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  • Writer's pictureŞarkılara Mektuplar

Grandma's House

With deep longing for my grandmother, with the traces of the lost past in my mind, I made a journey to those days, in İzmir, İkiçeşmelik. If we distinguish the transformation in my mind for decades, the facades that have changed volume with my growth, the voice of the immigrants that filled my ears as I searched, I did not do a bad job with only those that remained in my memory. Asking as I search, I found my grandmother's house.

There it was my grandmother's house, which overlooks the street from the corner, where I climbed the steep staircase as soon as I entered and set into the bay window with the greatest appetite. It's tea time, the bagel seller will pass and shout, the bride's head handmade works of the night, ever-starched bed linen, the mysterious attic...

The ladder was my slide.

Sometimes my grandmother would fall.

The smell of green soap emanating from the kitchen, where did I sleep, by the bay window?

I forgot.

I don't know how many times I was taken to the women's bath - hamam, the light filtering from the dome, the mist of the sound, the intensity of the smell... Çukur Hamam. There it was, almost likes it was in the old times, still standing.

Leaving the house and strolling down the Kastelli slope was Kemeraltı. And how many times, how many times, did I saw in my dreams that I went up that slope , entered that house, and saw my grandmother living in the house. She was silent, motionless, but alive. I don't know if she was eating, drinking or talking, but she was alive.

Searching all day and finding my grandma's house that I last saw in my dream was like a trip to another time. It wasn't today. It was not yesterday's dream. A filmstrip between past and present, between dream and reality. Like, it was most real thing with its feeling, and just a memory with her absence.

A young girl said “Who is it?” from the window of the house as a stranger knocking the door. A daughter of a Turkmen family who rented the house from the owner I don't know, invited me in. The stranger entering in, drunk from his childhood days, came in as the girl opened the door all the way. She took two childhood steps at once, placing her thoughts in the gaps. There were mattresses on the floor and nothing else. When she left the house and days later, her heart was still there.

Our lives do not breathe only here and now. She was sure of it.

Banu Kanıbelli

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