فصل 25

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فصل 25

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  • زمان مطالعه 16 دقیقه
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دانلود اپلیکیشن «زیبوک»

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دانلود اپلیکیشن «زیبوک»

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متن انگلیسی درس

CHAPTER TWENTY-FIVE

This Is the Only Time We’ll

Ever Be Free in Kars

ka with kadife in the hotel room

When he stepped into Room sixteen minutes later, Ka was so worried someone might have seen him that he tried to joke with Kadife about the cinnamon sharbat, its sour taste still in his mouth.

“For a while there were rumors of angry Kurds poisoning that sharbat to kill military personnel,” said Kadife. “It’s even said that secret investigators were sent in to solve the mystery.”

“Do you believe these rumors?” Ka asked.

“When educated, westernized outsiders come to Kars and hear these conspiracy theories,” said Kadife, “they immediately try to disprove them by going to the snack bar and ordering a salep, and then the fools end up poisoning themselves because the rumors are true. Some Kurds are so unhappy they know no God.”

“Then why, after all this time, hasn’t the state stepped in?” “Like all westernized intellectuals, you put your trust in the state without even realizing it. MIT knows everything that goes on in Kars, ˙ and they know about the sharbat, too, but they don’t stop it.” “So does MIT know we’re here together in this room?” ˙ “Don’t worry, right now they don’t,” said Kadife with a smile. “One day they’ll find out, but until that day comes we’re free here. This is the only time we’ll ever be free in Kars. Appreciate it, and take off your coat.” “This coat protects me from evil,” said Ka. Seeing fear in Kadife’s face, he added, “And it’s cold in here.”

The room in which they were meeting was half of an old storage room. One narrow window looked onto the inner courtyard, and there was room only for the single bed on which they were now sitting, Ka perched uncertainly at one end of it, Kadife at the other. The room had that stifling dusty smell that you find only in unaired hotel rooms. Kadife leaned over to fiddle with the dial on the radiator, but when it refused to budge she gave up. When she saw Ka had jumped nervously to his feet, she tried to conjure up a smile.

For a moment it seemed to Ka that Kadife was taking great pleasure from this assignation. After so many years of solitude, he too was pleased to be alone in a room with a beautiful girl, but he sensed she had no time for such soft thoughts; the light shining in her eyes spoke of something darker and more destructive.

“Don’t worry, right now the only agent they have following you is that poor man with the bag of oranges. You can take this to mean that the state isn’t afraid of you, it just wants to frighten you a little. Who was following me?” “I forgot to look,” said Ka, with embarrassment.

“What?” Kadife shot him a poisonous look. “You’re in love, aren’t you.

You’re madly in love.” But she quickly pulled herself together. “I’m sorry, it’s just that we’re all so scared,” she said, and once again the expression on her face changed abruptly. “You must make my sister happy. She’s a very good person.”

“Do you think she’ll love me back?” Ka asked, in a near whisper.

“Of course she will—she must; you’re a very charming man,” said Kadife. When she saw how much she’d shocked him, she added, “What’s more, you’re a Gemini like Ipek.” She then explained that while Gemini ˙ men are best suited to Virgo women, the double personality of Geminis, which makes them both light and shallow, can either delight a Gemini woman or disgust her. “But you both deserve to be happy,” she added consolingly.

“When you’ve discussed me with your sister, has the question of her coming back with me to Germany ever come up?”

“She thinks you’re very handsome,” said Kadife, “but she doesn’t trust you. Trust takes time. Impatient men like you don’t fall in love with a woman, they take possession of her.”

“Is this what she said to you?” said Ka, raising his eyebrows. “Time is a scarce commodity in this city.”

Kadife glanced at her watch. “First let me thank you for coming here.

I’ve summoned you to discuss something very important. Blue has a message he wants to give you.”

“If we meet again, they’ll follow me and arrest him on the spot,” said Ka. “Then they’ll torture us all. They’ve been in his house. The police hear everything he says.”

“Blue knew they were listening,” said Kadife. “He sent you this message before the coup, and he also sent a message for you to pass on to the West. He sent it to make a philosophical point. Stop sticking your nose into this suicide business—that’s what he wanted you to tell them. But now everything’s changed; there’s something more important. He wants to cancel that message and give you a new one.”

