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HISTORY OF A SUMMER - Halid Ziya UŞAKLIGİL

HISTORY OF A SUMMER

I am like someone who can not breathe under an intense and terrible rainstorm. I want to get close to a wall for some time and strengthen my lungs a little inside this shower pouring down my head and to rest my self away from everybody and in a unique sole loneliness by talking with myself in a hurricane that takes me into its terrible cycle and spins me as well.
I suppose that I can list, divide and resolve on these paper sheets what boils between my temples with steam power. I hope that I can form the point of coincidence of my four loves and succeed in more closely seeing my cluttered heart that is close to fall down to pieces.
Four loves; four loves in one summer!... what a nice comedy could be written on this basis. If I was a drama writer, I would form the characters as follows:
Güzin: 17, Nevin: 16 years old, two sisters who were freed from an English governess who was discharged only last year... Güzin has yellow hazel eyes that shine like two stars continuously awaiting something to cause laughing to pass, searching and observing for the hidden. Long reddish hair that are mostly attached to the back of her head with four tortoise shell pins after being twisted.
She has thin and sensitive lips to smile and white, small teeth to show. She has a sharp tongue that later pushes the most severe jokes as an irritating pin that is ready to slowly appear between her lips and launch an arrow.
Flighty? She always talks about sedateness; however, to contradict herself, there is a canon of laughter ready to immediately explode in her mouth to bring down colorful candles over the most serious subjects.
Nevin. She is an opposite example of her sister; the yellow of the eyes were darkened to brown in her. Same color of hair are gathered on both sides with curly waves and released. This peevish girl (always) seeks an opportunity to get angry. After telling off everybody, she (still) finds the right in herself to complain of everybody. The thing that she gets angry most is the laughter of her sister. A small tease and a small smile is enough to flame the fire of her eyes with a lightning flash.
Her lips tremble, the pink color of her face takes fire with a red layer; now a flash, a terrible thunderbolt, then tears following a nervous crisis.
Aliye is 18, Samiye 15 years old. They are the daughters of Güzin's and Nevin's aunt, who came as guests to pass the summer together. Aliye has large, dreamy, blue eyes; Samiye, with her greenish mystic eyes, is reading a poem and the other appears as if she is planning a malice. Aliye has such a thin and tall posture that one thinks that she would be broken if she met a strong wind. This posture could not yet find time to grow and remains confined within nice fillings in Samiye.
Then a young man released unprotected and defenseless among these four dangers with an uncle that never gets out of the pigeon cage and the indifferent neglect of an aunt that closes her ears in her room downstairs not to hear the noise of her daughters, Güzide and Nevin;
Twenty two years old; after having passed four years at road works in provinces following graduation, he came to Istanbul to pass his summer leave and vacation there. An engineer; but all straight and regular lines of whose heart are broken in the middle of this square love that he can not ever succeed in making a right determination for his emotions...
I neglected one of the characters of the comedy: A face that can be neglected but has somehow an air of fineness and compassion surrounding her, therefore she has a life in this scene (drawn). Meliha! An orphan girl. How they told me that she was a far relative of our family! Of a deceased uncle...
Such a far relationship that it disappears like the sad face of poor Meliha.
She is the eldest of all, but appears to be the youngest. She is not beautiful: moreover, if I do not feel a deep mercy for the face of this lonely, sheltered girl whose youth is covered by a dull curtain with her eyes that are black and always look like weeping, her lips that appear to have slightly contracted from the sides with a painful smile and her simply and straightly combed black hair, for which apparently no effort is exerted to look nice, I can even call her ugly.
These are the characters of that comedy. The stage will show a waterside residence with a large garden of Çubuklu, that is close to destruction after a long desertion.
I want a painter to paint on the curtains of this stage a picture of the residence with its road extending under the old trees of the garden by darkening and looking like a green cave opened under the sea, its whispering waves that entrust their secrets to the breathing of the night and wish to conceal them in the dark greens of the mountains while the moon extends its head from above between two clouds like a woman who opens her window and looks at the sea with curious searching eyes at night and its large sofas that are supposed to still swing with an air of fright and fear collected by all winds in a desertion that lasted for years and its wide rooms.
What a nice comedy; but what a great tendency it has to turn into a tragedy!...
What a nice summer I am passing after four years of tiredness! I am now trying to reach a judgement by squeezing my head between my fingers and all memories and effects are crushed and mixed like butterflies stacked in excess in a small basket...
What happened? How did it start?... On the day that I arrived, they had newly moved in. They could not find time to settle yet. At first they welcomed me with my luggage, a relative's son that has not been seen for four years, a child of yesterday who had time to grow up in four years with a strangeness and timidity peculiar to today's young girls.
While I was confused about where to place my bag with the influence of these yellow, brown, blue and green eyes in the middle of them and uneasy to act due to having lived in a province since four years, Güzin was tightening her lips to hold her laughter and Nevin was puckering her small lips to avoid saying:
"Wherever did he come from?"
Aliye appeared to think what this man, whose identity she had forgotten, was and Samiye appeared to solved the problem of what might arise out of this unexpected visit.
I understood right at that moment that a great endurance and many measures were needed to find a quite honorable balance among these four influences; and these could only be thought about after a good sleep.
Where would be my room? A problem arose in this: İhsan Bey's room... At that moment, the ices suddenly melted. My aunt was asking them:
- İhsan Bey's room?
They were responding like readers reading altogether:
- Yes, İhsan Bey's room?...
Then rushes, dragged pieces from the goods that were not settled yet and things proposed to my choice...
While Güzin dragged the huge rugs brought by mistake from winter goods for the windows of the room to be assigned for me, Nevin grasped the leather coated armchair of her father and put it beside me with the recommendation:
- It is good to sleep on... While Aliye was thinking about where the fly-net to be placed on the bed can be, Samiye tried to carry my suitcase with an observation arising out of her curiosity against closed things.
Then, these four girls forgot about all the things of the house to be placed without giving an opportunity to the maidservants: İhsan Bey's room!...
This sentence was flying under the ceilings of the residence, which grumble as if accustomed not to hear any voice for a long time and awakening with this noise. Güzin burst out of laughter while dragging the curtains with the tips of her finger as if holding something dirty; Nevin wanted to weep due to her anger if she would not be ashamed as Meliha, standing far away "Hit" while lifting the chair; Aliye straightened the pleats of the fly-net that she eventually found inside a large bundle by combing it with her thin fingers; Samiye was carrying the suitcase by weighing it to understand what it contained...
At last, this important work started: Aliye and Samiye assumed the duty of set up the bed. Güzin abandoned the rugs and decided to hang white tulle curtains on the windows which reflected a pale emerald color to the room with their pale green shutters. Nevin placed a chair on a four legged table that they brought together with her sister who threw out the high-heeled slippers from her feet to provide her balance, but was still swinging on the chair like falling down with black slippers which were certainly size thirty five, getting angry at her sister who was resounding with her laughter half from fear and half from flightiness, and bored of holding the table and the chair, she was saying:
"- Look, if I leave now... You locked me in here".
Aliye was now looking at her hands tired of the heavy irons of the bed with large breaths; Samiye was getting closer to me and making a joke with eyes full of secret:
"- What will happen to these rugs? Would you like me to arrange something on the wall between the two windows from these? Of course you should have some photographs to attach on it in your case, give them to me..."
