Story writer. She was born on June 27, 1951 in
In her stories, Ulviye Alpay tells about ‘the changes in the human soul, pressures of the community and society on the individual, and conflict-filled relationships between men and women’. She has dedicated her novel Turbulence to Vedat Günyol and all the seamen who have perished at sea. In
XV. International Kıbatek Literature Symposium, Arslan Bayır talked about Turbulance in his speech named “Turbulance” and Journey with Albatrosses.
She has served at the board of directors at PEN and BESAM (Professional Association of Owners of Scientific and Literary Works). She is the chair of PEN Turkey Women Writers Committee. She lives in Istanbul.
“The pen of Ulviye Alpay writes about human, nature and sex not in the classical way we know about human, nature and sex. When you read, you exceed whatever you know suddenly. That turns human inside the nature and sex inside human into supreme concepts. Alpay has no simplicity. She works on an issue which could easily be turned into a mockery to something extraordinary. For instance in “Ninenin Çorapları”; her story makes the reader feel sad about the grandmother, grandchild, bride, son and so on.” (Üstün Akmen).
STORY: Mavi Bir Merhaba (1999).
NOVEL: Ben Sevilmeye Değerim (2003).
CHILDREN’S SHORT STORY: Kuş Evi (1999), Hayvanlarla Elele (2000), İdil Gülen Çocuk (2002), İdil ve Düş Evi (2002), Harflerin Dansı (2002), Arkadaşım Beaty (2002).
CHILDREN’S NOVEL: Çocukların Sırrı (2002).
JUVENILE STORY: Babam Sınıfta Kaldı (2002).
TALE: Ben Balık Gibi mi Doğdum? (1999).
REFERENCE: Ahmet Miskioğlu / Ulviye‘nin Öyküleri (Türk Dili Dergisi, sayı: 67, Temmuz-Ağustos 1998), Muzaffer Buyrukçu / Mavi Bir Merhaba - Üstün Akmen / Ulviye Alpay‘la Tanışmadınız mı Siz? (Cumhuriyet Kitap dergisi, 21.10.1999), M. Sadık Aslankara / Cinsel Eylemin Yazınsallaşması (Adam Sanat-Kasım 2000), Muzaffer Uyguner / Kuşevi (Türk Dili Dergisi, Mayıs-Haziran 2000), Konur Ertop / Ulviye Alpay‘ın Mavi Merhabası (Türk Dili Dergisi, Eylül-Ekim-2001), TBE Ansiklopedisi (2001), İhsan Işık / Türkiye Yazarlar Ansiklopedisi (2001, 2004) - Resimli ve Metin Örnekli Türkiye Edebiyatçılar ve Kültür Adamları Ansiklopedisi (2006, gen. 2. bas. 2007).
A BLUE HELLO
94 page, short stories
Original Title: Mavi Bir Merhaba
All rights are held by Ulviye Alpay
A Blue Hello was first published in Istanbul by Cumhuriyet Kitapları, 1999
She kissed the photo she held in her arms – remembering the days when they kissed secretly.
What if her mum came in, or worst, her cousin Çiler?!..
Özlem offered the parrot sugar from the bowl in front of her. The bird in her hands made happy sounds, shaking its beak. “You are my only companion in life,” she laughed briefly, “but you were stubborn indeed. You stayed quite for years. Every now and then I would wet you for punishment.”
She paused. She swallowed hard a few times., her hazy eyes staring at the ceiling. “Only you can understand me. You witnessed everything.”
She opened her hand. The parrot flew away and landed on the chandelier.
For a while she watched the parrot’s movements, looking at it lovingly. Then she filled her empty cup with tea and sat down in her chair. They were staring at each other. The parrot whistled a long whistle… then another… and another. “Enough!” said Özlem lifting her hand. “Enough whistling for today!” Then her voice was soft again. “I’m sorry,” she went on. “Don’t be quite, come on, whistle… who am I to interfere with your whistling? First my mother… my father… Çiler… Levent… my husband Şükrü… need I add more? They all silenced me.”
Özlem seemed out of breath. She broke the empty tea cup as she tried to put it down on the table. With a mocking smile she said “good riddance.” Then she swept up the broken pieces. Once she was back in the living room, the bird was perched on her shoulder again.
“Çiler was in love with Levent. Wasn’t that weird? All of a sudden an ardent rock music fan like her started taking classical zither lessons. She was ready to dance between the chords day and night just to win his admiration.”
A shadow crossed her face. “God Çiler,” she said, “you ruined my life.” She smiled again after a short pause. “But now you’re gone. So you left Levent, huh? And for a lover twenty years younger than you… how nice.”
“A fashion model I hear. They saw you together on the back of the motorbike you bought him. You were striking as always, your outfit, your hair. He was too. I never could guess what you would do next. Still in the fast lane at the prime of your life, just like when you were young… that’s your philosophy… I never really enjoyed my first bloom of youth. Levent was like the flirtatious sun that stuns you in the middle of the winter. One minute there, the next minute gone.”
She petted the bird’s head again. It had flown back and settled on her lap.
“Their marriage started to deteriorate once Çiler’s mum died, straight after her dad, and left her a sizeable inheritance, my dear. Now after crossing twenty roads the door is wide open. The Çiler’s nightmare is over,” she said laughing. “My God! Finally… this must be what they call a belated reunion.” Then she jumped out of her chair and started walking up and down, her fists clenched.
“Levent… I cannot think of anything more beautiful than being reunited with you.” She laughed again and said, “I’ll drink to that.” Sipping her red wine she lifted her glass towards the parrot which was now back on the chandelier: “And this is to you for regaining your speech,” she said.
Combing her hair in front of the mirror she rested both hands on her hips and studied her reflection sideways: “I’ve changed a lot since that day. I’m heavier. I should just come out with it and say ‘older’ really!” She picked up the discolored photo once more and stared at it with worried eyes.
“You must have changed too. Even your invitation proves you must have… isn’t that so, Levent?”
She just stood there for a minute. Then she extended her arm towards the parrot and said: Come on, jump onto my arm like you used to. You can do anything you want today… I’ll let you walk all over me, I promise.”
“I first heard about Levent and Çiler’s engagement from my mother. There seemed to be a trace of mockery, bitterness in my mother’s voice. ‘Stupid girl. Let’s see how many days he lasts,’ she had said. There was anger in her voice when she told me this marriage would be short-lived.
‘Only Çiler’s wealthy family can support Levent’s expensive living,’ she had added. Scared that my mother would be suspicious, I bit onto the corner of the pillow and shed silent tears. To be honest, I did not understand my mother’s reaction. She had started seeing more of Levent after my father’s death. I remember her carrying him around like a purse, taking him along when she was out visiting.”
