That Year — The Artist (chapter one)



"That year" is the first book I've written. It is a story of my new apartment and a bunch of funny misfortunes in life. I joke about stories in the past, believe time changes the feelings. All the incidents happen in one year and it starts with moving in my new apartment.

Everything starts with a thought, an imagination and a vision. The kind of imagination that runs through your mind all the time; you can’t keep it away. You daydream, write scripts and play it out in different scenarios in your head. It is mostly inspired by people around you; they are living one moment of their lives, minding their own business without even realizing they are making a difference in you. It touches you, catches you. It mesmerizes you in a way that makes you ask “why don’t I have it?” silently to yourself. The way that person connects with the world outside makes you want to be a part of it. It doesn’t matter what that moment is about. It may be a person, a job or even a situation that makes you enjoy that second so much. It may be the goosebumps you get. You envy it in a way and can see your future self there. Time freezes and that feeling swells all over your body.
I’ve had quit a few of these moments. Like when my childhood dentist was so kind to me, I decided to be a dentist. Or like the goosebumps I got when I read Robinson Crusoe drowning in the ocean; I want to be a writer, I thought to myself. Or like the time when my teacher in first grade tried to teach us the alphabet with all her songs, acts and pictures. That was probably the first vision I created for myself. I promised that I’d be a teacher when I grow up. I was amazed by how she kept colorful chalks in one hand, and made us follow her lead with the other. She always wore black, that’s one thing we knew for sure about her. She was a tall lady with an innocent face. How old was she back then? Now that I am thinking about it, she sort of looked like the Virgin in renascence paintings. Or that’s just how I picture her in my childhood memories. Who knows maybe she wasn’t that tall anyway, I was too little. I wanted to be a teacher when I saw her singing songs with us, when she held our hands and helped us count the beans, assigned workbooks, wrote on the board and even got mad at kids when they were lazy. I wanted to be her. Of course that vision changed for hundreds of times as I met tons of other people. I don’t want to be a teacher anymore. I don’t want to be a graphic designer either.
What I really want to do or what I am going to be does not really matter, because at the end it is nothing. We all have different lives and walk different paths. We go through lots of ideas and thoughts, but we eventually end up with nothing. I am not depressed or a suicidal teenager, this is just what happens every time. Six years ago my biggest challenge was to get into university for my precious education, so that I could follow my dreams to become the artist I want to be. Six years has passed by and I still haven’t graduated. I don’t even want to finish school. Not that the school isn’t good or valuable, I just realized I’ve been keeping the wrong dream in mind. School wouldn’t really do much when you’re stuck in a series of misfortunes, and life is nothing but hard on you. I didn’t see it as a success anymore.
I was sitting in my new empty apartment, staring at walls drinking water, thinking those were my biggest achievements, not my grades at the end of the semester, or my teacher’s approval of my artwork. Renting a new apartment seemed much more interesting than school, even if you have to live a completely empty one.
I had just moved in. I only brought my bed, bookshelf and my personal belongings. I was using a huge plastic bag as a carpet and my thickest dictionary as a stool. I placed them in front of the radiator to warm myself up in the cold winter, to make myself comfortable and feel at home. The plastic bag was supposedly my sofa and the radiator was my fire place.

