فصل 38

کتاب: برف / درس 38

فصل 38

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  • زمان مطالعه 21 دقیقه
  • سطح خیلی سخت

دانلود اپلیکیشن «زیبوک»

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I Didn’t Bring You Here to Upset You

an enforced visit

Ka was glad to get there was now a bond, however damning, between them. It was away from Blue, but at the same time he knew there was now a bond, however damning, between them. It was not a simple bond—there was more to it than fear and hatred—for as Ka shut the door behind him, he realized with some remorse that he was going to miss this man. Hande appeared, all good intentions and deep thoughts, and though Ka tried to dismiss her as utterly guileless and even rather simple, he soon found himself ceding to her the higher ground.

Eyes opened wide, Hande asked him to send her best to Kadife and tell her it didn’t matter what she decided about baring her head on television (she didn’t say onstage; she said television); Hande’s heart would be with her no matter what she did. Once she had said this, Hande told Ka how to leave the building without attracting the attention of the plainclothes police.

Ka fled from the apartment in a panic; on the first-floor landing he felt a poem coming, so he sat down on the first step, in front of the shoes lined up on either side of the entrance, and, taking out his notebook, began to write.

It was the eighteenth poem Ka had written since his arrival in Kars; its subject was the link between love and hate, but if he hadn’t explained the allusion in the notes he later wrote, no one could have guessed it.

When he was at the Advanced ¸ Si¸ sli Middle School, according to his notes, there’d been a boy whose family owned a prosperous construction company. This boy, who had won a Balkan equestrian championship, was very spoiled, but Ka was infatuated with his air of independence. There was another boy too—his mother, a White Russian, had been a lycée class mate of Ka’s mother—who’d grown up without a father, sisters, or brothers, and while he was still a student he had started using drugs.

Although this enigmatic white-faced boy had never seemed to pay anyone any mind, it turned out he always knew everything to be known about the people around him. Finally, during Ka’s military training in Tuzla, there’d been this handsome, laconic, rather aloof wise guy in the neighboring regiment who taunted him tirelessly with small acts of cruelty (like hiding his cap). Ka had been bound to each of these fellows by both unveiled contempt and an adoration he kept secret. The title of the poem—“Jealousy”—referred to the feeling that bound together these two conflicting emotions and that also bound Ka to the task of resolving the contradiction in his mind, but the poem itself revealed an even deeper problem: After a time, these people’s souls and voices had taken up residence in Ka’s own body.

On leaving the apartment building, Ka still had no idea where he was, but after following a narrow lane he saw he had reached Halitpa¸sa Avenue. Without knowing why, he turned and cast a final glance at Blue’s hiding place before heading off.

As he made his way back to the hotel, Ka missed his bodyguards; he felt unsafe without them. As he walked past the city hall an unmarked car pulled up alongside him; when he saw the door had opened, Ka stopped.

“Ka Bey, please don’t be afraid, we’re from police headquarters.

Please get in, and we’ll drive you back to the hotel.”

As he was trying to figure out which option was more dangerous—

returning to the hotel without police escort or being seen getting into a police car in the middle of the city—another car door swung open. Suddenly a huge brute of a man stood before him—he seemed so familiar, who was it? Yes, someone in Istanbul, a distant uncle, Uncle Mahmut— and this man departed from the polite tone of the previous exchange to push Ka roughly into the car. Inside, it was eerily dark. Once they were under way he delivered two punches to Ka’s head. Or did he punch him as he was pushing him into the car? Ka was terrified. One of the men in front—not Uncle Mahmut—was muttering terrible curses. When he was a child, there was a man on Ni˘gar the Poetess Street who cursed that way whenever a ball landed in his garden.