Suddenly with a determined voice, “Do you want to learn the truth, my friend?” she said to her parrot. “I have always been jealous of my mother. For some reason I always suspected some kind of coquettishness in the way she approached Levent. You may think this weird but she even asked his opinion when choosing her clothes. Taking his arm she used to say she thought it important to ask the opinion of young people.”
“We saw less of each other once Levent married Çiler. This made me even sadder. I would rather he had dated my mum, though I will never understand why. A few years later Çiler got carried away by the Eastern breeze. During the three months she was in China Levent was never out of our house and mother was away in Göcek. You, me and Levent… You remember those days, don’t you? You were always perched on our shoulders but our happiness ended with Çiler’s return. I was left alone once more, helpless.” Özlem could not bring herself to be angry at it so she was getting angry with herself. “In some strange way my mother had also lost interest in me during those days.”
She grasped the worn-out armrests of the chair, got up and started packing up and down the room. It was as if she was tired of revisiting old, slightly dusty memories. Meanwhile she pulled her tangled hair up with a slide. Her face was sweaty. She raised a toast, a glass of iced tea in her hand.
“My mother returned from Göcek with her friend Şefik. I was a thirty-three-year-old girl, unmarried (I will teach you the word spinster in no time). I think my mother was living with Şefik in those days. For some reason my mum seemed free to do all the things I wasn’t. I was so subdued; one movement of her eye was enough to keep my shut up in my room. Then on Şefik’s advice I married sixty-five-year-old Colonel Şükrü. Levent was the only one to oppose this marriage. I wore a black skirt and jacket, that day. Levent had said, “Brides wear white” as he kissed my cheek. As if it was any of his business!.. Anyway Şükrü had had a stroke; he couldn’t walk.”
“You see, I was Şükrü’s new nurse and his only heir. Still I am grateful that I married him… He was a bitter, grumpy old man but thanks to him now we have a roof over our heads. And my mother’s game was over. Apparently we were already bankrupt and this marriage was our only way out…
Two years later my mother paid dearly for her life in the fast lane. She died one night in the arms of her adolescent lover. Cause of death, a heart attack. She had liver cancer anyway. Şükrü died a year later. It was for the best if you ask me. Just you and me once again… We had this house and Şükrü’s pension. We shared the same house year after year, sulking, never once talking, never confiding in each other. One day, I’ll never forget, you drove me mad with your whistling and with your endless shouting “Levent, Levent!” Of course I was at my worst during that time, really worked up. I opened both windows all the way. I did all I could to make you fly away, my dear bird. But you did not fly away, you did not desert this girl who was about to lose her mind. I calmed down a few hours later.
I wanted to caress your feathers, I wanted to pet you. I wanted to give you a hug for not leaving me.
But you just stared at me from chandelier just like you’re doing now and never said a word. You did not sing, you did not whistle. You would go wooo, woooo… every so often, that was all. You were ever so rude, but at least you did not desert me.”
“You know Levent was all I longed for all those years. This longing is about to come to an end.
I will go to him now and we will make plans for the future. I found my other half, darling. Hang on a minute! You should be free too, shouldn’t you? You should fly as much as you wish, as far as the eye can see. And you would be free from living all alone too. Oh, how cute you are, nodding your little head like that, darling. I love you. Come on, here have some sunflower seeds while I get ready!..
Then I’ll give you another piece of sugar.”
On the way, Özlem grew quiet. It was as if she was in a deep pond. The more she tried to swim, the more she seemed to be stuck in the same position. She questioned herself mercilessly about whether to go or not. What was left of the past? “Hurt,” she said with a shrug. She needed to re-discover those feelings of twenty years ago to go back to those days. Was it so easy to revive sunken feelings?
“You are talking about love, togetherness after all these years, while I want to come running to you free from all memories. After all that has happened – after all the pain. But can it really be forgotten? What do you say, Levent?”
She was aware she was asking the question to herself.
“Well, we had it and we lost it. Not that we really had the chance to make anything of it!” she said in an uneasy tone. “I cannot really bring myself to say a lot of water went under the bridge.
There’s no bridge left even!”
The crimson haze of the sun was about to disappear when she made an illegal U-turn and drove back home, the only refuge she had in this world. She could hear the continuous whistling of the parrot from far away.
527 page, novel
Original Title: Şarap Kadın
All rights are held by Ulviye Alpay
Wine-Woman was first published in Istanbul by
Altın Kitaplar Publishing, 2007
FROM THE BACK COVER:
This novel tells about the mysterious life of Wine Woman, Şemse’s submission to traditions, Rüzgâr believing that she is growing up without the love of a mother or father and her questioning, blaming rebellion; the interesting adventure of Kara the Dog, who has a role in executing the laws of tradition, legends of an exlusive city, rigid rules of traditions and the pain, the disappointments, the desperation they impose.... the fate and loneliness of women who are exchanged as brides, and whose identities are ignored through a co-wife.
Rüzgar (Wind) is a little girl living on an island with Şarap (Wine). Şarap looks after her like a daughter, and they live a modest life together with Şarap’s faihful dog Kara (Black). Rüzgar knows very little about Şarap; and that from the tales that Şarap tells her from time to time.
Şarap frequently tells of a girl born in the Eastern region of the country, where old customs and conservative traditions prevail. Her mother has had an arranged marriage, and has called her only daughter Lale (Tulip). As she has had no other children, she had to endure her husband’s polygamous marriages, her mother-in-law’s abuse, and occupying an inferior position in her own home.
When the time comes, her only daughter Lale will not be spared by tradition either, and shall be removed from school to be wedded to a man she doesn’t want. Her not being able to produce a child and disagreement with her husband shall in time lead to a death sentence for a trivial reason. Lale somehow survives, and succeeds in disappearing together with her dog Kara.
Rüzgar has now come to the fifth grade. In a birthday party, she meets her boyfriend Ada’s (Island) family. Their closeness and warm relations with each other refreshes her questions about her own family. She particularly likes her boyfriend’s uncle, and after learning where she lives, who she is, etc. the uncle cannot hide his surprise. Still, he leaves without saying anything. Rüzgar always wonders who her parents are and why they never seek their only child. At the end of a summer filled with these questions, her boyfriend emigrates from the island, and Rüzgar’s life changes mysteriously.