I cleaned the house yesterday; it was filthy. No one had used the place for more than two months. The house was covered with fat layers of dust and car smoke. My apartment is located on one of the most famous streets of the city. The public transportation passes by non-stop, dust and smoke are the inevitable parts of that house, which I was not used to. I had the shortest address ever; that was new too. I have lived in a lot of places before and I’ve moved for more than forty six thousand times. I have memorized many different addresses in this city, and this one is the best one so far. Isn’t it cool how simple it is? Even a kid can memorize it. I’ve always hated to write down lines of addresses in the little boxes on application forms or envelopes. My parent’s address is the longest. As a kid, besides my last name, an address was the first thing I had to know, no matter what. If anyone ever asked me, I had to write country, city, county, block, building, floor, apartment and postal code. Imagine having to write that down on a form when you are waiting for a cop to let you out of “jail”. I once spent the whole night in a shithole in some police station or whatever it was. We were celebrating Farzaneh’s sister’s birthday party. We were waiting for our drinks to come when all of the sudden, cops busted in. Well, alcohol is banned in my country, so, that’s why we were in trouble.
At first we thought it was a joke and they would go away any minute. Farzaneh’s father was injured during the war. He was a war hero, so we thought people like him are untouchable. Melissa, the birthday girl, kept joking around about everything. We were absolutely positive everything would turn out fine. Up to the last minute, we were laughing about the whole situation. We were having fun. Her father had fought for the country and had a troubled knee for the rest of his life; how could they take away his family and their friends to the police station and keep them for the night? Long story short, the cops took us to the station and held us there till the next morning. I called my mom and asked her to come get us out. She is a lawyer. I’ll get to that later.

My apartment is sort of noisy too. You see, the radiator room is beneath my flat, which makes the house extra warm but the point I missed was that it makes shit ton of noise. If you close your eyes and focus on the noises and sounds only, you’d think you’re sitting on a sofa in a ship, sailing in the ocean. Except that there are no oceans and I currently have no sofa, so it’s just a noisy and empty ship. There is a dry cleaning and an interior design office upstairs too. They are not so quiet either. I have been living in this apartment only for two days and that’s what I’ve discovered so far. Well, what do I know?
It was another dry winter night. The weather was fairly cold outside, but the house was pretty warm for my situation. I had no furniture. I can’t stress this point too strongly, the house was empty. Empty like when you walk around, you hear your own footsteps echo all over the place. I knew I wouldn’t be able to buy any furniture for a very long time, so I had the chance to perform lots of acts. I could’ve ridden a bike if the living room was slightly bigger. Or I could make my own climbing wall if the ceiling was a bit higher. Well, those are not the kind of action I had in mind though, I’m just joking around here. But a rug and a couch would be nice. They could be placed by the window, in that corner. I mean I didn’t mind sitting on my old dictionary but I was going to need a soft surface to sit on, eventually. I also needed something to hang my clothes from. I might not be able to afford a closet, so any kind of clothes rack would do. All my clothes were still in my luggage. I literally dug in to find something to wear in the morning, before going to work. The funny thing is that I used to keep my clothes in my luggage, in my closet when I was a kid. It’s not bad to repeat old habits from time to time.

I put the dictionary by the radiator so that I could lean on it, since the wall was so freezing for my back. To be honest, I was waiting for my first guest to come. Aybars told me he’d be back in town in a few days, a couple of days ago. So he called me that morning, and we set the date for the night. I really didn’t intend to have him over, not just yet, but he somehow got invited to my place. He had moved to another city for a short while, to write his book and focus on other stuff. He is a lawyer, of course he is. I had to make another “chair” with one more book; that is not respectful at all, not to the writers, publishers, the press house, not even the trees; let alone the guest. Well, it is such a cliché but we all know life is hard sometimes. It makes plans for us as much as we do. Unexpected incidents can happen to anyone. They may seem like disasters at first, but later they’re just a bunch of sweet memories.
Like the time I told my mom that I was not going to go abroad. That I changed my mind just because my best friend did. Back when I was still living with my parents, Farzaneh and I were taking language courses to move to another country together. We were going to build our dream life in a whole new place by ourselves. We were going to share an apartment, go to a fine school, study in a major that satisfied our souls and deepest desires. We would make new friends, travel and be happy forever, just that easy. We couldn’t have been more excited. Our class was on the other side of the city and it took us more than an hour to get there. We kept picturing all the details of our new life, whether we were in school, the coffee house, at the party with other friends, on the bus on our way to the classes, the cab or even my dad’s car. Oh, how naïve of us!
Everything was planned. We were eager to leave the country as soon as possible. First semester was over. All we had to do was to pass the exam, take the next course and apply for a couple of schools. I passed, Farzaneh didn’t. She said she couldn’t join me anymore; she said she didn’t really have the money. Now that she hadn’t passed, she didn’t want to force it. I don’t regret any of my choices. Things happen for a reason and there is no use in blaming anyone for anything. Except that I blame myself on this one. I was too young to see what real life looked like. I couldn’t possibly know that best friends change in time and future is not built based on friends. My mom tried to explain that to me but I don’t think I listened to her. My teenage hormones didn’t work in my favor at all.

