The Kitchen Window
The door knocked twice. With hasty finger strokes. For a short moment, she wondered why the bell did not ring, as she walked towards the door… When she opened the door, she could not see anyone, looked left and right with a glance for a second; did she mishear? Just as she was about to enter, she heard the same sound again… She was confused; this meant that the sound was not coming from the door since she was already at the door… She entered. She searched for the same sound at home. Knock knock… She was reliving in her mind; what else could this sound belong to? After walking in the house and listening, she concluded that the sound did not belong to her house, and she took a large sip of her coffee after taking a seat in front of the window. After swallowing the coffee in her mouth, she completed the morning pleasure by swallowing it loudly. Her nasal breathing convinced her that a strong smell of coffee was inside her. She put her cup in the kitchen sink as usual. In fact, she could put it in the dishwasher, it wouldn’t take two seconds but she was putting the dishes in the machine at a certain time of the day. It was good to have something to linger in front of the kitchen window when evening came, collecting the dirty of everything she had eaten and drunk all day because evening hours were the only time she could see him and throw furtive glances at him. Looking at him while he was preparing food for himself in the opposite window… They hadn’t caught each other’s eye yet but she didn’t care. For the time being…
She kept this old apartment in Kadıköy for this reason, despite its dilapidated condition. She wasn’t even keeping it; she fell in love with the house. Kitchen windows overlooking the well… Yes, the kitchen was very small, only one glance was enough, but it was a great opportunity to see him up close.
She looked at her watch; she had to leave.
It had been a long time since she said goodbye to the concerns of ‘what to wear today’. A pair of jeans, a sweater, her beloved black lace-up boots, and an ‘ultraviolet’ coat that contradicted with all that simplicity. Although her purpose was not to attract attention, her purple coat was always noticeable on the streets of Kadıköy. She laughed inwardly, noticing that a few glances that were about to slide over her as she left the apartment suddenly turned back to her.
With a slight restlessness inside, she began to walk fast. This was something she had experienced since she moved into the house. A restlessness stemming from the desire to go back home as soon as she left the house… However, how beautiful the weather was, it gave one of the sweet surprises of the end of winter. The weather was like a harbinger saying that it would be sunny every day. She stopped for a moment in the middle of the road, closed her eyes, turned her face to the sky, and took a deep breath. Then she sneezed. When she was about to be grateful for the day, the weather, and the sun, this was a reflex she did not expect. But she had a playful side as well and that made her smile. With the tissue always ready in the pocket of her purple coat, she wiped her nose and continued walking, a little more relaxed than before. She’d better speed up a little; she thought that she was the one to be somewhere before her friends but she was almost late that day and had to apologize from the folks at the table.
The Wistaria Garden
Wistaria Garden… She had suggested meeting there. From the outside, it looked like a sloppy Kadıköy café, but when you glided through the scruffy tables inside and passed that narrow corridor by gently curving, surprisingly, the garden with colorful flowers would appear. This tiny garden surrounded by elongated buildings was very good for her. It was just like the secret passages in movies. You could reach another world by entering through the small hole that seemed as if the continuation of it would come out somewhere. When she came out to the garden, she saw her friends chatting at the table where they always sat. She cheerfully walked to them. The first to see her was Selim’s eyes that glowed, as always. When Selim said, “Arzu, welcome baby,” they suddenly performed all kinds of rituals of kissing, hugging, and teasing, ignoring the noises covering the whole garden. Their joy spread throughout the garden, causing even the man at the very back table, who was reading his newspaper alone, to put it down for a moment. Arzu could not believe her eyes. It was him.
“Oh my God! Oh my God!” She covered her face with her hands and slid herself under the table. Sena looked around in astonishment,
“What’s going on, sweetie?” So, she also softly slid herself under the table. Selim could not understand either of them, but he involuntarily felt the need to hide as well. Arzu kicked Sena’s foot hard,
“Are you crazy, why are you hiding, get out!”
“What are you hitting dear, I was scared… Whom are we hiding from?” While they were trying to balance their bodies that had slipped from the chair, they were trying to keep them in balance while they were talking in a whisper, “You are not hiding, I am hiding.”
Selim was already bored, “I can’t hide any longer. I choose to go out and face the facts. Sorry, I intend”.
“I always love real anyway. I’m not hiding either”.
“Okay, Selim, now get closer to Sena so I can get out of here”.
“My dear Arzu. If you don’t tell me what’s going on right now, I’ll get up and scream ‘who is this girl hiding from?!’ Okay?”
By making an exaggerated imitation of Selim with her face, Arzu said, “I am telling it now my dear Selim. What kind of a friend are you? Okay, I’ll tell you, but Sena, please move a little aside so I can see him. No, not that much, close a little. Come a little to the right, a little forward, Selim, and lean your hand on your leg”.
They tried to fulfill Arzu’s commands by grumbling “What is this?”. But Selim leaned his hand on Sena’s leg instead of his own.
“What a pervert you are, buddy. Are you trying to take advantage of the opportunity here and touch me?”
“I wonder if I can have anything to do with any part of your body Sena; take a look at the beauty of this boy…”
“Oh, he is beautiful. Of course, we haven’t seen a beautiful guy before”.
“Shhh,” Arzu reacted, “We draw a lot of attention because of you guys”, she said in a whisper. “It’s him”. She had said it so quietly that neither of them could understand what she meant. “I said it is him…”
“Which one? Who is he?”
“He’s Okimo Gihan”
“Selim, what are you talking about?”
“Girls, I swear, damn I got up and came. Damn it. And I left my dear girl, sweet Maklube on the bed so that I could drink morning coffee with you. Hoot!”
“Wow… Sweet you say. First of all, my dear, a sweet girl’s name cannot be Maklube, it would be Aleyna, Merve, or Pelin”.
“Do you represent the girls with the name Sena then? What a pity!”
“I hate this. I hate both of you… Your friend meets the greatest love of her life in a café, but look what you are talking about”. There was a mock but sweet expression on her face that expressed disgust for both of them, “Hoot!”
“Selim, I can’t believe this; the man is here.”
How surprised would those who had just seen her on the street be if they saw her current state? Her black and curly hair like Medusa, her comfortable clothes, and her secret conversation with the sky made her look like an intellectual. No one could easily guess that there was a very, very excited young girl who would hide under the table in the café because she saw the man she liked. It would not be surprising if people thought that Arzu was going to discuss the details of her upcoming exhibition with an art director. Perhaps she would meet with her editor for the finishing touches to her new book. And maybe she was the editor, and they would have coffee and exchange ideas with a famous writer in a secret garden. However, as always, the facts were different from what appeared. Arzu, no matter what she had saved up to that day, was then a high school young girl.
As soon as the most suitable positions were determined and everyone was breathing, Emin, the fixture of the café Wistaria Garden, showed up.
“Arzu welcome, what would you like to drink?”
She liked Emin. She witnessed the boy grew up. He was a child when they discovered this garden about five years ago. He would empty ashtrays, clean tables, and throw shy, furtive glances at customers. Later, he learned all the details of the business, strengthened his relationship with customers, and almost became the public relations manager of the Wistaria Garden. Probably a waiter’s salary was deposited into his account, but many people came here because they knew they would be hosted within the friendly quota of Emin. Emin was kind of a fixture of the place who made sure customers felt like partners of the place in a sense, and it would not be appropriate to send him away. Perhaps he had even overheard their conversations here many times before, and he might have known the matter. He was a nice boy, he would not openly express, but the expression on his face…. That slight curl on the side of his lip… No way! Did he understand the reason for her excitement …?
Putting a good face on, Arzu asked for a Turkish coffee. When she looked back at her friends, she saw two pairs of impatient eyes waiting for her. Actually, she did not show him even to his closest friends, did not allow them to look through the kitchen window for so long, and even noticed that Selim was sneaking into the kitchen one day and locked the door. All-day long she had been in and out of the kitchen using the key she kept in her pocket and her friends began to think she was really obsessed with this issue. But every secret had time to come out, and Arzu’s mysterious love was revealed, even though he was behind a newspaper then. The universe was on their side; they deserved to learn more details.
