International

A moment of peach and quiet at Gallipoli

WATCHING the sun go down over Gallipoli, I am sitting alone on one of the many benches along the waterside promenade at Canakkale, the Turkish town from which tours of Anzac Cove and the Gallipoli battle sites usually begin. Earlier I was at Lone Pine, listening to a Turkish guide tell almost unbelievable stories of the conditions and the battles. Now I am musing on the young lives cut short on both sides.A smallish and elderly Turkish gentleman carrying a large paper bag joins me on the bench and, after exchanging nods, I return to contemplating the setting sun and its image of faded times and lives long since passed.His bag, it turns out, is full of large, beautifully ripe peaches. He offers me one, which I readily accept. I nod and with my eyes and smile assure him of my gratitude. He doesn’t speak and nor do I.The peach is at that point of ripeness where the skin breaks and slides off the moist flesh with merely the slight rubbing of the thumb. My hand is soon full of wet, rosy skins.

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