The doctor did not look surprised. He was used to it. The women always cried.
There, there, he said, trying to console Zeliha while putting on a pair of
medical gloves. Its going to be all right, dont you worry. Its only a
slumber. Youll sleep, youll dream, before you finish your dream, well wake
you up and youll go home. After that, youll remember nothing.
When Zeliha cried like this all of her expressions became discernible and her
cheeks sunk in, thus accentuating the most telling feature of hers: her nose!
That remarkably aquiline nose of hers, which she, like her siblings, had
inherited from their father; hers, unlike her siblings, was sharpened further on
the ridge and elongated a bit more on the edges.
The doctor patted her shoulder, handed her a tissue, and then handed her the
whole box. He always had a spare box of tissues ready by his desk. Drug
companies distributed these tissue boxes free of charge. Along with pens and
notebooks and other things that carried their company names, they made tissues
for women patients who could not stop crying.
Figs . . . Delicious figs . . . Good ripe figs!
Was it the same vendor or a new one? What did his customers call him . . . ?
Figist . . . ?! Zeliha thought to herself, as she laid still on a table in a
room unnervingly white and immaculate. Neither the accoutrements nor even the
knives scared her as much as this absolute whiteness. There was something in the
color white that resembled silence. Both were emptied of life.
In her endeavor to sway away from the color of silence, Zeliha grew distracted
by a black spot on the ceiling. The more she fixed her stare on it, the more the
spot resembled a black spider. First it was still, but then it started to crawl.
The spider grew bigger and bigger as the injection started to spread in Zelihas
veins. In a few seconds she was so heavy she could not move a finger. As she
tried to resist being carried away by the anesthetized slumber, she started to
Are you sure this is what you want? Perhaps you would like to mull it over,
said the doctor in a velvety voice as if Zeliha was a pile of dust and he was
afraid of brushing her away with the wind of his words if he spoke louder. If
youd like to reconsider this decision, it is not too late.
But it was. Zeliha knew it had to be done now, on this first Friday of July.
Today or never. There is nothing to consider. I cannot have her, she heard
herself blurt out.
The doctor nodded. As if waiting for this gesture, all of a sudden the Friday
prayer poured into the room from the nearby mosque. In seconds another mosque
joined in and then another and another. Zelihas face contorted in discomfort.
She hated it when a prayer originally designed to be called out in the pureness
of the human voice was dehumanized into an electro-voice roaring over the city
from microphones and cabinet speakers. Soon the clamor was so deafening she
suspected there was something wrong with the loudspeaker system of each and
every mosque in the vicinity. Either that or her ears had become extremely
It will be over in a minute. . . . Dont worry.
It was the doctor speaking. Zeliha looked at him quizzically. Was her contempt
for the electro-prayer so obvious on her face? Not that she minded. Among all
the Kazancı women she was the only one who was openly irreligious. As a child it
used to please her to imagine Allah as her best friend, which was not a bad
thing of course, except that her other best friend was a garrulous, freckled
girl who had made smoking a habit at the age of eight. The girl happened to be
the daughter of their cleaning lady, a chubby Kurdish woman with a mustache she
did not always bother to shave. Back in those days, the cleaning lady used to
come to their house twice a week, bringing her daughter along on each visit.
Zeliha and the girl became good friends after a while, even cutting their index
fingers to mix their blood and become lifelong blood-sisters. For a week the two
girls went around with bloody bandages wrapped around their fingers as a sign of
their sisterhood. Back in those days, whenever Zeliha prayed it would be this
bloody bandage shed be thinking aboutif only Allah too could become a
blood-sister . . . -her blood-sister. . . .
British Parliament asks Amazon to clarify why it pays $9 million in income tax on $23 billion of UK sales.(May 20 2013) Amazon will be called back to give further evidence to members of the British Parliament "to clarify how its activities in the U.K. justify its low corporate...