I sat down on my dictionary and turned my computer on. I could start working now that the house was quiet and clean. I looked at my watch. What time will Aybars arrive? I wondered. He was officially the first guest of my new apartment and I wanted to be prepared. I didn’t have much to prepare though, just mentally maybe. House warming is always fun, loud and crowded with excited guests. I was expecting one guest with nothing to eat or drink. We always found a way to spend good time together, though this time was different. We hadn’t met for a while. I was concerned that we couldn’t be able to catch up.
What if he doesn’t find me interesting anymore, I asked myself. I kept imagining us sitting silently on the hard cold floor, looking at the emptiness around us. We could stair at the walls in case we got bored. These walls definitely have more things to say than I do.
There are strange spots on the walls. The kind of spot as if someone hung a picture frame on the wall for a long while, and then they take the pictures off, you could tell for sure something was up there. It’s the same kind of spot, except that there are no pin holes on the walls. I thought they might have painted and repaired the holes but that’s the stupidest thought that ever crossed my mind. Why wouldn’t they paint the spot as well? The spots looked pretty odd. If you looked close enough, you could actually see marks of tapes. The former residence of the house must’ve taped something on the wall, some sort of posters or artistic pictures.
Maybe he was a painter or some kind of artist, I thought. He had taped something on the wall and airbrushed or sprayed paint all over the paper. Or I don’t know, maybe it was a “She” who has left all these traces behind. Maybe it was a She living with a He. I did all my background checks of the house while I was washing the floors for the third time and I couldn’t stop thinking about the person who lived here before. I could tell one thing for sure though, a woman was living in this house or this place wouldn’t stay that clean. I know what I said earlier, that this house was filthy but it was only because it was left alone for two months; it was indeed spotless underneath. I tended to believe she was an artist and it was her old studio. I know it might not be true but I’d rather imagine it’s a sign from the universe telling me to work as hard as I can and make my future. Maybe the universe was telling me to paint the walls, too.
My phone rang and dragged me back to the house. It made me realize I have been sitting and doing nothing for almost half an hour. I guess I was too tired to work. Aybars asked where the house was and I said only two words to give him the address; isn’t that cool?
“Yeah? That’s it?” he asked “Ok, but where is it exactly?”
“Umm…” I didn’t know. I had no idea how to explain where the house was. I had only came home three times before, and I didn’t really get the chance to look around. “Do you know this taxi station?” I asked just in case he knew that taxi station.
“I don’t know.”
“Tell me where you are exactly and I’ll lead you.”
“Ok… I just passed this supermarket”
“I don’t know about that supermarket” damn, this street is long with tons of supermarkets. There’s no way I could learn all the stores. “What else do you see around? Oh, by the way. There is almost nothing to eat. You can buy something if you want to” I ought to tell him; he had the right to know.
“I see this bank on my right. Wait! Let me go see if I have any money on my account” he said “I’ll call you in a minute” he hung up. “I have only five” he called back in a minute “you can’t buy the cheapest thing.”
“It’s ok. I have one canned bean and water. We won’t die.” I was embarrassed. This was the worst first guest ever.
“Alright, tell me…” he said.
“Do you see that green bank anywhere around? It should be on your left as you come down. You are going to see all its green lights from distance. You can see it if you just keep driving down the street.”
He drove down the street until he saw that bank. “yup, saw it. Which way should I go now?”
“Ok keep coming down… just keep coming…” I was thinking of something to make it easier for him to find the place. I remembered the little restaurant on the corner. “You will see some red sign on your right saying meatballs or something.” I paused for a second “Did you see it yet?”
“Hmm... no” he responded. I could see he was totally puzzled. I looked out the window to check if there were any other sign but I didn’t have much of a view out my window. My apartment was on the ground floor, one story beneath the entrance, facing the back garden. I just saw an isolated apartment in front of my window and a bunch of trees and stuff. I couldn’t even see the street. “I can see a blue veterinarian sign next to the apartment. You see that?” I asked and hoped he would magically find the apartment.
“I saw the red meatball sign.”
“YES” I got excited. “Yes, that’s the apartment. Buzz number two and I let you in.”
“Umm… there is no empty place to park. That’s gonna be a problem” he said and I realized I haven’t even thought about that. This is one of the most crowded streets; of course it’s going to be a problem to park your car.
He arrived eventually, with his backpack and a long black coat. I kissed him. He smelled like beer. He said he was meeting his cousins or some other friend in a bar. His cousin was about to leave the country or maybe he had just arrived, I’m not sure. They were having some sort of gathering anyway. He asked me to go with him but I was too busy washing up and discovering my new empty flat.

