“Wow! I can’t believe that we used to be together, walk and smile together. I don’t know where I have gotten this patience from, I didn’t have it until she showed up.
Ah! This pain is such a beautiful thing. I don’t want to escape it is ecstatic.
I have been asking myself many questions since the inception of my independent thinking, but I have never asked myself this question; what is love? Why is it the way it is.” Putting his right hand to his chest, Altan said to himself in that heavy rain and thunder, “It is cold here but I feel alive.”
The rain was dripping off his head and his T-shirt was all wet. He was breathing as if he was glad to be alive. I was not sure if he was crying because the water was already pouring off the tip of his nose and his chin. Then he smiled looking up a little and began walking in that market of Izmir, pretending as if nothing had happened.
But I knew what had happened. I had seen it before him. But the way he acted was pretty unusual. He never was that kind of guy. I don’t know about him, but to me, it was damn… painful, crazy.
Aylin was the name of that girl. She was beautiful, so much so that all of us had a crush on her from time to time. But for Altan, it was something more. He never cried for her, he never carved her name anywhere on his body, yet he loved her the most. Even more than me who had carved her name on my arm and cried a thousand times for her and what not? Maybe Altan knew what love really was.
For me, Aylin was a sweetheart right after her arrival at our school, but Altan wasn’t into these things back then. He was that kid who would love to fight others even if there was no legit reason for doing so. He was a punk.
Once I was walking home along with Aylin. As we reached near the playground, we saw some boys who had apparently gotten in some sort of fight, bathed in blood. Some more guys were trying to hold them back. Among them was Altan bathed in blood too. Aylin and I rushed to him and she presented him a napkin, but Altan got up refusing it, and walked away like an ignorant.
I saw Aylin putting that napkin back in her pocket and looking at me with those perfect dark-black- eyes, she left too and I followed her.
“Well, he is like that from his childhood. He hasn’t respected anyone and he doesn’t know how to… and maybe he doesn’t deserve anyone’s respect.” I said to Aylin.
“Everyone deserves respect.” She replied and we kept walking. Then she walked off into the alley and I to mine.
The next day during lunchtime, one of Altan’s friends came to me and sat beside me. “Asalamu Alikum!” He spoke.
“Walikum Asalam.” I replied and kept eating.
“You know you have so many advantages over us…me, in particular.”
“I don’t see any, Basit.” I replied to him with a smile.
“You are the guy who always gets the first rank in the class, and Aylin might consider you for that.”
“What…? What… do you mean by consider?” I asked hesitantly.
“Ahh! I like her dude, but I can’t have her. You are friends with her and you are the best among us…” after a little silence, he proceeded, “Could you… could you tell her that I said…” suddenly Altan came by and called him. He left immediately without even completing his sentence.
“I wish if you could be right about her considering me.” I thought looking to Basit who was now with Altan.
After school, when Aylin and I were walking home, I asked her, “Aylin… someone wanted me to ask you about your preferences.”
“preferences…! What preferences?” She replied.
I was hesitant to say it, but, somehow, I did say, “What are your preferences about a guy.”
“Well, I don’t have preferences about that. That is a waste of time. All I want is to grow up as a successful woman and then marry a person of morals. You can say that ‘morals’ are my preferences.’”
Well yes, she said it, right away, her preferences. Morals… Hmmm…. I thought that now it was me going to take a lead amongst all the people of our class, even the whole school. I never engaged in any fights, and I was the best performer out of my class, even better than her.
I was confident, that I was going to be the man. When I reached home, I vowed to myself to become a better person, become her ideal future groom.
I also felt safe because there was no chance that she was going to indulge in some foolish kind of relationship, where you actually have no relationship but just pretend that you are all grown up when you are not.
I might have said that the school was boring, but it was her presence there, which always had me waiting for the next day.
She was naïve and beautiful, and… wise, and… it felt good when she would call me by my name. But it was foolish, just thinking about her when I could actually do something else; which would finally unite us. I, as usual, grabbed my books to complete my homework and as usual, didn’t know how I got to her.
The next day in school, I saw Basit, and he was talking to Aylin. They both were smiling for some reason, but to be honest I just wanted to dive right into their conversation; I was jealous. But if I would have done that, I would display myself as a hypocrite to her. I just greeted them both and directly went to my classroom and sat on my bench. After some time Aylin came into the classroom too and sat with her friends.
“Hey! Can I borrow your notebook for some minutes? I need to complete what was supposed to be my homework, now.” Altan said.
“Yeah sure! Which one?”
“Chemistry.” He said and I handed him my chemistry notebook. Then he quietly sat in the backbench and began to copy. Then Aylin passed before me and went to him.
“your hand is hurt, let me help you,” Aylin said to him. Then I noticed a bandage on his right hand which still had the marks of iodine on it.
To Aylin’s request, Altan stayed quiet but when Aylin repeated again, Altan came to me and thanked me after handing me my notebook and then left.
I know you too might have the same question that why he acted so strangely in front of Aylin, but maybe he acted this in front of every girl, or maybe he was shy, or maybe he was in love with her…
End of Chapter 1; Preferences, Click Here to read Chapter 2
Also read: Hundred percent
Also read: When
To submit your work, click HERE
Written by Waqar Farooq
Edited by Ayaan Ashraf
Follow us on Instagram