An anonymous person she calls the Generous Hand enables her to be enrolled in a private school in Istanbul, and starts to plan her life. Rüzgar goes to Istanbul with Şarap for registration, and starts a new life where she wants for nothing. Everything, down to the trips she takes on vacations, is organized by the Generous Hand. In one of her holidays, Şarap’s old companion Kara dies. From her lamentations, Rüzgar understands that Şarap is her own mother. She is extremely shocked and disappointed, she confronts Şarap fiercely, and learns of her father’s identity. Her boyfriend’s symphatetic uncle is in fact her own father, and her boyfirend is her cousin. In her rage and disappointment,
Rüzgar leaves home, never to return.
Following holidays are always spent in travels planned by the Generous Hand. She doesn’t see Şarap again for years; doesn’t even want to speak to her. From time to time she secretly visits the island, but returns immediately without seeing Şarap. Years later, during one of these secret visits, she meets a man. His story resembles hers; he has never seen his own daughter. While they talk, Rüzgar understands that the man is her father. She faces up to him, pours out her feelings, and among many things, also learns that her lover, whom she has tried to forget because she thinks they are cousins, is not in fact a blood relative. After long soul searches, starts to feel uneasy in her conscience for what she has done to her mother. In order to understand her better, she decides to go to her mother’s native city.
Rüzgâr meets a whole different world in Urfa. This is the place where centuries-old traditions dictate a different way of life. Her grandmother has gone mad, and her grandfather has become a cripple after an attempted revenge killing. Rüzgar finds a way and goes to meet her grandmother, who immediately recognizes her. Rüzgar understands that the grandmother is in fact not mad, but pretends to be so in order to be left alone. The grandmother is elated to hear that her daughter is alive and well, but fearing that this will trigger another honor killing if heard, tells Rüzgar to leave and never come back.
When Rüzgar returns to her own world, her father has prepared a surprise for her. One even ing, he takes her to a trendy restaurant, and Rüzgar sees that the place is owned by Şarap. Mother and daughter re-unite after years of separation. However, there is another surprise waiting for Rüzgar:
In the graduation dinner organized by her mother, she will meet Ada, whom she has never ceased to love, and sail into a whole new life thinking about the meaning of pure and self-sacrificing love.
EXCERPTS FROM WINE-WOMAN
Şemse Hanım decided to pray before going to bed that night, and see what came into her dreams. After taking her ablutions and performing her namaz, she sent her prayers one by one to all the prophets, beginning with Abraham, the patriarch of all religions, then to Jesus Christ, to Job and
Mohammad. With the movement of her thumb, the amber rosary in her hands had opened like a shining path extending into the darkness.
She stood up, feeling the relief she got from her prayers. She felt at peace.
“So will my Lâle get married now? She’s still a child,“ she muttered. She felt her heart cringe in pain. The inner peace had gone. She hurriedly opened the window and voraciously inhaled the cold weather. The moon was as sharp as a sword. She wanted to catch hold of that thing called the “töre ”, tear it to pieces with a scythe like there is no tomorrow, tear to pieces also the people who stand in front of them and put them away, cut them through. Only then would she have destroyed all the behaviors and ways of life, rules and customs and conventions strictly embraced and established.
She thought that then she would bury this feudal system, whose powers she had destroyed, under the dry and cracked soil of the Harran Plain. She pulled back her hand stretched towards the moon in the sky. It did not look hopeless at all. “Perhaps not today, but the day will come when the töre will be history,” she muttered. She calmed down again; so much so that, it could be said that she was smiling. It lasted but a moment. She grimaced and strongly slapped her face. “Şemse! You foul woman, you infidel, even you do not believe what you are saying.” She got saddened with the reprimand of her inner voice and this time smiled with an ironic smile. Her features froze between crying and smiling.
The töre is merciless, the töre makes one spit blood. So long as we are this ignorant, this
destitute, we shall go round and round in a circle like an ox strapped to the wheel of the feudal system.
My mother produced me in her ways, I produced my daughter in my mother’s ways. Will my daughter produce her baby in my ways, and will her baby copy her mother’s ways? Oh God! Will this bottomless well never be filled up? You have devoured so many youths, so many doe-eyed beauties, and you are still not satisfied, töre!”
As Şemse Hanım’s head fell on the pillow, her wails had subsided. The bedcover in Aleppo work that she pulled on herself was a piece from her trousseau. This cover, which was greatly valued once, had come from Syria. It was embroidered elaborately with bunches of grapes.
The pedlar woman had said, “Ladies, my goods are not purchased to be hidden and fade away in chests. You should know how to be as soft as silk and slippery under silken bedclothes, so that you will produce lots of offspring.” This dark and plump woman, with black eyes, black eyebrows, her long braids dyed with henna under her colorful scarf extending all the way down to her buttocks, her thin lower lip dyed in indigo, her hands tattooed with henna in designs of flowers and stars was so different from the other women in the room. She could not deny that in the way she puffed on her cigarette, sipped her coffee, in the way she sat, in her gaze, she saw the power and dominancy of her father, her uncles, and all the regional men sitting in front of coffee houses and playing backgammon. In fact, ever since the pedlar woman came, the only thing Şemse noticed were the tattoos on her hands and face. With the curiosity of a little girl, she pointed to the woman’s lower lip and chin.
“What are these? How did you do them?” she asked curiously The pedlar woman said, “This is sevap, it is so, but...” She became still while moving her hands over her chin, “This is a sin. It was not good of me to have these done.”
Şemse sat by her knee. She held the woman’s hands. Of course it was not the first time she saw that tattoo.
“How do you get this blue color?” she asked innocently.
The pedlar woman threw a pitying glance at Şemse.
“If you produce a boy, you live like a horse. If you produce a girl, you live like a dog.” Şemse was stunned at this unexpected reply.
“It hurt a lot while I had it done. You trace it with a needle and draw blood, then you mix the milk of a woman who gave birth to a girl with the bile of an animal and some ashes, and pour it on the bleeding parts. If you give birth to a girl, someone comes and takes your milk to have a tattoo like this done. You cannot say a word.” Şemse was stunned into silence. She slowly drew back. Then the woman unbuttoned her dress. Şemse, as well as all those present, stared at the tattoos filling the woman’s chest and the sides of her breasts.
The pedlar woman threw a coquettish look. “This is halal. It is halal, but our Prophet said that the others are sin.” One of the women asked: “So why did you endure so much pain?” The pedlar woman cackled at this.
Before getting out the door, the pedlar woman took Şemse’s tiny hand in her tattooed ones.
For the bedcover embroidered in Aleppo work she said, “The woman who embroidered this was paid for her work. I was paid, also. However, you are the one to set the real value for this cloth.