I started to get surprised from that day. Poor Meliha! She also seemed to have been surprised that day like me. With a deep weariness on her face where a rare and timid smile was at times supposed to shine, she was walking back and forth wearily, swinging as if some place of her body was fractured to carry goods to these four workers, as she was told to bring a carafe and a glass or a prayer rug and a small table to be inserted to the corner.
Eventually, after Samiye placed the photographs that she took out of my suitcase with screams of joy, particularly those of the girls that won in European beauty contests, into the folds of the rugs, Aliye tied two wings of the fly-net with a lilac cord, Güzin lifted the bottoms of the curtains and Nevin placed a beaded cloth on the glass near the carafe, they all prepared to leave. Güzin leaned with a nice flightiness and said:
- Here sir, your room!
Nevin seemed to get angry at this intimacy that her sister gained within two hours. After Aliye finally glanced at the lilac cord and Samiye first to the beauties and to me with a strange smile, they left me alone...
Oh! How deep I slept that night! The sole sleepy night since I arrived at here! Since then, my poor sleeps pass through such crises!...
It was two days later; I think we were completely intimate then. The sexual difference (between us) was forgotten. If they forced themselves some more, they would almost call me "Oh, sister!..."
I should confess that I was also prepared to this intimacy. I considered it necessary to go down to Beyoğlu to correct the fault of not bringing presents to these young ladies while coming. Anyway, I also needed things to make myself worthy to this group of chic young girls: Silk pleated shirts, large, bulgy ties, cute, chained studs, two or three canes!...
I was not thinking about what they would like most; for a moment I said "For example one piece of cloth for sewing dresses for each..." to myself: but as the clothes were stacked before me I was having difficulty in choosing the colors. Then I decided: I was saying "Colors close to that of their eyes..." However, I could not be satisfied with this; I was willing to buy more, to bring all the beautiful things that I saw in all these shops to them and spread them before their eyes full of surprise and joy.
Then, while I was buying one bottle of cologne to myself, I said: "Let me buy perfumes for them too..." I also wanted to match these (with their owners). "For example" I said: "A perfume that causes one to dream, a thoughtful and anxiety-causing one for Aliye: Lilac... Something high and fine, sharp, as if biting one's soul for Nevin: Carnation is the best... Something easy, coquettish, flighty, as if easily escaping for Güzin: Violet... I would like to buy such a thing for Samiye that would contain one drop of hazardous poison in its meaning. Something that would have a lung-piercing dagger beneath its silk touch to the soul, that would resemble the treachery weapon shining in darkness: Iris..."
I wanted to buy something from every shop that I passed from. Moreover, I did not forget the musical interests of these young ladies: A new package containing new songs joined the other packages, the number of which was gradually increasing. At last I bought a large basket from "Bazar Alman". I was thinking of an opportunity to use this basket as well. I was saying:
"- If we go to a picnic at Beykoz pasture, we will put our food in it..."
When I placed all these things (that I bought) into the basket and would order the porter "To the bridge!...", only then I remembered that I had forgotten Meliha, that destitute girl, that indistinct face.
I can not tell the feeling of mercy and the anger against myself that I had at that moment. I had to buy something for her, venturing the danger of missing the boat. "But what?", I was saying. A piece of cloth, but would it be black as the color of her eyes? Then I ran again. I felt pleasure for not violating this rule. A perfume? Something weary, faint, sad and sore: For example a rose; just like her own grievous state and attitude...
I bought a cloth for sewing a dress in a color close to black and a rose perfume. But I thought that she would secretly know that these were bought afterwards... I had a fear until the basket came to the residence and was taken upstairs.
They were all upstairs and when the basket was placed in the middle of the sofa, they crowded together by it:
Güzin was clapping her hands saying: "What are these?". Nevin was looking at this flightiness with an intense scolding glance. Aliye was imagining a poem flying over this basket and opening her eyes, and Samiye was slowly approaching and opening a hole with her finger on one of the packages from the opening of the basket.
One minute was enough, they all warmed up with the basket, got close to it and lined up around it. I was making an explanation:
- I had many missing items. Today, I made use of going to Beyoğlu... I could not have brought any gift to any of you; what can you bring from the country? Should I bring silver belts? At last I thought that...
Here, the natures of these for different young girls joined in a point of agreement: Curiosity!...
What on earth did he bring? Then the packages were started to be opened. Initially, they wanted to take them out within an order. It was started that way; but then the order was upset. Before Samiye opened the package, Güzin was inserting her hand inside the basket from the other side. Even my uncle and aunt had came upstairs to see this situation. The girls all seemed to have gone back to childhood.
Only Meliha was looking with the dull glance of her black eyes from far without any smile and joy. What if nothing had to come out of this basket for this poor girl, this destitute girl who did not also have the consolation of not being ugly?...
Güzin was saying: "What is this stick?", pretending to smoke like an addicted seaman by putting it in her mouth; Nevin was trying to pull it out of her mouth, saying:
- It should be for my father, leave it!... From the other side, Samiye was getting surprised with the exclamation:
- Ah! Here is a cloth in light shoot color, this must be mine...
And to receive the answer of this question, she was looking at me with her green eyes.
More ahead, Aliye spread polkas and waltzes, and appeared surprised as nothing like a dream, like a poem came out of this package. They all took their packages; only Meliha's packages were left there. I took them and said:
- Miss Meliha... She suddenly paled, her lips slightly trembled. She could not find any word to thank to me...
After that day a warm air of acquaintance replaced the ices that started on the first day.
That night they all dealt with something. Güzin and Nevin were trying the songs that came that day with their music knowledge remaining from their governess, while Aliye and Samiye on the other side were discussing the model of their dresses; they were saying:
- Come on sister, please find the scissors!... with the courteous voice that they used when they charged Meliha with a service.
Night were still a little cold; we could not go out after dinner. I had writings to review and revise and drafts to make fair copies of. During daytime, I was going downtown almost everyday to see friends lost for four years and to wander along many places of Istanbul full of memories. I could only reserve my nights to deal with my works.
One evening, I do not know how, but I was either lazy to sharpen a broken pencil or alleged the decrease of ink in my inkwell... I wanted to join this group that evening whose noise had been reaching to me from far since one week.
Leaving my drafts and plans on their own, I left (my room). They used to gather on the other direction of the residence, viewing the sea. I went there. There was a terrible noise in the room. An infernal gallop on the piano was waking up the last fairies of silence of the residence, which was accustomed to silence and peace...
I slowly pushed the door. I first saw Nevin by the piano. While her left hand was uttering the tunes and melodies of a rapid measure on low notes, her right hand was making tricks making one fly with the small ringing of a bell on high notes.
Then, in the air formed by this gallop, Güzin was holding Aliye with one of her arms and Samiye with the other and dragging them along the wide room from one end to the other like a southwest wind that overflows by confusing its direction to blow, by swinging her head on two directions in a state specific to drunken English seamen, stretching her legs forward in a semicircle and with the burst of laughter suppressed by the noise of the piano.
I completely opened the door. They did not see me as if flying inside a running cloud; then these three girls broke when they suddenly turned. Aliye burst to one side. Samiye escaped behind the piano: Güzin stayed in the middle in confusion. Nevin turned her head; Tısss!... A deep silence and calmness after the storm breaking a while ago...
At that moment I wanted to retreat; if they were ashamed of me, I would go back to my writings then...
They all objected (to my wish to go back); they had stopped by then. "Always by my side..."
Güzin was adding smilingly:
- Suddenly...
Aliye's eyes were saying:
- Before getting accustomed...
