Help Me

She’s lost sleep a while ago, her eyes have sunken deep into dark circles, but Asli still keeps her secret to herself, determined not to talk to anyone, find comfort in someone.

The only person she would talk to, her grandmother, has past away recently anyway. No one else matters.

She is not close to pets as much as she is not close to people. She might be one of the few writers who doesn’t like cats, but she starts living with one when she gets accepted in the writers’ residency program in Austria.

The cat is not the only one who is new in her life. She meets a 130-years-old woman who claims she can’t die. And becomes friends with a handsome handicapped man.

Is the old woman a lier? Has her grandmother reincarnated in the cat? How many times can someone become a murderer? Above all, is this really the best time for love?!

“I cannot believe that my grandmother is really gone. Since the day she’s died. Sometimes I feel like she is just next to me. I smell her fragrance. She used the same perfume till she past away. It smelled like soap. I keep smelling it. Especially when the cat is near me. Also she comes and sits next to me when I’m reading something out loud. I mean…”

“Like your grandmother.”


She is embarrassed to have said that. But she had.

“You think that I’d say you are crazy because you are telling me the cat might be your grandmother, is that right?”

Asli nods.

“My dear, I’m a woman who says she can’t die. I? I am going to think you’re crazy? You are really sweet.”

“But I’m sure there is a solution. Insomnia is not that bad. My problem is much bigger.”

Asli doesn’t like it when people talk about their problems when you’ve just talked about yours. Still, she asks with her looks only. Daniella is a different woman after all. Go ahead, tell me what your problem is. Daniella’s answer is as natural as everything else about her.

“I’m having a hard time dying.”

“For me, someone who doesn’t think realistically but still can stitch the open ends together is a writer. Think of writing as a state of sleeping. We are free just like in our dreams while writing. But the moment we wake up, we want to connect what we write to life just like we try to interpret our dreams. Maybe we are as good writers as our readers ‘interpret’ what we write. Because life is as absurd as it is real and as real as it is absurd.”

What a big mistake; what a grave mistake to pick what is said to be the right path when one is young. Get married, have a family, have kids, have grandchildren, get old, lose your husband, lose your child. Lose your grandchild, stay behind, all alone, be the sole guard of this life, wait, wait, wait, wait. She must have left at the time. She must have run away, leaving everything behind. Maybe to India. To Shanghai. To Mexico. Even to Guatemala. Then she wouldn’t have been trapped in time like this. She could have been alone, yes, but the colors of the first fifty years of her life would color the rest of it. She feels herself in a black and white movie. A classic, yes, but boring. One time Hakan had told her how people in Turkey lived constantly in danger, always close to death. There was no guarantee of life in that country. A man had died when a truck ran over him even though he was standing on the sidewalk for example. Daniella couldn’t comment since the young man was in a wheelchair but she had thought “That’s it” to herself, “I should have lived in a place like that. So that death would chase me while I tried to get away from it.”

How do you date a handicap man? This is the question she googled. She doesn’t know how she is supposed to be walking next to Hakan or if she has to bend over when she couldn’t hear what he said. Does she have to kneel in front of him every time she wants to kiss him? Or would that offend him each time? There is a much bigger question in her mind but its hard to find the answer for that. She doesn’t know if he is active sexually. It’s not possible for her to inquire about this, but Hakan will probably talk about it at a point in their relationship – of course assuming they will have one.

“Look brother, I’ve got nothing personal against you, but I just cannot listen to your excuses or accept your apology yet. The best would be to change the subject. Here we are, where we have started again. The artist will get over problems by talking, the artist is understanding, the artist is reasonable. Either I’m not an artist or all these are lies. I cannot suppress the anger inside and be more understanding just because I’m an artist.”

How to withdraw that hand? Ursula has her hand on top of hers on the table; she doesn’t look anywhere else but in her eyes. She envies people who can talk like that, yet she always wants to look somewhere else. Both when she is talking and listening. How can she put that? She finds these kinds of conversation too much. Too intense for her. Ursula had almost taken her prisoner with her looks. Her hand feels like a rock under hers. She doesn’t know what to do. It would be weird if she withdrew it, just like that. It would be even weirder if she held hers too. That hand is gone. It’s better to think that way. Amputated. She doesn’t have her right hand anymore. It starts to feel numb. As if it doesn’t belong to her. Better yet, Ursula can take that hand with her when she’s leaving. Dear God. The numbness spreads through her arm. Almost below the shoulder is gone now. It’s that bad. How would Ursula know that she could be this distant? She thinks that they’ve gotten close enough to hold her hand, look her in the eye and tell her dear friend what’s on her mind. That’s how it should be, but this is Asli we are talking about. It doesn’t matter how much she likes someone, when it comes to sharing deep feelings she wants to escape. Touching or holding? God forbid!

“Yes, she is the perfect woman. She is beautiful to start with. Despite the fact that she looks ill. She is fun to talk to. It’s obvious that you share the same taste in music. But what I see is that she’s not matured yet. In fact, she is not a woman; she is a girl. She needs to be looked after. And you also…”

She stopped here. She’s gone too far, she knows. Hakan understands right away what she is saying.

“I also need to be looked after, right?”

“Please remember who I am before you judge me. Since you are in love with someone else now, you are going to understand whatever you want to understand and find faults in me. Please think before you do this. You don’t need to be looked after, but you have to be taken care of.”

“If you can use the expression ‘to be looked after’ for someone who is not even handicapped, you should use it even more so for me. Now, say it. Tell me I need to be looked after too. And tell me also, how did it satisfy you to live with someone who depends on others all the time?”

Sophie knows their conversation has ended here. Just as she’d thought, Hakan is going to carry this quarrel to another level and make himself believe that there’s a problem in their relationship. He is a good guy, it’s not possible for him to leave without finding an excuse, just dump her like that. He is going to leave. No matter what she says.

“One of the seven sins, Asli, is Acedia. In Latin. In daily language it’s laziness. I’ve committed this crime. Many times. I’ve studied in this city. I guess I didn’t tell you this either. I’ve graduated from University of Music and Performing Arts of Vienna. Oh, those days! They were wonderful. One should never talk about herself, how talented she is and etc, no, but since we cannot find anyone else to talk about me at this age, I have to say; I was one of those students who had gained great respect and held great prospects in this school from where Brahms and Mahler had graduated. But Asli, laziness. The real problem that hides behind many excuses.”

Daniella took a deep breath, Aslı is silent.

“I don’t know why I’m telling these. Maybe I want to preach a young woman who seems to have a bright future ahead of her. Not being able to sleep is not a problem for you Asli. Don’t sleep, no, write Asli, write. And as for me? I don’t want to get any rest, not today.”

Daniella put what she had in her hands on her lap and opened the last piece of cloth. A small syringe. When she raised her head this time she was asking with her looks: “Are you ready?” To be ready. It’s a relative concept. Asli is not ready for anything in this world, yet she is ready for everything. She lives in the perfect balance of this contradiction. She is not ready to love but she can love any minute. She is not ready to get married, but she can any minute. She is definitely not ready for a child, but she can be a mother too. She is not ready to die, but why not? To kill?.. She is never ready, but she can be.