THE MAN ON THE BALCONY

Translator: Levent Bozkurt

Painter: Fevzi Ay

I woke up Perihan. It was too hard to open her eyes. I helped her to sit up. She had to move slowly since her sutures could be damaged. We walked arm in arm till to the the kitchen. He wrinkled his face while sitting. When she took the first sup from soup, her eyes went to up and her cheeks turn to pink.

“It is so delicious, thank you” she said.

“Enjoy your meal.”

I went to balcony and sit chair. I was very tired. Fresh air would be well. I put my elbow on the table and rubbed my face. I looked at my watch. It was over eight. I went inside.

“The caretaker would never late.” I said.

“Income soon.”

Again I went to the balcony. I saw the man in the balcony while I was viewing around. He doubled on his desk, writing something. He was a strange man. Even so I would like say:

“Hello.”

After all, my wife born. Now I thought I was an important person. The neighbor should celebrate me.

“Hello.”

I said loudly.

Man just smiled. I didn’t like his attitude. I did not know… He could say like congratulations, wish a great life with together or something else. We were sitting on the same site. Our balcony was looking face to face. Maybe he didn’t see us while we were entering the apartment. I didn’t think so. I think it was not possible to know nothing about while just sitting and writing something in all day in the balcony.

“Does the caretaker leave?”

I said loudly again.

He lifted his head.

He smiled and continued to write.

What a frustrating man!

I returned to the kitchen. Perihan was still eating.

“Whom are you talking about?” she said.

“I called the neighbors but did not answer.”

At that time, the baby began to cry. We ran into the room.

“What is problem about baby?” said Perihan.

“…”

I looked at the diaper. It was dirty. We clean him with wet cotton. We took rash cream to his butt and legs. We have changed his clothes.

“If you want, it is better to try breastfeeding?” I said.

“He didn’t suck at the hospital.”

“He takes the breast, this is more important. The milk should come tonight. The doctor said… “

Perihan was prepared. I put the baby in her lap. She placed the baby’s head to her elbow. Baby took and left the nipple several times. Then he took the nipple exactly and started to suck. Perihan push her breast by her two fingers and let him to breathe easily.

“Is there?” I said.

“Something is flowing, but …”

“OK, here it comes.”

“What kind of milk is it? Something yellow.”

“It should be like that.”

“Thank God.”

Baby was sucking deeply. I could see the act of swallowing in the throat.

“We forgot to pay the rent.” Perihan said.

“We can pay tomorrow.”

“If you want, talk with him.”

“No rush.”

“He can come and say something, then bore us.”

“Isn’t it late?”

“It is ok.”

I called the householder.

“The number you dialed is not available.” said the woman on the phone.

Maybe he’d change the number. The next day I would go to the bank to pay the rent. I suppose a few days delay would not make a sense for him.

“I could not reach.” I said.

“Anyway, never mind.”

“…”

“Did we make the dressing?”

“Suckle him then we can do.”

“It is almost done.”

“Fifteen minutes from one, fifteen minutes from the other. You remember?”

“I remember. The last five minutes.”

We opened tummy after suckling is finished. There was a white plastic latch where the umbilical cord was cut. Doctor said that the latch will fall with the umbilical cord ten days later. Until that day, we should clean it by alcohol and cover by gauze two times in a day. I did as the doctor said. Baby cried a lot. I sweat profusely not to hard the baby.

“Let’s lay him to the crib.” I said.

“Is he sleeping?”

“God knows.”

We waved it until he is relax. He slept. We laid on the bed. But we woke up suddenly after the baby’s cry. His voice was trilling. We got worry. We opened the diaper. It was clean. It could be gas pressure. I put him on my shoulder, tummy was on my shoulder and his body was on my neck. I hit kindly to his back and he got relax. He stopped crying immediately.
We laid down on the bed again. In such moments, there are lots of things coming to the mind.

“For a long time the bill does not come, you know?” I said to Perihan.

“They will for sure.” she said silently.