Then Samiye proposed her sister to play a slow song to keep me there. Nevin, appearing angry against the interference of her gallop, left her place to Aliye who advanced reluctantly.
Now Güzin was inviting everybody to be silent, saying: "Let's be silent!" by opening her hands and extending her lips, deepening her voice, with a sedate and serious pose like a sermonizing protestant priest. Then, looking at me with a smiling glance, she said:
- Aliye always plays poetic songs!
Aliye was thinking of what to play by raising her head a little, searching for something among her dreamy musical memories. Then, following a light entry, her fingers started to play fluently.
Samiye said from far with her green eyes of malice:
- Chanson d'Amour; yes, a love song. What my sister plays instantly for especially you is a love song..." she seemed to mean. Yes, this was a poem and love song. It was something flying smoothly like an injured pigeon that all blue-eyed girls should like. Nevin was looking at me from far and sending the message:
- Oh!... We have to listen to that now!...
For a moment I happened to see Meliha far at the corner of the room beside the lamp trying to complete one edge of her dress. Doubtlessly, she was not unfamiliar with this poem either. Now her needle was hanging down and she was staying still with her eyes on an indefinite point. Then, when she understood that I was looking at her, she took her needle and lowered her eyes.
Poor girl! I was perceiving very well that at that moment the eyes of this poor child, who was sure not to be loved, were trembling with the sensation created by that love song.
Now I was looking at Aliye. I was saying to myself:
- Here is a young girl dreaming of the life in clouds of dream of spring mornings, who sees them painted in various colors of light from far away. When she reaches out her hand, she will see that those clouds are nothing but fume and they will escape from between her fingers and with what an impact will this heart full of dreams be broken then!...
I would continue to think in this way if Nevin did not clutter my dreams by passing in front of me with an angry attitude.
Samiye followed her. These naughty girls were bored of the still air of that love melody. Güzin was shouting:
- Where are you going?...
Now sedate and silence was interrupted. While Aliye was swinging, having released herself to the sleepy waves of the music as if not hearing that noise, Nevin, Güzin and Samiye left one by one. Now we were alone with Aliye: not to account for Meliha...
Then Aliye somehow woke up; turned on her chair and looked at me with a long glance. She was awaiting something from me. But I was embarrassed, I could not find a single word to say.
- I wonder, she said, if you are like me? I like this sort of things...
In response -meanwhile, Meliha's needle was hanging down again- I said:
- You made me dream in a poem!...
I thought that a pink color appeared on Aliye's face. Now the door was opened. Nevin was carrying a lute, Samiye and Güzin one tambourine each and they entered one by one forming a parade. Nevin was saying:
- Our music fairies woke up this evening. Meliha rose her head with surprise mixed with fear.
Suddenly, I perceived a breeze in my heart. I was saying: "Poor child, they will make fun of you!..." to myself. This was (probably) an idea set forth by Nevin by making Meliha a means of laughter to entertain me.
Meliha did not want to accept; they all surrounded her and were insisting. For one moment Samiye turned to me and said:
- I think she waits for your suggestion too. Desperate girl!...
I was examining the musical note book on the piano to pretend not hearing and not to be obliged to respond. She, absolutely after this expression, had to accept. I firstly heard the hoarse voice of the lute...
They all moved aside (to one side). Meliha was a little reluctant, but sedate and serious with an increasing endurance, unwilling to give an opportunity to the mocking attacks ready to be launched around her. Samiye and Güzin left the tambourines (that they held) on the floor, waiting for the "solo" played by Meliha in the lute.
All these piano artists seemed to watch a child's play against this small instrument (compared with the piano). Meliha was not raising her eyes in order not to see them and was seeming resolved to deserve as little as possible to be mocked, if she would be mocked anyway.
Her poor heart was groaning with a deep sorrow in the sobs of this Sûzinâk* solo and it seemed as if her heart was crying with the pain and desperateness of her life in the melodies pouring in drops.
Now I was looking at her and saying by myself:
"- Go on, cry, you ugly, destitute, hopeless girl... You can not find anybody to love you; you will not enjoy anything in this life but deprivation and with only a crying lute in your hand, with these sorrowful groans of Sûzinâk air, you will find the flowers of all your desires wetted, withered and poisoned with tears..."
Now she had completed the piece that she was playing and was staying there as if she was herself surprised to have had the courage to play even this much. The ones surrounding her had forgotten their desires to joke against this sad music and remained as they were for some time.
Then, when they saw Meliha having completed her piece, left her lute to one side, submissive to her destiny awaiting their request, they all prepared. Samiye and Güzin took their tambourines with an attitude of confidence in their voices. Aliye, to join them with voice I suppose, leaned a little backward. Nevin was looking for something to serve as a tambourine.
Meliha started again. Samiye and Güzin could found strength for only one or two lines; then they were ashamed upon looking at me and concealed their faces behind their tambourines in laughter. Only Nevin was courageous. Now she was using a tin tobacco box cover as a tambourine and singing by intentionally distorting her voice, making a sour face, tilting her head, vibrating the melodies, swelling her throat muscles to rise to high pitches that she could not reach, taking various strange positions and imitating the lute which was lost among the laughter of Samiye and Güzin:
She was making strange tricks on (a...), extending it more and more. They were all having fun. Only Meliha was sedate. She appeared to play only for herself. Then Nevin suddenly got bored of this game; she threw the tin cover in her hand, pulled the lute from the hands of Meliha and tossing it, she said:
- Stop!
After that night, my writing-planning works always remained by themselves. There was a card play the following night. The other night, a promenade at the quay was tried...
I was too lazy to go down to Istanbul in daytime too. I was fishing in the morning and joining the garden promenades of the young ladies in the evenings. I should have been passing such a quiet, silent and comfortable time among these sweet occupations; how vain it was!... I am in such a terrible storm...
There was a problem that I did not need to examine by myself. I was in love. Yes, the desires of my whole youth confined (until then) suddenly flooded and released me to the waves of a rainstorm of love. This was certain. All my depressed nights were witnessing this truth. But which one? Oh, if only it was possible to know, which one do I love?...
Eventually I fully understood yesterday, yes it is yesterday now, that I am a ruined man.
In the morning, something arose out of the devilish mind of Samiye:
- When will we make the special ceremony of (our) mantles? (she asked). They all adopted this idea. They all said:
- Today!...
But how? This was a point of dispute. Güzin was looking for a deserted pasture to run. Aliye proposed a poetic promenade to Yuşâ creek (famous of Beykoz). Nevin supported the idea of making a small promenade at the quay, then returning to the garden and playing with the ball. This latter, this ball game blew all of them like a wind. Güzin was clapping her hands.
At that moment, they remembered Meliha. Meliha, who was always reposing at desolate places according to Nevin, was called:
- Meliha!... Meliha!... Where is the ball of Miss?
This was a large rubber ball that the English governess left, which Meliha could hardly hold between her thin arms.
Then they all wore their mantles. Meliha was alleging her tiredness and was reluctant as if trying to escape from something horrible. They insisted. They said:
- That is you!... You are always a wet blanket...
Meliha had to accept it unwillingly. The smiling glances of my uncle and aunt were viewing the first preparations of this important trip.
When we arrived at the quay with Güzin wearing her straw yellow, Nevin light brown, Aliye navy blue, Samiye light shoot and Meliha black mantle and with fine tulle cloths on their heads flying with naughty flutters, a parade of two per row was arranged: a parade consisting of Güzin and Aliye at the front, Nevin and Samiye following them and me and Meliha behind them...
