Seyit Ali Dastan

Suddenly, the light went off as the sensor did not perceive movement. I shifted to make the hallway light up again. I held the handle of my suitcase and watched the elevator rise, with the flashing numbers showing the floor: 1, 2, 3, 4, … It was like a reverse countdown coming to take me from this apartment and terminate my life here. While the elevator was coming, I thought about what she was doing right now. Was she still waiting at the end of the corridor like a movie character? Or had she moved to the bed and continued crying? I could not hear her due to the elevator’s whirring.

Finally, the elevator came. I didn’t open its door. I moved closer to the apartment to hear what she was doing. I heard sniffling, probably in the bedroom. I looked at the elevator. Suddenly the hall lights went off again, but the elevator’s light was still illuminating the landing. After a while, it also went out. Only some pale light from the apartment’s half-open door illuminated the area. Suddenly, the elevator moved again. Somebody had pushed for it. 8, 7, 6, 5… I moved to trigger the sensor again. Each time the sensor light went on and off, a thud echoed through the space. I waited for the guy who had called the elevator. When it was no longer occupied, I pushed the button again. 4, 5, 6, 7, 8. It came to our apartment and stopped.

Then, I heard the afternoon call to prayer, the adhan, from the mosques. I thought about how I really liked the adhan sounds. I started to listen to it. The call was reaching me circuitously, not very clearly, because of where I was. I inadvertently moved closer to the apartment’s door again to listen. Why was I liking it? Was it due to my religious upbringing or just the nostalgia accompanying it? It just reminded me of the days when I skipped classes in middle school. I wandered around the streets of İzmir, my hometown, and mainly the Kemeralti Bazaar. I really liked getting lost in the winding alleys and narrow streets of the bazaar while passing through elegant and stylish shops. I can still feel the scents of seafood restaurants, spices, Turkish kahve and raw clothes. Then I remembered my favorite activity of buying a Maraş ice cream, which is very “Turkish,” relishing the chillness under the Mediterranean sun. I thought that Maraş was much better than Italian kind sold around the world. After finishing the ice cream, I went to drink water from the shadirvan of the Ottoman-era mosques spread around the bazaar. I would also enter the mosques, not necessarily to pray, but to rest, cool down, and enjoy the peace next to the massive columns. Then, I would go to the kordon, the seaside park between the city and the sea, where I watched the unrivaled blue of the Mediterranean. While I was thinking that the blue of no other sea in the world can produce the impact the Mediterranean does, the elevator moved again. Oh, what was I doing at that place? I had totally forgotten that I was actually waiting for the elevator to go down.

When the elevator went back to the ground floor, the adhan was over. The light went off again, so I shifted. The elevator was moving through floors, and I waited a little for it to stop. Anyway, I was not in a rush. My suitcase and I can wait and let the other people in the building finish their business. I crouched down to get a bit of rest. When I was in the army, our sergeant let us crouch after too many exercises. I started to think about my compulsory military service which I completed 8 years ago. We were marching in columns and repeating the words of our sergeant: “I SACRIFICE MY LIFE TO THE MOTHERLAND!” or “EVERY TURK IS BORN AS A SOLDIER.” We said these phrases thousands of times under the summer sun while stomping our boots. The idea was to synchronize the rhythm of our march and cries. If you were an army commander, this was meaningful because you see the troops as a single unit under your command. But if you didn’t believe in the usefulness of your mission, then it turned out to be torture. But, wasn’t our oath in primary school making the same statement, which ends with “LET MY EXISTENCE BE A GIFT TO TURKISH EXISTENCE.” Had I not been saying the same slogan every morning since I was 6 years old? Was it because of this fact that I was borne a soldier? Is that why I had wanted to become a local governor, which I saw as the best means to serve my country? I regretted how useless my idealism was. I wished to run a bookstore. I thought about the words of an old relative of mine, a retired teacher who served all over Turkey. When I passed the exams and became a local governor, I had the love and passion to serve my country and said “Don’t forget, Akın, the more you work for your country, the more you are betrayed. You will get more enemies and fewer friends. Your enemies shall be made of iron, but friends are flimsy. If you are powerful, you will see crowds behind you; but when you stumble, they will throw you under the bus in a minute. No benevolence is left without punishment. Do not love your country and serve it if you do not accept this fact in advance.” I challenged what he said and claimed that the Turkish nation is grateful and truehearted. “Listen”, he said, “It is not about being a Turk, it is about mankind’s fickle heart, which is the same throughout time and independent of geography.”

(…to be continued…)

Series – Evanescent

January: If Something Can Go Wrong…It Will – Jonay Quintero Hernández (Spain)

February: The Planet of Pleasure – Nane Sevunts (Armine Asryan) (Armenia)

March: Evening with Jackie Chan – Gennady Bondarenko (Ukraine)

April: Vuvuzelas, Walkie-Talkies and Madiba Magic – Sarah-Leah Pimentel (South Africa)

May: Remembering – Seyit Ali Dastan (Turkey)

June: 5-4-3-2-1 – Talia Stotts (America)

July: Getting Ready for Newborns – Marilin Guerrero Casas (Cuba)

August: Regrets – Kate Korneeva (Russia)

September: A Hollow Pursuit – Diana Haidar (Syria)

October: The Test – Alejandra Baccino (Uruguay)

November: A Life Rekindled – Lauren Voaden (United Kingdom)

December: Translation Perfect – Zhang Lu (China)

Special: Catching Water III – Javier Gomez (Argentina)

Background – Context

Transadaptation Volume 2: Conceived – Childhood Transadapted, (eds.) Angelika Friedrich, Yuri Smirnov and Henry Whittlesey (2021)

Transadaptation Volume 1: In the Middle – Prelude to a Contemporary Transadaptation, (eds.) Angelika Friedrich, Yuri Smirnov and Henry Whittlesey (2020)

Peripatetic Alterity: A Philosophical Treatise on the Spectrum of Being – Romantics and Pragmatists by Angelika Friedrich, Yuri Smirnov and Henry Whittlesey (2019)

La Syncrétion of Polarization and Extremes Transposée, (eds.) Angelika Friedrich, Yuri Smirnov and Henry Whittlesey (2019)

The Codex of Uncertainty Transposed, (eds.) Angelika Friedrich, Yuri Smirnov and Henry Whittlesey (2018)

L’anthologie of Global Instability Transpuesta, (eds.) Angelika Friedrich, Yuri Smirnov and Henry Whittlesey (2017)

From Wahnsinnig to the Loony Bin: German and Russian Stories Transposed to Modern-day America, (eds.) Angelika Friedrich, Yuri Smirnov and Henry Whittlesey (2013)

Emblems and stories on the international community

Perception by country – Transposing emblems, articles, short stories and reports from around the world


Cover photo: Yalova, Turkey – Bubbles – Kerem Gogus (Shutterstock)
Source: The Codex of Uncertainty Transposed

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.