There Is Nobody Around

                                             Our voices become a hell for the Gods

                                                                     Until we conquer  the endlessness

                                                                                  Let us all remain silent

 

                                                                                                            Aydýn Þimþek

 

 

As  the sun was setting  at a distance, slowly and silently,  fear was entering the house. Fear started to settle everywhere, in each corner of the house silently. It was sneaky, fickle. The treacherous  night would appear revealing  its naked face within half an hour. They were making preparations inside, anxiously.  The kitchen was like an arsenal for the night.  A small spark would make the house become a heap of ashes. Four children. They are competing with each other to destroy the bombs. The knives, forks and all the incisory weapons with sharply pointed ends are being gathered and hidden under the beds or in the balcony. The housewife  too is gathering all the mines and explosives scattered around the living-room. She is murmuring a  folk song at the same time:

 

“I dwell in this  far away land, have a head ache,  feel dizzy,

My bread and soup  is served  only if I pay,

If only my brave brother would be by my side”

 

All  of the deadly weapons, as if they had  already been destroyed, were just lying motionless, side by side, on the beds. Their backs  were  not leaning against  the pillows. Their legs were hanging down from the sides of the beds. They were expecting to hear the loud knock on the door. They were listening very carefully. Their lips were moving wildly to say all the  prayers that  they knew. When the children were searching  for the answers of the difficult questions that could only be answered by God himself, the Lady of the House, reacted to their attitude in a serious but a compassionate tone  and said:

 

-Be quiet! You shouldn’t have behaved like that. You should be polite. God is testing your patience. Do you want  to become crippled because of your impudence?

 

The eldest of the answered:

 

- Have we done anything wrong to God? Why has he chosen us for testing?


The housewife remained silent.

 

They try to avoid each other’s looks in order to be able to hide the power of the night. They don’t speak. They wish whatever should happen to happen, and come to an end. Every night this expectency sinks heavily deep down into their hearts.


However, together with the sun smiling every morning, the dirt of the night was being  thrown far away from their hearts and they greeted life once again. The  Housewife used to make fun of the bruises on her face,  used to offer the flowers of the dawn to the night who used to stab them, with his knife,  from the behind, all of a sudden, unexpectedly. She tried to fill the hearts of her children with happiness.  The dark night, his hands clasped behind, staring  at the floor, with his head bent down, used to walk silently from the sitting room to the kitchen, from the kitchen  back to the sitting room.  He could  never   stand still beside the flower of the dawn. After saying ‘goodbye’ abruptly, he used to leave the house rapidly just leaving a certain amount of  money just enough for her  to buy food.


The voice of the man echoed:

 

“It comes and goes, never cry,

You know,  spring arrives after winter…”


They  stood up altogether. Their hearts trembled and shivered with fear, a feeling  that couldn’t be avoided…..They heard the loud knock at the door…The children were helpless….The Housewife opened the door with her heart wearing a steel armour. The words that he uttered  were just  like a slap on her face. The woman remained  silent. The words uttered were bold and indifferent. The man was filled with anger. He wished to hear the first  words that would start the war. The woman wanted to have peace. She imprisoned all the words under her tongue to keep  them from hitting  on  the wrong target. The man was an  enemy even to  his own vocal chords. He shouted. He observed the children who had attached themselves to the bed. The children  tried  to start a conversation wearing a mask of false happiness. They tried to make the man not to focus on the provocative words that he was about to utter. The woman was  preparing the dinner attentively. The man is singing a folk song:

 

“Sorrow  comes  not singly, it flows,

Exhausted, worn out, left bare foot”

 

Just as he was ready to eat the boiled rice with his spoon, changing his mind, he decides to dive into the soup with the spoon. He says all of a sudden:

 

-Isn’t there any fork in this houe?

 
-You can eat with a spoon more easily.


-Is it you to decide with what I will eat more easily? Get out! Bring a fork!

 

-The forks are dirty my dear…., what if you eat with a spoon?

 

 -This word ‘dear…’ becomes a challenge, as in an invitation to a war. The mumbles and grumbles:

 

-And, you now say ‘dear…’, eh?

The redness on his cheeks was as if blood  pouring out of his eyes. He grabbed the spoon tightly with his  fist. While he was trying to balance his body that was swinging and swaying, his hand opposed to and refused to obey his will. It hit the head of the Housewife. It came down on the head of the Wife.  Once again  and again. While the blond hair of the woman was being dyed in crimson, the children tried to get the spoon out of the fist of the man by force. Now the woman’s hair was wound around the man’s  hand. Her weak, thin and small body was swung towards  the bed.  It hit the floor and the table. The plastic plates flew up in the air and then  scattered all over the floor. The man threw away a small amount of golden hair that was wound around his fist.  And when the women tried to stand up…His palms turning  into two fists, hit her body. Once  again and again.

There was fire in every section of the house. In every corner. The children were struggling, twisting and turning and moving their arms and legs convulsively. The cries and screams were rising in the air and pouring  out of the house and filling in the streets growing larger and larger. The young people being chased after in the streets, the brushes  of paint scattered all over the street, plastic cans of paint, half written words and sntences on the walls of the houses. They had all lost the hopes of being completed. They have all intermingled. A young man in one corner of the street, cowering in fear, having been surrounded, getting kicked, trying to protect himself with his hands. The screams of the streets rising high into the sky. The rain drops, from the sky, were falling  down to the street, lonely and silently.

Nobody is  around. The neighbours have all  locked  their doors tightly. The volumes of the televisions were turned to their highest. They were playing the game of ‘we didn’t hear  anything and  we didn’t see anything’. The police was working overtime, at night. The police  was trying to clean the  blood of the students left on their billies. The blood was as if it  was glued on the billies. It could not  be cleaned any more.

And God?

And the prayers? The meaning  of the prayers are totally unknown. They are uttered only for the sake of God, and only  to call for help!

                        
And God….”

 

Tekgül ÖZCAN

 

(ÖZCAN, Tekgül, 2005, Hiç Kimseler Yok “There is Nobody Around”, translated into English by Aysu ERDEN)