The more Kadife insisted, the more uncertain Ka became. “It’s not possible to go from one point to another in this city without anyone seeing you,” he said finally.

“There’s a horse-drawn carriage. Twice a day it stops just outside the kitchen door to drop off gas canisters, coal, and bottled water. It then goes on to make deliveries all over the city, and it’s draped in canvas to protect its goods from snow and rain. The driver can be trusted.” “Am I to hide under the canvas like a thief ?”

“I’ve done it plenty of times myself,” said Kadife. “It’s lots of fun to go right across the city without anyone knowing. If you agree to this meeting, I promise I’ll do everything in my power to help you with Ipek. I ˙ want you to marry her.”

“Why?”

“What woman wouldn’t want her older sister to be happy?” In his entire life, Ka had never known a pair of siblings who didn’t feel deep hatred for each other; even if they seemed to get along, there was something oppressive about their solidarity, something to indicate that they were just going through the motions. But that wasn’t why Ka dismissed Kadife’s claim; what inclined him to doubt her was the way her left eyebrow shot up almost of its own accord and the way she pouted her half-open lips like a child about to cry—or, rather, like a Turkish film actress simulating innocence. Nevertheless, when Kadife looked at her watch again and said that the horse-drawn carriage was arriving in seventeen minutes, and if he promised immediately to accompany her to see Blue, she would tell him everything, Ka agreed without hesitation. “But first you have to tell me why you’re willing to put this much trust in me.” “You’re a dervish; Blue says so. He believes God has graced you with lifelong innocence.”

“Okay, then,” said Ka hurriedly. “Is Ipek also aware of this special gift ˙ from God?”

“Why should she know? This is Blue’s view.”

“Please tell me everything Ipek thinks about me.” ˙

“Actually, I’ve already told you everything.” Seeing that she was breaking Ka’s heart, Kadife thought for a few moments, or else made as if to think—Ka was too upset by now to tell the difference—and then she said, “She thinks you’re fun. You’ve just arrived from Germany and whatnot. You have so much to talk about.”

“What do I have to do to convince her to trust me?”

“It may not happen in the first instant, but within ten minutes of meeting a man, a woman has a clear idea of who he is, or at least who he might be for her, and her heart of hearts has already told her whether or not she’s going to fall in love with him. But her head needs time to understand what her heart has decided. If you ask me, there’s very little a man can do at this point except wait for time to take its course. If you really love her, all you have to do is tell her all the beautiful things you feel about her: why you love her, why you want to marry her.”

Ka said nothing. When Kadife saw him gazing out the window like a dejected child, she told him she could already imagine Ka and Ipek living ˙ happily together in Frankfurt—and how happy her sister was to put Kars behind her! She could even see the two of them smiling on some Frankfurt street as they walked to the cinema of an evening. “Just give me the name of a cinema you might go to if you were in Frankfurt,” she said.

“Any name.”

“Filmforum Hochts,” said Ka.

“Don’t they have theaters with names like the Alhambra, the House of Dreams, or the Majestic in Germany?”

“They do. The Eldorado!”

As they watched the snowflakes swirling aimlessly above the courtyard, Kadife told him about a part she’d been offered when she was in the university drama society; it was a German-Turkish production in which the cousin of a classmate had some involvement. They’d wanted someone to play a covered girl and she refused; now she was hoping that Ipek would find happiness with Ka in that same German-Turkish world, ˙ because really her sister was meant to be happy; the problem was she didn’t realize it, and so until now she’d been unhappy. Being unable to have a child had destroyed her too, but her main source of anguish was in not understanding why—being beautiful, refined, thoughtful, and straightforward—why she should be so unhappy. Sometimes she even wondered whether her unhappiness was not owing precisely to her having so many fine qualities (here Kadife’s voice began to crack). She went on to say that throughout her childhood and her teenage years, she had looked up to her sister, trying to be as good and as beautiful as she was (here her voice cracked again), but when she compared herself to Ipek ˙ she felt evil and ugly; her sister was aware of this and so had tried to hide her beauty, hoping to make things easier for Kadife.