At first, they were all keeping serious with a sedate arising out of the mantles. Meliha was walking by my side silently with her eyes on the stones of the quay. I was silent too. I feel a deep sorrow suppressing my heart with this girl. For a moment I wanted to take that large ball from her arms. I said:
- Will you give it to me Miss Meliha? It is bothering you! She did not raise her eyes but said with a voice making it clear that she could bear any difficulty:
- No problem...
They were now talking among themselves with a gradually increasing chirp. A sweet wind of the morning was giving a slight movement to this colorful bunch of flowers in front of me. I was saying to myself:
- What a pleasure! Living a joyful life among this bunch of flowers. But what a pity! This poem's life will last for only one day; tomorrow, these will all fly away. Should I not pick even one flower from this bunch? Oh, if only I had known, which one?...
Güzin suddenly turned to me and said:
- Shall I tell you something? I am bored. Walking like that makes no sense to me; shall be return?
This question triggered all of them; we returned to the garden before they received my opinion. They were saying: "To the garden... To the garden!..."
Now that they had already tasted the game, they were running by forgetting the sedate of their new mantles, without caring for drawing the surprise of rare visitors of the quay on themselves. Just upon entering the garden Güzin seized the ball from Meliha's hand and a small fist hit so efficient to make one surprised as to how tiny hands directed it threw the ball to that wooded road, which looked like a green sea cave.
Nevin was angry: What would those who saw them from the quay say? Would it not be seen here from the railings of the garden? Her sister would not ever grow. What if she had waited for two more minutes?...
Then they all entered the green road running after the ball. Now, except for Meliha, they were all like school children bursting out to the garden as soon as the final bell for the class rang. This indifferent and carefree joy also dragged me in a current consuming all my power. Firstly Güzin wanted to get rid of her mantle, took it off and folded it. She said:
- Meliha!... and threw it into her arms like a ball. The others followed her. Now Meliha's arms were filled with mantles.
I wanted to free her. I took these from her arms and hung them one by one on a tree branch. Meliha was reluctant to take off her mantle and seemed certainly resolved not to take it off by alleging that she would get cold. Within this group of mad girls who raised their skirts from both sides and attached them with needles, she looked like a black monument.
Güzin was telling the game to her friends in the middle. Those two sisters would be the leaders of opposite units with the authority they assumed due to their proficiency. Aliye and Meliha, and Samiye and I would be divided into these two units. The aim of the game would be not to drop the ball on the ground.
- That's it!... Come on Nevin!...
A small fist hit of Nevin at that moment: After forming a line in the air by revolving, the ball fell with a feeble loving inclination into the arms of Güzin who raised a little on her feet and retreated by following the fall of the rising ball with her eyes in the air. She stepped on the tips of her feet, raised her hands up, extended her face inside the white cloth flying on her head and sweetly tilted her neck in a manner that the eyes, following the ball were falling into these young arms with a harmonious fall.
The game started. Aliye and Samiye were quite proficient. I and Meliha were funny with our feebleness. They were mocking with me and getting angry at Meliha. How tired Meliha became every time she tried to throw the ball!...
The game was getting hotter, the contest between two sisters was turning into a war that should be completed defeated as conquered at the price of anything. Güzin started to get frightened of Nevin's twelve points and took off her head scrap too to be more free and threw it on the grass. She raised the ball with her left hand and hit it with her fist with all her power this time, so that she sent the ball to a distance that was never reached.
However, this hit shook her so much that her hair forming one or two groups behind her head were released. Tortoise shell pins fell on the ground. Nevin shouted:
- Stop!... She did not want to lose time and grasped her hair with one hand and bent, bent them...
I was picking up the pins from the ground. Suddenly she extended this group of reddish gold behind her head spreading an air from her sweated body with warm scents and with her chest swelling by frequent breathes. She said:
- Will you pin them?
I was feeling a desire that I could hardly stop to fondle, hold and rumple them as I felt the touch beneath my hands. She was as if irritated. She was tucking her neck with screams:
- You will sting!... I was not willing to finish, I wanted to scatter these hair and tie them again like that... I wanted to upset them and gather again as I started to finish. At last when I was finished, she said to Nevin:
- Come on!...
Meanwhile I saw Meliha leaning on a tree with a pale color, I think due to tiredness. She was ill, badly ill...
I was up to approach her when Aliye came close to me:
- My knees are aching badly from tiredness; shall we go over there.. Look, there are stones there!... she was saying.
Now Güzin and Nevin started to play again with a new speed. I followed Aliye. She ran a little and went up to a quite large stone ahead of the road on the edge. I was following her slowly. She sat down. I was standing opposite to her. As she opened the transparent and bright horizons of her large blue eyes and it seemed as if a pink dust was jetting towards all her face from her white throat, she said:
- Why do not you sit down? There is enough room for you. Then I sat down too.
Now in this narrow place the bodies of both of us warmed due to fatigue were touching each other. She was not looking at me any more. At that moment, she was not willing to show the waves of desire passing from the blues of these eyes. Suddenly I held her hand to see these eyes in that state:
- Your hand is burning, how tired you are!... I said. She did not raise her eyes. She wanted to respond, but could not. I only felt a shiver in this small, thin and warm hand staying inside my hand with a complete surrender. This should continue; however, Nevin's voice was calling for me at that time...
They quitted the game too. They were requesting their mantles, felling a little cold. Nevin was angrily saying to me:
- Take the mantles (from those high branches) as you put them there. This was quite a hard thing because I had thrown them on a quite high branch. I wanted to take them reaching out my stick. The one on the top fell down. Nevin was counting:
- One!...
I could pick the second with the tip of my stick, it slowly descended; Nevin repeated:
- Two!...
Third one was hanging down. I reached out my hand and jumped to hold it from one side. I pulled it without hurry in order to avoid tearing it.
- Three!...
Fourth one was still on the branch. It was not possible to reach that either by jumping or with the stick. Nevin lost her patience:
- See, mine is still there. Find a remedy; I want my mantle...
The other all surrounded us and were watching laughingly. Meliha spoke for the first time and said:
- If you want, I can fetch a chair. Nevin did not like this remedy:
- We will have to wait for the chair for two hours... she was saying. Then she suddenly found a remedy:
- Wait, wait! You will stand under the branch. Join your hands -she was joining my hands with each other- clamp your fingers like that... Here is a ladder... Can you lift me if I step on here? Like that, leaning a little more... After I step, you will slowly straighten...
They objected to that. Güzin was saying:
- You will fall...
Aliye:
- He can not lift... Samiye's eyes were smiling and Meliha was turning her head not to see.
Nevin did not listen to them. She should certainly make what she thought. She took off her shoes. They were all looking at us. she placed her tiny plump feet inside her black socks on the step formed by the locking of my two hands. She was holding my head with her hands and trying to find balance with small screams.
I was leaning down a little, when I straightened, I could not stand still and was swinging; her legs on this shaking support were also trembling. These small feet were sinking into my hands and their warmth was radiating from my palm. Nevin was shouting at me:
- Do not shake... One more minute.. Here... It is hanging down.. We will pull it now... Do not shake, I will fall...
And I do not know how, but her feet slowly slid from my hands and her body slipped. With a scream mixing with a laughter, Nevin fell down into the ring formed by my arms that were unwilling to unlock, into a small circle full of heartbeat with the treasures of her complete youth. They should not unlock, they were unwilling to do so...
But Nevin broke the circle with a small revolt; with an anger ready and searching for a reason to burst on every occasion, she was saying:
- You made me fall!...