Only then will it become flesh and blood; no more an object, but your companion,” and she left. As Şemse struggled in the circle of life, as she faced life’s realities, she had understood what the pedlar woman had meant that day. And she knew that she had not been able value the cloth as she should.
Her room was at one end of the house, and her husband’s was at the other. She had settled her cowives at either side of her husband.
The path to the time tunnel has opened.
That night, Şemse Hanım dreamed of colorful tulips filling many gardens. As she walked, it was as if the ground beneath her feet folded up. She knew from the moment she was born that the place called Harran in the Torah was here. She was well and happy as she saw the “Fertile Crescent”.
The rivers of Cullab and Deysan were roaring.
Suddenly, she saw a bundle of light approaching. At that moment, Şemse knew that she was in front of the prophet Abraham’s house. Abraham was sitting in the mesjid named after him, resting his back on the stone he always sat by.
Abraham noticed Şemse’s face, grimacing in pain. He had understood that this woman was lost in the desperation scorching her heart. In order to dissipate the gloom, he said: “The Harran Plain is the first place Adam and Eve stepped on after they left the Garden of Eden. They saw this place as an inseperable part of Eden. However, Adam and Eve were surprised that there was not a single tree in all this beauty. Adam had brought one pomegranate and one rose branch from Eden.
Together they planted these in the middle of the plain. The pomegranate grew instantly, bloomed in red, and the rose flowered in white.”
While they were happily walking around the plain they became hungry. Eve opened her hand, in it there was a grain of wheat she had brought from Eden. They started to toil in hope.. The single grain grew as fast as the rose and the pomegranate, and became an ear of grain. Then Adam made a plough from the pomegranate tree, and pulled it himself. However, this was such hard work that he was exhausted. At that moment, an ox appeared. He extended his horns as if to say ‘Make me pull the plough’.”
Abraham went on: “Şemse Hanım, your name means the ‘sun’. So, sun-woman, according to custom, the Harran plain is where the plough was first used, where the ox was first harnessed to it.
The holiness of the wheat, the rose, and the pomegranate is because they come from Eden”.
“O Prophet Abraham, I believe I understand what you mean. You, Holy Being, tell me that hope should always accompany your thoughts.”
“Is it not right?”
Although he lived amongst pagans, Şemse Hanım knew like everyone else that he had never worshipped idols.
“Just like you, sister Şemse, I also believe in the existence of a unique holy power.” He sincerely confirmed his belief in God. “You also believe in Allah, my sister. So, throw away all that misery plaguing your heart,” he said.
“You are now four thousand years back in time. The moment shall come when an angel shall softly kiss your eyes, and you will go back to your own time. Therefore, enjoy this precious moment.”
“The name Harran comes from ‘haran-u’, which means ‘travel, caravan’ in Sumerian and Accadian.”
The prophet Abraham went on talking as if he was murmuring a song. “It also means roads crossing each other, or a strong heat. Our roads have also crossed at Harran, sister.”
They stopped by the river Deysan. Abraham promised Şemse that all would be right in time.
He wished her patience. He told her to protect the others, and fight to eradicate evil. “God gave mankind a paradise.” Şemse could not hide her awe. Abraham said, “Do you know how and where my story begins?”
Abraham had lived around the beginning of the second millennium BC, and was accepted as the patriarch of the three monotheistic religions and all their prophets. How happy she was to have the honor and bliss of seeing him today.
“I know, sir. There’s no one in the ‘Fertile Crescent’ that does not know your story. Every one, from the baby in the cradle to the wolves, the birds, even the bugs know about it.” Şemse swallowed.
“So how did you see it?”
“I know Harran as an endless dry soil. I believe my eyes are playing a trick on me.”
Abraham reached her hand towards the rising sun. “Do you know? My God is the One who makes the sun rise from the east, and set in the west.”
Although she thought she called, “I did not want to object to you, o prophet,” her voice had been lost.
Şemse squatted on the ground, opened her hands, and screamed as high as she could, “My Harran is not as fertile as your Harran. It’s bone dry! You can come and see for yourself, o prophet Abraham.”
As if out of spite for Şemse, Euphrates was flowing by. It was also covered in tulips. Şemse Hanım felt a pang of pain in her heart, because until today, she had never noticed how many tulips were being taken away by the waters. She stood by the river, and while watching the lifeless bodies of tulips in the waters, she whined: “O prophet Abraham, come and see my Harran!” Tulips were silently drifting by. “Wherefore like this, you are so fresh, is it not too early to go like this?” she moaned. “How many holy days have you seen, how many times did you put henna on your hands?”
Şemse Hanım had had even the birds flying above hear her painful wails, but none of the tulips drifting away did.
She sought her own Lâle ’s scent in every tulip she saw. Just at the moment when she lost hope, suddenly the gates of the Palace opened, and she saw hundreds, thousands of tulips on walls, ceiling, plates, candleholders, caftans of Sultans, on scabbards. However these tulips with pointed petals looked neither like her own Lâle, nor the tulips left to bloom and die on the Harran plain; nor the tulips drifting on the waters of Euphrates. They were glorious, they were powerful, however she could not see the fragility and purity of her own tulips in these. Blood was still dripping from some of their pointed petal tips.
Şemse Hanım was in pain. Finally, a tulip fell beneath her feet... it was the color of red wine.
She bent down, but couldn’t touch it; she wanted to speak, but couldn’t find her voice. The tulip on the ground bent its head in an instant, and disappeared.
* * *
Now that I’m thinking, the first time I had ever made coffee for you, you had said, “We drink myrrh in our country.” I had asked you what myrrh was. I remember very clearly how you said, “bitter coffee.” While smiling sweetly, you were as if greeting a friend who was far away. The room is life for the spirit / Conversation is what one needs / Coffee cries on the stove / Pour myrrh in the cup /
The brick room is cool / When one lays the felt / My pleasure is high as the arbor / When we drink the the myrrh. And then you had explained how to make it as if telling a fairy tale. “Permit me to think of you like that, Şarap,” I said. I was emotional. You had smiled and explained: “Coffee beans, called the green coffee, are roasted in a specially made pan called ‘muhammes’, which looks like a ladle.” You were as if holding the handle of the coffe pan with one hand, and turning the ladle with the other. “If the coffee beans in the pan are roasted just enough on dung or wood fire; not burnt, but no more raw, their taste shall intensify,” you had said. That day again, your eyes were puffy, your lips twitched slightly. After swallowing a couple of times, you had explained: “When coffee of high quality is roasted, it leaves an oily trace at the bottom of the pan. Roasted coffee is beaten in large mortars made of walnut wood, engraved with motifs and inlaid with mother-of-pearl.” Then I had held your hands and put them on my cheek. I thought that if you loved me and caressed me, your sadness would go away and you would be happy. You had taken a sip of your coffee, closed you eyes, and went far far away.