Ka kept calm by convincing himself he was a child. The car seemed

convincing too (now he remembered; the unmarked police cars in Kars were little Renaults, not big flashy 1956 Chevrolets like this). They took him on a long and winding tour of the dark, mean streets of Kars, as though to frighten a disobedient kid; it seemed a very long while before the car finally pulled into a courtyard. “Face front,” they said. They took him by the arm and led him up two steps. Ka was certain that these men—three of them, counting the driver—were not Islamists (where could Islamists have set hands on a car like this?). And they couldn’t be MIT either, because some of those guys were in league with Sunay. A ˙ door opened, a door closed, and Ka found himself in another old Armenian house with very high ceilings; the window beside him looked out over Atatürk Avenue. As he scanned the room he saw a television blaring in the corner and a table covered with dirty plates, orange peels, and newspapers; he also saw a magneto that he later realized was used in electric shock torture; beside this were a couple of walkie-talkies, a few guns, a vase, and a mirror in which he saw himself framed. He realized he’d fallen into the hands of the special operations team and thought he was finished, but when he came eye to eye with Z Demirkol, he relaxed: a murderer, to be sure, but a familiar face at least.

Z Demirkol was playing good cop. He told Ka how sorry he was that

they’d had to bring him in like this. Ka guessed that Uncle Mahmut was playing bad cop, so he decided to give his full attention to Z Demirkol and his questions.

“What is Sunay planning?”

Ka sweetly surrendered every scrap of information he had, including all there was to know about Kyd’s Spanish Tragedy.

“Why did they release that crackpot Blue?”

Ka explained that they’d let him go in exchange for Kadife’s promise to bare her head on live television. In a moment of inspiration, he used a pedantic chess term: Maybe this was an overambitious “sacrifice” in need of an exclamation mark. But the fact remained that the political Islamists would see this as a demoralizing move.

“How likely is it that the girl will keep her word?”

Ka said that Kadife had agreed to go onstage, but no one was sure

whether she would go through with the unveiling.

“Where is Blue’s new hiding place?” asked Z Demirkol.

Ka said he had no idea.

They asked why Ka had had no bodyguards when they’d picked him

up. Where was he coming from?

“I was taking an evening stroll,” said Ka. When he stuck to this answer, Z Demirkol did just what Ka expected; he left the room, leaving Uncle Mahmut to sit down across from Ka with an evil glare. Like the man in the front of the car, he had a large repertoire of exotic curses that he used to adorn his every thought. It didn’t matter what he was saying; he could be making a threat or pontificating about national interests or expounding his highly unoriginal political views. He was like a child who can’t eat his supper unless it’s swimming in ketchup.

“What do you think you achieve by concealing the whereabouts of an Islamist terrorist with blood on his hands who is in the pay of Iran?” asked Uncle Mahmut. “You know what these people will do when they come to power, don’t you? What they have planned for oatmeal-hearted pseudo-European liberals like you?” Ka was quick to confirm that he did know, but Uncle Mahmut was not deterred from describing vividly and at length what the Iranian mullahs had done to their former democratic and Communist allies; they stuck dynamite up their asses and blew them skyhigh, lined up all the prostitutes and homosexuals and gunned them down, and banned all nonreligious books. When they got their hands on intellectual poseurs like Ka, they immediately shaved their heads, and as for their ludicrous books of poetry . . . As he launched into another wellrehearsed string of unsavory epithets, by now looking very bored, he paused to ask again where Blue was hiding, and where Ka had been that night before they’d picked him up. When Ka offered the same bland answers, Uncle Mahmut, looking bored again, slapped on the handcuffs.

“Watch what I do to you now,” he said, launching into a perfunctory beating: a few aimless slaps around the head, a few zestless punches.

Reviewing Ka’s notes after the fact, I was able to identify five reasons why he did not find this beating unbearable; I hope my readers won’t judge me too harshly if I list them here.

  1. Ka believed happiness to be comprised of good and evil in equal measures and so could readily see the beating as the suffering he

was due for the right to take I˙pek back to Frankfurt.

  1. Ka belonged to the ruling elite, and this, he guessed, afforded him a degree of protection; this special operations team surely

had one standard for his like and quite another for the miserable

guilty hordes of Kars; and so, not wishing to leave too many

traces of their frustration upon him, they would take care to beat him with restraint and certainly wouldn’t subject him to serious torture.

