Ankara to Samsun from the air conditioned bus...

A bull mounts a heifer while the shepherds in yellow slickers drive them slick toward the storm, and bolts touch the ground green pasture from granite sky. Lightning flashes at quickening intervals. Maybe there is thunder, which I don’t hear behind my ears corked by earphones and the chorus of sax, piano and percussion akin to big band; behind the Turkish news blaring on the drop down TVs—thick white all-cap captions on red rectangular backdrops like skinny Turkish flags censoring the suit of the newscaster right where his nipples would be; and behind the hum of the bus on the wet asphalt.

Sometimes the lightening pinks or blues the dusk, stayed stuck behind the storm or else it breaks through and zigs horizontal, aligned with the horizon. The bus totters toward Samsun, where Serkan's parents live. I'd been nervous up to this point, but now I'm calm and sleepy, able at least to offer some chocolate-covered cotton candy truffles, bought from the 30-minute, 75-kurus bathroom break at the gas station-slash-tea garden in the middle of nowhere.

By the time the bus reaches the next town, it's night and rain. Rivers flood the streets and the downpour paints the bus windows, sheets of water distorting everything wavy outside. Thunder roars out the maw of sky, ending in a sound like tin trash bins dropping clunk clack clack to the cement.

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