“Roasted and pounded coffee may be boiled for a long time in kettles. You let it rest, and boil it again the next day. At the end of filtering and distilling it a couple of times, the coffee becomes extracted, my baby.” You had then caressed my cheek. I couldn’t overcome my curiosity again. “What does extracted mean?” I had asked.
You had said, “it’s essence comes out.” I was listening to you with my mouth open, and you had continued: “This coffee is called myrrh. Myrrh is put in a small coffee pot called ‘misab’ with a handle and a lid, and is offered in cups without a handle.” This time you had shaken your head with pleasure, and smiled. Because it’s prepared with so much effort and hard work, it is said that the proverb ‘One cup of coffee means forty years of goodwill’ belongs to my country. Of course there are rules to offering and drinking myrrh. First of all, the myrrh that’s prepared is poured from the pot held by the right hand into the a cup without a handle, called mekkavi, held in the left hand, and offered hot. It’s poured as much as two or three milimeters per cup, just enough to cover the bottom, and offered twice to each guest. Myrrh is given in a quantity as not to be swallowed down the throat, but to be dissolved in the mouth. The purpose is not for the coffee to reach the stomach, but to yield its taste between the tongue and the palate. The best coffee is the one that leaves a trace in the cup.”
Because Şarap told everything with a magical touch, I had continued listening with my mouth hanging open. When I said “What then?”, she had continued: “Myrrh is offered all day long with regular intervals. While offering the coffee, one begins from the eldest person, and continues towards the right. Offering the coffee only once offends that person. It means not taking that person into account, not respecting him. After two cups, any one who wants to have a third is accepted as one that does not know anything about coffee. It’s not nice to reject the coffee offered, a person must have a valid reason for that.”
Whatever Şarap told, she added some mystery to it. This was peculiar to her. There was something magical, that took a person to far away lands in her narration.
“The myrrh cup is kept at hand, and given back to the host. It’s a mark of disrespect to leave it on the floor. The cup of coffee that required forty years of goodwill and that has been prepared and offered with much effort should not be left on the ground just like that. If the cup is put on the ground, it is either filled with gold, or if the person offering the coffee is unmarried, a marriage is arranged.
Myrrh is a coffee that requires effort. It symbolizes respect and courtesy, it enforces friendships, we see this both in those who offer it, and those who drink it.” I don’t know what kind of a glance I threw at Şarap at that moment, but she had said: “Myrrh is not something to be overlooked, because it’s a very special drink. It’s offered with a ritual in weddings, religious wedding ceremonies, musical meetings, overnight stays in the mountain, circumcision ceremonies, holidays, and condolence visits.” The discussion about myrrh that day had made Şarap happy. Although for a short time, she had visited her country, and although in a dream, she had drunk the Turkish coffee in her hand with her loved ones, pretending it was myrrh. She did not leave the cup on the table, but held it out to me.
* * *
Before Christianity came, all the people of Mesopotamia had rejected the divine system, and reneged to the paganism of their ancestors. They worshipped the moon, the sun, the stars and the planets; and they also attributed divinity to many things they had created themselves. This belief – the belief in Moon God Sin- prevailed in the Urfa region, also. According to legend, Abgar V is the first Christian King, and accepted Christianity immediately after Christ’s death, followed by his people.
Abgar Ukkama V, the King of Edessa, was at that time taken ill with leprosy and was in a lot of pain. The King had heard that Jesus Christ cured the ill, but he was too weak to travel to Jerusalem.
He sends a messenger of his called Hannan to Jesus Christ, along with a letter saying that he believes in Christ and wants to learn about his religion, and invites him to Urfa. This messenger was at the same time a skilled artist. After giving the letter to Jesus Christ, Hannan goes up on a high place and tries to draw his picture, but he cannot succeed. Perceiving this, Jesus Christ washes his face, dries it with a proferred kerchief, and gives it to Hannan. His face is imprinted on the cloth. Hannan takes this kerchief back to Urfa along with a letter.
Thanks to the holy cloth imprinted with the portrait of Jesus Christ, Abgar V of Edessa is cured. Afterwards he stretches the cloth on a wooden frame an places it in a niche at the city’s gates. This holy cloth has played a significant role in Christian art, as well as in the relations between Byzantium and the Muslim world for centuries. When Islam became dominant in the region, the holy cloth was taken over by Muslims. In a war with the Byzantines, some Muslims fell prisoners.
The Byzantines asked for the cloth in return for setting the prisoners free. At the end, the cloth was handed over, and the prisoners were released.
The well where the cloth is dropped is deemed holy by Christians.” On each anniversary of the day the cloth is dropped in the well, people go there before the sunrise, make votive offerings, and undertake rituals. It is believed that one needs to go barefoot to the well. According to the belief, this Anniversary is the 20th day of Easter.
The legend says that the columns, which are today known as the catapults throwing the prophet Abraham into the fire, are in fact monuments erected in the memory of this well and the holy cloth. An inexhaustible treasure of gold is placed under one, and of water under the other. If one is wrecked, Urfa shall drown in water; if the other, it will be smothered in gold.”
* * *
It has been a couple of hours since I’ve arrived here. It might seem strange to some, but I am as secure and relaxed here as I am in my own home. It is as if I’ve returned home after a long time and taking a rest; that I’ve already passed from these streets many times before. The waiter who just offered me black coffee feels like an old childhood friend. I feel as if I shall remember his name if I can just concentrate... It is not possible to remain aloof to Urfa, about which I have listened since my childhood.
Tomorrow, in the streets of Urfa, I will get to know Şarap’s hometown. I will satisfy my curiosity, and tell the story of Şarap to the pigeons, mongrel dogs, and objects. If I’m lucky, I will be able to see the house where Şarap was born. I hope Şemse is still alive.
Although I say that I feel as if I’ve come home, I cannot deny a slight shiver within me. It’s best to rest today; anyway tomorrow and later I will have to face many truths.
To tell the truth, I’m concerned. Considering all my life, I became concerned many times. Perhaps I might rather say that ever since my childhood, I have encountered anxiety many times. However, this is something different. Is it the invigorating effect of caffeine, keeping my mind clear, or is it fear trapped within my anxiety?