Samiye told that it was time to return:
- I am hungry!... she said. Then everybody noticed that they were hungry. And hurling the mantles, with me accompanying Meliha walking slowly behind, returned.
Today, while they were giving detailed information to my uncle and aunt at lunch, Meliha was silent all the time.
I needed to be alone with my thoughts. It was habitual to sleep after meal; everybody used to go to their rooms. I knew very well that I would not be able to sleep, and wanted to go out to the garden again and once again go to the place where we played with the ball. There, perhaps during one hour, pinning the untied hair of Güzin; feeling the shivering hand of Aliye on that stone; feeling the body of Nevin falling into my arms under the tree; I experienced those events once again with over-excitement.
Samiye's eyes thinking of a malice and Meliha's sad face making one cry were mixing with that picture of dream with a strange anxiety from one and a deep sorrow from the other.
When I returned, the residence was in deep silence. All those tired bodies were sleeping with comfortable, carefree breathes in their beds. I slowly climbed the stairs on the tips of my feet, passed the sofa and pushed its door.
I saw a body that I could not instantly recognize standing before my window looking at the garden through closed shutters. When I entered, she turned with an exclamation of surprise as if she was caught unawares: Samiye!...
Blushing and ashamed, she said:
- I am sorry; I came to take one of your books...
She was lying. My window was the only window opening in the direction of that green road; she came to watch the garden from there. She made an attempt to leave. I felt that if I released this cold effect on her, she would always be ashamed of me and a long coldness would remain between us...
- Please take any book you want, I said.
She was persisting to leave; I was making explanations; I had wanted to have a new promenade after meal. I had gone there again. I had liked that road so much that I was never bored of there...
I had difficulty in speaking. I was experiencing a depression drying my mouth due to being all alone with that young girl who frightened me by flowing out a strange emotion from her eyes on this day full of sensations...
I advanced towards the window and completely opened the shutters to gain some strength. Now, the road painted with a dull light by the sun, which was as if flowing over it being painted to green, was spread before us with all its sweetness, as though it was proving my words. I was closer to her. She was beside me in front of the window:
She deeply looked at this road resembling her eyes. Then she raised her eyes to tell something; but she was afraid of my fond glance. I looked at these green eyes that looked like the secrets of that green road, not at the road. Then in one second, I felt a madly desire to cover these deep green eyes, this mysterious glance scaring one with a passionate kiss. One more second!
But this dream flew away suddenly. Now there was nobody in the room but a poor (myself) who fell on his chair uneasy.
I did not get out of my room until the evening and until going to bed after dinner. I wanted to suffocate myself and silent the various and different voices screaming inside my heart with a madly effort. This was a quarrel breaking the standing power of oneself between an intense need to think and a sound resistance against thinking. A voice, a voice in the middle of continuous struggles was saying:
- You are in love!...
Yes, I was undoubtedly in love; but with which one? The dreadfulness of the question lied here. At this very point, those four cute and young faces were altogether awakening inside me lively and smiling, angry and flaming, dreamy and full of poetry and covered with losses and secrets.
That night I immediately fell to sleep upon entering into my bed wearily after the tiredness in the morning and the psychological struggle during the day. But this was a sleep (full) of light and poetry...
Endless waves of a sea were passing over my head either the touch of a gold or by being covered with a temporary black cloud with a stupefying flow. I was rolling in a cave getting far by being painted in hundreds of different colors and gradually darkening in various shades of green, which was long, so long as to tire one's eyes, from the depths of these waters that were bright in one second and dark in another.
I was smoothly flying in a space. I was under a white sky at the end of this cave. Four different colors of fires were burning over it with four suns in yellow, brown, blue and green colors. They were radiating colorful flames. In a moment this sky was cracked and these suns were torn to pieces. They fell around as white roses with ruins of suns in various colors spilled on them.
Then a black sun rose from a corner and its reflections fell slowly, with a still silence.
I sat down this morning. I want and believe that I will collect the memories of my stay here on these papers and arrange my emotions and stop my indecision.
So I have been writing these since four hours.
The lunch will soon bring us together again; what will the events after now add to those papers?... It has been nearly one month since I came here and there is the possibility of further staying here for more than one month. How will I manage mysel during this time? If only I could leave this odd comedy as a mere game without a conclusion!...
I am examining myself in a moderate calmness. I do not have any bad will that can not be confessed by honorable man for any of these children who are completely pure and unadulterated with their flightiness, dreams and tricks; however, I am certainly fond of all of them.
Following a school life that passed in pureness as much as possible and a life that had nothing else to deal with other than sentimentality, this two months of relaxation period constitutes such a terrifying danger against me!...
Will I be able to manage my feelings in an order inside this storm, which is the intersection point of these four winds? Sometimes I tell to myself:
- What else can be so easy? For example Güzin or Aliye; Nevin, if you want, but if you want to create a life full of fear for yourself, you will decide in favor of Samiye... But...
Here, they are calling for lunch...
Today I joined the lunch after everybody. This led to a joke by my uncle:
- So much study! So much study!... If you pass your vacation, your rest times by studying like that... he was saying.
I did not pay attention to the rest. Meliha's seat was empty. I wanted to ask; Samiye had understood it from my looks:
- She is ill, she said. Nobody seemed to care for this.
Poor Meliha!... She was ill like me; who can know about her pain? She is dissolving, losing weight as she drags this life that will pass convicted to not being loved and admired... How deep, how deep a pity I feel for this girl!...
Today Nevin looked at me with a resented, angry face at lunch. Her lips had such a strange sulk that one would think that it was full of the accusation of:
- You made me fall!... I want to hold them with two fingers, twist and pull them away so much...
Yesterday morning, Güzin and Nevin were upsetting Meliha by speaking of something that I did not understand. She was not giving response. They upset the poor girl, one bursting out of laughter and the other fluttering like a cock, so much that, for one moment I felt that Meliha, after glancing at me from far in a way showing that she was very sorry, wanted to escape in order not to weep beside me. They did not want to release her; I intervened:
- Release Miss Meliha, why do you upset her? She got up from illness only this morning...
They were laughing more. Meliha (against that) was getting more dissolved. I rescued Meliha by dragging Güzin with one of my hands and Nevin with the other, squeezing these small fists in my hands.
Tonight, I saw Meliha slowly going after only five minutes away I joined them. I started to get angry against this digressing feeling of that girl; I advanced towards her and asked:
- Why do you always want to escape from us? She paled; forced herself not to answer my question, seemed to answer and then changed her mind...
There is something unknown in this girl that I can not understand. Now I feel a strong desire to be close to her, try to slowly enter into her feelings and treat her, if possible.
Samiye came to my room after lunch today; could not enter from the door and said:
- Do you have "Sergüzeşt"?
- I must, I said; why don't you come in?
A lightning flash passed from her eyes:
- Here I am!... she said. She walked one step inside and the door's wing was closed behind her.
My heart was beating so much as I was looking for the book she wanted. I approached her holding the book in my hand; but I was not giving it. She retreated and leaned over the door and was looking at me. This was the second time that I was alone in this room across the look of these eyes full of malice. I was somewhat dizzy. I would fall there and say:
"I love you, not the others..." But she was inpatient, pulled the book from my hand with a fast move and rushed out...
This evening Meliha was not with us at dinner again. I could not look at the others and asked my aunt:
- What is happening to Meliha aunt?... Don't you think it is necessary to take her to a doctor?
My aunt was surprised:
- There is nothing wrong with her...