There He Is
Even if her friends were curious, they would wait a little longer. Arzu never spoke while drinking coffee. “It comes in a tiny cup anyway; I finish it in exactly seven minutes. Seven minutes…” Those who did not know this habit of her would be surprised, but of course it was not a surprise for Sena and Selim. Nevertheless, Selim was determined to break this rule for once. “My dear Arzu,” he said, lowering his head slightly, “let’s not exaggerate, we are at the most crucial moment of our lives, right? Start telling until the coffee comes, we will look over the man while you drink it”.
“Nope”, she said, pulling her tongue from her palate in an exaggerated way, “it’s my job to spy on him”.
Sena did not like this idea. It was their right to see this mysterious man who had been in their lives for months, but on the other hand, they did not want to attract attention. Therefore, she put the magazine she took out of her bag on the table and started to speak in an exaggerated way. “Aa!” she said … “I found what I would wear at Selim and Maklube’s wedding … Look, it’s here …” She stood up and pulled her chair next to Arzu in a theatrical way “Look, forty-eighth page”. As she said this, she had to curl her lips and tuck them between her teeth because she was trying hard not to laugh. Selim wanted to give her a response with his wide-open eyes, but he could not spoil the game, “Oh, my dear Sena, who knows how that dress will suit you when you are pregnant… I wish your father could see you too” he said, pulled his chair and approached Arzu nicely. “This is very good”, said Arzu, “of course no one cares what an unintelligent look I give to my secret love by lining up like coffee shop glasses”.
While they were having a little fun and bickering like that, Emin brought the coffee, but when he saw this state of them, he couldn’t keep it and said:
“Arzu… you are you guys doing…?” He concluded with a crisp smile. Just then, the mysterious man brought both wings of the newspaper together for a moment to turn the page over and opened the next page. But there was a big problem because Arzu and her friends were also swayed by the newspaper, and they made an effort to see the mysterious man in that brief moment. These strange situations of them did not go unnoticed by Emin, and he unavoidably turned to the direction they were looking.
“Oh! Oh, I got it”. This time he leaned over the table discreetly and whispered, “This is our professor. Adem Adler”. It took only a few seconds for him to lean over the table and say these words just as he was going back. “That’s my job, dear”, he said with a wink and walked away from the table with quick and agile steps. When they heard this, all three reached for their cell phones.
“Arzu Adler”. Arzu initially thought of this as a reflex. She was forty years old, but it was customary to see if the surname of the man she fell in love with suited her.
At that moment something else happened, but Arzu felt it vaguely and immediately delayed thinking about it. Deep inside, an association, a memory of daylight, an excitement… But since she did not know which time, which day, or even hers or not, she forgot it in a second. At that time, enthusiasm had begun to increase at the table. Sena and Selim responded to the results of the name they Googled with interesting cries, they poked and laughed at each other, and occasionally threw furtive glances at Arzu. When Sena saw the expression on Arzu’s face for a moment, Sena became serious and asked:
“My dear, what is this seriousness? Your mysterious neighbor is being decoded; what else do you want?”
Actually, that was exactly the point. It was ‘her’ mysterious neighbor. She shouldn’t have had told anyone from the very beginning. As a child, Arzu wanted nobody to watch her favorite cartoon, nobody to read her favorite book when she was a young girl, and no one to watch the movie she was touched the most. She would not do it with bad intentions, she just thought that nobody could value all these things as much as she did, make the best of them or comprehend them. Although this might seem like a bit of arrogance, she wouldn’t actually belittle anyone, she would just get lost in her deep feelings. The same thing happened then. The man she discovered, followed, observed, and admired from a distance was deciphered; even if they were friends, in this case, he had entered the lives of those who were third persons. He entered even Emin’s life… “He is our professor!” How come is he ‘their’ professor? Now all she wanted to do was go home, sit in front of the computer, and research the professor, just like a female police commissioner in a detective movie. Why had life brought him here today? For a moment she decided that she did not want to hear the first information about him from others, and she suddenly stood up.
“Guys, forgive me, I forgot something very important. We’ll keep in touch”. Selim and Sena were staring behind him in amazement as he walked away, saying.
Arzu, for the first time in her life, was leaving a place without hugging her friends, in an unexpected manner. The same thing crossed their minds when the other two came eye to eye: was Arzu obsessed with him?
Who are you?
She carefully typed the name into the search box. Surprisingly, a great number of results appeared. She thought ‘if this man is so famous, how do I not know him?’ Nothing was surprising in that. She did not watch television, she only followed topics on social media that she was interested in, and did not establish a special relationship with anyone other than Sena and Selim. “Wow” she said to herself, “do I have such a limited life?” She liked to noise inside, but this time it was so unusual that she silenced herself. Adem Adler was indeed a professor, but when Emin said this she thought it was just a nickname. After all, the man was very young and handsome, and he was charismatic and sexy. “What am I thinking about?” she thought, and “a man like him can be a professor as well!” said to herself. She pulled her ear and knocked on the table… “Wonderful… wonderful”.
She had become an expert in talking to herself. At first, when she caught herself talking to herself, she would immediately avoid this state of mind. Over time, this situation, probably of necessity, became quite natural for her. Living on her own and herself, making decisions for herself with herself, which could be pizza or Turkish omelet, started to be a very fun state. How could it not be? If she cannot be self-righteous, if she can feel regret, if she can do something to complete her missing parts and to smooth her pointed ends, then there were a few versions of her inside. Me and me that I like, me and me that I don’t like… The me I adore and the one I want to spit in the face of. Me scattered all over the place, coming out from under everything, and another me trying to rule all these ‘mes’. “I wonder what I’m talking about. Am I also a new age guru? Ok now we’re starting again. Wait, I’m coming soon”.
All she had to do then was to learn everything she could about Adem Adler. She would drink the coffee, which she could not drink in the morning, then. She went to the kitchen. Looking at the opposite window felt more interesting this time. It was an absurd feeling that made her feel like they had met. But after all it was a feeling and it was there. How strange it would be if the feelings were in one’s power, under their direction. Whereas, they were things that worked on their own, just like the liver or kidneys, had their metabolism, and we were never aware of their existence unless something was different. She poured her coffee into the cup and went straight to the computer.
Adem Adler was the same age as her and was a philosophy professor. “Gosh” she said, “how long has this country been interested in philosophy so that there is a famous philosophy professor? Anyway, let’s continue”.
It was understood from the pages that the man once had a great love affair with the famous singer Derya Deniz. She couldn’t believe it. Derya Deniz was a true pop star. A song she sang was so important to Arzu that she even got the song tattooed on her neck: “You are the flow of streams and I am the crazy one there”. This made her feel upset. What a terrible coincidence it was. It was like a thin wind blowing through her. Still, she kept progressing in the search results.
Adem Adler and Derya Deniz gave an interview to a famous journalist. Derya Deniz said exactly this, “‘Crazy’, yes, people love that song very much. Frankly, it is special for me. I completed that song in many years, but I could not find the last sentence. Whatever I wrote or said could not express what I wanted to say. Then one night I saw Adem at a friend’s birthday, but there, I just watched him from afar, we couldn’t meet. When the night was over and I returned home, I was very sad thinking about when and how I would see Adem again. The only thing I knew about him was his name. Then I found his account on social media and started to examine it… I accidentally sent a like while stalking. He texted me while thinking about what to do with panic… “What are you looking at?” he wrote. At that moment, a childhood manner came to me and I wrote “What can I do? The water flows and the crazy one looks at it” … Right at that moment I remembered that these words were the lyrics of my song that was left half finished. Immediately I dropped the phone and took my notebook and wrote: ‘The water flows and the crazy one looks at it, you know, you are the flow streams and I am crazy of the place’. So that’s the story of the song. This song was completed thanks to Adem. Well, with the presence of Adem, many things in my life have been completed…”.
Arzu was about to go mad with jealousy. Her heart was pounding, the rhythm of her heart felt even in her ears.