I had an early start to the day. It must be the climate here; I woke up quite refreshed, and I will never stop saying this; I opened my eyes as if I were in my own bed. I used to stay in bed if I was not at school or did not have any particular thing to do, and call this lazyness a pleasure. I now stand by the window and look at the castle ahead. The waiter boy yesterday said that below the castle is the Halil-ür-Rahman and Aynzeliha Lake.
Hundreds and hundreds of years ago, a king named Nimrod lived in Urfa. Nimrod was both cruel, and blasphemous. God announced that he would be send mosquitos, which are among the most insignificant creatures, to show what a weak human being Nimrod was. So Nimrod gathered his army and declared war; but mosquitos got into the eyes, ears, and noses of the soldiers and animals, and all were forced to retreat. Nimrod escaped to his chambers with difficulty. He sealed the door, the windows, and all holes, and hid away.
When a lame mosquito begged God saying, “My God, I could not get in time for the holy war.
My lameness prevented me,” God told him; “I give you the task of devastating Nimrod. Go find him, and destroy him.” This lame mosquito found Nimrod, entered his chambers through the keyhole, and attacked him. He entered through the nostril of the cruel Nimrod, and started to gnaw away his brain. Nimrod did many things to stop his headache, but couldn’t succeed. Finally, he had a hammer made of felt, and started to knock himself in the head with it. When this did not work, he ordered his men to use a wooden hammer. As they hammered his head, he said “Vurha, Vurha,” and died.
It has been said that because of his cries, the land was thereafter called Urfa.
I was a small child when I heard this tale. Şarap used to hang gauze on the windows when mosquitos emerged. She told me this tale on such a day. Kara, me, and Şarap. We were like a threeleaved clover.
I cross a street and arrive at the Balıklı Göl. It is only fifty meters from the El-Ruha Hotel.
At the corner, a yellow minibus waits for passengers. It would be right if I said there were no souls around. Who would come here at eight in the morning, like me? I talk with the man throwing food at the fish in the lake. I prove to be a good customer, and throw platefuls of food to the fish. They swim on top of each other to eat.
Waiters in the tea-gardens are busy watering the plants and arranging chairs. There is a strong smell of grass everywhere. People notice that I am a stranger. Two boys of twelve-thirteen are sitting on a bank and talking among each other. I am in an ironic frame of mind. I go up to them and ask; “Did you skive school today?” The boys immediately stand up; button up their jackets, and just stand there.
Both were very cute, but I preferred the smaller one. He still keeps his hands on his buttoned-up jacket. His face is extremely innocent and clean. The other seems to be smarter and more cunning.
In order not to have them worry any more, I tell them to relax, that I am not a teacher.
The tall one smiles and sits down, but mine still stands respectfully in front of me. I stroke his hair. “Come on, relax, I told you I am not a teacher,” I repeat. I hold his chin and gently lift his head.
I look in his pure and innocent eyes. This child has colored eyes, he is blond. The other is dark, with darker eyes. I remember Ada. For a moment I wonder if we had ever skived school together with Ada, and I will start laughing out loud if I don’t restrain myself. Yes, we had, and many times at that, the thoughts fill my mind like lightning.
343 page, novel
Original Title: Çalkantı
All rights are held by Ulviye Alpay
Turbulence was first published in Istanbul by
Altın Kitaplar Publishing, 2005
FROM THE BACK COVER:
In a life without her, your roots are pulled out just like grass crushed under torrential rain.
Sensations among two lovers arise with a godly sublimeness, and a divine love is born at the end.
This novel, which tells the story of a long and unknown voyage, tells about the realistic, dreamlike companionship of the seamen, the ship, and the sea, the tragic end of a mysterious love story, and the overlapping destiny of albatrosses and a captain.
While each and everyone of them move among huge waves with the turbulence in their hearts, they survive by knowing that land and the beloved waits just a couple of steps away. Sometimes misconceptions encircle them like a spider’s web, and leave them to the cold and dark solitude of the ocean.
Turbulence is also a witness to the eternal love of the daughter of the mythological and legendary King of Winds, Aiolos, and Keix, son of the Morning Star.
He flew off, Keix, drawing S’s, and extended his wings towards Halcyone, his lover.
So familiar were those blue eyes that tried to stay above the waves.
He hailed that tired and awkward albatross passing by and flying away…
The freighter İncisu sails towards Shanghai at the last stage of a long voyage. Tired after long years on ships, Captain Ege Giritli frequently thinks of abandoning the sea, even resolves to do so, but then realizes that he cannot do so in fact. One day in the uneventful voyage, Electrical Officer Volkan Atay, who has been under emotional turmoil for some time, drinks too much after dinner, and loses control. On Captain’s orders, they take the unconscious officer to his cabin. After a couple of hours, it becomes evident that this is not a simple state of intoxication, but the acme of a crisis that has been building up for many years. Volkan Atay has been abandoned to an orphanage at a very young age, and has been sexually abused since childhood. When, at his teens, he finally runs away from the orphanage, he falls prey to an even worse environment of violence and abuse. Finally, he makes a fresh start buy buying decent clothes with money he has seized from a whore, and finds a job with the help of the owner of the hotel he stays at. He feels guilty because of having built this life with money stolen from that poor woman, and looking at the picture of her son, which he has stolen together with the money, he promises himself to pay her back sometime. However, when he learns one day that the whore was his own mother, whom he never knew, he receives another heavy blow.
Meanwhile, through Volkan’s incoherent babbling, Captain Ege has already learned more about his officer than he ever wished to. On the one hand, because of the responsibility he feels for a subordinate, he feels being drawn inside the sad story; and on the other, he is reckoning with his own life with his wife, from whom he has been separate for the most part. His wife is a strong woman; and raising two children all by herself, as well as her solitary struggle both physically and spiritually, has not crushed her. In a phone conversation from the middle of the ocean, the Captain learns that his wife has started to write a new novel about the love story between a mythological albatross and the daughter of the god of winds. The story of the albatross is in fact their own story, and tells about two lovers who can never live together in spite of a great love. The stories of the Captain, the albatross in the narrative, and of another real albatross seeking shelter on the ship will intertwine.
As Volkan Atay’s crisis grows, the real reason becomes clear. He has had an intense love affair with Ivan, a Russian sailor he has met at the restaurant where he worked, and who has made him experience feelings the existence of which Volkan was not even aware of. Because of Ivan’s love of the sea,
Volkan has also started to work in the ships with the hope of meeting his lover again one day. However, on Ivan’s sudden death because of a freak accident at sea, Volkan has lost his will to live. In his intense grief, he identifies himself with a desperate albatross sheltering on the ship, and when the Captain, who has problems with the same albatross, shoots and kills the bird; Volkan feels crushed and throws himself to the cold waters.