Everybody was neglecting and not caring about her: "There is nothing wrong with her..."
The coincidences created by a malice fairy to drag me from pain to pain left my soul attached on a picture of poetry and love tonight too.
These girls, there four dreams of love were opening before my heart ready to release itself as a cliff covered with colorful flowers and I was more willing to jump into one of these cliffs with an emotional weakness increasing day by day; but which one?...
Tonight I was falling into a poetic cliff again. A cliff rising and opening towards the sky with an opposite extension...
Güzin and Nevin were trying to get one wrap cloth each to be worn in promenades from my uncle at one corner of the sofa. Samiye appeared to have entered in the sweet dream of love of the book that she took from my hand two or three days before. I slowly disappeared and went out to the balcony from the glass door on the other end of the sofa to join Aliye, who was lost for one hour to watch the flickering, bright scene caused by the moon on the sea from the balcony.
I should confess that I was approaching the cliffs myself; but what a sweet, what a nice cliff that was!...
She was there with her light pink wool shawl on her shoulders, resting her head forming a yellow heap like a half-faded moon with her untied hair on her right arm, on her chair standing on two of its legs, with a slight swing as if to sleep with the sound of silent melody raining from this bright night and with her emotions and affections covered with the poetry of this night.
I approached slowly:
- What a nice scene!... I said.
She was not surprised, did not seem surprised at my presence there; she slowly raised her head and said:
- Yes!...
I requested:
- Please do not raise your head; no, just like it was a while ago... Like that again. Please maintain your unconscious state as before. You form such a beautiful integrity under this yellow moon with your yellow hair across this scene...
I noticed that her lips were slightly opened with a smile, showing her white, small teeth in darkness. But she followed my request, did not speak and placed her head there again. She was swinging on her chair with that slow swing again. Her blue eyes were directed towards the blue of the sky again.
We were now in accord on the thought that it would be appropriate to stay like that without speaking. I leaned on the corner of the balcony and stood sending the same admiration to this moon beneath my hand and the moon over my head with the kisses of my eyes. A cascade of light was running over from it, from the moon floating above, scattering around and falling with a quiet fall.
It was spilling into the sea extending like a chest of love under it and swallowing this cascade with an insatiable appetite. And this yellow moon sitting on the edge of the balcony with her blue eyes directed towards the sky was releasing her breath to swim in waves under its cascades of light.
I was saying to myself:
- Oh, if only it was possible for me to extend this minute of poetry with an eternal watching... If only it was possible that the melodies of love of the sea trying to spill the lights that it collected from one moon to the feet of the other, with one spreading cascades of light over my head and the other swimming in a half light, half dark sea beneath my eyes always made me sleep and I never woke up from that sleep!...
What was preventing me from holding this poem? What if I reach out my hand now and say her here, in the desolation of this balcony drowning in darkness:
- Would you like to make this poetry continue? Would you like?...
But I could not say this, why? I thought that this poetry would escape, this dream would disappear and this existing thing would die if I reached out my hand...
I do not know how long I stood like that and when I left her and slowly entered inside, fearing to wake her, Güzin and Nevin were gone to their rooms, surely because they were late.
Now only Samiye, who had probably forgotten us, was at one corner, enchanted in the pages of "Sergüzeşt", which opened a new scene of poetry as they were opened. Far away, in the grove direction of the residence that did not see moonlight, Meliha, this fairy of darkness, was lost in the darkness of trees, not brilliant sky and the sea, and was as if swimming in a sorrowful look.
How much this girl concerns me now!...
I want to become enemies of the others because they are so beautiful as I see her gradually losing weight, paling with more blackening eyes, exerting effort not to become ill and go to bed, wandering (around) with a sad attitude making one think that she was up to fall...
I need to make a decision now; this indecision kills me. Sometimes I hate myself. If I need poetry, why can I not make up my mind?...
We passed through a small resentment with Nevin today. Did we pass through it? I can not know it well: the tendencies towards anger in this young naughty girl can become so much extreme...
I went for a walk towards the pigeon-house of the residence at evening. I found Güzin and Nevin there. Güzin had gathered her skirt and squatted down in the pigeon-house by an ill pigeon and was dropping water on it from her wet fingers. When she saw me, she said:
- This was the favorite one of our Miss; if it dies, I am sure that her ears will burn...
This bird was of Şâmi type, with red rings around its eyes. As Güzin tried to bring it to life by caressing it, Nevin was looking toughly from the other side. At last she could not stand:
- Ugly bird!... I don't like it at all: look at those eyes, they make one tremble... she said.
Güzin was defending it:
- Oh! On the contrary, it is a very beautiful bird...
Then she started to imitate Miss: "Miss used to caress it like that" she was saying. While she was imitating her in this manner, holding the head of the bird, forgetting about its illness, with the attitude of a flighty English girl with her puckered mouth, I was watching this lost and lively girl, looking at this joyful creature that would give a continuous pleasure and joy to one.
Nevin was completely raged from far away:
- Oh! Leave it; it disturbs my nerves. I suppose that Miss is opposite to me again! She was saying. Then she turned to me.
- Isn't it? This bird is very ugly... Especially the imitation of Miss!...
I answered harshly, willing to make her angry:
- I don't know any bird on this world that is not beautiful; as for the imitation: I don't know how Miss was, but Güzin makes it so nice... I said.
Nevin curled her lips:
- I regret the defect of your taste, she said; I did not want to leave it unanswered:
- You are right, if soundness and beauty in taste is complimenting what everybody else doesn't admire... I said. She suddenly looked as if she was not understanding; then she turned her back and left the pigeon-house.
Güzin was saying:
- Quit this madness.
Nevin did not speak to me although we met three times after this event. I wonder, how long will this grudge last?...
I do not know how long it has been, but although I wanted to go down to Istanbul every morning, I could not do it. I was staying in the residence everyday, finding a pretext. While I used to go downtown regularly on the first days of my arrival, I suddenly quitted this habit later.
Yesterday, they were going to Kalender. I did not want to stay here alone and go down to Istanbul by taking this opportunity. Then a nothing caused me not to go. Look, what a nothing?...
I woke up early in the morning and went down to the quay for fishing as I habitually did. I returned the residence after the sun rose quite much. I was going upstairs to change. Nevin, who woke up newly, with untidy hair, a sullen face, released and untidy in her white nightgown, was coming down the stairs hitting the slippers on her feet.
She was passing beside me as if resented, not looking at my face, with an angry and strict walk. I do not know why, but I wanted to make a joke supposing that I would feel an unbearable pain if I let her pass like that, without looking at me:
- Young lady woke up angry this morning again!... I said. She suddenly turned as a fired pure flash: she extended her slightly raised lip, that was as if created to always give harsh answers, and said:
- No!... Look, I can not bear jokes, especially when I am drowsy.
Although this was a natural response to be expected from this peevish girl and it was also natural to respond to this by laughing, I do not know why, but I felt a madly sorrow against this attitude. I would slap this girl in that moment as an indecent creature. I was well aware that I was pale and my voice was trembling. Surely, the event that happened the previous day helped me. I said:
- I think I am boring you now; thank you for making me know this. After today, the man who is so unbearable for you will have freed you of himself...
She descended the stairs without giving any answer and (even) waiting for the last half of the sentence.
At that moment, I was completely serious; this nothing, this event that was nothing but an example of the peevishness that I saw one type everyday, made me so angry that, as I uttered this sentence it was the same as I thought.
