THIS IS THE
If I'm asked "Who
is the greatest man you know in the world?" I at once say "Mr. Zekai";
our third class teacher Mr. Zekai… Why is he a great man? I definitely don't
know. Maybe because he is very clean and smartly dressed… Every morning he comes
to the classroom with a shiny shave… We haven't seen him with a little beard,
even once. He doesn't wear colored shirt. The collar is as white as snow, but
how white it is… The knot of the tie fits the collar so mill metrically that
it does not move even a bit… His trousers are neatly ironed… his shoes are all
the time painted, shining… His hair is combed backwards all the time but it
isn't oily, or brilliantine or pomade smeared… His teeth are spotlessly clean…
I had never seen
such a man like a real man until that time before… I thought, "His salary
must be a thousand, a hundred thousand liras." Because to me, one can't
wear in such a smart way otherwise… He often says to us:
a shame to wear old or patched clothes, but it's a shame to wear torn out, dirty
I love his those
words most, because they suit me. I wear old clothes, I wear patched clothes
but they aren't dirty, they aren't torn out… my mother did not make me wear
torn out, dirty clothes even a single day.
The most popular
word on those days was "the Republic". When the word "the Republic"
is uttered Mr. Zekai bears in my mind. To me, the Republic gained flesh and
bones; became alive and turned into Mr. Zekai… I love the Republic very much.
I love Mr. Zekai very much, too.
Why do I love?
Maybe because my father doesn't love… My father who is the admirer of "our
Effendi Abdulhamit Han", and who says "deserving of heaven" first
when uttering his name, and who left us alone and enjoyed the Independence War
voluntarily, and burned at the guerilla war, doesn't love the Republic at all,
he is the enemy of it. And day-by-day his hostility increases. Maybe I love
the Republic very much because my father doesn't love it. After all, I don't
even know what the Republic means… But I love my father very very very much,
as well. If only my father had loved the republic as much as I love. There is
a thing I know: if there was not the Republic, I would not be able to go to
that government school; I understood that.
Mr. Zekai always
moves about with a ruler in his hand. If there is someone who behaves naughtily,
someone who did not study his lesson…
hand!" he says.
He hits in the
palm of the hand with the ruler. Sometimes he hits with the sharp edge of the
ruler. Once, one more, one more… the child whose palm of hand is hit by the
sharp edge of the ruler writhes in pain:
Maybe I love Mr.
Zekai because he moves about the school with the ruler in his hand. He never
beats me… every children are frighten of him, a respectful fright… Well, he
doesn't beat so often.
Mr. Zekai has an
illness about his eyes. They turn red, and there is rheum at the feet of his
eyelash. I love Mr. Zekai so much that I love his reddened eyes; they give him
a peculiarity. When I grow up maybe my eyes become like his.
Mr. Zekai is single…
He doesn't want to get married, if he wanted all the girls would like to marry
him. He lives in a mud-brick house having two floors in Bozdogan Kemeri.
I feel respect
for him even while I'm passing by his house, I can't turn my head towards the