Captain Ege is not willing to abandon one of his own in the sea. Although he is aware that Volkan’s chance of survival is indeed negligible in the cold and stormy weather, he turns the ship around with a very difficult maneuver, and they go to search for the man at sea. The struggle with the waves is impossible for the old ship, and when the engines stall, they are forced to make an SOS call. As a coincidence, the call is picked up by a nearby Russian ship, which comes in with hopes of a prize bounty at the open sea. The Captain orders all of his men into the lifeboats, and after he is sure they shall be saved, just like the albatross in the story, he goes on for his final reckoning with life, love, and the sea.
EXCERPTS FROM TURBULENCE
Love is the desire to be loved. You want to be loved, and I want to be loved. You have fears that I don’t know about. For a moment he stopped and looked at the boy’s face. There was only pity in Ivan’s eyes. He tucked a lock of hair behind the boy’s ears. Volkan was very near the lover who embraced him, who smelled him like a flower, but he still could not overcome the apprehension in his eyes. Each movement of his body sensed that he was very happy in this man’s arms, that he was being drowned in pleasure; but he still had so many questions in his head. Although Ivan tried to disperse the clouds in the head of this young boy that he held in his arms, he could not succeed very well. I don’t know why, but I feel that you are in pain. Although I sense that you want to bond in essence, there are reasons preventing you. It might be having been hurt. Can you tell me I’m wrong?
Volkan felt as if being swept off by a divine power. Ivan caressed the boy compassionately.
I have always thought that love has a creative, a healing power in our lives. Of course I don’t deny the stress and the pain at the end. The lover tries to improve himself so as to be elevated in the eyes of his beloved. One questions, evaluates, observes, cares for one’s self as never before; as it is the beloved’s only wish to be appreciated by his lover. I have danced for you last night. All I tried to do was to look nice, to feel nice, to make you like me. Volkan listened in silence. He could not take his eyes away from the beloved. Although he couldn’t understand parts of what was being said, he was sure they were beautiful words. Ivan was also silent. He weighed what he had just said. He did not want to lecture this boy or irritate him. All he wanted was to leave a nice feeling in this heart which had only been crushed and wounded so far, and to be remembered nicely.
Even if not today, you can transform love into passion tomorrow. I know that you are desolate.
If only you could know the richness in your soul, you can open for yourself a way festooned with flowers. This is not difficult at all, you know? You will have to have a little self confidence.
The room was buried in silence for a while. Volkan had an uneasy feeling inside.
“I don’t know, dear Ivan,” he said. “I’ve told you I’m but a worthless pebble. People take the pebbles in their hands to make them step on the sea, and take pleasure in throwing them as far away as possible. What is important for them are just the ripples on the water… who has ever thought about the pebble sinking to the bottom, can you tell me?”
Ivan’s eyes were sad. “I have never known anybody as refined, as lucid as you are,” he said.
They both fell silent. Ivan couldn’t resist. He took his lover in his strong embrace, pulled him towards himself, and kissed him. “I adore you always saying everything straightforward, my honest and true darling,” he said.
Volkan intertwined his legs with those of his lover. He held him very tight. His head fell on his lover’s chest like a rare dark flower. His lips lightly touched his lover’s nipples.
The pleasure of this first intimacy had given him the greatest satisfaction he had ever known.
* * *
Ege Giritli remembered very well a Saturday evening, years back. He was then the Chief Mate.
“You sailors thrash about like a fish out of water when you abandon the sea,” the Captain’s wife had said. That evening, everyone but the Captain and his wife had laughed at these words.
Again, every one of them, including himself, had affirmed them. The Captain, on the other hand, had objected, and how tired he was of the sea at the time. Ege Giritli suddenly remembered that the captain was now lost at sea, and he pursed his lips in pain.
Now he himself was tired of the sea, his feelings were like these rising waters, he could bellow any minute from exhaustion. Still, he sighed a deep sigh in apathy. Looking for a long time after the albatross who, with its slim wings, sailed past like a ghost, he started to speak with irony:
“What is it that you want? We’ve been sailing in the same direction since days.”
The albatross went on drawing S’s outside the portholes without moving its wings. The captain watched it with a concealed admiration. He could not deny that the bird dispersed of the pessimism lurking in him. He could easily say that he and this sea bird had a predestined friendship.
Thus, he greeted him as if greeting a friend.
The Albatross returned his greeting, and approached like an old friend.
You are too angry… You have been shaken by all these goings on, I think you’d better stop drinking and go to bed. The Captain sighed deeply, and puffed…
“I wish I could sleep. I can’t. I can’t go to sleep unless I pass out from drinking.”
So you will drink until you kill yourself. The captain affirmed Keix sympathetically with his head.
“Hey, I begin to like you. You are not a stupid bird like they say you are.”
Stupid bird!... who is stupid, I wonder, murmured Keix.
“Did you say something?”
Your philosophy of life, if you’d known how it interests me.
“I didn’t get what you said.”
I don’t know, either. It just came up. I would have liked to decipher you. For some reason, I believe that if I can decipher you, I will have achieved human awareness.
“I take back what I have just said. You really are a stupid bird. If you believe that by deciphering me you will achieve human awareness… I laugh at that. Do you know, we have a fine saying. It is mostly used for idiots…”
The captain offered the cognac bottle in his hand to Keix.
“Drink, you feather-brained. Perhaps your numbed brain would fire up, eh?”
No way! Your aggressive manners explain that you refrain from answering.
The captain sighed deeply.
“Did I decipher myself, do I know what is it that I really want, so that you can decipher me, Keix? Is it easy to decipher someone?”
Keix squinted his eyes and drew back his shoulders.
Look, you speak more lively now. Why are you always joking around? As far as I can understand, you do not take life seriously at all.
“You will lose it if you take life seriously, but I always take my job very seriously.”
Do you think you distinguish your job from life?
“Doesn’t it have to be that way? My job on the one hand, all trivialities on the other.”
What do you consider as trivialities?
Are you afraid of the storm?
“Eh!... Enough is enough.”
Are you afraid of the water?
“You are annoying!...”
You will reply these for yourself tomorrow, if not today.
Ege huffed and puffed in desolation, and walked around in his cabin nervously. He downed the drink in the glass. For a moment he sat on the sofa. He put his elbows on the desk, and took his face between his hands. He was muddled. Then he took his hands off his face. Now he started to laugh uncontrollably.
“Stupid bird, are you trying to question me? What would I explain?”