Anyway, it is not possible to continue this any more; I have been tortured since one and a half months. This would be the best result. I had told that I would go downtown the previous night; the only difference today will be that I will have taken my suitcase too. There is not much difference between them...
When I entered my room, the first thing that I did was to take out my suitcase from under my bed. I pulled it to the middle... I went to my books scattered on my table. I started to collect them irregularly, in packages. I threw two or three bunches into my suitcase; I was just throwing another bunch...
Creak!...
I did not turn my hand, I was unable to turn with that bunch of books in my hand. A voice said:
- Mr. İhsan!...
Then I turned with a confused face. She was there still in her appearance of two minutes before, with untidy hair, nightgown and bare feet in slippers. She started to smile and said:
- You are joking. She entered inside. Her smile was not removed from her lips to make me smile. I said:
- No, I am very serious!...
She maintained her smile:
- It is impossible...
She said that and squatted down before my suitcase; she inserted her hand inside my suitcase, smiling at me with her eyes. Now she was taking the books out of the suitcase.
- No, I said; if I bore you with my jokes... then...
I wanted to weep. I was willing to make a tragic event out of this nothing, taking the risk of being funny. Yes, I was in need of a tragedy. How should I tell? I was thirsty for crying:
- You made me very upset, I said: I would nearly say "you are killing me, you are all killing me..."
She looked at me surprised. Now she could not smile, she was afraid.
- Did I bother you? Did I? She said.
- Yes, you!... I would say. I would say by drawing my mad eyes into the face of this young, mad, surprised girl:
- Yes, you, you all discompose me very much, you crush me; if you had known what you are making to me!...
And I would scream, shout and cry while saying these words. But it did not happen that way; Nevin released her tears. She stood up not knowing how to conceal these crying eyes before me, half turned to the door and cried there sobbingly.
Now I completely understood how childish, how funny I have been. I was ashamed now, I could not name this event. Eventually, I approached her and held her hands:
- Are you crying Nevin? Look, you won't cry, will you? Aren't I your elder brother? Did I make you resent Nevin? I was saying.
Where did this expression "elder brother" come from? "Elder Brother!". How much this expression relieved me. Yes, brother; elder brother of this peevish girl, all of them, Güzin, Aliye, Samiye...
I was feeling a strange delight and pleasure from this that was suddenly ceasing the sorrows that have been corroding my heart until then...
Nevin was now looking at me smilingly:
- Now you swear, you swear that you will not go today...
Today, I did not go downtown although they all went and we thought about what kind of young pigeons could be bought with my uncle until the evening. In fact what was I really thinking of, what a solution, an impossible solution of a difficult issue I was dealing with!...
Although they all came back very joyful this evening, I saw Meliha more paled, and more thinned. I was now tending to cry every time I saw this poor girl.
She was not at the sofa again. Although we were all willing to go down to the quay at night, she did not want to leave her room. I do not know, but while I do not hesitate to talk with everybody in this house, I fear telling one word or two to this girl. She also somehow escapes, gets away from me.
How good it would be to talk with her (a little), to learn her secret.
She sure has an attitude of escaping from me, she disappears every time we meet, she does not raise her eyes in order not to meet my eyes and she tries not to be alone with me... Why?
Why does this girl always want to stay away, although Güzin and Nevin, and Aliye and Samiye have become intimate friends for me?... What a strange thought!...
Today, it was proposed to make a rowboat promenade at night. I felt that Meliha suddenly paled (upon that). While Samiye, who raised all ideas, was receiving the opinion of everybody with the question:
- What do you think? Meliha pretended not to hear in order not to answer. I called to her directly, but strangely, I asked hesitantly:
- Miss Meliha, you don't say anything?
- Me?
She said this in such a manner that she was as if meaning "What does it have to do with me? Do I have any good other than boring you?"
- Yes, you did not say anything, I said. She wanted to avoid it with a slight smile. I insisted and said:
- You don't know how much I regret as you want to keep away from us like that...
She looked at me smilingly. She wanted to say "You are lying..." But I felt that I was more serious and sincere at that moment that any other...
My mind was still occupied with the thought of whether she accepted this or not until the decision was made on making a rowboat promenade at night.
Within the time that we waited for the moon to rise after dinner, I thought about how I would tell anything to Meliha. Güzin and Nevin were waiting on the wooden couch near the railed door at the quay due to their eagerness: Aliye and Samiye were talking to them by leaning down from the balcony.
Meliha did not wear her tulle on her head as if she did not decide yet and was silently walking around. Meanwhile, Güzin's voice was heard from down:
- I am bored of waiting... (let the moon not rise,) isn't it better in darkness?
While Aliye and Samiye answered from up, I slowly approached to Meliha with a shiver in my heart -I am surprised to write these down now- and said:
- Would you allow us to late your lute together with us?...
The lute, that poor modest instrument, was forgotten since that night. Meliha seemed to be surprised at my remembering it:
- Lute? She said; but how will you bear it?
I did not say anything, I was depressed. I responded this question by only going and getting the lute hanged over the piano...
Now the rowboat was filled with laughter. They were losing their balances while jumping on the boat rising and descending with small swings in shore waves and shouting with small fearful screams.
My uncle and aunt were watching us from the balcony and my aunt was calling at us:
- No need to make madness... You will not go too far!...; my uncle was adding to her sentence a threat:
- Nevin! Or I will break off your little ears. The girls were not even responding.
Nevin and Güzin would row. Aliye would steer. Meliha and Samiye sat opposite to each other. Nevin reached her head from her sister's shoulder and said to me:
- You, there!... and then shouted towards the balcony:
- Mom! Send a rug to us...
I was waiting at the quay. The rug thrown from the balcony was folded, folded and placed in the middle.
- Come on!... they said. When I jumped raising the lute in my hand, they all screamed with surprise.
Then silence... No thought was added to that; they were all silent for a while. The boat slowly floated with the rows caressing the waters with the regular hits at the end of thin arms of Nevin and Güzin.
As we went far, the shore was becoming darker; red, then slowly yellow lights here and there were swinging up and down shivering. I said:
- Don't row any more!...
They were now slowly moving the tips of the oars. They were all keeping silent in darkness, on the sea moving with dark, black waves in lights staring at each other with shivering looks between the secrets of the shore, with a hidden fear. Then Samiye said:
- Here!...
Now the moon was rising from far away. I was taking the lute out of its sheath. Nevin could not satisfy her desire to row and was saying:
- Will we stay like that? I gave the lute to Meliha. I wanted to think on this sea, facing the rising moon, with the pain of this sad instrument among that one boatful of poems...
Meliha now seemed as if she left herself to the waters of her heart, which had strange routes that nobody knew, just like this boat. The lute turned into a means of scream and groan in her hands. Groans willing to be lost in darkness, covered to be sunken in the depths of these black waters after breaking off with hesitant sobs, were flowing drop by drop like tears under the golden look of the newly rising moon.
And we were flowing with a sleepy swing on the waters shining as the oars touched with the flowing light of the moon that appeared to hide between two white clouds and were all thinking.
I was thinking by identifying the whiteness of Güzin and Nevin hardly lined up in the black of the night in red and brown halos, sinking into the dreamy air of Aliye behind me; seeing on one side the small head of Samiye from the side and back looking at the shadows of the waters and on one side the groan of this lute and the quay...