  1. He thought, rightly, that the beating would only heighten I˙pek’s affection for him.

  2. During his visit to police headquarters two days earlier, the look on Muhtar’s bloody face was that of a man so guilt-ridden over

his country’s wretchedness that he could see in all fairness he

had a beating coming to him. Infected by this attitude, Ka now

stupidly hoped that a good beating would cleanse his own guilt


  1. Whatever the discomforts of the beating, they could scarcely

equal the pride of being a real political prisoner, standing up to his tormentors, and refusing to divulge the whereabouts of a

man in hiding.

This last pleasure would have meant far more to him twenty years

earlier, but it now seemed somewhat dated and Ka could not help feeling a bit embarrassed. The salty taste of blood gushing from his nose took him back to his childhood. When was the last time he had a bloody nose?

As Uncle Mahmut and the others turned their attentions to the television, leaving him to languish in a half-lit corner of the room, Ka thought back to the windows that had snapped shut in his face, and all the footballs that had bounced against his nose, and then he remembered the blows to his nose in a scuffle during his military service. As Z Demirkol and his friends tuned in to that night’s episode of Marianna, Ka, cradling his bloody nose and his swollen head, was perfectly content to sit like a child in the corner. It occurred to him that they might search him and find Blue’s note. A new wave of guilt washed over him as he silently watched Marianna with his captors and mused that Turgut Bey and his daughters were at the hotel watching the same program.

During a commercial break, Z Demirkol rose to his feet, picked up

the magneto on the table, and asked Ka if he knew what it was for; when Ka said nothing, he answered the question himself, and then, like a father menacingly brandishing a belt, he waited in silence.

“Do you want me to tell you why I love Marianna?” he said, when the soap opera resumed. “Because she knows what she wants. But intellectuals like you, you never have the faintest idea, and that makes me sick. You say you want democracy, and then you enter into alliances with Islamist fundamentalists. You say you want human rights, and then you make

deals with terrorist murderers. You say Europe is the answer, but you go around buttering up Islamists who hate everything Europe stands for.

You say feminism, and then you help these men wrap their women’s heads. You don’t follow your own conscience; you just guess what a European would do in the same situation and act accordingly. But you can’t even be a proper European! Do you know what a European would do here? Let’s just imagine that your Hans Hansen printed that idiotic statement, and let’s say Europe took it seriously and sent a delegation to Kars; the first thing that delegation would do would be to congratulate the army on refusing to surrender the country to the political Islamists.

But of course the moment those faggots got back to their Europe they’d start complaining about how there was no democracy in Kars. As for people like you, you love to trash the army even while you depend on it to keep the Islamists from cutting you up into little pieces. But you know all this already. That’s why I’m not going to torture you.”

Ka took this to signify that “good cop” was back in charge: He hoped this meant his release was near and he’d be able to catch the end of Marianna with Turgut Bey and his daughters.

“Before we let you go back to your lover at the hotel, we’d like to disabuse you of a few illusions; we’d like you to know a thing or two about that terrorist you’ve been making deals with—that murderer whose life you’ve just saved,” said Z Demirkol. “But first get this into your head: You were never in this office. We’ll be out of here within an hour. Our new operations center is the top floor of the religious high school. We’ll wait for you there. So should you suddenly remember where Blue is hiding, or where you went on your ‘evening stroll,’ you’ll know where to find us.

“You’re already aware that this handsome hero with the midnightblue eyes is wanted for the barbarous murder of a birdbrained television host who stuck out his tongue at the Prophet Muhammad, and that he was also behind the assassination of the director of the Institute of Education. As we all know, you had the pleasure of witnessing this brutal killing firsthand, and you know the rest of it too; you heard it all from Sunay while he was still in his right mind. But there’s something else that the diligent agents of MIT have been able to document in some detail. Maybe ˙ no one wanted to break your heart by mentioning it, but we think it would be good for you to know.”

