REPUBLIC OF TURKEY MINISTRY OF CULTURE AND TOURISM

CHOCOLATE - Orhan KEMAL

CHOCOLATE

They were in front of the huge shop-window of sweet-seller where boxes of sugars, sweets and chocolates of different sizes were exhibited. They were under the spell of the chocolates. He was a sturdy boy standing between his elder sister and the daughter of the yogurt-seller. The yogurt-seller`s daughter and the "Sister" were of the same age. A while ago, the sister had taken with compulsion her sturdy brother to the barber. There, in the barber, were big mirrors and a cage with blue beaded wires lodging a bright yellow bird.

The barber was also a friend of his father. The barber, having a slender jat-black moustache, was smiling the big-breasted girl living in the opposite house. He was not disinterested since the big-breasted girl was responding with a cheerful grin; so they were beckoning and laughing at each other. The sturdy boy had witnessed this while having his head shaved. He had also seen incessantly chattering tiny bird in bright yellow color. Everything would have been all right for him if only the shaver hadn't pulled his hair this roughly. He was suffering such a deep pain that he had a great desire to run away and pelt the shop with stones. That was why he had never been fond of getting a shave and why he wasn't only stamping but also kicking his elder sister. He would have showed her if she hadn't suggested, "Let's gather our money and buy a chocolate for fifty".

In front of the sweet-seller's shop-window they all forgot about the barber, the mirrors, the cage and the bright yellow bird. Chocolates were the only things real for them. Those gelatins in red, purple, yellow and blue, blazing under the sun light and the chocolates tightly packed with these variegated gelatins. Beside the sister and his brother, the daughter of yogurt-seller was completely lost in this riot of colors; or just conversely, these colors of blue, yellow, purple and red were blazing inside them.

Both the elder sister and her brother knew what the taste of chocolate was like. Once, their aunt had brought them some chocolate from Sariyer. Their aunt had a black mantle and a big pimple on the face; her eyes looked as if they were tinged with eye-salve. Sometimes she was giving them money. And there also were times when she had brought them nougat or round candy-floss From Emirgan the taste of which was resembling nougat. Once, their father had brought them nougat at one of these rainy nights of his return from journey having a beard of some days and a sharp smell of gas. Though he used to bring nougat occasionally, he frequently used to swear with his long and dusty beard: "You, the dolt, the beast, the cuckold!"

But neither nougat nor candy-floss could compete with the taste of chocolate. Had the yogurt-seller's daughter ever tried some chocolate? He didn't care whether she had or not, because his sister and he had a sum of fifty which would afford chocolate…

- " Hey sister!"

- "Yes?"

- "Are these chocolates the same with those my aunt brought?"

- "Of course not."

- "The chocolates my aunt brought are sweeter, aren't they?"

- "Sure, they are."

At that moment the yogurt-seller's daughter interrupted:

- "All chocolates are alike."

- "How do you know?" asked the others.

- "Well, how do you know then?"

- "Our aunt brought us chocolates from Sariyer."

- "Mine did also."

- "Do you have an aunt?"

- "Do you so?"

- "Of course we do."

- "And I do too."

- "Our aunt brings us chocolates whenever she comes!"

- "The same with my aunt."

- "But our aunt brings nougat and candy-floss as well."

- "So my aunt does."

- "Where does she bring them from?"

- "I ask the same question to you."

- "Answer you first!"

- "Why am I first to answer?"

- "Then why do we answer? Our father is a truck driver, so he wanders all around the world."

- "My father is a yogurt-seller; he sells yogurt even to the apartment houses."

The boy turned red in the face and exclaimed to his sister:

- "Sister, I say!"

- "What is the matter?"

"If her aunt brings chocolate for her, then we let her go and eat!"

- "I won't go" replied the yogurt-seller's daughter.

The red ribbon of sister turned into yellow:

- "Why not?"

- "Why don't you go then?"

- "Do you compete with us?"

- "Do you so?"

- "We can stay here till the night falls."

- "So I can."

- "Does this place belong to you?"

- "Or does it belong to you?"

The boy exclaimed in anger:

- "Sister!"

- "You shut up!" replied her and addressing to the yogurt-seller's daughter:

- "We are not like you at all."

- "I am not either."

- "What are you saying?"

- "It is none of your business."

- "Say it again like a man!" threatened the boy.

- "I don't mind saying."

- "Then say it again."

- "I am not afraid of you."

- "We are not either."

Meanwhile a blue brand-new De Soto was passing through the eroded parquets of the street.