By now she was crying. Between tearful gasps, she told him in a trembling voice about when she was in middle school. (“We were in Istanbul then, and not so poor,” said Kadife, whereupon Ka took the opportunity to point out that they weren’t so poor now either, but Kadife promptly closed this parenthesis by snapping, “But we live in Kars!”) Anyway, one morning when she arrived late for her first class, Mesrure Hanım, her biology teacher, asked, “Is your brilliant sister late too?” and then she added, “I’ll let you off this time because I’m so fond of your sister.” But of course, Ipek wasn’t late. ˙

The horse-drawn carriage entered the courtyard. It was a typical old rig, with red roses, white daisies, and green leaves painted on its wooden sides. The tired old horse stood behind a cloud of frozen breath, the edges of its nostrils covered with ice. The driver was broad-shouldered and slightly humpbacked; a light blanket of snow covered his hat and coat. When Ka saw another blanket of snow on the tarpaulin, his heart began to beat faster.

“Please don’t be afraid,” said Kadife. “I’m not going to kill you!” Ka saw a gun in Kadife’s hand, but he didn’t seem to realize that she was pointing it at him.

“I’m not having a nervous breakdown, if that’s what you’re thinking,” said Kadife. “But if you try anything funny, believe me, I’ll shoot you. . . . We don’t trust journalists who go to Blue looking for quotes—or anyone else for that matter.”

“But you invited me,” said Ka.

“You’re right, but even if you don’t think so, the MIT people could ˙ have guessed we were planning this visit and might be listening in. I’m suspicious because you wouldn’t take off your beloved coat just a moment ago. Now take it off and leave it on the bed—quick!” Ka did as she asked.

Kadife passed her little hands, which were as small as her sister’s, over every corner of his coat. Finding nothing, she said, “Please don’t take this the wrong way, but now you have to take off your jacket, your shirt, and your undershirt. These people strap microphones to people’s backs and chests. There are probably about a hundred people wandering around Kars with these microphones on them any time of the day or night.” Ka removed his jacket and lifted up his shirt and his undershirt, like a child showing his stomach to a doctor.

Kadife gave him a look. “Now turn around,” she said. There was a silence. “That’s fine, then. My apologies for the gun. . . . But when people are wearing a wire, they won’t let us do a search; they won’t keep still at all.” She was still holding the gun. “Now listen to me,” she said, in a menacing voice. “You are to tell Blue nothing about our conversation or our friendship.” She sounded like a doctor scolding a patient after an examination. “You are not to mention Ipek or let him know you’re in love with ˙ her. Blue doesn’t take kindly to filth like that. If you insist on talking about it, and he doesn’t burn you for it, rest assured that I will. He reads minds better than a genie; he might try to coax you into saying something. If he does, you’re to act as if you’ve seen Ipek once or twice but ˙ that’s it. Understood?”

“Understood.”

“Make sure you show Blue respect. Whatever you do, don’t try to put him down by playing the conceited, foreign-educated, European sophisticate. And if you let this sort of foolishness slip out by accident, don’t even think of smiling. Don’t forget: The Europeans you admire and imitate so slavishly couldn’t care less about you . . . and they’re scared to death of people like Blue.”

“I know.”

“I’m your friend, be frank with me,” said Kadife, assuming a pose from a second-rate Turkish film.

“The driver’s removed the tarpaulin,” said Ka, looking out the window.

“You can trust this driver. His son died last year in a clash with the police. Enjoy the journey.”

Kadife was first to go downstairs. When she reached the kitchen, Ka saw the horse-drawn carriage move under the arch that divided the old Russian courtyard from the street, and then he went downstairs as planned. When he saw no one in the kitchen, he had a moment of panic, but then he saw the driver standing in the doorway that led into the courtyard. Without a word, he lay down next to Kadife among the empty propane canisters.

The journey, which he knew at once he would never forget, lasted only eight minutes, but to Ka it seemed much longer. As he wondered where in the city they were, he listened to the people of Kars commenting on the creaking carriage moving past them, and he listened to Kadife’s steady breathing as she lay quietly next to him. A gang of boys caught the tail of the carriage and were pulled along with them for a little while. He liked the sweet smile Kadife gave him; it made him as happy as those boys.

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