The Unexpected Present

Love Letters on Valentine’s Day

Valentines Day

On Valentine’s Day 2011, Yuri released Love Letters, a CD that, through original music, told the story of our courtship, romance, and an unexpected present: marriage. Yuri Turchyn formed Grupo Yuri, an instrumental quintet whose international flair crisscrossed cultures, blending Gypsy Jazz, Afro-Cuban, and Latin Beats into fusion symmetry and string swing.

They were the perfect ensemble for this album. Interestingly, there’s only one song that’s not an instrumental – Love is a Miracle– where Yuri’s distinctive voice, another instrument, is transformed into smooth, melodic vocals.

The first song, First Light, …I watched Yuri play at a Kinderhook reunion concert in 2009. It took everyone back to a time when there were no cell phones and no social media, yet we found the best gigs in dive bars and rocked the night away. Afterward, at the after-party, I could tell someone was looking at me from across the bar. Yuri was looking at me. There were the quickening heartbeat twinges of attraction.

Second song Q&A: Despite an unfavorable opinion of Yuri’s personal status, (He’s 60 and has never been married); my response (he’s married to his music). I invited him to do a podcast. While the communication wasn’t the best, with personal emergencies upsetting the apple cart, the recordings in his music studio exuded undeniable chemistry. Having had such an incredible first time together and finding out more about each other, the conversation became a two-part podcast on Film Festival reViews.  Yuri Turchyn Improv Part Deux. The music was enticing. We got to know one another.

Next is the Love Letter …early thoughts of love swirled in our heads during the midsummer Jazz and Blues Festival in Red Bank. Onstage, Yuri could find me in the audience before a packed and eclectic crowd of music lovers. He dedicated the final tune, Heart of a Woman Part II, pointing his bow at the heart of the woman he wanted. Xrystyna Maryna. Thwack! Bullseye. Yet with Trepidation… I ran away to hide from love, unsure of my feelings. Could it be love? Could it be true? Another Chance gave hope when we liaised on New Year’s Eve into New Year’s Day.

Opposites attract, like Venus and Mars. We sent emails using our pets’ personalities as personifications to find common ground. (We heard your human got you a banana box. Can we get one online? ) Our cats were very concerned for their humans’ well-being and where their litter box could be moved. It was The Question In Their Eyes…Jamaican vacation when all plans were put aside.

We floated in the turquoise waters, submerged at the poolside bars, tasted the tequilas, stepped into the jewelry shop, and saw the engagement ring but bought a bottle of Jamaican rum instead. The flight was delayed again. I’ll get the bags. You get the ring. Six months later, Love Is A Miracle…. Our wedding. Ending with a Winter Waltz…Dancing under the stars to the waltz of love awakened in our hearts.

A new day, waking to a light blanket cover,
I’m working, writing, and looking out over
the rooftops from my comfortable perch,
Thinking, is it a dream? Is it the end of my search?
Or the beginning. 

I look forward to seeing you again.

I say damn the torpedoes. We are in tune with each other, and our hearts are soaring. It is scary, but I hear the clarion call. I never felt better about anyone as I do you. I wear your touch on all parts of my body and mind.

Sleep well tonight. I can’t wait to see you tomorrow.

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