Saturday, July 13, 2024

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Mom, Shut Up!

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Istiklal Street is the pupil of Istanbul with its cosmopolitan structure and the heart of Beyoglu.
When you immerse yourself in the flow of the street, from its mysterious alleys to its freshly
brewed tea, from book benches to the smell of fresh pastries, from theater stages to movie
theaters, from schools to places of worship, from street musicians to cafes that offer live
music, the street is a place of people who sail to work, day, joy, hope…

The moment you caress the head of the yellow tabby waiting for its sustenance on this street that contains a thousand and one colors; your eye catches the posters of Atlas Cinema. It is in those seconds that your childhood comes to mind. Even though the white blanket of cold winter days covers the nature, you can warm up and dream with Türkan Soray accompanied by a warm linden.

Photo: Ufuk Kalın

While my soul was blending with these
feelings, in the early hours of the morning, my
mother and I took the red tram, which has
become the symbol of Istiklal Street. We were
going to Taksim. We have an appointment in
the psychiatry department of Taksim Hospital.
My mother will give me a power of attorney
because she has difficulty in doing the bank
work. In order to give the power of attorney,
we need a one-day report of “she is sane”.

We reached Taksim by listening to my mother, who was constantly telling us something along
the way. I wanted to be cautious before entering the hospital. I turned to my mother and said
“Baby, just answer the doctor’s questions, don’t tell your memories?”
My angry mother said, “My daughter, you made me a chatty!”

Even though I said, “Estağfurullah mom, I just wanted to remind you.”, we went in with
grumbling. A young, friendly psychiatrist welcomed us. When she asked my mother why are
you here, she started by saying I have sciatic pain, then she remembered her purpose and said
that I would give my daughter power of attorney without diverting the subject. After a few
questions and answers, the psychiatrist concluded that my mother was sane and gave us a
daily medical report.
Now it was the turn of the second stage. We walked from Taksim to the notary public. Notary
was on the second floor of a historical building on Istiklal Street. Today my mother was like a
newly programmed professional software, and she never wanted to shut up. This scared me.
At the notary’s door, I stopped my mother and especially emphatically said, ‘Don’t tell your
life story above, just answer them if they ask questions about what we came for’.
“Aaa” she said!
“You’re a weirdo today, did you think I was a child, girl?”.
“No, you’re not a child… You do things like that sometimes!”
“Oh my god I will be angry, Allah allaah! I’m going to get my work done and get off, what
can I talk to people I don’t know.”
I said, “Well Mom.” “Don’t forget that we’re talking about it, though.”
When I told the staff on duty, “I will get a power of attorney for bank transactions,” he said, “I
will have you meet with the notary.” We were greeted by a notary lady who was lost among
the tables and files in a messy room. There was only one seat, I made my mother sit and I am
standing.
“How can I help you,” said the notary. So, I presented the report and briefly explained why
we came. In fact, when I gave the report, the procedures had to be completed, but the notary
started to ask questions to my mother like a psychiatrist.
In the beginning, everything was fine. My mother explained the purpose of our arrival, but the
notary didn’t stop. She was always trying to get her talking. My mother, who was extremely
pleased with the attention from the questions that come in, was slowly starting to relax.
Oh my mother! It’s handled well so far…
She can’t stand it, she’s ready to talk. I know she won’t be able to stand it!
And in those minutes, my mother’s pupils grew, her rib cage widened, she was breathing
deeply. I feel that a scene from the Yeşilçam movies will be shot in a moment.
The notary lady is locked into her hunt. Pure attention is looking at my mother without
blinking an eye. Let my mother give a deficit and she will catch it. Mine is also in painful, she
can’t take it anymore and explodes the bomb.

“I am forgetful,” she says.
“God bless you, girl, I am very forgetful.”
“I used to forget a lot when I was younger.” She turned to me, nodded, and said, “My
daughter looks like me too.”
Me? Who am I? I am guilty… The bad boy who wants to get a power of attorney from her
mother. I’m guilty. That’s why I’m stuck between the two of them.
My nerves got really tense. I can’t say anything. I can’t make any moves. If I say something,
the notary will say please don’t interfere. My mother, I say to myself. Shut up! The notary
caught you; our end is not good.
All my inner organs are dancing. My stomach, my heart is shooting at my mother to shut up.
But my mother doesn’t shut up. She tells by including me in her conversation. My mother,
your timing is perfect. My eyes were burning, but I couldn’t cry. What have we discussed with
you below, woman? Your sentences disappear into the air like smoke, one after the other.
Even though the notary mutters how nice it is, she will jump on us with her claws out like a
panther.
I’m about to crack like glass from the tension and split in two. If I say something, things will
get worse. Oh, this should be finished today! Otherwise, I won’t be able to take another day
off from work.
Mom, shut up! Why are you constantly trying to evoke new sentences with new words? She
even stretches the letters to expand her vocabulary. She moves on to how she evaluates celery
leaves at once. Where did the celery leaf come from? She talks non-stop, running after
sentences breathlessly…
 After the short festival film my mother talked about her forgetfulness, the notary put her
glasses on the table and leaned back in her chair. I notice the light in her eyes. There is a
strange twinkle in her eyes. We are tied by a thread of cotton. I am aware, our decision is like
a knife edge…
“I’m sorry,” she said, “I can’t give my consent.” “Why” I said. It was the only sentence that
came out of my mouth for about 15 minutes. “Why can’t you give it?” Your mother is
forgetful. Remember is the keyword for us. ” What if she doesn’t know why you’re here?”
“What do you mean, notary lady?” I say. “We also provided you with the report of my
mother’s sanity”.
My mom realizes something is wrong and shifts gears. Supposedly she won’t show. To
change the subject, “Are you married or single?” she says. Yes, mom, it’s time for
matchmaking… Ask for a copy of her birth certificate…

In the seconds when she realizes that this move will
not help, she turns her route to Yesilcam street right
in front of us. She gets rid of her velvety soft voice
and turns into Aliye Rona. “My daughter,” she says.
“What are you bothering us with?”

It’s like the notary is struggling. You’re the one struggling…
I can’t go to the bank. I can’t go up and down the stairs. Aa, let my daughter handle my affairs and has the signature done. Because her mind was confused. Well done, notary lady, you deserved it. Go with your all-knowing attitude and buy two kilos of celery now and make good use of your stalks. You won’t find this recipe anywhere else.
We thanked her and left. When we go out on the street, it’s my turn to talk. Mom, didn’t I tell
you when I was entering?
What??? She says with a confused expression.
What? Mom, didn’t I tell you not to talk about your life story while entering the notary, and
answer current questions?
Neither yes nor no, no comments. She knows her fault.
“Mom!” “I told you.”
“Noo, you didn’t.” She said.
“No?” How didn’t I say that?
Oh, did you say?
I forgot that I were admonished.
Come on mom, I say, let’s leave all our stress behind and withdraw your salary. Then you
order me a profiterole. Tell me your sweet memories while I eat my dessert…

Photo: Ozan Erdoğan

Life tests us by changing our roles. First you become a baby, and when you grow up, your
mother becomes your baby. Maybe that’s why I call my mom “baby”. My mother is 76 years
old. She says “hello” to us children with a new identity at every age.

Nafiye BOZKURT

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