November 27, 2012


“Darling, can you bring my slippers? The beach is so hot,” shouted Şebnem 3 sunbeds away. Ugh! ŞEBNEM! What a bad name. Not that it is the name of my ex-girlfriend; I just don’t like that name. It is like an answer to the template sentences such as “Why don’t you like it?” when you see a meal you don’t like on the table and the answer is “Habit!” Mine is a habit, too; I just don’t like it. My nature can’t tolerate it. I think there’s no accounting for taste. After this sentence of mine, that ugly man Şebnem has gone to holiday must, of course, be a matter of debate –oh, the man really looks like a monkey. From his breast, nose and ears springs hair. The man is still at the first steps of evolution. I think he couldn’t climb the stairs as he is too short. Hop-‘o-my-thumb! At the nights Şebnem wears high heels, he will look like Jamel Debouzze in the movie Angel-A. I wouldn’t mind if he is short but has a trim body. At least I would say he looks like Daniel Craig, the last heir of 007. In fact, Şebnem was more beautiful than Halle Berry and Olga Kurylenko but Cengiz, her boyfriend, cannot even be the blooded and sweaty shirt of 007 because of the balcony hanging from his belly. Mehtap said “You’ve become obsessed with Şebnem”. Not at all. Does a person become obsessive when she compromisingly separates from her boyfriend she couldn’t continue things?! Never! Also, we are very civilized.  She happened to accept meeting me at times. I think she couldn’t forget me yet. I’m sure she couldn’t put me out of her mind and she thinks of me all the time. I give her right, too; our days were nice. Oh we were happy, man! You know what, I’m sure she sighs every evening looking at my photographs and couldn’t keep her tears from dripping onto those photographs some evenings.  Although tears are immediately wiped away, the photographs get tear-stained. I know because it seems charwoman has cried a little while looking at a couple of photographs of mine with Şebnem. I know I would find tear-stained photographs if I go and look at her photographs when she is out here in vacation. What the hell! Are they coming here? Did they notice me? Where shall I hide now? Did she recognize me by my sunglasses? I think she really suspected me. I can’t catch attention with this felt hat. They are coming towards me. Şebnem, stop! Don’t come!
-Oh, Mustafa! What are you doing here?

