The Girl in the Tree by Şebnem İşigüzel

The Girl in the Tree by Şebnem İşigüzel

Author:Şebnem İşigüzel [İşigüzel, Şebnem]
Language: eng
Format: azw3
Published: 2020-04-15T16:00:00+00:00

“Istanbul, don’t forget me. If you do, damn you to fucking hell!”

“I may not have had that panoramic view, but when I closed my eyes, I could see it.” That’s what my poor grandma said. Do you call everything you went through “life”? This isn’t life; it’s the worst of torments. You’re confused. That’s all this country has to offer its women and girls, in lieu of a plaque.

Did you know that my grandma kept a “crap diary”? That’s what she called her tally of days when her slow bowels actually kicked into action. Her crap diary. As for the things she despised, allow me to list them: menstrual cramps, diarrhea, vomiting, smelling sweaty, bathing with anything but old-fashioned white soap, bathing at home, housework, smelly groins, mice, bedbugs, itching, and mosquitoes. But her obsessions and dislikes didn’t stop there: bidets, bug poison, swimming pools, delivery trucks, hair in sink drains, humidity, mold, noisy motorcycles, the sound of drawers opening and closing, and much, much more.

Her voice had been weary, melancholic, full of disappointment. That wasn’t the effect of cigarettes. Life had done that to her. I’d seen her laugh on many occasions in her dimly lit apartment, but I wondered if it was because she was enjoying herself or if it was out of sorrow.

Hope never ends. In fact, the story doesn’t really come to an end when death rolls around. People speak of your life and you go on existing through those stories. Like those panoramas that go on existing even after you die.

Shrugging off the mysteriousness of what had happened, I stood up and headed in the direction where I’d last seen my grandma. First I walked out of the garden and then out of the courtyard of the mosque onto our street. There was an ambulance in the middle of the road, its back doors swung wide open, which made it look like a wild, winged creature about to take flight. My aunt was standing behind the ambulance. A stretcher came rolling out of our apartment building. On it was my grandma. Her feet were bare. I could see the edge of her vervain flower-print nightgown—one of her favorites—where the blanket had been pulled up a little. But it didn’t make any sense, because she’d been with me just a minute or two earlier.

I’d say that’s when I lost it.

Perhaps. I’m not sure.

Everyone has experienced a moment when they were severed from life, driven hither and thither. We remember moments, not days. That’s why moments are so important. I think my grandma really died that time. Even though she’d appeared to me in the small garden of Cihangir Mosque with its panoramic view and bid me farewell, she had died. But that wasn’t the first time she died. True death occurs when the spirit dies, regardless of whether or not the ephemeral body goes on living.

So, how does the soul die?

Take the case of what happened to my grandma on September 6 in 1955.

But this is life, and you seek consolation.


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