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Hanging in the air, intense and silent. I don’t need to lift my head and look; I know it’s there. It’s always been there. From my earliest recollection violence wanders above me blatantly.
It’s sure of itself because it knows that it’s rooted in us.
My father heads to the kitchen with harsh movements when the dinner delays, he takes some cheese and tomato in a rush and sits at the table. That was the limit of his tolerance. He eats quickly. He knits his eyebrows. The dinner is ready now but he is not laying his fingers on the plate, not looking at my mother, remaining silgent.
Violence turned to silence, now it’s spread to whole living room and to even corridor and inside the house. I am aware that I won’t be able to breathe even if I go to the rear room.
I don’t know have a name. None. At all? No, none.
I cannot understand how it happened. I wasn’t mentioned even as class president.
Feeble girl with hair in plaits is smiling, actually a bit laughing. She is now the president of three rows of eight people. Her looks say ‘Now it’s my turn’. It seems she will take revenge of last year.
Why would I be jealous of her; she cannot even point the location of Yugoslavia on the map. The class feels like coming over me. The bell rings, I jump from my seat. When I pass by her, my elbow hits her back, a bit harsh. She starts crying right away.
It wasn’t that much, what’s wrong here!
Our neighbor woman comes back from the market. She is exhausted, rings doorbell of her own house. The only reaction coming from the flat of five men is to open the door. No one is coming down or calling out to ask whether she needs help. They don’t care, they don’t mind.
In fact, what we’ve heard to date from the other side of the wall is suppressing screams, demands in imperative, dogmatized responses. An immature violence climbs up the stairs before the woman and infiltrates through the half open door.
One part of the closet which I’ve been working on for hours doesn’t fit the other. When I affix one side, the other side is coming off. Again and again. Then I run out of patience, I force it. That part breaks, the rest falls.
My disappointment is completed now.
The things that keeps swaying over me fills in my nose, ears, mouth. It is not possible to resist it, I burst out. I direct my rage towards the doors, walls and the pieces that stand up.
The person I love looks at me with a deep concern.
We are looking out of the windows. Me, two men working at the office across and manager of the apartment building in the corner. A woman is standing at the one side of the taxi and the taxi driver is on the other. They are shouting at each other.
The taxi driver keeps saying the same things and waves his hands like saying ‘get out of here”. And his face turns red. It seems the words are hurting his pride, maybe also the eyes in the windows.
I feel tense and tense and get away from the window suddenly.
I am gripping the receiver a bit tighter in my palm. The woman talking to me insistently asks me to fax the ad sample by enlarging it. I’m trying to tell her with my shaky voice that this is meaningless before the approval of the draft.
Maybe we keep telling the same things to each other for 15 minutes. She is the new responsible for the client and I am the last chain of the agency chain. Her tone is always same and mine keeps rising.
I have some sort of complex inside me.
She calls from above, I scream out from below. She reminds me of my duty, and I keep talking about the approval of manager as I emphasize on her “ladyness”. She gets the final word and hangs up.
The cloud of violence hangs on this side of the phone. Everyone in the department is already looking at me nervously. They intend to calm me down, but my intention is malicious. I am talking about everything ranging from the woman’s lack of experience to her foolishness; and while I am speaking incessantly, I am constantly adding the emphasis of woman to every adjective. It is only when my rage starts subsiding that I come to realize that five of the six people in the room are women.
My friends says, “Let’s take two coffees from the shop at the corner and sit in the park.” It is the first time that I sit in the park right beside my house, it is odd. The conversation is deep, coffees good. On the bank nearby sits a man from the neighborhood who has been without a job for years. He greets us a bit crushed, a bit shy. There is always hopelessness and the look of a crushed person in his eyes. I accept his greeting. He swiftly lights up a cigarette, sometimes looking at us, sometimes looking at the children playing ahead.
One boy and one girl are jumping around and chasing each other. When the boy gets caught, he hits the girl and escapes again. The man shakes his leg without even realizing it. He is looking around, shaking his leg, looking around and shaking his leg. He takes a deep breath.
He jumps to his feet all of a sudden and runs towards the children. He first slaps the one, then the other in the face. First, he holds the girl by her arm and throws her around, then, holds the boy by his ear and drags him towards the other.
We are standing up and rebelling. The man waves his hand at us as if saying, “OK, sorry” and goes out of the park, sweeping the children before him. While they are moving away along the wall, he looks at us with a cigarette in his mouth and slaps the children in the face one more time.
What is left to us is to curse behind him.
The screen does not show whose turn it is, it is broken. When the door opens and someone goes out of the room, an ugly and exhausted voice calls the next person. We are watching out for both the door and the ones around us, sitting at hard yellow connected chairs, slightly bending forward. We are nervous. We do not have the least of intention to give our six-minute appointment to anyone.
A man behind me is talking incessantly on the phone. He is trying to speak, more precisely. The person on the other side is obviously crushing, firing away and accusing him. The man is always assuming a humble attitude. The curiosity gets the better of me and I look at him over my shoulder. He is a young man, speaking on the phone while stroking his forehead; his quiet wife and quiet children are sitting side by side.
The conversation ends, the man starts firing away after a short silence. He is firing away at the broken screen, at his turn that does not come, at the doctors, the healthcare system, the ones administering the system…
The resentment that he harbors evaporates into the air, it changes form and spreads all over the waiting room.
The language of the man is becoming uglier and uglier, his every word is accompanied by a curse. The woman is looking at the floor, the child is looking at the floor. In their eyes, there is the fear which stems from having experienced the language of violence many times before
When we are about to open our mouths to speak, I think it was only I and the old woman sitting beside me who were about to do it at some point, the security guard comes.
The man breathes out his resentment in an instant, but the violence that has fallen upon us does not have the intention to go.
We are sitting around a big table and looking at each other, a bit sad, a bit shy. It has been a long time since we came together and spoke so freely. We are slowly standing up from our chairs and go out. We are making for home.
We have shared our regrets, bad experiences, the lessons that we have learned, our comments and recommendations to our hearts’ content.
It is the first time that we have talked about our weaknesses, mistakes and their reasons that openly.
But, for some reason, we are still not relieved.
Is it really over now, will it really not happen again?
Do our weaknesses such as intolerance, jealousy, resentment and disappointment that cause us to become somebody else justify what we have done?
Or can we be stronger and free from violence by expressing them?
We are slowly raising our heads and looking at the sky. (HT/ŞA/APA/TK/SD)
footnote: they have been lived, heard, seen and imagined.
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