Translation: Melike Uzun

November 13, 2012

The Shadows

There were shadows she thought to be following her. Maybe the only shadow that was following her was hers. After all, why was she so afraid? Being that suspicious was not normal, was it? The night was as dark as pitch. In this darkness, there wasn’t any light let alone a shadow. While walking along the pavements of the empty street, she felt safe as if killer cars would pass through the road but could not go up to the pavement. What if the shadows following her that she was suspicious of could climb the pavement? What would happen then?
She had been afraid of dentists since her childhood. Uncle Kazım had always said to her, “it is all gone now” but it was never gone. At the moment, while the “gones” were going on, all the voices were reaching her ears from her eustachian tube; and her brain was only turning the voices of her teeth into images and pain although the clicking sound of her teeth were preventing any nerves from reaching her brain. Her suspicion of shadow at that night was also causing her to suffer with the same channel. The only difference was that her mouth was dry, without saliva due to adrenaline at that night whereas there had been saliva all over her numb mouth at one end of her eaustachian tube due to pincers. Should she walk towards home? Or should these shadows not know where her home was? While she was thinking what to, that scene of heel breaking in the movies came true. One of the 4-centimetre heels of her dance shoes got caught in a hollow on the pavement caused by the ignorance of municipality employees and started tango, stopping halfway through its waltz with the shoe as it liked its new place so much. Separations have always influenced people other than the ones that separate. And this separation would prevent her from not being able to escape while being followed, cause a damage in her life or chastity, leave her no choice but use a cash credit the banks gave at 5.95% interest since the last 5 liras in her pocket and all her credit cards would be stolen and she would tell the passwords of the credit cards against the knife in front of her mouth. In any case, she would get into trouble because of that fucking troublesome heel. Why had she bought those dance shoes? All right, they were more comfortable than other shoes, they could easily be bent to any way but not only they were more nondurable but also the adhesives on their soles tended to forget they were adhesives whenever they come across water.
 At the end, she entered the bar she knew to be full of drunkards but where she would feel safer than outside. The bar was full of cigarette clouds nearly up to the ceiling. Her drunk eyes looked for a lightened place to sit under the cloudy weather. When she finally felt glad that she wasn’t sitting under any cloud to avoid possible lightnings, the door was opened and a tall man with a felt hat, carrying a closed umbrella entered inside. He was wet but he was carrying an umbrella. Was this man an idiot? What was that umbrella made for? For a moment, she thought that man was the shadow that was following her. When the fluorescent lighted him, she saw that it was really a shadow and she got startled. She was becoming an idiot as well, as if she hadn’t had a shadow. She would be afraid if she had seen her own shadow when she was coming through the door. Thinking this way, she flashed a meaningless smile to the waiter who had come to take her order. How was she regarded there with that short dress? She thought the waiter was the kind of person that was looking for a customer rather than her being a customer because he was looking up at her every once in a while. She felt the need to make an explanation to the waiter to save herself. She told him that a friend of hers always came to that bar and she had dropped in to look for her friend but she would go out after drinking a glass of water. Looking at both the length of her skirt and the bruise on her neck, the waiter asked the name of her friend to help her. It was impossible for her to understand why the waiter had looked at her neck so carefully because she hadn’t looked in a mirror after that bruise occurred. Would she remember that bruise the day after? The waiter gave her a bottle of water, opened it beside her and filled the glass with water. He asked whether she would like ice as well or not. She kindly said she wouldn’t like ice and looked at the man with the felt hat who was sitting near the exit door. If the single shadow that was following her belonged to that man with felt hat, the most sensible thing to do would be to go out at that moment since his beer had just been fetched. For that matter, she left the last 5 liras in her pocket for water and did not wait for the change. While she was hustling out through the door, she, her suspicious feelings, became sure that the shadow was him when she saw beer drifting inside the throat of the man who wanted to take a first sip of his beer but wait a minute. . . she knew that man from somewhere. However, she did not have the courage to think over it and she ran away the bar. Walking on the lighted streets might be safe but she had to walk through the dark parts if someone was following her and before he went out paying for the beer. Damn it! Why did she move to that slum? Were lower rents more important than her life? Was the rent her only concern? Of course the answer was “No!” but she did not have any other choice with such a low income. After all, half of her income just met the rent. A friend of her told her that sharing the rent and feeling safe at home was among the reasons of her willingness to get married to her boyfriend with whom she had been flirting only for a few months. These reasons were enough for getting married to anyone passing through the street. Besides, they would have halved the rent money. Cold sweat makes the person think on many options and put them into practice indeed. When she had first migrated from Bulgaria to this country, she had faced many troubles but later on, she had learned Turkish from his father whose skull was resting happily in its grave and started working as a mathematics teacher and couldn’t escape her habit of dancing since the days she spent in Razgrad. She was trying to learn new moves, going to Tos Bar every Wednesday and dancing till the late hours at the midnight salsa parties. She could never remember with how many people she danced at those nights from the moment she had started dancing at the beginning of the night till the end of the night. She was losing herself while dancing. She could sometimes remember one or two of her dance partners. Maybe she should have invited that salsa dancer boy to her home; he was so sweet. He was the only one that she remembers from that night. He was the one that had waited at the door holding her drink and he was the one that paints her neck purple with his lips. If only she hadn’t used the technique of always staying away at the first night to feign reluctance. She saw the purple fences of her home at the first floor; purple that came like a hot soup drunken after a snowy day. She started to search her key in her bag and she kicked herself for carrying so many cosmetics. Her suspicion with an eye on its back awoke her sixth sense again. This time, a shadow would really attack according to her feelings. When she looked behind, she saw the man with the felt hat. She found her key in her small red bag and took steps two times wider and faster. Just when she arrived at the front door of the apartment, she saw the salsa dancer boy she had last danced carrying an umbrella. He was the very man to whom she should have married. Her savior, king of Latin dances! Greeting him immediately, she hugged the sweetness while her fear was turning into happiness. The sweet boy helped her to open the door by holding her hand and said that he had followed her to make sure she arrived at home safe and alive; and maybe to drink her coffee. Those were double comforting words. She had accused the man with the felt hat for nothing. Maybe she had accused one of her neighbors to whom she never talked wrongly. They entered inside. The boy brewed coffee as sweet as himself for her and told her that he was very good at fortunetelling. She took another sip of coffee. She recognized the umbrella of the sweet boy. It was the umbrella of the wet man that had come to the bar. She looked unwillingly to the jacket of the sweet boy. He was wet although he had an umbrella. She felt the same feelings she had experienced when she got afraid while they were playing on the fire-escape stairs in her childhood in Razgrad. They used to climb upwards from the exterior sides of the stairs. When she looked downwards, she used to feel as if her lungs would have gone out by billowing with the flying balloon gas given to them. Maybe her heart was beating so strong that it was pushing her lungs upwards. He turned her rolling eyes from the coffee cups, one of which was untouched and only two sips were taken from the other, to the eyes of the sweet man but her eyes were reacting late to her brain; or they were moving too slowly; or her eyelids were blocking her vision. The sight of him taking off his jacket was the last thing she would remember of him and she would realize that the wet jacket and umbrella were going to cause a flood in her life and there was a detail she did not know after paying up the hilt.

Translation: Melike Uzun
 The Original Version