On the other hand, she was disappointed. What would her mysterious neighbor, the man he learned to be a philosophy professor, be doing with the world of celebrities and social media messaging? “He is a man, isn’t he?” she found herself automatically judging him. How many times she had promised that she would cleanse the world’s subconscious discriminating discourses from her body. But this was not happening. What would a professor be doing with a woman who danced on the stage and bent hips? Okay, Derya Deniz’s lyrics were very intense, the song made people want to sing it real loud and write on the walls, but after all, she was a pop singer. “Hah, look you did it again! This time, you ripped a pop singer apart. For what? To celebrate a professor whom you don’t know yet”. Arzu, who wanted to spit in her face, was at work now. She turned and shot himself to appease him: “This is how we women are; we do not hesitate to mortify our fellows to exalt a man to the skies. Horsefeathers to you Arzu!”
When this inner fight fell silent for a moment, she leaned back and wondered how long she had admired this man and how the chain of events, which made her state this absurd, began. A feeling in the middle of her chest was trying to remind her of something again, as she thought about the past not even a year old. That feeling that had existed since the days when she was chasing the man but that Arzu had not yet allowed herself to make sense… Once again she ignored him and started from the chronology of the memories that her consciousness could remember, from the moment she first saw him…
It was the days when she was about to give up after she searched street by street for days and left dozens of fusty and expensive houses in disappointment. It seemed like a much more profitable option to say to the owner of the house where she was living at that time, “I accept the rent increase you want”. While walking from the back streets of Kadıköy towards the seaside, she saw a tiny real estate shop below the road level. A white-haired man barely bent over and filled the bowl of food in front of his door, and at that moment he said to the cats that were getting around his feet, “Oh, stop, you will make the old man fall! When did I starve you to get you so anxious?” He was sweetly reproaching. Before she even had a chance to think consciously, she went down three stairs to the front of the shop and asked, “Hello… I am looking for a rental house in this area. Do you have something?”. The old man, startled by this sudden entrance, straightened his glasses, straightened up slowly and examined Arzu. Arzu was just thinking, “Alas! he will ask you if you are single, this is what will happen if you go to the old real estate agent”. He smiled and said “Come on girl, let’s see inside”. They went into the shop which looked like a box. It smelled like cologne and fresh tea inside. The real estate agent washed his hands slowly in the sink hidden behind a folding screen. Then came the sounds of glasses from the same place. With two glasses of strong black tea in his hand, he came out from behind the folding screen. Abracadabra! Arzu, who had just lost all hope, felt an intense belief at that moment that she would find a home as she had dreamed.
The market was mixed, Kadıköy was very popular, the density of urban transformation caused homeowners to flock to rental houses, and therefore, prices soared. Arzu had already listened to all these words many times, but she was not going to interrupt the words of this real estate agent, whom she learned the name was Ömer. She wouldn’t have thought she would spend a Saturday afternoon at an old real estate agent’s shop and feel so good. There was a sense of home there. Classic armchairs, large leafy plants in the corner, Turkish classical music gently coming from the radio, hot tea… Moreover, he had a few house options. Uncle Ömer had customers who absolutely refused to go to the big real estate companies because Uncle Ömer was a long-time resident of the district. Two of their homes were now waiting for their new residents. The landlords decided whether to accept the tenant or not according to Uncle Ömer’s guidance. Obviously, Uncle Ömer’s idea was formed during this tea ceremony. Arzu, who had not delayed her rent even a day until that day, was comfortable with this. The man in front of her would read her anyway, and if she liked a house then he would approve.
When the second tea was drunk and the conversation came to an end, Uncle Ömer took two of the keys hanging on the wall and set out to see both houses close to each other. The first house was the fifth building from the left of the estate agent’s shop. They didn’t even have to go to the second house. Arzu would find what she was looking for in the first house, ignoring the house’s one or two plumbing problems, the lack of an elevator, and the somewhat high deposit demanded by the landlord.
Maybe the human being could not choose anything… Perhaps the human being was just a means of creating a reality. Life was a fiction in which everything seemed to be for us but we were in motion for everything else. Let’s say it was true; what good would it be to move to this house where she wouldn’t be interested under normal conditions and fall in love with Adem Adler? If, as they say, god was walking in human form, Uncle Ömer could be god himself. If he didn’t offer tea, the shop didn’t smell like that, and Uncle Ömer didn’t look at her with that kindness when she needed it most, maybe she might never even come to look at this house. Then she went one step back. She would find the god of this story. Then she gave up on this research. She soon realized that the pursuit of realities that put people in a situation required searching behind billions of options and combinations. It was crazy to do this. She gave up. She said to herself “let it be, so let the story begin…” Well, was it just for a few minutes every night to see a man whose voice she had not even heard? Maybe that was the case but she still felt inside that day that she had a quite fateful reason to search for a man she did not know. She fondled the tattoo on her neck with her hand. It had to mean something.
During the past few days, she had learned everything she could about Adem Adler. On the other hand, she searched her name from the search engine. What would someone find if they searched herself? And if this person were Adem Adler, what would she want him to know? She liked this idea. Until then, Arzu did not care about social media or blog sites. She had been caught up in the wind at first and shared a few geraniums, three or five cats and sunset photographs. She soon thought it was absurd. She did not have the God-given joy of life in Selim and Sena. It seemed absurd to show people what she saw, many of whom she did not even remember how she met. So, to someone looking for something to learn about her then, she seemed like a sunset-lover, geranium-lover and cat lover. Moreover, she left no trace. She neither liked anyone’s post nor posted a comment. At that point, she was Joe Shmo for everybody. On the other hand, she had a lot of followers because of her work. The scene she watched in a movie came to her mind; the detective said, “In the past, the most challenging thing for us in murders was the social circle of the deceased. It was impossible to trace what people experienced with whom but now, thanks to Facebook, this problem has been solved”.
So, she decided to prepare for the day when someone would search for her on the internet. That person would of course be Adem Adler.
First of all, she updated her existing accounts. Arzu Sayan. Diving Instructor. It was like she was meeting herself for the first time. It was just like one was taking their inventory. She soon discovered another question more important than the question of ‘who am I?’ which was ‘I am Arzu Sayan; how am I?’ When this question came to her mind, she decided to write her short introduction article, “maybe a geranium raised me…”  She started to enjoy this work. “It’s his turn to think now,” she said inwardly, “what is this girl all about?” “Hey, Adem Adler, now it’s your turn to think” she said loudly, waving her hand in the air. She started enjoying it; she was in a good mood again. She scanned the photos on her computer. She thought of the books she liked, and revealed whatever she had kept as a souvenir. There were plenty of them!
When everything was revealed, one realized the wisdom that her past experiences and the cheats she faced brought to his life, and remembered her original state that had been dusted over a long time. How nice this feeling was! It had to be done once in a while. Although she did not advertise on social media with full-length photos, she was someone who created value for herself and her environment since the day she was born. Some people knew it and those who did not know, it would be even better if they didn’t… Until that day… Not anymore. While preparing for the possible stalk act of Adem Adler, perhaps she would do what she had to do for a long time and say “I am here” getting out of her extremely modest state.