He asked this in a serious, calm manner. “What do you want to learn? If you’d like, if you have time, I can open up my heart to you. If you’d like, I can tell you about my dreams, my thoughts, my job, my family, my children, the women and the whores in my life.” The captain nervously grumbled.
“Do you also want to know how many times I have killed my wife in fits of jealousy on these voyages?
The last time I killed her, even I don’t know how many times I have plunged the knife in her frail body.
Her mauled body rests on the bottom of the ocean. No clues. A different meal for the sharks, eh?
Don’t stay silent, say something…” The man needed to wet his lips with drink again. “Do you have such maddening secrets? Speak up, you stupid bird. If you can’t speak, sing with those stupid guttural sounds you make. Say something… Do you have such secrets, eh, do you?” The captain sat on the sofa, covered his face with his hands, and began to sob loudly.
“The fact is, I am not worthy of her love. Why did she love me? What did she find in me? Why did she not abandon me till today? I have never understood this. I don’t know what is behind all this silence, all this acceptance. I could never learn about her secrets. She looks so simple. She is either very stupid, or extremely clever… She is a simple soul who never complains of anything.” The man took off his clothes in annoyance. He went into the shower. When he came out, the albatross was gone. He looked at where Keix stood a moment ago. “Is it easy to decipher someone, you featherbrained?
Who has ever deciphered anyone? You want to start an evolution. Come on, decipher me if you can. I could not decipher anybody so far.” He licked his bottom lip as if chewing it. “Could I decipher myself, so that I can decipher another?”
* * *
Captain Ege Giritli stared at the distance. His wife was as far away as a distant point. With each passing day the distance grew, but the damned woman was as strong as an atomic nucleus. He could never kill her; if he ever tried to do so, he was sure that she would be getting back at him as millions of, billions of pieces. “I will not rest easy in this world with or without her,” he murmured.
The last thing to do now was to think about her.
He stared at the horizon again. His wife was still there, distant as a point, staring back at him.
She looked challenging. Come and get me if it’s easy, she was saying. Come and destroy me if you can! Ege chewed his lips and cursed inwardly. His was convulsed in anger. Volkan Atay, as much as you are a parasite, also so is my wife. Parasites like you also have such an irresistible fighting force that to tell you the truth, you are insufferable, damn you! You always want to be the center of attention.
Just like you do now.
Even in his anger, Ege could not turn his eyes away from the turbulent waters of the ocean.
His face was flexed. He remembered the things that Volkan Atay had told him one night, while talking about the dramas in his life. I think that all these things that you have experienced are lies, that you are slyly making fun of me. This is also a tactic. Bland tactics of a bland mind.
Volkan Atay had very calmly asked, “What is real anyway?”
“Reality is the lies you have been cooking up since days. You wish to distract us, to make fun of us. You are hungry for attention, are you not?”
“No,” had said Volkan, and had fallen silent.
“I don’t want to listen to this shit again. You will yourself blow up the bridge that you have been passing over since years, since no one else can blow it up or destroy it. Is that not so? You have to overcome your hate against people. Otherwise it will eat you up. This world behaves perfectly to no one. It has blown up some holes and gaps in all of us.”
He didn’t know for how long he stayed silent after saying these, but the only thing he remembered was what Volkan had peacefully said:
“Do you know what it means for me to live? You had to look at the mirror for a long time in order to understand this.” Then he had shriveled up in his bed… He looked like a dirty, filthy, oily, sticky, frail cormorant, but his dark eyes looked as sharp and ferocious as a wild animal newly to be domesticated. Then he had muttered confidently, “What‘s the trouble with you Captain, do you know?”
He had opened his eyes wide and stared at the dark eyes of the man as if challenging him:
“What? What is the trouble with me?” As if not wishing to touch something worthless, Ege Giritli had suddenly circled himself with his arms and sat back. He had thrown a nonchalant look down at Volkan Atay and said, “So tell me, what is my trouble?”
“Because you see yourself as the most precious, most sublime specimen of humanity, you want everybody else to see yourself as such. In other words, you want to rule, and you want to be as untouchable as you wish. You are not satisfied with wishing for everything you say to be affirmed, you also dominate everyone you meet. In other words, you think you do.”
Volkan Atay had stayed silent for a while, and then threw the ball to the other’s court by asking: “May I ask why you are laughing?” Captain Ege no more remembered why he was laughing that day. It must have been at the nonsense Volkan was speaking. But he remembered he had laughed aloud, had convulsed with laughter. He also remembered very well that Volkan had said, “This life isn’t easy at all.”
Captain Ege thought aloud this time: “No, this life isn’t easy at all. When it’s too hard, take the shortcut to terminate it. Poor man, just as you do now.”
Foamy sprays from the sea rose with the wind all the way to the windows of the pilothouse.
Turbulent waters beat the ship with heavy and shocking blows.
The captain came round when the Second Mate said “Captain..”
“Shut up!” he retorted angrily.
She was most surprised to receive a letter in the post from her one and only love after all these years, so unexpectedly.
What was happening to her? She burst into tears all of a sudden. There was something that really surprised her in the letter. She was cordially invited to a new life.
The young woman reread the letter, her lips trembling. Then she grabbed the photo on the sideboard and hugged it, brimming with joy.
“Yes, yes! Everything can change,” she thought. An unfamiliar, brand new feeling grew in her heart. This was faith in the mighty power of love. The burning flame inside her shone like pink roses on her cheeks. It was her past she was breathing when she dived into the sea of love like a fish that had taken the bait.
It was hard to believe her black and white world had turned into a multicolored panorama all of a sudden, but there, the fog had lifted at last. Looking out of the window and watching the blue sky, her long-forgotten laugh echoed in the room. Even the parrot forgot about their quarrel and jump up onto her shoulder. It whistled again and again. After a short pause it opened its beak in a smile: “Levent… Levent…”
Özlem stood frozen. This was a day full of surprises. The bird she thought had long forgotten its speech had started talking again. She smiled.
“You little rascal,” she said in a soft voice. It was years since she had kissed the parrot on its beak. It was long since she had scratched the top of its head. She remembered how it had never once said “Levent” since that day, as if it had sworn not to.
For years she had just given it its food and water and had withdrawn into her own world.
They had been living together for twenty years and for years without a word… She had begrudged it her attentions as if it was the bird’s fault. Levent wasn’t such a suitable name for a parrot but how else could she keep repeating its name? This was a cute bird of a bright green color which had come out of nowhere and landed on her windowsill one day. She had tricked him into coming inside with nuts. It was only a baby then. The red plumage around its neck only added to its appeal.