Short Story

The following short story was published originally in Turkish on April 11th, 2020.
Publication:
Oggito Öykü (https://oggito.com/icerikler/perdesizler/65201)

The Curtainless

The truck parked in the middle of the street looks like it’s been blocking traffic for quite a while. You are taking sips from your tiny tea glass as slowly as taking deep breaths and wondering if the number of your sips can be equal to the number of stuff coming out of the truck. One. You start counting, but decide not to continue after you see several boxes quickly carried inside the building. Your eyes go swiftly to the windows of the apartment. You try to remember how many tenants have moved before. Must be many. That’s not the question, though, that your mind focuses on. Want to know how the new tenants will turn out to be. Are they like you, just a tiny bit, or are they completely different from you? “It’s not good to be curious”, another voice speaks in your head. That’s when your cat hops on the window sill and you ask: “Are you curious, too?”

The following morning, the facing windows are calling you but you prefer not to look, not even once. You don’t want to seem nosey if there happens to be someone by the window. You decide to wait couple of weeks. After a very long one week is finally over and you take a quick glance, it’s not that difficult to spot the apartment right away. It still looks like it’s not rented. The curtainless apartment. Now you are curious. You wait for the night. When the sun sets, your impatience rises. The darkness encourages you like never before as you approach your windows and befriend your curtains, slowly peeking your face behind them. The facing building’s floors are mostly dark. You can only see thin specks of light trying to leak through tightly closed lives. Their curtains look like dark clouds blocking the sun. On the contrary, that apartment is bursting with an emancipated orange light and warming you inside out. You take a more attentive look to only see the source of the light at a distant corner of the living room. As you are filled with outlandish joy, you start to smell the food being cooked in the kitchen, your ears can hear the music playing inside.

The next morning you head to your living room and stop at the threshold. There is a wide opening between your two brownish curtains. Almost a meter long. Haven’t you closed them the night before? You can’t recall. The opening invites you to look at the apartment again. You can see the reflection of numerous things on the windows of the curtainless apartment. Your gaze turns into a brief daydream until a window gets opened. You can’t see the kind of person who opens it as you are now acting to be facing another direction all along.

As the night approaches, all your lights are on, there are even a few scented candles burning delicately. Your TV screen joins in with a blue light to this razzle-dazzle color show which yearns to spread outside. You go to the window and open your curtains all the way. The sheer curtains under the heavy thick ones exist only barely, and that’s why you decide not to touch them. The sheerness also gives you a feeling of false protection and allows you to stand there taking a new look at the apartment. A shameless but valid opportunity. You now think that the new tenants are not late at hanging curtains, but rather committed to not doing so. The curtainless, you mutter to yourself. You repeat immediately, out loud this time, “the curtainless”. You feel as if the ferocious vibration of your voice hits the glass and returns right back at you. You gasp for couple of seconds and close your eyes, standing there. You think you can stand there forever, but instead you say “I will open the sheer ones, too”. Your courage outweighs your vulnerability even if you feel like you are naked. You stand there just as you are. In front of it. You first notice a moving shadow and realize it is a cat. Very similar to yours, but in opposite color. Then you see the tenant of the curtainless apartment coming right next to the cat. Your cat comes next to you at your window. Standing at facing windows with your cats, you look at each other for a while. It feels like you are looking at a mirror but not exactly. Your clothes, your hair, your eyes. Everything looks so similar yet so different. You kiss the top of your cat as you see the same kiss from the corner of your eye. If you continue to look all night long, you feel like at one moment when you blink you will find yourself in that apartment.  You can’t run away from this feeling growing fast inside you. It’s the first time you feel this way. One with everyone and everything.

You are running to your living room the next morning. Your curtains are now on the floor as a big brown pile. You smile, your whole body smiles when you realize you are not dreaming. All your cells are smiling. You take a few steps and open one of the windows of your curtainless heart. Then you hold your arms like branches up high out of the window with love and look at the street below with your curtainless eyes. You scream what is overflowing from you. “Good morning to us all”. The echoing good mornings are heard by all your cells, the whole world.

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