Which photo did she have to post first? She took a long look at one of the finalists. It was taken on a May day in Datça, on the nose of a diving boat while getting ready to take off his gear. He could not get enough of diving that started early, extended the time a little and made the people on the boat curious, and the sun had reached the top. The mark of the underwater goggles still lingered on her face, but the sparkle in her eyes concealed the suffocation of the black suit that extended to her neck and the weirdness of her scarring. Almost four years had passed, but Arzu remembered the reason for that glow like yesterday. That morning, her friends, who were diving instructors like her, had met as they had previously agreed, and they decided to use that day, which they had left empty, to dive into a cave they had recently discovered but had not yet mentioned to anyone. Arzu would have preferred to rest at home when she had emptied a day, but she could not say “no” and promised to dive. Frankly, Arzu did not believe that there was an undiscovered cave in these bays anymore. They met around six in the morning, checked the supplies quickly, and left the port quietly. Arzu decided to be a tourist that day, sat on the nose of the boat, sunbathed all the way, trying not to think of anything. However, those days were very difficult for her. She learned that she and the Dutchman Andreas, whom she had met on diving a summer ago, had come to the end of a relationship including several travels and many calls over the phone. Yes, the situation had been communicated to her. She went to Datça from Istanbul to make preparations for the season at the end of March, aired her small house like a box, which she had bought many years ago with the support of her grandfather, who had died years ago, cleaned it and imagined her joyful laughter that would echo on the walls of that house. She had even gone a step further and had surfed the Internet a lot to find out what job she could do there if Andreas asked her to go to the Netherlands with him. Was she so naïve herself or Andreas a betrayer? It was a puzzle that she still could not find the answer to… It was the middle of April then, diving enthusiasts had started hitting the Mediterranean roads, except for one person… Andreas… One day he called and, in a very calm tone of voice, said that his business was very good at the time and his recording studio, which he had thought would be empty in the summer, received reservations one after another, wanted to seize this opportunity and work for her album too, bla bla… She didn’t listen to the rest… More precisely, she couldn’t hear the rest of his words… She wanted to believe this lie with great effort for a few days, but the communication that was completely interrupted revealed everything. She was dumped! Once again… Instead of the lie “you deserve better guys”, this time with the lie “my business got intense” …
That day she sat on the nose of the boat, wishing that the wind would take away the thoughts in her head and the trouble in her heart. And she asked herself “isn’t there a soul in a corner of this world who will love me, surround me, care about me and be loyal to me?”
Alp and Hakan knew the situation, and even felt embarrassed on behalf of their fellows. The guys, who got their way every year from May to October, were returning home early, as if accompanying Arzu’s mourning, and sometimes they were coming to Arzu’s house with their hands full and offered to eat and drink together. They were having fun, but neither Arzu had the right to do this more to herself, nor them… That day she said to herself, “I will jump into the sea today, I will enter that cave and when I leave, this dirt will be completely cleared in all my cells”.
When they arrived the bay where the cave was located, Alp reduced the speed of the engine, with a slight click they proceeded a little and anchored. Diving suits and equipment were worn. Alp and Arzu would go ahead, Hakan would wait on the boat. The environment was quiet since there was nobody other than themselves in the bay, but the silence when jumping into the water could not be compared to this. Arzu sighed at the moment she released herself into the water. She caught that moment again. Her mind stopped, the whole world was left out, and she got out of the Arzu self and became a greater consciousness. Fish passed before her eyes, the algae were swaying gently, the fish moving in their nests at the bottom of the sea raised a light dust, the sun was trying to illuminate the deepest, the darkest, and Arzu watched all these things like a living creature made up of just eyes. She changed her direction with Alp’s hand gesture and could not believe what she saw. Alp was showing an entrance they had never noticed before. It was so narrow and so disguised that she was convinced that nobody had seen the entrance but themselves. Although she hesitated for a moment, the I-can-do impulse she had developed with two male divers over the years immediately stretched its head. Taking into account Alp’s previous warnings, she entered the rift in three moves. The inside of the cave was so dark that they felt like the silence had increased several times more. They lit their flashlights at the same time as Alp. Thanks to the very high ceiling of the cave, a space had formed inside, and they were now surfacing. There was not much room to move. After examining it for a while, Alp pointed out, “Let’s get out,” but a voice inside Arzu was telling her to go back to the back wall she had just looked at. She signified for a minute, swam to the wall and dived. Yes, she was not mistaken, as she went to the bottom, she saw that she could go to another cave from there. She did not feel the need to go up and notify Alp and dived a little deeper and surfaced from the other side. The cave inside the cave… This time it was even smaller and lacked a remarkable feature. Not to make Alp wonder any longer, she would dive back to return, when she encountered two glows staring at her from behind the rock in the right corner of the cave. Two giant glows! In the cave inside the cave, amid darkness and silence, the two souls looked at each other calmly and for a long time. Arzu initially thought that she was bothering it, but then she felt that the fish with these big eyes were watching her with the same interest. She shifted to the left with a slight flipper movement, the fish did not move. She did not want to hold her flashlight directly on it, she was afraid to scare it, on the other hand, she was trying to see what was in the light created by the flashlight she had pointed into the water. At that moment, something unexpected happened. The fish, which was bigger than she guessed, swam a few meters and hid behind the rock again. ‘He’s obviously flirting with me’, Arzu thought. She did the same, swam for a while and came back. They repeated this game several more times until the light of Alp’s lantern appeared from below. “Run away, he is coming” a voice rose in Arzu’s mind. The fish disappeared in that instant. When Alp rose above the water, he gave a reproachful look at Arzu, made a ‘come on’ sign with his head, dived again, went to the first cave and then to the width of the cove… Arzu, who knew what Alp would say to her when he removed the mask, was a little nervous, but she felt a much stronger and great peace inside. There was a fish that nobody knew, did not recognize, only contacted her, and would perhaps never come in contact with any human again! It only spoke with Arzu, only with her… A living being in a corner of the world that only loves Arzu…
She came aboard with these feelings and Hakan, who was interested in taking pictures recently at the time, pressed the shutter at that moment. Of course, the reproaches of Alp, who came from behind and said, “you shouldn’t do it, Arzu, it’s not you, you are not an amateur, what does it mean to go without informing?”, did not appear in the photograph.
While she was looking at the photograph, she stopped these memories that were quickly passing through her mind, she looked up and started to look at the empty wall opposite. She went to the first day of entering this house with Uncle Ömer. The old man opened the locks slowly and asked Arzu in. There was the lounge on the right when you entered the front door, and the kitchen on the left when walking towards the lounge. More precisely, the kitchenette… She took two steps to enter the lounge when she noticed a movement in the kitchen, she looked up and saw that the movement was coming from the kitchen of the opposite house. The man, now known by her to be Adem Adler, was doing something fast on his kitchen counter, appearing for a moment and disappearing for another moment. At that point, Uncle Ömer, who was trying to come to the lounge behind Arzu with slow movements, did not realize that the young woman was stuck in the middle of the way, he hit her and thought that Arzu was controlling the kitchen and said, “Yes, the kitchen is a little small, but I guess it will do the job” he said. Arzu put a good face on, pretended to go into the lounge and examine it, but at that moment she actually rented the house. Just like that fish, Adem Adler was making movements behind his rock, and Arzu was following those movements. Like that fish, Arzu could escape if it came a little closer, and again, like that fish, she seemed content with her solitude. No other creature had yet been found on the kitchen window. There was only one difference here; although Arzu had been watching him for months, Adem Adler’s eyes had not yet found her.
Or had he found her? This was enough to wiggle her inner thinking.
For a moment, she wondered why she hadn’t thought of this idea before. Well, maybe Adem Adler was following her secretly as well, who knows! She felt a slight wiggle inside. “If I increase the amount of bullshit a little more, I’ll think I’m going crazy…”
She pulled herself together and returned to her memories which were worth keeping, but she had to upload this photo first. “Come on, we’re getting started”.
After thinking for a moment, she wrote under the photo, “If there is a cave, you should enter, especially if you are sure that the sun will wait for you …”
She checked it. No, it wasn’t appropriate. What does the cave have to do with a photograph on the boat…? The incompatibility between the text and the photograph was obvious. “We discovered an underwater cave. We wouldn’t feel comfortable if we didn’t go and look. We went. We looked. We were sure that the sun would wait for us”. This was ok.
She was toying with the files on the computer and the memory box by turns. What wonderful moments she was keeping and all of them were worth keeping. On the other hand, she felt resentment for seeing them. She suddenly thought that she had to go on with a certain number of days and numbers. It might not be right to upload everything in a batch. She thought why it might not be true, the only drawback would be getting people’s attention and receiving ridiculous comments, but was that worth the trouble? “No, why would it be a problem…” Yes, it wouldn’t be a problem. For this reason alone, she would have to spend hours and hours on comments. “Let it be,” she said, “so he’ll learn more about me”.
