August 28, 2012

(4) Prince



The summer was about to come and my mom had gone to visit my grandmother who was sick for a while... The school was unbearable with the prospect of oncoming summer holiday... Each second of the lecture time was strecthing to the infinity... After hours of torture, the last lecture finished, and I left the school like an arrow released from the bow... Suddenly, I remembered that I had to go to my father's office instead of home... My father had told me that we were going to visit one of the relatives nearby...

I generally hated the visits to the relatives... They always squeezed your cheek in the name of  showing some kind of care and they talked to you like you were a baby boy no matter how old you were... Also there was a never-ending  "routine talk", starting with the question of mutual well-being, continuing with the well-being of other relatives, and streching to the infinity just like the last lecture of the school... It was like: "How are you? I am  fine and how are you? Not too bad and how is your old mother? She is also not bad and how is yours? She can't walk much due to pains on her knees but thank God she is ok otherwise, how is your dad? " Oh, man... Please somebody shoot me...

I hurried to my father's old and dusty office... He grumbled a little for my late arrival and then we started to walk in the narrow streets of Bodrum...  My father was not a talkative person... He didn't mention anything about where we were going... It took about half an hour to arrive at our destination...

It was an old stone house on the far hills of the town... It had old, ruinous walls hiding a small garden from the alien eyes... Even though it was the middle of the spring, we were soaked in sweat...  My father was constantly using his handkerchief to wipe the sweat on his forhead...

We followed the wall and arrived at the dusty iron gates of the house. An amazing smell was being spread from the gates... It was impossible not to feel; the freshness of the air, the strange beauty hidden behind the walls...

I was expecting an incredible woman, like an angel, summoned to the gate and take us in... But instead; a tall, bony man with a sunburnt face approached to the gate... Opened the door, bended and kissed my father's hand... "Uncle Ali! You are welcome..." My father gracefully replied: "It is nice to see you Memet, how nice your garden is!"...

We walked through a small garden, full of beatiful flowers... You can hear the constant buzz of the bees, visiting the flowers with an unbridled hurry... There were a few stumpy mandarin and lemon trees, carefully pruned, leaves swept... At the far end of the garden, there were tomatoes, green peppers, green unions, mints, fresh beans clinging to the bamboo sticks... The garden was really something... Something from heaven...

Memet accompanied us to the courtyard of the house... Then went in and boiled some tea... Also offered home-made cake and some grapes, probably cut off  from the vine surrounding the courtyard and providing shade... 

Memet was a talkative guy... But talking only about small things... Like his garden... his flowers.. how he rooted the weeds and insects... how difficult it was to keep garden green during summer season... how much it did cost to him to whitepaint the outer part of the house... how he liked cooking fresh beans with tomates and mint...  And also continuously thanked my father for arranging his job in the municilpality... As if my father was a small god, and he was a humble servent... He seemed a bit weird to me... Like a man who was lonely, very lonely...  Losing his connections to the world outside of this garden...

My father listened to him without talking much... Nodded and smiled most of the time... I could feel the pain on my father's face... He intended to say something... something difficult to say... Just trying to find the appropriate context... But sometime later, Memet stopped talking... He was just sitting on the sofa, in front of my father, and sipping his tea... The silence was very heavy... Heavy enough to squeeze us under...

My father suddenly raised his eyes to me, but I pretended to read the book I brought with me... He cleared his throat and started talking slowly: "Look Memet, you have an amazing garden here... but you are alone...It is not good for a man to live alone..." Memet smiled back and said: "I am happy here Uncle Ali... very happy indeed... I have a job, a house and a garden... Also I am not alone here... I have Prince!"...

My father's eyes were rolled in confusion: "Who is Prince??!"... Memet gave a big burst of laughter and then shouted: "Prince... Prince... Come here boy!!!"

Suddenly, a huge rooster jumped in to the courtyard that we sat together. It was an unbelivable animal with its shining colors and bloody red crest... He directly went to Memet and jumped on to his lap. Memet was in a great joy, caressing the rooster with his bare hands... And the rooster was sitting on his lap,  like a purry cat... Gut gut gut.... gurrrttt... gut gut gut... Memet gave him a grape bead and he swallowed it with one gulp... Then he raised his eyes on us... Like trying to assess how to treat us...

My father and I were stone frozen... We had never seen such a big rooster sitting on a lap and purring like a cat...  My father couldn't talk for a while... Memet was certainly aware of our astonishment and really cheerfull about it... "See... My good boy... He never leaves me... Always watchfull... Very intelligent..."

[... will continue]

3 comments:

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thestorytellingmom said...

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