We took a tour around the house. I showed him the bedroom first. We did a bit of tour around my luggage and clothes and stuff, too, because you know, they were all out in the open. I gave him a pen, a nice pen. I bought it a couple years ago for myself, when I was visiting my parents. I never got the chance to use it in a way that suits it the best. He told me that he writes, and that he was working on a story, so I wanted to be motivating. Friends do these sorts of things for each other. He is a nice guy. He is a bit weird to be honest, but I mean, who isn’t?
Aybras and I met in the Park. We smoked and drank till five o’clock in the morning. Didem and Hilal and I were already drunk when we met them. We went to my graduation exhibition that evening and planned to drink wine in the Park, as a celebration. We were just looking for an excuse to drink; the exhibition wasn’t really that good to celebrate. Aybars and his friends showed up after midnight. They were early for Derya’s birthday party and they didn’t want to be alone apparently. The birthday girl was sort of drunk and she seemed to be ready for a cry any second. So they joined us to finish the wine together, maybe we all could cheer her up a little. We did finish their wine. Mehmet bought another bottle and we drank that too. Later a joint was passed around, and we smoked that as well. We smoked the second joint and the third one after that. I am not judging, but Derya looked kind of slutty, and Mehmet talked nonstop. I am not sure wether we attracted them because we are loud girls who laughed a lot, or they came to us since we were the only people left in the Park.

I showed Aybars the book I picked for him to sit on. He said the set up was perfect. Maybe he just said that to make me feel relieved, and even if he did, it worked fine on me. I hoped he’d understand life can be rough sometimes. Those days weren’t my best time ever. Well, I have been worse, now that I think about it.
I vividly remember the afternoon that I ran out of money. It was a chilly evening in August, five- six years ago. The sun was down and it was getting dark. I can still smell the fear that I was drowning in, right after I realized I couldn’t go back home with the money left for me. I only had three quarters left in the little pocket of my wallet. You can’t really do anything with three quarters. I could buy a little bottle of water, or a small candy, or maybe a bagel, but none of them would take me home. I was downtown having coffee with Asli. We sat in a crappy café and talked about nothing for about an hour. We were going to meet the next day, couldn’t the talking wait? What on earth was so important that couldn’t wait until the next day? It must have been a useless conversation, whatever it was. We got the check, and I paid for my coffee. Well, I didn’t realize it was my last piece of money. I put a ten or a twenty in the little pocket inside my wallet, just in case for emergencies. I must’ve spent it sometime, somewhere. I wouldn’t have had the damn coffee if I knew I’d be absolutely broke in a few minutes.
So I paid for the coffee and headed to the bus station, thinking I still have a ten left in a corner pocket. The bus got closer and pulled over. I walked with the line as I took my wallet out. I looked for the money. It wasn’t there. I looked in the other hidden pocket and it wasn’t there either. I started to freak out gradually, threw the wallet in my bag and stepped back on the pavement slowly. There were all kinds of people around me. Some were walking, others waiting, some were having a conversation with their friends and some were saying goodbye. They all have money; I couldn’t get it off my mind. They have at least enough money to get themselves home. I tried not to panic out loud. I started to bite the skin around my nails and kept biting them for a few seconds. I pulled my phone, W810, out of my pocket. That was the only thing I could do at that moment.
I was young, eighteen or nineteen or somewhere around that age. I was new in the city. I really didn’t know what a person should do when she is out of money right in the city center. It was almost dark and I had a long walk home. I mean if this happened now, I’d probably walk to the Park, spend the night there and walk home the next morning. I’d probably meet some new people and they would help me go home. I didn’t even know the Park existed at that time. I also could’ve asked people to lend me a few more coins; that would be the easiest solution. I wasn’t shameless enough for that though. I called Soheil, my brother, and cried for help. He was more confused than me since he was almost as broke as I was. In the end I called Sara. She paid for my taxi, and I spent the night at her place. She of course, lent me some money the next day; how else would I get myself home? Well, this was some life experience that could happen to anyone. Now that I’m thinking about it, I’ve been worse.

