Translator: Bayram Sarıkaya

Once he opened the apartment’s door, he encountered the rain. He put the coat’s cape on his head, moving away from the building in practical steps. The door’s banging caught him being three steps away from garden door; he went blues altogether now. He’d been playing this little game for as long as he could remember: he would pull the door wide open and until it went close he would try to reach the garden door. Before moving in here he was succesful of sort at the game, but for the last two years he couldn’t show the same performance at all. Since the garden was quite big—bigger than average and necessary—his reaching would take eighteen seconds, while the door would shut in some fourteen–fifteen seconds. In the time left the last resort was to run towards the door, but then he got blushes all of a sudden, thus saying, ‘What would someone say if witnesses this?’ Rain was almost soft, he drove his hand through the inner pocket to take out cigarette box. He and the last smoke in the box stared at each other. He had been preserving it since 2 p.m. He had supposed to light it up for a joy cigarette, but as a matter of fact everything went wrong. He took the smoke out of the box, placing gently in his lips and lighted it with covering his hand around it. He took a deep breath; not gave away immediately. Slowly and without hurry, he exhaled his smoky breath. ‘I should have never been hard on her,’ he thought to himself, ‘come solve it out if you can now.’ One more breathe... ‘Stupid me! How couldn’t you control your desires...’ One last breath and he put it out with his heel, then quickening the steps. He stopped at the traffic lights. In a few minutes he would see his maternal uncle; he had to pull himself together right away. ‘O Neriman, what you have done isn’t fair now...’ he grumbled, ‘Only a few months left at most after all’... 

She was quiet at the beginning of the night; bursted out when being hard on. Especially those last attitudes... She was like mad. She was crying and and swearing in English at the same time, then explaining things after relaxing and again in the end was starting to shout for no reason. When he barely left the house there was no such thing as kitchen any more. ‘Hopefully she wouldn’t call the police,’ he said as he was crossing the pavement, ‘Only a few months left at most after all.’ Just as the rain was getting heavier he made his way into the first apartment on the corner, entering into it. In idle steps he went down the stairs and knocked the door in the basement floor; it was opened not after a long while. 

‘Brother-in-law?’ said Nurhan with sleepy eyes, ‘what happened at this hour?’ 

He measured his little sister-in-law in the nightwear: she was wholly grown up, pretty blossomed. Did she have a boyfriend by any chance? 

‘Oh, no, I’m not to disturb you. Is my uncle home?’ 

‘Dad? Oh, nope. He’s gone to the kahve[1].’ 

‘Halit brothers’, right? Alright, I’ll go look there, may you have a good night.’ 

‘Good night...’ 

He went up the stairs in two by three steps, widening the door, he went away from the apartment. When he reached the road after passing the garden the apartment’s door was just closed. With a spreading smile on his face, he pulled the cape; in the rain that was turned into a torrent he made his way to the kahve. ‘Such a climate, God gives it’s...’ he said, didn’t contiuned the rest. He took a deep breath, let out stressfully. Quickening his steps, almost running, he entered into the kahve, ‘Selamünaleyküm!’ 


As he took off his coat, he looked at each and every table: he easily recognized his uncle with woodman shirt covering his huge body. At the corner table he was playing cards; he was playing this game everyday without exception and any sign of boredom—but anyway. With an unnoticable smile he approached towards his uncle. When he got there ordered a tea, having a stool next to his uncle’s.

‘How are you doing, Vedat,’ said Kazım while putting the cards, ‘four of clubs.’ 

‘Just rolling, how about you, uncle?’ 

‘What happened, something wrong?’ 

‘Shall we talk outside for couple of minutes?’ 

Kazım looked at his nephew leaning back firstly; only thereafter noticed his brow was split open. They replaced Kazım’s seat with some another and got up. Opening the kahve’s steamed door they met the Tottenham Hale streets. A rainy night air patted their sweated faces; chilled, Kazım reached his shirt pocket for the cigarette. As he placed the smoke in his lips he offered to his nephew, but Kazım himself did not light it. He was waiting for the right time. 