Indeed, that was the case; each photo made her have a pleasant chat with many of her friends. Social media was an interesting place. From the outside, Arzu was considered neither friendly nor fun, she looked more like a hard nut to crack. She was one of those girls with a world of her own. People would have to go through many security stages to get close to her. If her boundary rings were visible from the outside, it would certainly be similar to contour lines. As each ring was crossed, one not only could get in further but also rise higher. Arzu liked that. “Every person reigns on the top of their mountain of gods, and it is worth the adventure to get down from there and reach his/her side”. That was what she said to Sena one day. It was another inconvenient night. It was their custom. This was how they found the way to turn Monday syndrome into Friday excitement. That night they were sitting at the bar drinking their beers. A man was sitting at one of the dark, secluded tables of the place, watching Arzu, but not by disturbing her. Vaguely… Sena nagged at Arzu, “My dear, look at the man, he is like a dream guy. God. Arzu, you are very lucky. Why don’t you just look at him once?” Arzu was not a fast one. “Never mind dear. It seems like there must be something else for me to come down my mountain and someone to get there”.
Like a true love… Arzu, who had said these words just a few months ago, finally came across something worth descending from her mountain. “Look where you landed, Arzu,” she said to herself, “you landed on Instagram!”.
She understood that it was evening from the crowded street. There was very little time left for the kitchen. A strange idea came to her mind. She regretted that she hadn’t thought of this before. She could put a camera in the kitchen. So, when she wasn’t looking, she could tell if he was looking at her. She placed her tablet on the counter at the right angle. She had to find such an angle that Adem Adler could never see the tablet, but he could enter the frame of the camera. She tried many angles but couldn’t be sure. Still, she finally left the tablet where it looked best for her. She turned on her camera. She started tidying up the dishes. Before long, the light of the opposite kitchen was on. This time she was not going to finish her work and get out. Therefore, she had to cook something that would take a long time. Her heart was beating so fast that even knowing he was there was enough. She opened the window. The sticky air of the well caught her nose for a moment, but soon she got used to the smell, or indeed the airflow changed, she felt fresh air. She decided not to cook something that would take a long time, she needed a reason, not time, to attract attention. “It could be the smell,” she said. She opened the fridge, there was only cauliflower… “No,” she said, “not today, my friend…” She had come down from her mountain, she could not smell cauliflower when she could grace the place with fragrant scents. She glanced briefly at the opposite window. Adem Adler also opened his window. She decided at that moment. She was going to make a cake. He was leaning on the counter, chopping something. She did not see what was happening, but from his moves, it was understood that he was chopping something. Another great idea came to her mind. She wasn’t going to make a cake. She had to be fast. It would take an hour until it smelled like a cake. With a sudden decision, she gave up on making a real recipe. She quickly mixed the ingredients that needed to be scented. Cocoa, walnuts, cinnamon, sugar, and vanilla… She regretted it as soon as she put the cinnamon, she didn’t want a mother scent, but it was too late. A little butter, a little milk, an egg… She adjusted the oven to the highest temperature. She simply poured the ingredients into the bowl. Only the scent would be enough. And that was what happened. Within minutes, wonderful smells began to spread throughout the kitchen. She opened the window a little more. Meanwhile, with movements that would not be noticed, she prepared herself a cheese sandwich. “Yes Arzu, I congratulate you. It turns out that you are such a faker. Cheese sandwich. Well done”. Still, she lingered until the light of the opposite kitchen went out. Now a new excitement awaited her. Camera record. When Adem Adler turned off the kitchen light, Arzu took the cake-smelling thing out of the oven. It didn’t look bad though.
She entered the lounge with pleasure. She could then watch the recording.
She sat in her armchair, opened the tablet, and unfortunately faced the fact that life was not like in the movies. The technology we use in daily life is still not what it seems in the movies. She thought she had one of the cameras that showed every detail like in the detective films she loved so much. Unfortunately, it was not possible to distinguish Adem Adler’s eyes from that distance with the technology she had! It appeared that he had quickly looked up several times, but where he was looking could not be distinguished exactly.
His house plan was the exact opposite of hers. They both lived on the second floor, but although their kitchens were opposite each other, the other rooms of the house were positioned oppositely. The space between the two apartments, which contained a seasoned and neglected ivy, prevented the two from finding different ways of communication. The space facing the kitchens was located in the middle of two five-story buildings. The architect, who was probably no longer alive, seemed to be quite farsighted and tasteful. The architect thought that the space formed in the middle of the building would be a communication area that unites all the neighbors, but this place lost its meaning as the walls darkened over time and less time had been spent in the kitchens. But then it was the love space of Arzu… As they say, if everything was energy, energy flowed in waves from this space to the other side, from where they thought was a space. She would respond or not, but it was not possible for one to not feel this rumbling wave. At that moment, a certainty came to Arzu’s mind. A story would emerge from here, and it would be a good one.
Actually, she had been very desperate. Was that possible that two people lived in buildings of almost the same family and never meet for months? Okay, the doors of the two buildings opened to different streets, but after all, this was small downtown Kadıköy. Beneath the apartments, there was a large neighborhood grocery store combining the two buildings. Arzu often shopped from there and looked around like a detective at those moments. But they didn’t come across once, not once! It was also in those days that she began to become annoyed with the phrase “ocean of endless possibilities”, which was so fashionable at the time. Indeed, there were so many infinite possibilities that may be a lifetime would not be enough for Arzu’s to come true. If there were not infinite but ten possibilities that denote the fingers of a hand, they might have become acquainted, fraternized with each other, even became lovers by then. The possibility of meeting in the market below, the possibility of encountering him while walking on Bahariye Street, the possibility of meeting in that beautiful bookstore that is entered through a small passage on the street and suddenly opened like an oasis in front of the person, the possibility of looking and laughing while reaching out to the same book … Though one of the possibilities was visible the previous day. They met in the Wistaria Garden, but that didn’t work either. She not only humiliated herself but also realized that when they met again, she was too excited to do anything to communicate.
Nevertheless, there was certainty in her then. The feeling of “that’s it”, which she did not know the source of but felt very intensely. The great joy, the feeling of completion, which she felt on the day she learned that Orkun in the middle school liked her too, came and fluttered in the middle of her heart, whispering in her ear: You are beautiful, valuable, worthy to be loved, he loves you too…
She left herself with this beautiful feeling… It was only a matter of time before her mind kicked in, put its damn head out and said, “The man does not look up even once, hello, what’s this mood?” She tried with all her might to stay in this beautiful feeling. As soon as Arzu, who mocked her, appeared, she got up quickly and went to the toilet.
Adem Adler finally closed the book, which he had tried to read for about forty-five minutes but had to return to the top of the page each time, and put it on the table. As the time approached, his nervousness increased, and he began to feel that fear of rejection, which he thought was a distant past. The next day, he would find out whether his love, which he had been keeping alive for a very long time, was reciprocated. More precisely, he knew it was reciprocated, but he was not sure whether this reciprocity would fill that huge container inside him. What if it was just fun for her? What if he was one of the objects about which women liked to talk and giggle with their female friends? What a disappointment it would be if he saw the manners he knew from the girls who were trying to see him up close and get his attention, especially when he was in the front row in his university classes. Then who was going to grab him out of the hole he fell into? He knew himself; the story had come to such a point that if the rest was not written as he wanted, Adem Adler would perform one of those famous disappearances, transfer his lessons to his assistant, and try to recover without meeting anyone for months.
He stood up and stretched his back and arms in front of the lounge window overlooking one of the narrow streets of Kadıköy. The fact that the street was unusually crowded indicated that the young people were going out to enjoy Friday night. That evening, many relationships would begin, maybe would end as it started, maybe these relationships would agonize until the next morning and gasp their lives out towards noon. Adem Adler was a conservative person in these matters. Until then, he had not been a man of one-night stands and had not developed empathy for this experience. He found such relationships cold, soulless, and even a bit animal. He had thought about it, researched it, generated ideas, but the result had not changed; it was not his style to occupy a woman’s body for a night. Some people said, “If both parties are volunteers, why not?” But he thought women were always pretending about it. Every woman madly wanted that night to continue turning into an emotional relationship, even if she didn’t admit it to herself. Instead of getting involved in this deception, he had always had long-term relationships.