Two years after that incident, not only Soheil and I were absolutely broke with no money, we didn’t even have a home to stay. It was the time that Soheil had bought his car; my mom had lent him the money and wanted it back by the end of the summer. She also told me that she won’t send me any money for the whole summer; she thought I needed to learn a few lessons about life and stand on my own feet. She really doesn’t know much about my life. So there we are; Sahand and I took a ride in Soheil’s car to south. The three of us made the perfect combination for a trip to the beach. Sahand wanted to go on a vacation but Soheil and I really hoped we’d get a job down there. We had a bit of cash so we decided to invest it on the gas and drive all the way. It was June but the city was still chilly. Everything was going fine, the view of the lonely road with beautiful stars above.
The lights of the gas station woke me up. It was a long ride. We stopped for gas and toilet and a little bit of freshing up. That, actually, was the moment where we realized we were screwed. We almost ran out of money; does this car swallow gas or something?

Our plan obviously was full of surprises, and this was only the beginning.
We got to the town some time near morning, tired and depressed. We didn’t have much money left; we were miserable. The city was shockingly quiet; not a thing moved for as far as my eyes could see. It was as quiet as a sleeping house in the middle of the night. When you get up for the bathroom, but you don’t want to make any noise, even though you are all alone at home. I don’t find it pleasant to wake up a house no matter how urgent the bathroom situation is.
The lights of the buildings were off; the whole city was asleep. Soheil tried to get us to a neighborhood he was familiar with. He asked a homeless guy for an address. There were no other people around to ask. The man was surprised; I don’t think anyone ever asked him an address before.
Sahand was somehow bummed when he saw the town. He was all like “let’s just pick a parking lot and sleep it off”. We did see some people on the street though. They were trying to walk down the street but they really couldn’t. They were ten times drunker than you will ever be in your life. I only saw them from a distance, but they didn’t look like nice people. Then again, who am I to judge?
We parked the car in a parking lot, behind the fences. We picked a spot with a sea view, at least we had an option on this one. I saw a motorcycle parked close to us, with a yellow board saying “house for sale”; was the universe trying to tell me something? The sun had just come up, the sky was turning blue. I could see the sea beneath the rocks; it was peaceful. We didn’t have much space to sleep but it was alright. I knew there was a catastrophe waiting for us in the morning, for us siblings I mean.
I woke up to the sound of birds, cars and people. The sun was up, twenty times warmer than the sun we had back in our town. We decided to get a hotel room for the three of us; the cheapest hotel ever existed on planet Earth. The room was small and was built in a very weird “L” shape. They managed to fit three beds in it and yet leave enough space to walk around in the room. I picked the bed underneath the air-conditioner; it was that hot. The receptionist/ hotel manager/ door keeper/ waiter and every-other-job-in-the-hotel guy said we could use the internet connection for free only in the lobby. Well, our room was on the first floor and very close to the front desk; we were lucky once again. Soheil and I counted our money again and left the hotel the next morning. It was too expensive for us. We either could lodge at the hotel, or eat and stay alive.
Sahand got to stay with his other friend, Sertan. He is hilarious, and I find his jokes funny. Laughing was the only thing I did when he was around. He is a stoner, if I may say. He must’ve been smoking at least eight joints a day. His parents had a house on the other side of that city, away from the sea and tourists. It was mainly by the mountains and woods. Apparently they spent most of the summer in that house. I’ve always admired people who kept alive a family traditions like that. He said they were having a very nice vacation together. Sahand was their guest, so he told us about it. They were fighting all the time, all together, nonstop. Sertan gave us a live performance of how his mother screamed to his face, or how his father nagged about everything. Each member of the family found something to brawl over with the other ones. Imagine living in a house like that. That must be a lot of fun.