‘What’s wrong Vedat?’ he said while putting the box back into the pocket. 

Vedat didn’t know where to start, what to say at first. He took a breath from the smoke. His uncle was his last hope and only stand. ‘Uncle...’ said, ‘You know I don’t have anyone else but you.’ Paused, took another deep breath from his smoke. ‘In this country also you are my father and friend...’ paused again; he didn’t know how to proceed. His hands were shaking of excitement, his head bowed, his watery eyes from smoke were looking for something. The magic words to win his uncle over to his side. He swallowed. Seconds were passing by and Vedat was getting tense. Finally he couldn’t hold it any longer, ‘There is someone else, uncle,’ said in a breath while, ‘Neriman’s fallen in love with another guy.’ After coming to from the thoughts Kazım looked at his nephew from head to toe: ‘What do you mean by that now?’ 

‘I don’t get it either, uncle. I went to home; while we were having dinner she said suddenly, “I’m in love with someone, Vedat.” Then fight and all. And I came here right from home just for police or something to not come home.’ 

Deciding it was the very moment, Kazım lighted up his smoke, inhaling one long breath, and giving out through the nostrils. And one more deep breath. Having been worried since his uncle didn’t say anything Vedat dived into the sentence again: ‘Don’t get me wrong, uncle, that she loves another one is fine by me bu she wants to divorce. It’s only four months that I’ll acquire the citizenship, after that we are going to divorce anyway but how can I possibly do it at this moment? And I’m still to bring my parents, yes, I will but still four months to go. Just four months more. You know...’ 

As Vedat was staring at his uncle with eyes searching help Kazım was gazing at crossroads, being in firm silent. He left his mind at the table. He didn’t know the boy he hurriedly put in his place; ‘If only he wouldn’t ruin the game,’ he inner thought. ‘How Is it going?’ he wondered. He wasn’t adult but just a boy, nor the other players knew him. If he could bluff and kind of know the stuff he would win the game for sure actually. He slightly turned his double chinned neck. Just as he intended to glance towards the table the steamed door didn’t allow him so. Now he turned his bored looks towards Vedat, the boy didn’t seem to shut up any time soon. While he was trying to take one more breath from his finished smoke Vedat kept on talking: ‘I mean that’s totally okay to me but how are we going to explain it to judge? If our sham marriage was revealed, they would kick our buckets. Other than this, the gossips would go round and round in the neighbourhood; people would say that ‘Kazım’s daughter eloped with an uncircumcised guy.’ This ultimately would touch to you anyhow, uncle...’ 

He was bored altogether and without thinking about the condition of his unfinished game he couldn’t give a rest even for a second. Vedat didn’t look like he was intended to stop no matter what. He was gradually believing in the more he talked, the more persuasive he would be, holding a strange grunge kept talking on and on. Eventually Kazım couldn’t stand longer, thus interrupting his nephew, ‘Vedat! Catch your breath, son. Alright, I see the matter. I’ll give Neriman a row tomorrow.’ 

Trying to restrain the excitement and happiness arose in éFor real, uncle?’ Vedat said, ‘Would you talk with her?’ 

It was ten minutes they were outside when Kazım virtually swore on God and convinced him that he would talk to her and settle the matter. The moment he decided the matter was closed he turned and went into the kahve unexpectedly agile from his huge body size. He moved towards the corner table without greeting, his joy came back when he arrived and saw the little fellow had only two cards. So, he was worried for nothing. As he took over the game and settle down properly Vedat came in, ‘Selamünaleyküm!’ 


When he reached the table ‘Halit brother, send me a tea and biscuit along with it,’ he shouted at the kettles, ‘I’m getting hungry this hour at night, you know.’ Kazım looked first at his hand then at his nephew, ‘And a jack of diamonds I lay!’

1. Kahvehane, a traditional Turkish tea house where only males can go, and play cards or various cultural games, drink beverages, talk et cetera. (t.n.)