I was thinking that I would flow towards great seas in a dream and poetry extending to the infinity like that, in such a numbness spreading a sweet sorrow from its indefiniteness, among colorful hair and eyes, in an endless dream. I was thinking that these great seas would have sunrises and sunsets opening minute by minute and following each other, full and new moons, sometimes laced clouds on a rainbow, sometimes bright and smiling eyes on a black plane and I would lose myself in these with continuous poetry and love, and sleep on this infinite great sea full of my desire and dream, swinging with an infinite life.
Then there would be a fairy of melancholy and exhaustion to spread sadness on this life with the groan of her lute, who would squeeze my heart, squeeze and want to pick it with a wild hand...
It is impossible, I can not find the strength to write down what I think. What kind of a misleading sensation of a false thing am I in? So, they are all lies!...
I saw her paler and thinner then ever this morning. It was understood that she got out of her bed with a resistance and effort over her strength (to bear). But she is ill... Does not anybody other than me see that? I need to be with her alone at an unavoidable extent. I want to ask her the secret of her inner world, her psychological existence; I suppose that I will ask and learn the secrets of this unknown thing within a loneliness of five minutes...
Yes, this is true... I should decide in this way and confess this truth. Now I am disturbed of the joyfulness of the others!... I want to get away from them, not to see those nuts. I just want to see her sad and desperate and cry under her black eyes and pale face... I will not write these any more...
No, I am writing; I am returning to these with the drive of an unbeatable need...
She was not at dinner last night:
"Meliha is ill again!..." they were saying. And they were all laughing as if this was a joke. Today I wanted to say insulting things to them all. She is ill... Yes, she was; and me? Oh my God, how ill I was!...
What stops me from deciding? If this is so, it should be.
Poor Meliha! Poor girl, whose name seems to be a consolation granted to her with pity! This means not beautiful, not beautiful at all; but Meliha*!... How true is that?...
What a poetry of beauty radiates from this regular and moderate face that is thought to be ugly at first and perhaps has a beauty hidden under its ugliness, and surrounds one in an air of melancholy. Her black eyes have a look begging for mercy from you, trembling with fear expecting to be forgiven for not being beautiful...
There is a pale, yellowish color on her face so that if you find this face unnecessary for life, it appears to be waiting for your sign to disappear. Then add a walk to that with descends from the stairs hesitantly, as if flowing: give her a voice that wants to hide when she has to speak and not to exist as if being surprised to hear herself.
Oh! What a still and sweet life will this body give to me; what a silent happiness she will make me live with! I do not need Güzin, whose pointed tongue's tip between her sharp teeth smile, or Nevin, ready to burst the flames of a fire from her cheeks, or Aliye, appearing to fly over the world like a heavenly creature with the golden crown of her blonde hair, or Samiye, the surprising greens in whose strange eyes terrify one.
I need this sad face that will make my life sleep in a sweet and sour dream in tenderness, delicacy and sentimentality. Yes, it will happen this way; I love only her, not the others and I will give my life to her!...
They will laugh at that with a terrible laughter. With the belittling meaning of their lips, they will say:
- Meliha, he loved Meliha!...
She gets up earlier than everybody in the morning; one day I will hold her hands and confess her (that I love her)... Yes, I great "impact" is required.
Last page... Last page of the last night that will pass here. Poor book of love!...
When I woke up this morning, I heard steps under my window. An intuition informed that that it was her. I slowly raised the shutter and looked: It was her. She was slowly heading towards that green road.
How was my heart beating at that moment! If I could not succeed today, I would have to conclude that everything was over and to leave here with a vain memory one week later. I would make that great "impact" this morning.
I dressed up as quickly as possible; slowly went down the stairs, out to the garden. I was saying to myself:
- In any case!...
She had reached near the end of the road. I had to hurry to meet her at a point that can not be seen from the windows of the residence. She saw me upon turning and stayed still for a while, uneasy to move. Then, after a slight hesitation, she moved towards me. I was walking faster now.
I stopped just opposite her. She was also standing and looking at me with a little fear. I was trembling with a heartbeat preventing me from speaking. At last I said:
- I followed you!...
Yes, why should I lie?... She suddenly paled, I thought she was shocked.
- Yes, it has been some time since I have been willing to follow you and tell you...
Her thin chest was rising and deflating with large breathes.
- Me? She asked. Then she shook as if looking for a place to hold with her hands.
- You want to tell something to me?
I responded:
- Yes, not one thing, many things... I wanted to tell the things that you should have understood at last: you forgive me, don't you? If you like, you can regard me as mad; but you know how much I have been suffering since I came here.
She appeared as if smiling a little. Then an unexpected redness covered this pale face, she said with a trembling voice:
- But, you are making fun of me, you are a means for the ones who want to make fun of me!...
I had not thought about this. Then I held her hands. Now I was up to cry like a child:
- I will go one week later, you know. Tell me, I will stay here with only one word of you. Do you accept me? Do you accept me as a husband who will always love you?
Her hands were trembling. She slowly lowered her eyes. This thin body expanded with a large breath coming from deep inside. Then, pulling her hands slowly with a lose move and shaking her head desperately, she said:
- You are wrong; you don't love me, you just pity me... And you will understand this at the moment that I accept (your proposal). Then I will die...
This last word came out of her mouth as a last breath of life. Now she wanted to escape, not to hear more. She started to walk slowly. I was beside her, saying:
- Why are you going? You are wrong, you are killing me... She was continuing to walk and bitterly smiling. Then she begged with her hand and said:
- Please leave me, I will fall. This was right. It was understood from a tremble surrounding her body that she would fall.
Today I could not enter the residence. The pain I suffered from in the half darkness, in the darkness of this road...
When I came for lunch, they all said:
- Where were you? Samiye was saying:
- How pale you are?... Meliha's place was empty. This place was empty at dinner too. "Meliha is ill..." and everybody's face was stretched meaning: "There is nothing wrong with her!..."
That night we were sitting altogether; but how far I was from them!... While everybody would go to their rooms, my aunt came out from Meliha's room:
- Meliha has high fever!... she said. Nobody seemed to care. I stood up and said:
- Will you let me see her? My aunt said:
- Of course. And I entered her room trembling.
Meliha was in the bed. In the weak light of the candle, at first she could not notice that it was me who entered the room. Then she understood as I approached, she wanted to straighten. One of her hands was hanging down her bed. I held this hand:
- No, remain like that, I said. What is wrong with you? She first shook her head and said:
- Nothing!... then she suddenly straightened on her elbow. A group separated from her black hair was covering her thin neck. She directed her eyes, her eyes burning in fever now, into mine. She said with a low voice avoiding others to hear and a dry one burned with fever:
- Leave here tomorrow; wouldn't you go one week later? Go tomorrow!...
- But why do you resist so much, why don't you accept?... I was saying. She was now violently shaking her head like a naughty girl and not willing to hear me, saying:
- No, swear me that you will go tomorrow; swear me, swear me... then she added:
- I am dying as I know that you are with them and I am ill like that!...
I would nearly lose my patience; I could not say anything. I now understood what was killing this girl and dissolving. It was impossible to accept (her will):
- If you want so, I swear that I will go tomorrow to satisfy you will, I said. A smile of relieve, comfort, a sun appeared on her face.
- Thank you, she said and she wanted to give all her soul to me with a kiss by pulling my head with both her hands. Then she suddenly retreated and saying nothing, leaving her head on the pillow, she signed with her hand:
- Go!... was what she could say...
Tomorrow I will go from here leaving her ill and the others joyful and happy, not to return again. But, oh my God, with what a deep wound in my heart!...

Halid Ziya UŞAKLIGİL






 
     

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