Sahand was lucky he had a place to stay. We had the car, beach and the shopping mall. We figured those were the only things we needed to survive. And also a safe place to park the car, you know so that we could sleep at night.
We woke up really early. I mean when you sleep outside, that’s basically what happens. The sun comes up and lights everything up. There are no walls, curtains or blankets to cover you so you have to follow the sun, like roosters or dogs or something. We went to the beach every morning. We put on sunscreen and rested our bodies on the soft yellow sands. It is a very refreshing way to start the day. The sun touched every inch of me and melted the sleeping hormones out to the sands.
There weren’t much people around. Only a few old people who were taking a walk after their breakfast. Old people wake up early, you know. I saw some athletes a few times. They swam far, so far that I couldn’t see them anymore. I loved the swimming part a lot. The sea was always calm and the water was on the perfect temperature, not cold, not warm; just perfect.
We had to shower before anyone came around. Using shampoo is not allowed on public beaches, but we did it anyway. We just didn’t want to be seen committing a crime. I really didn’t care about these things though, I was at the bottom. I wanted to stay clean and get rid of the sand and sweat. Nothing is worse than stinky people in summer.
So, the mall had already opened by the time we were done with our beach routine. We got to brush our teeth and eat some breakfast. We were the first people sitting in the food court. We could sit anywhere we pleased. The guys at the restaurants knew us after a few days as we were there for each meal. We made friends with them. That food court was our kitchen in some ways.
We went to job interviews after the breakfast. We wouldn’t get any jobs, because come on, who would hire us? A very young looking girl with shorts and wrinkly shirt and a hyper active older brother; I wouldn’t give me any job. We didn’t care much at first, for we got rejected at the end of all the interviews. They never actually rejected us; they all said they’d call but we never got a call back. There were tons of companies that we hadn’t visited yet, so we were hopeful. That city is full of touristic companies and tourists who need to be guided. It was sometime around the fourth day, that we started to worry. The number of the companies were decreasing and our options were getting more and more limited. Let’s not forget the fact that we were living in the car, and that was exhausting enough.
We eventually got a job alright and we earned enough money to save a bit for winter. I bought myself a navy blue coat with a gray hoodie. Soheil paid back my mom and he got the car fair and square. I recall all this as my worst days, the time I was homeless and had no money, but now that I said it all out loud, it doesn’t seem that bad. Not so many people get to be a hobo for a week.
Three years had passed by and I was sitting in my empty apartment. Nothing has really changed if you look at it my way; being broke might be a part of my destiny. I now have a job to rely on, but then again I can’t be so sure; I may get fired any day. The only difference is that I had a home now. That has been missing for the past six years.
I deserve it the most, I thought to myself. There were a lot of things that I wanted to accomplish before I was twenty five, renting my own house was the first one. Noway I could achieve some of them, but I like to see the glass half full. I was going to make my office, right where we were sitting that night. I’d buy a desk to set my computer on with notebooks and folders on it. You know, to keep up with freelance jobs and everything. The other side of the living room was quite dark but I knew it would be my hangout room. You know where I could watch movies, smoke, waist time aimlessly, read books and take a nap in between the chapters. I’d fall asleep on the couch and wake up in the middle of the night, wondering where I was. And then I would take the rest of my sleep to the bedroom.
I might not have much of a view from the window, and I might not see the sky properly, but I see the little backyard between the apartments. There is an old cherry tree right by my window. There are other trees and a bunch of bushes around too. The next door apartment seemed to be isolated. The back door was frosted and the windows were dusty. There are a bunch of stairs in front of the door, I don’t think anyone has walked on them for a long time. It made me feel safe at the same time; I didn’t have to buy curtains right away.