We have now arrived at the point to which Ka would return again and again over the remaining four years of his life, like a sentimental projectionist who vainly expects a different ending each time he screens the same sad film.

“This Ipek Hanım with whom you hope to return to Frankfurt to ˙ live happily ever after—she was, once upon a time, Blue’s mistress,” Z Demirkol said, in a soft voice. “According to the file I have before me, their relationship dates back four years. At the time, Ipek Hanım was still ˙ married to Muhtar Bey—who as you know is no longer running fo

mayor, having withdrawn from the race of his own free will just the other day. It seems that this half-witted old leftist—pardon the expression— poet welcomed Blue into his home as an honored guest; of course he was hoping Blue would help him organize the city’s Islamist youth, but don’t you think it’s a shame no one ever told him what a passionate relationship the firebrand was enjoying with his wife while he himself was sitting in his appliance store trying to sell electric stoves?”

This is a prepared speech; he’s lying, Ka thought.

“The first person to become aware of the illicit affair—not counting the surveillance staff, of course—was Kadife Hanım. By now Ipek ˙ Hanım’s marital relations were troubled, and so when her sister came home to attend university, she used this as an excuse to move. Blue was still visiting Kars at every opportunity to ‘organize Islamist youth,’ and naturally he would always stay with his great admirer, Muhtar, so whenever Kadife had classes the two wild-eyed lovers conducted their assignation in the new house. This continued until Turgut Bey came back to Kars, at which point he and his two daughters took up residence in the Snow Palace Hotel. That was when Kadife, the leader of the head-scarf girls, took up her older sister’s game. Our blue-eyed Casanova managed to keep both women on a string for some time after that. We have the proof.”

With every ounce of his strength, Ka escaped Z Demirkol’s gaze,

turning his now streaming eyes to the tremulous snow-covered streetlamps of Atatürk Avenue—they were visible from where he was sitting, but he hadn’t noticed them until now.

“I’m telling you this only because I want you to see that a heart of oatmeal gets you nowhere and you have no reason to conceal the whereabouts of this murderous monster,” said Z Demirkol, who, like all specialteam operatives, grew more vituperative the more he talked. “I didn’t bring you here to upset you. It occurs to me that when you’ve left this room, you might be tempted to doubt whether what I’ve just told you has in fact been fully documented by the surveillance teams who have been bugging the city quite ably for going on forty years; perhaps I just made up a lot of nonsense. Maybe Ipek Hanım in her determination to protect ˙ your Frankfurt happiness from being darkened by any stain will manage to convince you it’s all lies. Your heart is stuffed with oatmeal and may not be strong enough to accept what I’m telling you, but allow me to chase away any doubt you might have as to its truth. I shall, with your permission, read out a few excerpts of some phone conversations. As I do, please bear in mind the expense lavished on this long surveillance operation and the time it must have taken the poor secretaries to type up the transcript.

“ ‘My darling, my dearest, the days I spend without you I’m hardly alive!’ That, for example, is what Ipek Hanım said on a hot summer’s day ˙ four years ago—August sixteenth, to be precise—and this probably alluded to one of their first separations. Two months later, when Blue was in town to speak at a conference on Islam and the Private Sphere of Women, he rang her from grocery stores and teahouses all over the

city—eight times in all—and they talked of nothing but how much they loved each other. Two months after that, when Ipek Hanım was still ˙ entertaining the idea of running off with him, she said, and I quote, ‘Everyone has only one true love in life, and you are that love in mine.’ Another time, out of jealousy over Merzuka, the wife he kept in Istanbul, she made clear to Blue that she wouldn’t make love to him while her father was under the same roof. And here’s the kicker: In the past two days alone, she’s phoned him three times; she may have made more calls today. We don’t yet have the transcripts of these last conversations, but that doesn’t matter; when you see Ipek Hanım, you can ask her yourself. ˙ “I’m so sorry to upset you; I can see I’ve said enough. Please stop crying. Let me ask my friends to remove those handcuffs so you can wash your face. And then, if you want, my associates will take you back to the hotel.

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