‘The market’ is the sixth chapter of distances and continuation of ‘Ahmet.’ Make sure you read ‘Ahmet.’
Ever since Ahmet’s death life wasn’t the same. I was messed up with my problems; friends, Ahmet’s death, and what I could have changed staying a little longer with him. Everything was going the other way and I could see that I was becoming a different person; a whole new person. I was not ready to give up on myself. I was not ready for this change.
I have been that Tabib since I know myself and now, I wasn’t ready to be someone else. All the outside world seemed boring. I was not supposed to do what I was doing; staying home, in my room all day, and getting out only whenever necessary. I trapped myself for almost three months. I didn’t attend the graduation ceremony either.
One day my father came to my room opening the door behind me while I was sitting in my chair, looking at the window, and said, “Son, you are giving a tough time to yourself. Just hang out outside. I saw Altan several times in the market, he is also recovering, you should go outside too.”
“No dad, sorry, I can’t do that. I hate outside.” Looking at the sky I proceeded, “Outside is depressing.”
“Look, son, fire can’t burn fire. Your sorrows won’t escape if you let them take over you.”
“I don’t want to be happy; I am fine as I am.”
“I am worried about you Tabib.”
“Don’t be dad, don’t worry about me.”
“Why can’t I worry about you, you are my son.”
“Dad, I just want to be alone, for some time.”
“Tabib, you should go have a walk or visit the market, or parks, or wherever you want. You can go to Istanbul with your friends.”
“I don’t want to go anywhere, could you just leave me alone DAD!” I yelled at him. He just kept me watching for some seconds and then left the room.
I slammed my head onto the table and started crying. I had never yelled at my father before. That time, I remembered the times when he used to lift me in his lap and play with me, he used to be a donkey for me and I used to ride him. He was the one who used to hold my hand and taught me how to write.
I remembered how he used to sacrifice his sleep to tell me stories so that I could have a good night’s sleep. He was the same father I yelled at. I cried not just because I had yelled, but because after a long period of time I came to realize who a father is.
I came down wiping tears off my face and entered the kitchen. “I am sorry Abba,” I said to my father.
“It is ok, son.” He said looking at me with a smile.
“I shouldn’t have acted the way I did.”
Then he came to me and putting his hands on my shoulders he said, “You will know this once you become a father yourself, that when your child is in pain, it hurts a lot, and when a child corrects his mistake, it makes a father feel so proud.” Then he proceeded, “Go outside son, make some new friends and see how your world is going to be better.”
“Thank you abba. But I don’t think I am ready yet.”
“Being ready doesn’t need time, it needs mindset and it can be now. Go to the market, with Altan. Call him, and enjoy each other’s company. You are both hit by the same arrow.”
I finally decided to call Altan. I shoved my emotions beside me and said, “Hey Altan, how are you doing brother?”
“I am just fine.” He said, “I called you several times but you never picked. Are you OK buddy?”
With a deep sigh, I said, “I have been going through a lot lately and I let depression get the better of me.”
“I can understand that but it has been a couple of months already you need to move on”
“I know and that’s why I called you.”
“Yeah! Any plans for football today. It is also raining. You liked playing football in rain.”
“Yeah, I liked it, but I don’t like football anymore. Let’s… let’s go to the market.”
“OK, I’ll come to your house, just wait for me. then we will head to the market together.”
“Ok.” I cut off the call and waited till he arrived. We left for the market, without umbrellas. everyone in the market of Izmir had umbrellas and in rain, the black umbrellas under the black sky dress the market black.
“I guess Einstein was wrong; time runs faster than the velocity of light.” I said and Altan laughed saying, “Damn right, I don’t know how my day ends”
“You ever met Aylin?” I asked him.
“Yeah! At the graduation ceremony.” He replied.
“Do you know what is she doing these days?”
“I don’t know, I just saw her that day, we didn’t talk much after that.”
“Do you know what I hate about this market?”
“No, crowds,” I replied and both laughed. After a little silence Altan proceeded, “Gosh, I wish if Aylin was here, how happy she would be seeing you.”
“I hope so,” I said to myself and we kept walking. Along the way, we stopped by to have a cup of coffee at the same café we used to visit all the time back in the day. Then we started walking back home. That day really made me understand the words of George Bernard shaw that youth think old is fool and old know that youth is fool.
Dad was right, it is up to us how we want to feel. I didn’t get a bit better, but I got it that I will get better and it is a matter of time that I will be that Tabib again. I was thinking this when I saw something and suddenly Altan stopped. He was trying not to believe what he just saw and so was I.
“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.
I also pretended that I had seen nothing and began to walk by his side, 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. It was like an indication that my life was going to turn to hell again and this wasn’t a normal sign.
End of chapter 6: The market, read Chapter 7 HERE
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Written by Waqar Farooq
Edited by Ayaan Ashraf
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