Aybars refused to sit on the book and just laid on the floor, cold woods covered with a colorless plastic. Maybe he did it to make me feel better or maybe he just likes resting on the ground, I wouldn’t know. I wished I had better things to offer. “So…” I needed to talk to him “are you back?”
“Yea, I think so” he said. He wasn’t sure “I am not sure though.”
“What happened? Why did you move out anyway?” I asked, wanting to know about his tale.
“I don’t know. I had plans.” He was thinking about his plans. “I have a bunch of friends down there. Two of them share an apartment. They work all day. I thought I could stay home and focus on my book as they are off to work during the day. The problem was though, one of the guys just wouldn’t leave. He was home, day and night and night and day. I couldn’t write. No focus, no nothing. How could I stay?”
He was right. His plan had failed and coming back was the wisest decision. I wouldn’t stay one more day if I were him. I completely understand how uncomfortable it would be. What I didn’t get was that why he moved out to begin with. He had an apartment downtown and his parents owned a beautiful house on the hill sides. I mean it’s not like his landlord would kick him out and he’d be homeless with no money. Or in case he stopped working, he’d die of poverty and hunger. Or, maybe, he was just looking for adventure; sometimes you need that too.

Only a couple of days before, I shared a living room with my brother. It was another home with whole other walls, doorknobs, cupboards, smells and senses. I used to watch a different world out the window. My eyes were used to it all. There was the garden too, but it was a real one, a garden with wide trees and uncut grasses. Some of the trees were old and bended; they found their way inside when I left the window open. How odd that no one ever used that garden. There was an old shed at the end of that backyard, by the wall in the corner. I wondered who lived there. It must’ve been the home of the janitor or the gardener or something, but they stopped living there after a while. It must’ve been too cold in winter. Or maybe it was just a place to put the gardening equipment. If we weren’t living in the city, I’d say that cottage was a pit stop for hunters and travelers where they could take a rest and freshen up. It was a mysterious place. I wish I’d asked someone about it.
I liked that apartment I am not going to lie about it. I liked it a lot. I enjoyed spending my Sunday afternoons in the living room. Summer was bliss. Soheil was away for three or four months and I had the house for myself. Not that I had something special going on. I am just glad I got to live there on my own. Well, I have a new living room now, with a fantastic view of a back door of a lonely apartment.
No one would really understand how painful and tiring all these incidents were to me, it is beyond words. I was in such hurry to move out. I wanted to leave. Any kind of apartment would work for me, I didn’t care. I rented the first house I saw and paid the deposit right away. I might have closed my eyes on a lot of things as I signed the contract. “I still haven’t talked to your father about this. He doesn’t know you moved out” my mom said to me on the phone “you guys were supposed to stick together. He is your brother and you said you are going to help each other. That’s one thing your dad asked you to do; stay together. What happened?” I hadn’t thought of that when I packed my bags and loaded the truck. Or maybe I did think of everything and decided to go anyway. Patience has limits.
It all looks like a vague dream now. A dream where I left the office at lunch hour, asked two of the guys at work if they could come with. Eyup grabbed one side of the bed and Ekrem the other, I threw my backpacks in the back of the truck. I came back to work in two hours; the mission was accomplished and I had successfully moved out. The plan had worked. I came back to the office, sat down on the floor, on a corner behind the desk where no one could see me. I hugged my knees and cried. “It wasn’t supposed to be like this” I said to Fatma. She was standing by me. She was feeling sorry too. She put her hand on my shoulder, trying to comfort me, too bad she wouldn’t know how.

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