He would not be a part of Kadıköy’s chirping night, but he had a habit of giving the sweet Friday its due with a glass of white wine. He went to that little place, to the kitchen, which had been his confidant for the previous months. Despite his excitement, the kitchen remained as it was. The refrigerator grunted deeply, the spice jars on the counter were looking straight in the same direction like a disciplined battalion, and the sink and the tap were waiting patiently for the water to flow between them. He had read somewhere that when Jung entered his small kitchen every morning, he greeted the items there one by one, believing that the items would understand and value this greeting. This information, which he did not find meaningful until that time, had then turned into a different form. For months, didn’t he hide behind the doors of the kitchen cabinets to hide his facial expression… Especially, if that chopping board and the knife had tongues, wouldn’t they say, “Adem, you put us out of the way Adem… We have an average life; what is it all about to cut vegetables and fruits five times a day so that you will see the opposite neighbor?” One day, when he found himself apologizing to them, he thought of Jung and was very embarrassed. Wasn’t his state of pretending not to be interested the result of a childhood arrogance? This was the arrogance that turned him into a stupid lover that day and even had made him laugh inside out a pioneering psychiatrist.
In his habit, he looked at the opposite apartment before turning on the light. Arzu’s kitchen light was not on. In the back, she was still sitting in the lounge, with a dim light from her left side. He tried to guess what Arzu did, about whom he knew a lot and at the same time nothing. She was not one of those who lived with his phone or computer. If that were the case, her social media accounts would not seem so abandoned. She might have been watching a movie or reading a book. The idea of talking to someone on the phone and even video chatting once again got ahead much faster than the other alternatives. It was Adem’s most disliked guess, but it was always winning the race. He knew that Arzu was a diving instructor. She had to have students from all over the country and the world. She could well have been dating one of them. Online relationships were no longer just based on lies like before. People were establishing live connections through various programs, carrying the device with them inside the house, doing everything together. They were even watching movies together. They were following the film by opening and commenting at the same time where they were and asking questions in places they did not understand. This action, which he once found quite pathetic, started to appear as cute solution over time when he thought of his dozens of lonely friends. Yet, that was not what he had dreamed of for himself, and he disliked the idea that the woman in his dream was experiencing it. This would mean, firstly, that Arzu’s heart was not empty, and secondly, she was a woman with a different style. The second option would also show that Adem was wrong. However, his observations until that day put Arzu into the scope of a completely different character… A character that Adem would love very much…
He opened the Sauvignon Blanc, which he bought from the newly opened wine store in Caddebostan the previous week, with professional movements, slowly and tastefully. When this ritual, which he loved so much, reached the stage of pouring the wine into the glass, Arzu’s light turned on. He knew then that this was the act of “just to let you know; I am going to bed”. Arzu took a glass out of the cupboard, poured water into the glass, possibly from the jug on the counter, and started drinking slowly. He didn’t need to look anymore to know these. At the moment Arzu lifted her head, Adem poured the wine into the glass, as sure as Arzu was watching him, and rolled this delicious liquid in the glass, but waited for Arzu’s light to be turned off to take the first sip. When the opposite kitchen was plunged into darkness, he did not leave it to luck and after closing the bottle, he walked to the lounge with a glass in his hand. He thought ‘The two dark kitchens are petrified at the beginning of another night when they will look at each other and sigh until the morning’ and he smiled.
Adem had seen Arzu for the first time in the bookstore at the end of the passage. More precisely, for the first time in years… The night before, he joined the party of Canan Destan, who was the famous writer of late years, at her home, as the number of guests, who had been said to be only ten people, approached thirty, he got nervous as the hours passed by and he could not sleep well with the fatigue of having to make “empty” conversations – in his opinion – with tens of people he did not know. The next morning, he decided to drink his first coffee outside to reward the miserable Adem of the night before and started walking to his favorite bookstore. He almost opened the shop with the staff, wandered in front of the shelves while the smells of fresh tea, coffee, and books mixed, and then took a deep breath and recovered himself in the backyard. After breakfast, he could not stop his curiosity and went to the shelf on which he predicted Canan Destan’s books would be found. Unavoidably asking the question, “Does anyone see me?”, he stood in front of the books he guessed mostly women read. He challenged himself, set aside his conceit, and decided to read at least one of the woman’s books. While looking at the compelling names of the books, he did not notice the woman who approached him with cat steps. The moment he reached for another book, he saw her and pulled his hand back as if it was burned. She was looking for a book in front of the shelf where poetry books were lined up. Intense efforts to conceal himself made Adem almost invisible.
When Adem looked at the woman again whom he had anxiously looked at, taking advantage of her distraction, he was thrown into a far-off summer evening, and the regret of the first time he broke a person’s heart was in the middle of his chest.
It was in the early ‘80s that summer estates began to rapidly invade coastal towns in Turkey. Adem’s family had joined a cooperative in Bitez neighborhood of Bodrum upon the insistence of Adem’s mother for months. When Adem started secondary school, the construction had recently been finished and the summer days of the mother and son began. On the day he received the school report in June, their suitcases were ready, they usually returned one day before the schools opened. Adem always felt like he came from another world, and although he had a hard time adjusting to the city and school, he would still not complain about keeping the holiday long. However, like everything else, this joy had come to an end, and at the end of the third summer, on a gloomy city day, his mother told Adem that she and his father were going to divorce. His mother’s friends and expanding entourage in Bodrum and holidays consisting of the sea, sun, boat, evening drinks, and casino tours, which were very fashionable in those years, disrupted the balance between her husband, who was a dentist and could leave his very famous clinic in Şişli, Istanbul for a week at most every year, made divorce inevitable when neither party compromised on their lifestyle. When his mother got the house in Istanbul and his father got the house in Bodrum, Adem felt alienated from the summer house, and he made a new circle of friends in Çeşme, Izmir – the town that was his mother’s new favorite at the time.
Arzu’s place in his memories was due to the last summer in Bodrum. Arzu came to the building complex as a guest of one of the neighbors. Every afternoon, the boys played on the basketball court of the complex, and the girls cheered them up. Arzu sat so calmly and silently that Adem, who was so used to everyone’s attention, immediately noticed this girl who was not interested in him. He thought it was the wildness of the first day, but he was wrong. In the following days, they were in the same circle but Arzu pretended to be there and elsewhere at the same time. She seemed to be watching the game, but she was looking somewhere further. While they took shelter in the shade of the cafeteria on the beach and played the okey game at the peak hours of the sun, she pretended to watch the game next to one of the players, but it was like she saw something else on the okey board. She was there but she wasn’t there. Only when Adem and Arzu came to eye to eye, there was a movement in her faraway gaze, but if Adem looked a little longer, this interaction was immediately terminated by Arzu. Since Adem was sixteen at the time, Arzu must have been fourteen or fifteen. Adem could not understand the reason for this sorrow in her, even he could not realize whether it was sorrow or not, while almost all the girls in the complex were chasing after him, he was falling in love with this little girl day by day, who spared her attention from him and he was getting very angry with this situation.
As usual, that summer passed quickly, and the twenty days Arzu would spend in the complex had come to an end. When he heard that the girls in the group were going to organize a farewell party for Arzu, his heart sank but he had a poker face about it. That evening, they lit a fire on the beach at size about which those adults would not get angry and sat around and talked. The term “talking” is a figure of speech… Girls were hinting at the guy they liked, the boys were giving a rough response, no one was upset, at least pretending not to be upset, and everyone was laughing. Adem was shaken every second because Didem, the blonde bomb of the complex, was constantly lying on his shoulder while laughing, was impressed by the energy of this chirpy girl, and he was glancing at Arzu, that timid girl who became completely alienated in these conversations. She didn’t even make the slightest effort to win over Adem. Adem was very hurt for a moment, he wanted to hurt in return just like all children of his age, and invited Didem to walk on the beach after holding her hand. While leaving, he turned around and said, “We will not come back”, without neglecting also to say that “Arzu, good luck in life, though it’s a bit difficult…” And Arzu still did not look up and continued to watch the fire. On the other hand, Adem, with the effect of the words he regretted as soon as they came out of his mouth, took Didem to her house without talking and returned to his house without hearing the insistence of the girl to hang out a little more.
