فصل 40

کتاب: برف / درس 40

فصل 40

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  • زمان مطالعه 8 دقیقه
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CHAPTER FORTY

It Must Be Hard Being a Double Agent

the first half of the chapter

The streets Ka took to the National Theater were mostly empty— here and there he could see a restaurant open for business, but all the other shopowners in town had rolled down their shutters. The last stragglers were leaving the teahouses, exhausted by their long day of drinking tea and smoking cigarettes, but even on the way out, their eyes remained glued to the television. As he approached the National Theater, Ka saw three army vehicles. They all had their lights on, and when Ka looked down the lane he saw the shadow of a tank nestling among the oleanders. The thaw had begun in earnest that evening, and the icicles that had formed on the eaves of houses were dripping water onto the pavements below. Walking under the live transmission cable that stretched across Atatürk Avenue, he entered the theater, and, taking the key from his pocket, pressed it into the palm of his hand.

The theater was empty except for the soldiers and policemen lined up along the aisles, listening to the echoes of the actors rehearsing. Ka settled down into one of the empty seats to enjoy Sunay’s deep rich voice and perfect diction, Kadife’s weak and wavering answers, and Funda Eser’s hectoring direction (“Say it with feeling, darling Kadife!”) as she rushed about the stage moving the props, a tree and a vanity table.

While Funda Eser was rehearsing a scene with Kadife, Sunay noticed the ember of Ka’s cigarette and came to sit next to him. “These are the happiest moments of my life,” he said. He stank of raki but didn’t seem at all drunk. “No matter how much we rehearse, everything depends on how we feel when we walk onstage. But it’s clear already that Kadife has a talent for improvisation.”

“I’ve brought her a message from her father and also an eye of Fatima for protection,” said Ka. “Do you think I could have a word with her in private?”

“We know you’ve given your bodyguards the slip. I hear the snow is melting and the trains are about to run again. But before any of this happens, we’re determined to put on our play,” Sunay said. “Has Blue hidden himself well for once?” he added, with a smile.

“I don’t know.”

Sunay stood up and called Kadife over; then he returned to the rehearsal. The spotlight came on, and as he looked at the three figures framed onstage, Ka could sense their deep affinity for one other. Looking at Kadife, at the scarf still draped around her head, he was alarmed at the ease with which she now negotiated the intimate world of the stage.

And if she was to bare her head, Ka thought, what a shame that she would still be wearing one of those ugly raincoats favored by all covered women; how much closer to her he would have felt if like her sister she’d been wearing a skirt and showing off those long legs of hers. But when she left the stage to sit with him, there was a moment when he understood why Blue had left Ipek and fallen in love with Kadife instead. ˙ “Kadife, I’ve seen Blue. They released him and he’s found himself a hiding place. But he doesn’t want you to go onstage and bare your head tonight. He sent you a letter.”

Lest Sunay should see him, he passed her the letter under his arm, as one might pass the answers to a friend during an exam, but Kadife made no effort at concealment; she read the letter openly and smiled, so it was some time before Ka saw the tears in her angry eyes.

“Your father thinks the same thing, Kadife. You might be right in deciding to bare your head, but it would be insane to do it this evening, in front of all those angry religious high school boys. There’s no need for you to stay. You can tell them you’re ill.”

“I don’t need an excuse. Sunay’s already told me I’m free to go home if I wish.”

It was clear to Ka that he was not dealing with some young girl upset at failing in her last-minute bid for permission to appear in the school play; the anger and heartbreak he read in her face were far too deep.

“So are you planning to stay here, Kadife?”

“Yes. I’m staying here and I’m doing the play.”

“Do you know how much this will upset your father?”

“Give me the evil eye he sent me.”

“I just mentioned an evil eye so they’d let me speak to you privately.” “It must be hard being a double agent.”

He could tell Kadife was heartbroken, and it was with some pain that he realized the girl’s mind was far away. He wanted to take her by the shoulders and embrace her, but he did nothing of the sort.

“Ipek has told me about her old relationship with Blue,” Ka said. ˙ Kadife took out a pack of cigarettes, slowly raised a cigarette to her lips, and lit it.

“I gave him the cigarettes and the lighter you sent with me,” Ka said clumsily. For a few moments, neither spoke. “Are you doing this because you’re so in love with Blue? What is it about him that makes you love him so much, Kadife? Tell me, please.”

When Ka saw that he was digging himself into a hole, he fell silent.

Funda Eser called from the stage to announce that they’d come to Kadife’s next scene.

She gave Ka a tearful look and stood up. At the last moment, they embraced each other. Still feeling her presence, still smelling her scent, Ka lingered for a while to watch the play, but his mind was elsewhere; he did not understand a thing. He could no longer trust his instincts; he was missing something. Jealousy and remorse were defeating his every effort to think logically. He could barely manage to identify what was causing him such pain; what he couldn’t fathom was why this pain was so destructive, so violent.

Looking ahead to those years he hoped to spend with Ipek in Frank- ˙ furt—assuming he succeeded in getting her to go with him—he could now see that this crushing, soul-destroying pain would eat away at their happiness. And as he thought this he lit a cigarette, his mind stubbornly refusing to make order of things. He went off to the toilet where he’d met with Necip two days earlier and walked into the same stall. Opening the window high on the wall, he looked out at the black night and stood there, puffing helplessly.

At his first intimation that another poem was on the way, he could hardly believe it. Holding his breath, he pulled out his notebook to jot it down. He hoped the poem had been sent to console him, to give him hope. But when it was done, he still felt crushing pain throughout his body, so he left the National Theater in distress.

When he reached the snowy pavement, he decided the cold air would do him good. His two army bodyguards were still with him, and his mind was in total disarray. At this point, to enhance the enjoyment of my story and make it easier to understand, I must cut short this chapter and start a new one. It doesn’t mean that Ka did nothing more worth narrating but, rather, that I must first locate “The Place Where the World Ends,” the poem Ka jotted down with so little effort, which would be the last in the book he would entitle Snow.

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