Comes and goes

“So, my roommate pointed to me how İ constantly talk about death. She asked: ‘Why do you always say these things?’ İ bluntly told her: ‘Because there simply is no point in living.'”

“That reminds me of what Nietzsche said: ‘Life is meaningless.’ And İ agree with that actually.. Like, İ can die right now. Like, so long as it is painless, İ do not mind dying right now. No more regrets. No more worries. No nothing. İt’s done.”

“True. Same sentiment.”

“İf people ask me why İ do PhD, İ’ve no profound reason actually. There simply has nothing else to do so İ opted for PhD. Life is meaningless anyway.”

“Samedt. İf people ask me why İ study in Turkey, İ’ve no profound reason as well. İ simply want to get out of a shithole country. Life is meaningless anyway. İ guess this realization of meaninglessness explains why figures from the past led their lives in a decadent way. Oscar Wilde. Rilke. Nietzsche. Bukowski. Kerouac. Etc.”

“True. Life is meaningless so you do whatever you want.”

“Somehow it’s liberating, no? İt relieves you of accountability.”

“Haha! Life being meaningless should be a pessimistic thought and yet, here we are – finding liberation in that!”

“Yea. Look at Plath. She sought meaning in a world where none exists. Ending: she killed herself.”

“We do what we do because life is meaningless anyway. Drink till dawn. Write a paper. Don’t write a paper. Spend all our money buying things we want.”

“Or have an affair. Live a double life. Sleep around. Be a mistress. Give in to polyamory since monogamy is too rigid and stifling and overbearing. İ’m actually thinking of doing this academic thing on one end, and prostituting myself on the other. Not because İ need money, no, but because life, simply, is meaningless. So we do what we want to do. Live. Then die. Get on with it.”

“Travel.the world. Spend money. Live a bourgeiouse life because we can. Life is meaningless anyway.”

“Come to think of it: the impact of that thought may vary. For instance, if you are struggling in a poor country and you internalize this thought, this will indubitably lead to hopelessness. İf you are in a good country and you internalize this thought, chances are you’ll opt to live it the other way around. We’re lucky, İ guess. We have options.”

“Well life is meaningless. We can opt to live it in a decadent fashion or allot our time to social struggle. Maybe we do the latter?”

“Nah. İ prefer a decadent one.”


I have always imagined this line that serves as our breaking point as people. When crossed, we lose all regard we have including warmth, and we wind up in a sunken place where tenderness is not possible.

I have always imagined a lane where we all stand. The distance we have from the line may be distinct and relative to the individual and the circumstances surrounding us. And yet here we are, perpetually tried and pushed until, in small but incremental stages, one foot in front of the other, we get near the line, step over, cross it, and become someone else: a shadow of our past selves, a portion of what we used to be but no longer, an individual capable of mutilating the world without feeling any remorse at the sight of the wreckage. Sometimes, by some sleight of chance, we become someone better and we call that miracle.

I imagine myself standing less than an inch away from that line, arms stretched in limbo, feet buried in deluge, persistently rammed forward by events and contingencies. I am at this point in life where I’m trying to decide whether to cross that line and give in, or to abandon the entire lane altogether.


Your wife. Misty eyes, she looked at me and asked about souls. I was stunned.

A band of cars and trucks sped past and sadistically mutilated the already mangled city. I watched them as I navigated the network of my reasoning. I bent down, picked, and exhumed the old superstitions I have learned in childhood.

“They say we still have them for 49 days after the internment. Then they depart, forever.”

She lifted the back of her right hand and brushed her eyes. “So he is still with us?”

I looked at the longing on her face. “He is still with you.”

I’m so sorry I lied that day.

When people die they do not truly disappear. Instead, their absence grows robust and demanding day by day. We see them — in the half-eaten plates, in every homecooked meal, in the empty chairs across us at the dinner table.

They are the cold, uninhabited side of the bed all year round. They are the white noise in the radio; the static one at the back of the telly. The loss proliferates and the longing magnifies. Their absence is an excavation in our lives and it hurts everywhere.