- "Sister?"

- "What?"

- "My father can drive even that blue car, can't he?"

- "Yes, he can."

The yogurt-seller's daughter heard their conversation but couldn't understand anything. In fact, she didn't have an aunt but she always wished she had an aunt who had brought her chocolates from Sariyer and candy-floss from Emirgan. Or she wished her father had been a driver… and she wandered whether the chocolate was really something so sweet.

- "Sister?" called the boy.

- "What?"

- "Isn't it better we ask for chocolate?"

- "Do shut up!"

- "We can buy chocolate, can't we?"

- "I said shut up!"

- "I know that we don't buy any, because there are tar boilers in the hell."

- "Didn't I tell you shut up?"

The yogurt-seller's daughter couldn't help laughing, so the sister lost her temper once more:

- "Why did you laugh?"

- "What's it to you?"

- "What did you say, ha?" asked the boy in anger.

- "You can't frighten me. When did you see the hell?"

- "When did you see it?"

- "I had never seen the hell."

- "We hadn't either."

- "Then how do you mention the tar boilers in hell?"

The two siblings looked at each other and it was the sister answering:

- "I heard it from my father. Don't you believe that he can know the tar boilers?"

- "May be he can, but not you."

- "Sister!" interrupted the boy,

- "What?"

- "Let's show her that we can buy chocolates whenever we want."

With her yellow tin ear rings, the yogurt-seller's daughter challenged:

- "Please do show me then."

- "Let's show, ha?"

- "You pretend as if you have money."

- "You mean we don't have money?"

- "Do you so?"

- "Here it is!"

- "My father gives me more money" said the yogurt-seller's daughter unpleasantly.

Then, the sister too showed her money and the yogurt-seller's daughter made a face and replied:

"My father gives me so much money that I don't know how to spend."

The sister was about to cry:

- "Then go and buy a chocolate for fifty!"

- "I can buy if I want, but I won't."

- "Then we buy," said the boy.

- "Sure you can!"

- "You mean we can't?"

- "Buy then!"

- "You, the fool!" replied the boy.

The "fool" turned red in the face:

- "You are the fool actually!"

The red color of the ribbon was reflected in the face of sister:

- "I had nothing to do with that matter."

- "Then why did your brother do so?"

- "Any way, we aren't as rude as you are."

- "I am not as rude as you are actually."

- "You shut up…"

- "But we have money, haven't we sister? So why do we have to shut up?"

Finally they arrived at the shop leaving the yogurt-seller's daughter behind. Her hair was dirty and tousled. An alcoholic and a gambler father and four sisters were all she had in life. Each morning her sisters were fading in the sirens of the tobacco factory and in evenings they were empty-handed on their way home. Her mother used to return home with packages of grape, fig, cheese and olive when she was alive. She also used to cook, do the wash, comb her daughters' hair and attach ribbons she had made from scraps. Her sisters had no obligation to work at the factory; instead, they used to ski, jump rope and play with ball. Her father at all used not to drink this much then.

They got out of the shop having a chocolate for fifty and first the red paper was thrown away, and then the silver proceeded. Finally the chocolate was shared and eaten. Was it really too sweet? But again the girl said:

- "I wouldn't eat it even though it didn't cost a thing," she said.

Was she heard? If so, what did they say? She pretended not to show her envy while they were eating their chocolate. Yet, pieces of chocolates eaten with relish were lingering in her mind. When she opened her eyes, plenty of chocolates in multicolored gelatins were being demonstrated in the shop window. Then she closed her eyes again, this time those lingering in her mind were a brother who she took to the barber and shared her chocolate; a father who could drive even that big blue car; and an aunt who brought nougats form Sariyer and candy-floss from Emirgan. Her sister and the boy were walking together in the street when she re-opened her eyes. She kept on closing and opening her eyes and they were in the curve of the opposite street when she last saw them; they were vanished in the street at her last opening of her eyes. She was about to go when she saw red chocolate gelatins thrown on the pavement. She suddenly took a suspicious glance at the street worrying to be considered a "Gipsy".

A simit-seller passed her by.

She looked at the windows of houses furnished with tulle curtains.

And she couldn't help stooping and grasping that puckered silver gelatin.

Another simit-seller was passing by.

She passed through streets running the puckered gelatin down after and after as if it was just a ball. The last street she came was so dirty that she could scent urine.

But, this didn't prevent her from flattening the silver ball. Here it was the remnant of a chocolate and she licked it up a several times after.

Orhan KEMAL