“After leaving school, I got a job at a coffee shop in an inn in Sirkechi. It wasn’t like sitting in a coffeehouse. I was bringing coffee, tea and soda to work at the inn and the surrounding area. Next to us was a grandfather colonel who was the head of the military procurement department. I would also bring him coffee and tea. One day he asked me why I didn’t go to school. I told him about my father’s condition. ‘Well, do you want to study?’ Said ‘too much,’ I said. ‘Look, my son wants to be a military pilot. Will you go to Eskisehire? ‘ When he received a positive reply, he wrote a letter to me, saying, ‘Take it to the chief colonel of the Fatih military branch, tell him it has come from me, he has already said what is needed.’ I left immediately with permission. The branch manager, the colonel, greeted me warmly and explained the procedure. I took pictures. He immediately referred me to Gümüşsuyu Military Hospital for investigation and asked me to bring a power of attorney from my mother or father.
With the exception of the power of attorney, all my transactions were completed. I don’t have a father. On the other hand, my mother had twins and could not go out. I urgently need to find a woman who looks like my mother. But none of them came for fear of my father’s harm. The groom has not yet arrived. By the grace of God, Khala Senem has brought all the risks. Sirkeci Bahçekapı, in contrast to Şekerci Mustafa, was a notary public, reached by a steep staircase. We went there. My mother had a birth certificate, her seal and her picture. As soon as the work was done, the notary clerk asked, ‘Ma’am, where is your birthplace?’ Aunt Senem also turned to me and asked, ‘Son, where is your mother’s birthplace?’ He asked. The clerk was clearly tolerant, understood the situation and did not ruin our business.
When all my paperwork was done, I took them to the Fatih Military Service. They gave days after a week. My father did not know about it then. There were seven of us including me. They told us with thuluth that the train would leave at 5:30 in the morning. My mother and sister knew the situation. Didn’t go home tonight. I went to Haiderpasa and bought my ticket with Thuluth. I spent the night at my father’s nephew’s house in Gazan, Kadiko. Like all relatives, they were aware of my father’s condition.
I went to the station very early in the morning. Seven friends were seen there. Their relatives have also come. They sent us to Eskisehire.
We landed in Eskiehir around five in the morning, both happy and sad. Went to school with Decaville. Decaville was then nine o’clock. It was very cold that morning. A friend came from here and said, ‘Let’s go to Elika’s bath.’ The entry was ten cents. After the snow outside, the heat inside felt great. We went to the pond and swam. When we get out of the pool, our time is up.
Decaville, which was like a children’s play, had about ten wagons. The road to school took about half an hour. We were walking through the field. It was so slow that the older students jumped out of Decaville’s head car, picked up fruit from the field and ran to the last car.
They made us feel very welcome at school. A major was taking care of us. First, they take her to the cafeteria and let her eat. The food was plentiful and delicious. After three days there, the Major called me and said, ‘Boy, you have three lessons to finish your high school. Only after you give these three lessons can we enroll you, ‘he said.
All my dreams were shattered. Another friend came back with me. About ten o’clock we arrived in Istanbul. It took twelve to go to the other side. I could not go out for fear of my father being at home. I wandered the streets till morning. About five o’clock a coffee shop opened. I went inside and had a cup of tea. I also slept a little. I was waiting for my dad to go to work. Meanwhile, I entered a cooking shop in Sirkechi. I was very hungry. I wanted stuffed peppers. The price of two stuffed peppers and bread is ten cents. I attacked the food, thinking it was like home-cooked food, but it was not something to eat. They put pepper seeds in it, it was a meatless, fat-free thing. I ate my bread and came to Sultanahme. I was watching my father’s path from a distance. When I saw him leaving, I immediately ran home.
I explained the situation to my mother. She is not upset. He missed me so much in four days. I was only fourteen years old then.
My father was not angry either. He had already gone to the prosecutor’s office and complained that they had abducted my son with a false signature. When my mother told me the news, I told my father, ‘I was kicked out of school after your complaint,’ and he believed. “
(A short excerpt from my memoir-novel ‘In Search of Past Lives’, published last month.
Murat Anilmaj / [email protected] yahoo.com