Days later, during an okey game party, he heard the girls talk about Arzu’s father who had gone bankrupt a while ago, that Arzu’s family had moved within twenty days she was there, that she would live in an unfamiliar neighborhood in Istanbul, that her mother would start working again, her school would change, but what it was not decided yet which school she would go… In the following months, he sounded his mutual friends out, but he learned that Arzu had cut off communication with her old circle. For quite a while, his eyes had searched for Arzu to see if he would come across her on the ferry, bus, on the streets, then he forgot his remorse and love.
If the story had finished at that point, it is not known whether Adem would remember Arzu again, whether he would recognize her at the bookstore as he saw her, but this regret, which sixteen-year-old Adem thought he had forgotten, stood against him at the most unexpected moment after years. About five years ago, while suffering from the pain of the leaving of Şule, with whom he believed to be able to spend the rest of his life together, in a rude way, his childhood friend Ebru said such a thing that she brought Arzu back to Adem’s life. Ebru, who had not lost the title of being his closest friend since high school, asked after this unexpected collapse of Adem, “Listen to me, something came to my mind, is it possible that you are paying karma? Have you hurt anyone in your life this much?” and at that moment, that sad state of Arzu around the fire appeared before his eyes like a vivid picture. Ebru did not miss that moment and insisted “come on, tell me… what did you do to whom, why do not I know?” When she insisted, Adem told the story from beginning to end and said, “Where did this image come from? It’s such a distant past that we hadn’t even met then. I was a child too, after all, I didn’t do it on purpose, the girl shouldn’t have been cursing me since then”. Ebru did not go any further in such matters that she did not master, but she said, “This is subconscious, my dear, they say you never know what it will do” and laughed wickedly.
Adem thought of Arzu for a long time in the following days. He tried to visualize her face, remember her last name, and even went a little further and examined his friends and their followers in the complex of buildings on social media. But he could not get a result, he sincerely said to himself, “I am sorry if I hurt you,” and once again the subject faded away. On the day in the bookstore where life gave him one more chance, he decided not to lose Arzu one more time, gave up buying Canan Destan’s book, followed the young woman from a safe distance, and when he saw that she was walking towards the neighborhood he lived in, he got a small shock, and when Arzu entered the other apartment from the side street, he was very, very happy with this sweet game of fate. As Arzu entered her house, he too rushed to his house and stood in his dim kitchen to watch the movements in the opposite apartment. After a while, Arzu entered her kitchen and firstly looked straight at him, and he panicked and threw himself on the small rug in the kitchen. Thus, began the days when Adem followed Arzu with greater interest every day but could not find the courage to show it. In time, he realized that Arzu had already been watching him for a much longer time. She seemed to be staying in the kitchen for long, especially in the evening, possibly filling the dishwasher, emptying it, lingering with something. Did she remember Adem, too? He had doubts about this. Almost twenty-five years had passed. Arzu had been living in a different world for the reasons that Adem acknowledged to be right, and experienced a change of status, which he predicted was very challenging for a child. Who knows what she had experienced in her new life, which she started on her return from vacation, that she even cut off contact with her old friends? It was even possible that she never thought of Adem again. Moreover, at that time, Adem was not Adem, his name was Emre. A joke that started among his friends after he started university became permanent, the name Emre he used until that age was forgotten over time and the name Adem, which came from his great-great-grandfather, became permanent. Ebru had her hand in this. She said “My dear, you are a philosopher now,” with her usual older sister attitude. “You say ‘I’m going to be a professor’. Professor Emre Adler… It looks like the name of a pop star. Use the name Adem from now on. Adem Adler… Famous philosophy professor… Do you realize how good it sounds?”. When this early professional breakthrough of Ebru, a student of Public Relations and Advertising, was accepted by everyone in the group who were with them that day, it became his identity.
He got out of the kitchen with the glass in his hand and took the first sip on the miniature balcony of his house, where only two people could fit, he skillfully rotated it in his mouth and swallowed it with pleasure. Well! Whatever would happen had to happen; it was worse to wait. Arzu went to her bedroom, unaware of everything, perhaps reading a few more lines and falling into a peaceful sleep, while Adem would have a restless night with both the excitement of the next day and the weight of articles he had not touched for a long time. Was she asleep? How would Arzu sleep? How would she wake up? Did she talk in her sleep? Was she one of the cranky ones or happy ones when she woke up? Would she be nestled up to him while he was sleeping? He had been thinking and dreaming about these for so long that he could not help but wonder if he was in love with a dream from time to time. But he could remember that young girl very well. It was also natural that witnessing a short period of a person’s childhood made him feel like he knew her very well because people are natural at that age.
He started humming that beautiful song that he hadn’t thought of for a long time …
Last night while you were sleeping
I whispered your name
And I told stories
Of horrible animals
Last night while you were sleeping
I watered the flowers
And I told them
The stories of horrible people 
That day, Adem Adler saw something else that was also very important in the bookstore… While Arzu was looking at the books, Medusa threw her hair back with her hand for a moment and the tattoo appeared on her neck: You are the flow of streams and I am the crazy one there… It was easy for Adem to recognize this sequence of letters that he had seen side by side many times before, and he was shocked by the fact that Arzu loved these words, which he also had a finger in their story, enough to get a tattoo. Derya Deniz would love to tell this story, and even produce a brand-new song from here. It was her job to convert the emotions to verses and combine them with musical notes. Since Derya talked about their relationships in interviews during their time together, their relationship was imprinted in the minds of many people as a great love story but they were two friends who nurtured each other for a while and then retreated into their waters. This relationship, which started on social media like an adolescent adventure and of which the fire was quite hot for a while, turned into a production opportunity with the blending of Adem’s seriousness and Derya’s incredible emotional intensities. At that time, Derya produced hit songs and Adem made researches on subjects that his colleagues would not be interested in, guest-authored in a few places, and gathered a lot of followers in the world of philosophy that young people normally do not care about. Arzu had probably researched Adem, learned about his relationship with Derya, and got completely different ideas. Beyond all the stories that appeared, Arzu was unaware of the rhythm of Adem’s heart.
Last night while you were sleeping
My heart attached to you like a star
That is why, for that reason alone
I gave you a new name
Adem Adler, the well-educated son of a good family, who was both athletic and smart… Adem Adler, who did not like to be seen with women, did not like to be in crowded places, and who was regarded as arrogant and know-it-all by the majority of people with his manners… Adem, who had hidden the hypersensitive side of him, especially his father, from everyone since his adolescence, hid his state when his heart was broken, tried to heal himself and showed his face again after he healed as best he could, ate alone while people thought he was going to his lovers in distant lands, drank alone, read, read all the time, wrote secret poems, although his age was over forty, never ceased to wait for that woman who would complete the remaining half of his life… Adem, who left his home in Ataşehir, which resembled people who had unnecessary aesthetics at a young age, and sheltered in the turbulent spirit and aged beauty of Kadıköy… Adem, who fit in the mindscapes to which his parents guided with pure good intention at a young age and could never be himself in the patterns of manhood, professorship, childhood, and dearness. He had seen this brokenness in the walk of Arzu, whom he had been chasing often in recent months… This state was seen in the body, walk, and in the expression in the eyes of every incomplete person. Like a rip, a scratch, a graze… He knew he had pain, too. He was alone. Maybe since those high school days, who knows…
Recently, there had been some activity in her social media account. As she said there, maybe a geranium raised Arzu. How did she have the sudden wish, thought about that poem, and made new hopes germinated in Adem?
Will she wait for me?