When she asked me about souls, this was what I had in mind but I held it back. I do not have the heart to break her further that day so I told her about the superstitions I do not believe in.

“His ears will be on the swells of your breasts and with each heartbeat, he’ll be proud to know that you keep your ground and fight life back,” I assured her.

She pressed her head on my shoulder and willed a smile. I watched a lock of her hair as it fell, slowly, on the sides of my arm.

Your wife. She proudly carries her scars and lets them flap in the wind like a banner of victory.

Tales of Anielou

It’s funny, somehow, the things I learnt about you.

A month ago, I was gravely disappointed at how you have insulted the realm of reason. I have expected more from you but I guess you are not mentally — let alone psychologically — capable of identifying and resisting the superficial belongingness stemming from false acquaintances.

You are just like them, a failure and a parasite who find comfort in justifying your own incompetence.

Last week I met her, your former colleague, and she told me what you did. You go to the office at 11, take your lunch at 12, she said. And you never return until past 4 in the afternoon. You failed to see the gravity of your every act, and your cognitive faculty is too dull to process the magnitude of your negligence.

You said I am the unsympathetic one but you have been wrong all along. Of the two of us I was — and I am — the sympathetic person and I understand things and people and you don’t. But you pretend to do so — the same way that you pretend to be on time and never late when your bosses are around.

Worse, you could not bring yourself to care — you self-absorbed parasite who cannot move past the remains of your lover who has deserted you long ago.

You harboured anger towards those you should have given your solicitude, all the while deluding yourself that you are capable of love you are not. You have successfully devalued the complexity of that experience and wielded it as a shield for your cheap ego.

I could elaborate all the defense mechanisms you have employed — denial, regression, sublimation, displacement — but it will only defeat its designated purpose. You have already unveiled yourself and exposed your own pretense and incompetency and above all, absence of honor.

You have done damages that your tiny mind will not be able to grasp. You’ve delivered a razor-sharp pain that your non-existent heart will never be able to understand.

In the first day of your colleague at work, you told her you are the supervisor before rudely asking for her identity. You like that huh, a drunken sense of power that will never bring back your past lover no matter how loud you cry in the social media but makes you feel in control, somehow. It’s a defense mechanism called displacement.

It’s funny, somehow, the things I learnt about you. You are just like them — selfish, imprecise, and short-sighted. A chronic liar and a usurper. You pretend to be but you are never the sympathetic one.

I was that person all along.

To Fishy

Sunday morning I woke up and was informed about your passing. I literally jumped out of bed — did not bathe, did not change clothes, did not do anything but ran, as fast as I could, to see you.

I was not around when your accident came. A random stroke of bad luck that swept you away from me.

You were already wrapped in a black plastic bag when I arrived. They said your eyes were still open — those golden eyes that see through my inner-workings and understand me so well.

The easiest course of action was to simply throw your body in the dumpster and get on with life. It’s what normal people would have done. But you, of course, deserve better than that. And I, as we all know, am not normal. So I roamed round the village to borrow a shovel, all the while ruminating about your death.

You were passing through the door, they said, when the wind blew. The door slammed down your stomach, hard — so hard you cried in pain, ran away, and disappeared. You’re pregnant, and was due to give birth this March.

There was no shovel.

Sunday morning I woke up and learned about what happened. The wind, your disappearance, the conclusion of your existence. They said your eyes were still open — those golden eyes that see through my inner-workings and understand me so well. You died away from me, in pain and agony.

There was no shovel.

I took a hammer, an ice pick, and a knife, and began digging your grave. I don’t want to throw you in a dumpster, you don’t deserve that. If anything, you don’t deserve to die at all but I dug and dug and dug and did not stop until the hole is wide and deep enough to accommodate you in comfort. Since I was not able to save you, that is the least I can do.

I removed you from the plastic bag and laid you down. Despite everything, your coat remained shiny, that patch of black that means so much to me. I looked deep in your eyes, and for the final time I closed it down. I placed your toy with you, a ping pong ball that you loved to chase.

