REPUBLIC OF TURKEY MINISTRY OF CULTURE AND TOURISM

THE LIGHTED WINDOW Rakım ÇALAPALA

THE LIGHTED WINDOW

I intend to remain single till I die. Nothing can frighten me more than the chains of marriage.

My friends know about my fear of this. The married ones want to see everyone also married. Our Uncle Emin used to tell us of his family happiness continuously since he was a father of a quiet, happy family. Almost all the time he used to say:

- You are getting old, now you go to seed! Listen to me! Look at the mirror for once, your hair has become white, your forehead is badly wrinkled… Now it is time to marry. Have a tender wife and little kids around you. Learn something about what happiness means! Look at me for once… I swim in happiness. There is nothing greater than family happiness in the world. Oh! If only you knew the taste of dining at a table peacefully with a woman you love!

I used to resist him strongly like a naughty child and irritate my poor friend:

- You're right! There is nothing happier in the world than living with the woman we love. I see. But why should this woman be "my wife" fully certified?!…

His eyes popping out in amazement and raising his hands, he used to cry out:

- Mistress? You want to live with a loose woman? My son, the home that such women will make is unfounded. If you really want to be happy, the woman that you will marry, as you said, should be your wife fully certified.

As we used to work in the same place with Uncle Emin we usually used to return together. And again we were going home late in the evening.

I noticed one of the windows of the second floor of a house at the beginning of a street. A window with plentiful light…

When my friend saw this, he said:

- Well! You see that window? How nice even the light leaking from the tulle curtain is? How happy the householder must be! You are right. A newlywed couple lives in there. They are close friends of my wife. Between you and me, they are madly in love with each other. (He added whispering to me.) I think they will be three in these days! Look! Envy them! Maybe their happiness is a lesson to you. My wife has found a girl for you, sober, beautiful, and white as cotton. And her name is Meral… Come on! Show your stuff! Don't be pigheaded!

It started like this. Our Uncle Emin used to stop me every evening in front of the lighted window no matter whether it was rainy or snowy and start to give a lecture on marriage.

Somehow one evening two silhouettes appeared at the window. Seeing this, Uncle Emin became a poet:

- Look! They are embracing each other. How nice silhouettes they are! Don't you want to live like them eye in eye, arm in arm, lip in lip all the time!

I used not to care about the efforts of the poor old man. So not to sadden him more, I said:

- Very nice, very nice!

Victorious and glad, he cried out:

- That's right! I knew already that you would feel your loneliness after seeing this window of happiness!

And shortly after, he invited me to his house saying:

- Come on! We must strike the iron while it is hot! Come to us this Sunday. Meral would also come…

Meral was beautiful. I liked her. Poor girl has nobody except her old grandmother. In a short time we warmed to each other.

I got engaged all of a sudden.

Meral was not one of such girls of today who seek the ways of divorcing before getting married. She believed in love. She was very sentimental.

I told her how I hated marrying before. I said that how the window with light at the corner made this hate melt.
I said:

- That window changed my thoughts. Tomorrow evening in front of that window let's send our hearts' gratitude to God… Would you like to?

We decided to marry as soon as possible. Once the affairs in the registry office ended, we would come together. And we were in winter already, in summer, evenings come late and mornings come early!

The other evening I had supper in my fiancée's house. We linked our arms. Getting close to each other, we started to walk towards the window with light that taught me family happiness. While walking, I told the beauty of the unknown silhouettes that ended my pigheadedness till she could revive them in her mind.

We stood opposite the sacred window, our hearts beating. The window was open.

But! Oh my God! What was happening over there? A woman and a man were insulting each other. Instead of passionate, wholehearted remarks, we heard these impolite remarks:

- You hussy! It's enough!

- Who wants you stupid? If I want, I can get everyone at my service!

- You are a fool!

- You are the fool! You idiot!

- Ass!

- Bastard!

Suddenly the lid of a cooking pan fell down near our feet, breaking the closed leaf of the window with a sound of crashing. And then a glass and a gilded plate!

I immediately took away her from there. Her beautiful face suddenly turned into green and became sour.

She shouted at my face with a harsh voice:

- What you did was a really nice joke! You wanted to make fun of me? Is this the family life whose happiness you told me like a beautiful dream? Well, you are such a polite man indeed! Irritating man!

Oh my God! How ugly and disgusting she became at that moment! The girl that I thought she was an angel had a rabid witch inside. She showed what in fact she was just in a minute. She pushed my arm and went away.

I immediately separated from her and did not see Lady Meral never again.

Uncle Emin tore his hair. Apparently, my friend had forgotten to tell me that the family living in that floor left two days ago and a rich man who lives with his mistress moved there.

I remained single.

Every evening, on the way home, I stand in front of that lighted window that saved my life; I look at it and smile with pleasure.

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