Engin Akyürek's story for the 31th edition (March - April 2020) of Kafasına Göre Magazine.

We had our own phrases. The phrases that did not start with "you" or continue with "I", phrases that were "we". Now I miss "us" more than I miss "you"...
I wrote a sentence on a blank piece of paper. Could this phrase be the beginning of a story? I don't know if I could start writing my story better. These phrases were the result of long glances between the blank paper and me. The distance between the desk and the chair, and my poor posture, caused a slight back pain. In fact, the effect of this wooden chair on my body made me write phrases about a finished relationship. I know that I couldn't begin my story with such phrases until I could sit in a comfortable chair, have a cup of good tea, at a good table. A slight pain in the lower back can alter the colour of the textures of each phrase. Just like when we have toothache, it can make our life tasteless and dark.
Who knows if perhaps all the pessimistic writings have been written due to the toothache and severe back pain of their writers...
The wind blowing through the window salude my face as if it changed my way of sitting, the bands between my neck and shoulders also straightened and I was unconsciously sitting at a better angle. A breeze that blew like a whisper had lessened the pain. Suddenly everything seemed easier. If it hadn't been for the whisper that crawled out the window into the room, I would still have had to endure the pain and sit at the same angle.
What do we have left when we lose someone? Her beautiful smile, the wonderful moments with her and the only feelings that were special to her... At least I wanted to feel that way and remember her.
When my back pain eased, the tone of my sentences changed, I made tea and cut the gap between the blank paper and me.
I have a special feature, usually I don't remember things that don't work for me. After ending a relationship, I would rather forget the bad memories that would become phrases in my mind.
I did the same thing when you left. I went to the balcony, took a deep breath and looked at the starry sky. When I closed my eyes, I released my breath, and when I opened them I could only see the last moments of a comet passing, fading away. Looking at the sky on a starry night is like looking into the past. Perhaps that comet would continue to collect everything that belonged to "us" and take it to another point in time. Another peculiarity of mine is that I only interpret the things that work for me...
I take a sip of tea and smile as if the comet had pierced me. Immediately I changed the colour of the shirt and sweater I was wearing so it wouldn't affect my writing.
There is a close line between memories and imagination. All you need to do is collect good memories, endorse phrases that previously only belonged to 'us'. When memories change shape and with the power of imagination, they come together; they become more significant than reality. That night we were looking at the stars, the sky was silent and the stars witnessed our conversation. How we laugh together... The sound of our laughter was deafening. Even seagulls would not flutter over our happiness.
After watching the comet, you showed one after another your beautiful dimples. I have lived so many times that night in my fantasies, now I doubt if there were stars and seagulls that night. Actually, neither you nor I were there... we were there...
My tea was over, going to the kitchen and pouring myself some fresh tea, I immediately wrote down a phrase that had reached the tip of my pencil automatically.
"Do you love me?"
Every time you asked this question, I looked at your smile as if I were hiding a phrase, kissing your cheeks as if I wanted to find it there and get it out. I also asked the same question:
"Do you love me?"
You looked into my eyes and sat silently looking at me. In fact, we use this question as a game to discover ourselves. Because after asking each question we were invited to shut up for a moment by the silence. Maybe I could have discovered the freckles hidden between your two eyebrows, or the stain on my upper lip that I hadn't noticed before.
I went to the kitchen with lightened steps with the glass of tea in hand. I poured the brewed tea and as I walked around the room with the cup of tea in hand, I thought about the phrases I intended to write.
When I was with you, I really didn't believe in the nonsense you always said about "living in the moment." It seemed to me nonsense and the (perfectionist) ideal of modern life. At the end I wanted to live by your side, I wanted to be in the past as well as in the present and the future. It was the same life in a three-dimensional time that made "us". Without looking to the future and without the emotions that we could not bring from the past, today loses its meaning. When I remembered the day we split up, the day we met made more sense.
You were the same mysterious woman behind the emails that reached my inbox.
"I read with interest your writings... I feel like I'm one of the women in your stories, I wish I had a chance to have coffee with you one day..."
Dozens of other messages like this, sent under different titles, had the entire inbox occupied. It was as if my polite responses to your emails made it more assertive. From my stories, you would come to concepts that my own mind had not reached.
"These are the concepts you wrote that I never even thought of. Honestly, I like it. This is what writing looks like, you can imagine something, but other people's imaginations will come up with something else. I don't know if you like my stories or not, but if your invitation to drink coffee is still valid, why not?"
Who was that woman who took new concepts from my writings and looked for emotions that I had not felt? There was no way I could stop being curious and start a new story... It was like I was going to fill that emptiness I always felt in my world, with her world. It was just a feeling, of course...
The air was getting dark, the sun was hiding, and the wooden chair was beginning to torture me again. The light shining through the curtains created a light shade on my blank paper. The same laziness that kept me from raising and lowering the curtain did not allow me to turn on the light in the studio. A phrase was caught between my fingers and my pencil. Until I made that sentence I couldn't get up from the wooden chair.
On a rainy day we met at a Café. From your writings, I could make a mental image of your soul, but I couldn't imagine your hair, your eyes, your body. I went to the coffee shop before our appointment, I was going to try to look for you among the people who came in there. Although I had no idea of your appearance, I felt that your hair, eyes and lips were as I thought. I supposed you were the way you should be. The door, with the sound of several bells and with some pendants, opened, and you got in. Before you came in, I took a look at the clock. You were four minutes and twenty-five seconds late. I arrived twenty-five minutes and forty seconds earlier. In the following meetings you always arrive early and I always arrive late. As if we have known each other for years, we looked at each other, stretched out our hands and said:
“Hello...”
We experienced a moment of beautiful familiarity, without the need for silence and determination that was created around us. Without putting a point between my phrases, you'd take the words and take them to another line. As with a large orchestra, play a song without a score and run at the same time... was the first step before becoming "us"...
The red sunset, filtered through the curtain, gave way to the darkness of the night.
I had started writing like a story of separation, but it was mine and I could reverse everything. It turned out to be a new blank book, I could write everything in a normal way. I received a text message on my phone when I was warming the cold tea with my lips:
"Hello , I went to the coffee shop, but I didn't see you. I hope you didn't mind..."
I dropped the phone, broke the story that began with "us" that was on the table and threw it in the trash. To get to the Café on time, I immediately changed my clothes. Apparently I was twenty-five minutes and 40 seconds late...


Translated by Engin Akyürek For Ever Puerto Rico

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