaris, Turkiye sea of flowers photo elenameg.com

[Image 21-1] The patio off Meg and Elena's suite in Marmaris ... "was literally a concrete island in a sea of flowers."

The problem we faced was Elena having only two months in Turkiye, instead of the three they gave me. Renewing her visa wasn't an option. Given the shakedown in Odesa, and Mama's psychopathology, Elena's passport was very likely compromised. Besides that, if it wasn't when we left Ukraine, it certainly would have been when Tanya got back to Russia empty-handed. The clock was ticking, and we had to make it out of Turkiye before time was up.

Elena Vaytsel strolls in Marmaris, Turkiye photo elenameg.com

[Image 21-2] Elena wanders the streets and canals of Marmaris, Turkiye.

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Elena came through the front door with groceries. I was sitting in the dark, staring at the laptop like a crazed fortune teller. "We've got to talk." I spun the laptop toward her.

She ignored me. "Olives! Real, from here, from Turkiye. Olives, Meg! There are trees right here--"

I cut her off. "There's no easy way forward. You aren't allowed in, or over, or through any country from here to Canada, and there's a lot of ocean in the way."

"I know this." She put the bags on the counter, pulled a kitchen chair up beside mine and rested her chin on my shoulder. "But what can I do? Meg, we've run out of road. There is only the sea before us. We have two months left."

Turkiye flag and ancient stonework photo elenameg.com

[Image 21-3] The Turkish flag contrasts dramatically with the ancient stonework and lush greenery of ancient Marmaris.

I waved at the laptop. "We need a solution."

"You will go home to Canada."

My throat tightened. "Not without you. Don't you get it? I will not-- I can not, leave you behind."

"You are a prisoner because of me!" Elena stood, paced toward the patio. "I cannot go with you! Do not you see!? You are in jail with me." I tried to speak. She held up a hand. "No, Meg! I do not want to take from you all this, that is-- it is-- that is you! Your freedom, Meg! It is what you are to me. How can I take this?" She was sobbing.

I fought back my own tears. "We'll go to Russia if we have to. Hide out there."

"But, so what? Russia, Ukraine, Turkiye, they all will not let us be together. You have forgotten why we are here now? Hiding like the fox from the hounds."

Marina and boats in Marmaris, Turkiye photo elenameg.com

[Image 21-4] The source of that, "crazy cacophony.

We'd been through it, over and over; an endless, grinding, life-consuming search for a way to be safe, equal. Ordinary. "Yeah, we have to make it to Canada."

"And if two months runs out?"

"I won't abandon you."

"You should not be a prisoner because of me. I will hide in the desert before ever going to Russia. Russia is my death! But Meg, it will not be the end of you. I love you too much."

I tried to speak. My throat was suddenly dry. I swallowed hard enough to dislodge a tonsil and managed, "Aye, right. Then we have to do this in two months, or less." I brought up a website. "Take a look at this. Here's what I've been thinking."

Local fishing boats in Marmaris, Turkiye photo elenameg.com

[Image 21-5] Local fishing boats in Marmaris, Turkiye.

Elena sat back down, leaned closer to the screen. "Alexi's business friend showed to us this site in Odesa."

"Aye, but I used it to look for boats around here. Let me tell you, there's one heck of a lot of them. This town is absolutely yacht-central."

"You are thinking to buy a boat? In Odesa you said--"

"I know, but this is different. I think it's our only option. There are people here: professionals who sell boats. Not scammers like Alexi. There are boats here that can cross oceans."

"Cross ocean!?" Elena's hands shot up in a you're-bloody-cracked gesture. "In Odesa it was the Black sea, Meg! Not ocean."

"People sail yachts across oceans all the time." I picked up my -- by then, seriously worn -- paperback about round-the-world yacht racing. I shook it in front of her. "Crikey, they even do it all alone. All the way around the world without stopping, just for the sport of it! I can assure you, people, even with weans, cross oceans in yachts all the time."

"But they can land in Europe, on islands, or even USA!" She inhaled so hard, local air pressure dropped. "Yachts can go all the way to Canada without stopping for petrol?"

"Of course!" I slapped the paper back down on the table. "Yachts use wind for propulsion. They can go anywhere, even all the way around the world without stopping."

Olde shoppe in Marmaris, Turkiye photo elenameg.com

[Image 21-6] Historic Marmaris, Turkiye.

She grabbed the paperback, jabbed at the cover photo. "This is a little sailboat! Not a yacht."

"It's not that little." I took the paperback from her. Best she didn't see the photo section. "Come on, take a look at this website with me. There are definitely yah-- er, sailboats here that can cross oceans."

Elena scanned the website. "The closest to a yacht I have been, is once when we with Dmitry travelled to Antalya. I saw, in the harbour, many masts. Are they not a lot of money? You can afford such expense?" She gaped at the listings. Prices were six figures and beyond.

"I can borrow money against my house." Besides, what were the chances I would run the loan all the way up? The clock was ticking. It was our only option -- which means it wasn't a choice, but a chance.

Local fishing boats in Marmaris, Turkiye photo elenameg.com

[Image 21-7] Local fishing boats in Marmaris, Turkiye.

[[ updated Apr 23, 23:43 GMT ]]