She smiles all over her face, smiles like children
For many summer days
I wonder if she’ll wait for me 
He had repeatedly planned their encounter, which he had convinced that they would both end their loneliness, and none of them sit comfortably with him. He was afraid that she would run away saying that she had things to do if they encountered on the street and that even if she agreed to sit down and talk somewhere, an impertinent acquaintance would interrupt this vital conversation. If he invited her to the Wistaria Garden, which he had found out a long time ago that she loved, he knew that he would get bored very much with Emin’s sincere conversation this time. The other day, he learned in his encounter with her that Arzu was not always alone and got excited quickly, and that time, which he hadn’t organized, he had to be buried in newspaper news, which he did not find interesting at all. He was resisting not to attribute this excitement to himself and become hopeful. Nobody, nobody should have witnessed, nobody but nobody should have been able to intervene at that moment. And Arzu should not get excited and run away. He did not want anyone to see the encounter, which he had envisioned many times like a movie scene, to tell other people, and to be appetizers on the tables as if it was a simple story. For these to be true, he had to go and knock on Arzu’s door. As a rehearsal of this possibility, about which he was in a quandary even when he thought about it, he recently accepted the coffee invitation of the scriptwriter, who had invited him in the opposite apartment, after avoiding it many times with a thousand excuses. The guy lived in Arzu’s next apartment. Had he met her, did they come across at the door every day, did he know things about Arzu that he did not know? Maybe the single writer liked her too! He entered the building with excitement from the fusty door that seemed not to be locked for a long time, went upstairs to the floor shared by Arzu and the scriptwriter, and threw himself in as soon as the door he knocked open. Meeting Arzu right there would have shattered his dreams. The scriptwriter, too, was surprised by Adem Adler, who had been stalling him for a long time, took it personally, and was delighted with the hope of receiving his consultation in the script he was working on. Since he had entered the territorial waters of the man willingly, Adem sat patiently, answered sincerely to every question asked by the constantly sweating tubby man, and although he did not like the script at all, he refrained and did not intervene. At one point, when the scriptwriter went to the lounge to answer the phone that he said was important, Adem quickly entered the kitchen, which he guessed that the wall was adjacent to Arzu’s, and leaned his ear against the wall and waited. He could not believe what he had done, but he also enjoyed the awakening of that swine lad in him. Unable to hear any sound, he couldn’t help but knock the wall several times. The scriptwriter had such a loud argument that it was unlikely that he could hear this sound. When he heard the door closing sound coming from Arzu’s side, he realized that the girl thought there was someone at the door and he was a little embarrassed. Still, he could not help, knocked on the wall once more. Then he threw himself into the toilet like a boy trying to hide his misbehavior, washed his hands and face, and waited for the wicked embarrassment on his face to pass. It was a nice rehearsal. The same fingers would knock on Arzu’s some other day. He wished God’s help for the scriptwriter not to see it…
Saturday rose over the city with all its joy and vitality. Those who still had to work consoled themselves, at least because there was no traffic and the weather was nice, while those who started a holiday spent a little longer in their beds. The rush of young waiters started in the breakfast places of Kadıköy, which had increased rapidly in recent years. There were small queues in front of the appetizing bakeries.
Arzu, who had nothing to do that day, stayed a little longer in bed. She felt as if she had a plan and forgot. But she did not have any… She got a little bored. Selim would go to the islands with Maklube, and Sena would attend the two-day training of an expert from abroad for the family constellation technique, which she was newly interested in. She did not like Kadıköy at the weekend, she decided not to go out. Maybe she would misbehave and order a pizza that night; the one with whole wheat dough and artichoke pizza that she loved so much… She instantly cheered up. She was a Taurus, and when it came to a good meal, she would cheer up immediately.
She got up, first went to the kitchen and filled the kettle with water on her knees, and left her egg to cook in the pot because she didn’t want to be caught by Adem Adler with that face and hair. She quickly washed her hands and face until the water boiled, got dressed, and filled her tiny tray with her breakfast of feta cheese, black olives, parsley, tomatoes, cucumbers, and hard-boiled eggs. She made her bed until the tea brewed. She looked at the view of the deep sea on the bedspread and sighed. Datça days were close, on the one hand, she had to earn money, on the other hand, she did not want to go at all. She wandered aimlessly around the house and waited for the tea to brew. She added her fragrant tea to the tray and ensconced herself on the sofa near the living room window. She completed her breakfast by watching the revival of Kadıköy. She dropped the dishes into the sink as usual. She poured Turkish coffee and water into the coffee pot. She looked across several times as the heat of the fire slowly joined the ingredients but saw no movement. She was bored thinking about what Adem could do on such a beautiful Saturday. She took her coffee and the poetry book that she had bought months ago and had not opened the cover yet and buried herself back in her seat. She took the first sip, opened a page of the book randomly, and started reading.
The days when I don’t see you, an eryngo grows in my pupils
A child begins to cry, cries for a long time in my ears
My hands are sticking somewhere, I can’t save them
What about my feet? My poor feet…
They’re so confused, so indecisive, so desperate 
Meanwhile, the door was knocked on twice.
In a distant cave, a huge fish emerged from its hiding place and cheerfully dived into the water.
He was there. She was seeing him. All physiological processes had done their job perfectly. Her eyes caught the image in the air, reflected it to the relevant places, as the nerve cells embraced this unexpected message, she was overjoyed about it and the cells jumped into the occipital lobe as if jumping on a fluffy bed. In this way, the revel in her head started, and all her neurons enthusiastically started working to produce reasons for the match of image and meaning. This work took so long, it had been so difficult to find meaning that ‘simple is beautiful, if you do not know anything, do what you know best’ lobe took the command and made her ask that simple question that was not at all compatible with Arzu’s confused gaze:
“What can I do for you?”
“I was going to leave the file you see in my hand to your neighbor,”
What is ‘you see in my hand’ you idiot Adem; are you a salesman?
Arzu proceeded only by commands, as she could no longer think at all, and naturally looked at Adem’s hands. About the file, she could not tell exactly which was the file because that crazy dark and bony fingers in front of her had blown her mind once again. If it were visible to the eye, the smoke coming out of her head could cover the whole Kadıköy. When she turned her head back to Adem Adler’s face, the only thing she could do, and her brain could do, was to command her facial muscles to do the same as that silly smile when she heard that she got seventy from a terrible exam. An identical one of Arzu’s silly facial expressions also appeared on Adem’s face. Both of them just stared at each other for a while. The elapsed time was enough for Arzu to process all the data and make the correct connections.
Her facial muscles recovered, and soon after, her eyes put on the ‘me too; not just you’ look, as she already knew very well, and smiled cleverly this time,
“But I don’t know my opposite neighbor at all. It would not be right for me to accept such a trust because I will go to Datça in a few days. So, if I can’t see him, I don’t want to leave you in a difficult situation” she said.
Both were extremely happy, but the master poker player dominance on their faces never disappeared, and not a single gesture would reveal what was going on inside.
Adem replied with the same agility:
“Oh, what a coincidence. I will be in Datça in a few days”.
“How nice,” Arzu said. She crossed her arms over her chest and leaned against the door sill with a surprising cat glide, it was Adem Adler’s turn to move.
“Then I’ll visit your neighbor for the file again later,”
“Yes,” said Arzu, covering her upper lip with her lower lip. After a nod or two, she added, “I think you better stop by again.”
Serda Kranda Kapucuoğlu – Yaprak Çetinkaya
 Edip Cansever, “I’m Mr. Ruhi; How am I?” Poem
 Lale Mültür, “Destina” poem. Interpretation by Yeni Türkü
 Edip Cansever, “I’m Ruhi Bey. How is it?” poem
 Ümit Yaşar Oğuzcan, “Despair” poem.
A little explanation:
One day Serda texted on WhatsApp:
“Shall we start something in the form of Chinese Whispers?”
It was a subject I didn’t know about, and she also sent a voice recording:
“We will both continue a text without knowing what each other will write because neither of us will know what to write. We will intuitively watch each other, but also prepare surprises and traps for each other. This is the nirvana of what is called the stream of consciousness! We will both have fun and we will have a story at the end. I have been looking for a friend for a long time to accompany me in this game”.
Of course, I accepted that second.
Now our story is over and we decided to share it with you.
We wanted you to both read and enjoy.
We also thought, let’s see if there is a demand for the continuation.
We also wonder if those who know us can guess who wrote which part. After a while, even we forgot which part we wrote.