I miss reading you like a book although I did not understand a word coming out from you mouth. I miss riding a bike between a meadow and a canal. I miss sharing ice cream and chips for breakfast. I miss waking up to fetch water before sunrise. I miss lying in the sun until the clouds cover it up and thinking what I would be doing for the day. I miss hitting the road. I miss the smell of rosewater. I miss hiking 20km a day and how every piece of muscle roars once I unloaded my backpack. I miss dancing on the street in a dead city in the middle of the day. I miss singing along not knowing what the hymn meant. I miss my still mind when sitting in a
church. I miss the song performed with piano on the street that made me feel everything was perfect. I miss rubbing petals of jasmine and cupping them over my nose. I miss holding as many frangipanis as I can.
It has restarted again. Baggage, coats and hats, laptops and passengers searching for seats, squeezing in each other, dragging kids and dogs, hanging some suits. A white blur on the shady window as I sigh. It is getting more and more bumpy. I can’t focus on my book. The engine is buzzing too much. How long till I can get off this thing? 6 hours, I guess. Maybe 8. There is no sign outside.
I have no idea how long I have slept. It’s still absolutely dark outside, in the middle of nowhere.
The guy sitting across the aisle is having a Scotch, since when do they sell Scotch or anything here? I think they have plugged the engine into my head, incredibly loud.
The man next to me is finally asleep. Such a chatterbox. I remember us talking about nothing for an hour. We got into translating “your nose is crooked!” in multiple languages and thinking it was funny. And from there to guys wearing skirts to bathing in the sun. He shifted away from the sunshine as it beamed on us. “You don’t like tan?” I asked. “No. I don’t mind the sun… It’s just that I don’t like lying in the sun doing nothing. Parents love to cook their kids, overcook them.” And then we went on babbling about our hometowns and stuff like that.
A kid shows up on the aisle playing accordion. Funny I did not hear him playing before, seems that he has been playing the whole time since we have departed. Oh, there are even two of them, brothers. They almost have identical freckles on their tanned crooked nose. The older one, about 13, has the accordion hung on his neck and a pouch for tips clinging to his waist. His brother, much younger, is stumbling, still in his diapers. They are wearing clothes a little bit thinner than one should under this weather.
The man next to me shivers at the sound of the accordion and sits up straight. He sticks a joint behind his ear and heads to the bathroom while I say he won’t fool the attendants. He casts a wicked defiant smirk.
As I struggle to decide if I should tip the boys, the older accordion brother brings his brother with him to the seat next to me. They both smell like rosewater. “This is G!” he says with a big smile and kisses G’s soft brown hair. He carries G onto the seat next to him and buckles over his diapers. “And what’s your name?” I ask. “I’m Little Man.”
G drops his bottle filled with apple juice. Little Man picks it up and put it in G’s hand, “Hold it. Yes. Or else you don’t have anything to drink.” G drops it again as if it’s a game. Little Man bends down and pick it up again as he squeezes his accordion. Everyone around startles and looks up from whatever they were focusing. G giggles and holds the bottle up in the air, suspending it over the floor while his bright brown eyes gaze at his brother. “Nooo…” in an enduring tone, the brown eyes meet. G sips on his apple juice. Little Man hugs G a bit closer to him and nibbles his fingers as if holding the best present from mom and dad.
I squeeze through the accordion left on the floor and the two boys.
Felt trapped in the window seat.
I need a walk in the aisle.
I totter to the end of the rows of seats, the only light source comes from a window. It’s a blue sunset on clouds, the best. My hand is on the handle of the door leading outside.
“Hey.” I turn in shock looking right at the source of the voice, a familiar stranger’s face.
“Long journeys annoy me. I can’t sleep. I can’t read. I can’t eat. I can’t sit. I am trapped.” I say it as if reading from a manual.
“You are trapped anyway.” He walks further from the window back to the wobbling aisle. I follow. “Even if you don’t settle on a family, you could get away with codes and rules, I suppose, but you will still be bound by seasons, past, memories, fear.” I have seen him before and yet I don’t know him. “Fish never witness the snow, the sun ceases smiling under water. We are all part of the Milky Way. Bound by the sun. No one can go further beyond clouds…” before I can respond, he enters the lavatory and locks him self inside. Stranger than strangers.
I wander on the aisle, stepping on petals of frangipanis… white turning into burnt edges, didn’t recognize them since their scent is gone… the carpet is now a piece of glass above white smoky clouds…cracking, I jump toward the door leading to the next compartment before everything sinks back into those clouds. I slide open the screen door entering the next compartment…
I know this scent. A scent without sun. It’s where I once lived. Curtains close against the curious world. My roommates chattering to themselves, smoking. That’s what they did all day long.
“Morning” I say, walking from the door I just opened to the hallway. I have been awake for a while.
“Morning” Dylan is still sprawling on the couch where she sleeps in the salon, half-awake. She’s used to the noises of us passing by, she doesn’t have her own room.
“I’m gonna move my things this afternoon.” I have rehearsed this a hundred times in my mind.
“Everything. I’m moving out.” I open the fridge looking for the milk, no luck.
“…what?… why?...Moving out, you meaning like moving … OUT?... You sound like you are just leaving for the MiniMart.” Dylan starts pacing in the kitchen and playing with the foam curlers in her short hair.
“I’ve found another apartment. So now you can have your own room. Grapes?” I turned to Dylan with a gallon of banana ice cream in hand.
“We are screwed without you. How are we supposed to pay the rent? Does Deniz know about this?” She exhales as she descends on a stool.
I shake my head, keeping it down as I dip a potato chip in the ice cream, imagining Deniz getting all emotional and giving advice on how to spot dangerous new housemates.
The kettle is screeching. I hurry to the stove, pull two greasy mugs from the sink with tomato sauce stains on and briefly rinse them. “Ou!” I get splashed with a little hot water as I tossed two teabags in.
“I thought everything was fine.” Dylan lights a cigarette and pushes open the window.
I think about the empty salon, a couple of couches covered with an elephant cartoon cloth, a TV set and a cupboard but not even a stupid picture or painting and the giant white round clock which is always three twenty-three. It doesn’t seem like someone actually lives here. We don’t own anything. The only things we have are each other. I met them a few weeks ago and these two are my first friends in the entire country. I do not want to hurt their feelings but this is not the kind of place that I pictured myself staying.
“They have a balcony … and a microwave.” I failed to put it in more considerate words.
“You’re living in a poppy pie!” Dylan grabs her tea and moves to the salon, does not bother to look at me.
I don’t even know what that means. She’s confusing; she constantly paces at home, squatting but not sitting on a stool, cooking but never eating, listening to non-stop music or the radio as if she does not know how to cope with silence.
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