Then slowly, with all the strength I can muster, I buried your body.

I am not sure how I managed to accomplish those — I just did. It was one of the most painful thing I had ever done in this life.

Tonight, I learned that a black cat was spotted around the place, twice in a row. I have not seen the feline personally but they told me that she looks like you. I wonder if she also has yellow eyes — the color of street lamps in a cold, foggy night.

I wonder if you would visit me as well. I wish you would. I will hold the door still so the wind, no matter how hard, won’t callously sweep you away, not this time. You’ll eat tuna and chicken and everything you like. There will be a celebration.

A merry, merry one.

*To Fishy Morgan Le Fay (April 2016 – March 2017)

The hydrangeas of my beating heart

Whatever friendship we have, I want it to flourish. I’m aware I am not very good at maintaining relationships, and this is precisely where I need you most.

Over the years I have stacked my collection of broken relationships, its rubble piled one after the other. I wish I can say that I have felt even a slight pinch of regret, but I did not.
I am a cold, heartless woman governed by technicalities and logic. In my quest for knowledge, other people do not matter to me.
You are an exception.
You said I feel things deeply, and yes I do. But I am not very good at expressing it. I understand the process of human emotions, the stimulus and response chain, but my feeling aspect remains largely undeveloped. You knew this.
For some reason, with you, I can be vulnerable. You listen to my random thoughts, no matter how haywire and frightening they are. I send you messages in the dead hours of the night, or when I’ve no one to talk to, and you soothe my personal demons with your every response.
I let you see the landscape of my loneliness and curiosity, the hydrangeas of my beating heart. I’ve led you by the hand to this dark, tired world that is inhabiting me.
At times I noticed your confusion — a certain answer you hold at the back of your small smile. At times it worries me.
I am a haunted house, long abandoned by civilization and time. Ghosts walk on my floors with their shackles and bones, my doors and windows creak in secrets, my rooms breathe in emptiness, my curtains drip in memories and pain and longing. I am consigned to oblivion.
And then you arrived.
And you keep me in check. You said I’m erratic, you pointed my mistakes. You propped me up. You dressed me down. You stitched my pieces intact. You did not flee out of contempt and panic. You did everything out of love. And I appreciate that.
I never asked this favor to anyone before, but if I ever run faster than this life, please, chase me. Don’t let me build walls out of isolation and cobblestones. Don’t let me shut off this world. Save me from cynicism.
Remind me there is hope.

Syl’s Shadows

I’ve listed down all my writings, and I will cross them all out tonight, so tomorrow, I could ask you to have coffee with me.

You, my favorite person of all.
You said your life is like a fig tree, with branches sprouting everywhere. One leads to the prestige of the academe, the other to the beauty of poetry. There was also a branch with a husband and children, and one for a recognition you never got when you were still breathing.
You were there, you said, at the foot of that tree when all the leaves fell and wrinkled and turned black.
You will understand me, I trust. Mine is almost similar to yours. But it isn’t a fig tree, no. It is, you see, a diverging and irreconcilable route.
And I am here in the crossroad, unable to move and, like you, unable to choose.
One of the paths leads to security. A way back to academe. A standard existence in a normal society — husband, children, career, recognition. This is what I am expected to choose. It’s an asphalt road with flashy cars zooming past, here and everywhere.
The other trail is wild and ravenous and untamed. The lane is wet and muddy and filled with adventures and long shadows — golden sands and rough waves, stories about pirates and gypsies, sound of cisterns and scent of sandalwood, caves and a crown of purple thistle.
You are right, what you wrote there. Choosing one would mean losing all the others.
Like you, I cannot let that happen.
Maybe in a parallel universe, this tragedy never transpired. Still, I want you to know that I understand why, in February 1963, you chose to kill yourself.
And if by some mischief of a chance we find each other in another time period and plane of existence, please have coffee with me. We will talk about our days. We will sort this mess out.
We will ease the pain. We will make life worth living and bearable. And no matter how impossible and bleak it may seem, we will find hope.
And we will guarantee that this time,
we will never stop hoping.