We slept.

The baby slept too.

I do not know how much time has passed. When I opened my eyes it was morning. The sun was coming into my eyes. I frowned. I rubbed my face. I was terrified when the images became clear: Curtains are not there. I was just lying on the cold dusty concrete with my clothes last night. I looked left. Perihan was not there. I looked at the crib. It wasn’t there. My son was not there. I gazed around the room. Beds, wardrobes, carpet are not there. There was no any single article.

Was it a dream?

“Forget it.” I said to myself.

I closed my eyes again. I would wake up soon. I turned right. My head rolled on the concrete like a ball. I turned left. It continued rolling. I watched around. I was a lonely man launched into space. It was impossible to sleep like that. I pinched my arm couple of times. It hurt. How much the realism of my dreams increase from my last dream! Maybe I got a dangerous drug by mistakenly. I thought. I tried to remember. I could not find. Can sleepless and fatigue makes me like that? I did not know, but I started to get scared. Standing up and walking around the house needs bravery. I would like to fell asleep suddenly and wake up in my soft bed. I tried to think of nice things. First thing coming to my mind was my son; my son’s wrinkled hands which try to cover my finder hardly, his head which turns to a pear on the way of womb, feet like key ring, gnarled knuckles … I dreamed of getting him in my lap. To sleep in my chest, to feel his soft and warm movements on my neck, breath the fresh milk smelling inside …

The coldness of concrete was breaking these dreams.

I began to feel cold.

I sat up.

“Perihan!” I called out loudly.

My voice echoed. I stood up. My head was spinning. I walk around the house by holding the walls. All the rooms were empty. Everything had disappeared in a night. I went to the hall. I was startled when i saw the text on the glass:

“Apartment for rent.”

What a ridiculous situation! Definitely I must be in a dream. My childhood nightmare came to my mind. I had to jump down from a high place. I did that all the time. I wake up when I hit the ground.

I went to balcony. It was a sunny and beautiful day. Children were playing, cars were on the street, birds on the tree…

Everything was ok.

He also!

Against the balcony, he doubled up on his desk, writing something as usual. But this time was nervous. He was scratching his head, pulls the hair hardly, swell cheeks then swell was dying. I could hear his breathing. Fury has increased. Leaving a deep breath through his nose and crumpled the paper that he wrote and threw it without looking where to throw, he threw it where

I was.

I opened the paper which is dropped next to my foot.

I read it.

CHARACTERS: Mother, father and baby.

PERSPECTIVE: First individual.

PLOT: Woman has a baby. They return to home from the hospital. They are very happy; but extraordinary events are happen at home. Caretaker does not take the trash, the number of home owners is not used. Invoices are not received for a long time. Father has slept at night with the thinks of these bizarre events. He realizes that when he woke up in the morning, he is alone at home. Furniture, wife, baby … Everything is gone in one night. He sees “for rent” in the living room. Startled. He thinks to jump down the balcony and wake up. He goes to balcony.

I could think nothing.

I raised my head.

Balcony man was still there. He put his head between his hands. He did not see me. A woman opened the door and came to him with the baby in her arms. She touched his shoulder. She had a sweet smile and said something. He was happy. He took the baby from woman’s arms.

He kissed and sniffed.

I narrowed my eyes and looked carefully.

I did not want to believe it.

I looked again.

Again…

One was Perihan, the other was my son.

My mind turned. I hold the balcony railing. All lines had faded around me. I was shaking. Blurred cars was passing through the street. I rubbed my face. I opened my eyelids and stretched my eyebrows upwards, and blinked a few times. Wind burned my eyes. I wanted to come to life. I couldn’t. I had to jump. I had to do in some way. But I was afraid. I was afraid madly. If this is not a dream, if it is a hallucination? What would happen then? No! I was not a kid anymore. I would not jump. A vague hope flooded over my mind. It is like a mistake and would be corrected eventually.

Someone had to take me out of the story.

I waited.

Nobody came.