This short is dedicated to gender-confused kids,
The sound of boiling water on the stove interrupted my thoughts – I opened the cupboard – I took the biggest cup. My mind started doing gymnastic exercises after smelling the steam of water I poured over three spoons of coffee. My mind firstly leaned down to its fingertips, twisted left and right, held its crunching waist, and exhaustedly gave up. Sun changed the color of the curtains from dark green to lighter tones, and I walked towards the window with the desire of feeling the sun on my skin, pulling the curtain. I went back to the room and stood before the wardrobe. What shall I wear now? Which piece of cloth shall I wrap my body to fit with the specialty of today, which shoes shall contain my feet?
“Did you make coffee for me?”
It was the voice of Erim lying on the bed with his hips naked. I tried not to make noise because I didn’t want to wake him up before leaving home, but I didn’t think of his oversensitive sense of smell. I wished he could fall asleep again.
“It’s not for you, honey, this is strong, you can sleep,” I said. “We’ll have a nice breakfast when you wake up.” Of course, the offer of breakfast wouldn’t satisfy his curiosity. What did I expect?
“Where are you going at this time in the morning?”
Could I blame the one who forced me to start the day with lies? I was going to the zoo, to my mother, to trekking, to here and there… To a place where you are not.
I put on the smile I practiced for many years to hide the artificiality and I made sure to keep eye contact with him in order to better hide the artificiality of my words.
“I’m going to see Gülşah, honey,” I said. “She and Koray had a quarrel, she’s sad, I’ll stay there for a while and come back. You can sleep.”
Being convinced, he buried his head in the pillow and covered his hips. As he started snoring soon enough, I could finally open the wardrobe after having my last sip of coffee.
My murder. My slaughter. My massacre. No matter what your name was, you could not make me wear red that day. The smelly, bloodstained cotton, the metallic gleam of the devices painted red, and red-stained cloths. You could not make me take the red dress from the wardrobe as well. You, the tincture of iodine, you might burn my nasal passage with that toxic smell and you might paint my fingertips like henna, but no, I would not wear the red patent leather shoes, I would not even put on the glossy red lipstick I could never give up, I would not paint my lips with the unique color of my murder that day.
I chose green in order to have a part in the sterile world, to fit in with my accomplice. Instead of pants, I chose a dress and didn’t even wear nylon stockings, to easily take off my underwear. Before leaving, I stood before the tall mirror at the entranceway. I picked my pubic hair until I had some between my fingers. I put them on Erim’s pillow. Then I shut the door and left.
I did everything I could in order to resemble the women with big breasts in my brother’s pornographic magazines. I practiced Marquis de Sade’s teachings. I created my own commune by following the line of the 60s generation. I got drunk, sobered. I dreamed of marijuana.
I cheated on my beloveds, sometimes I was loyal to them. I fell in love, hated, and took revenge. I cried, had crises, went on holidays, and learned new languages. I argued with my mother, protested the system, waxed myself, filed my nails. I touched men I didn’t know at the bar toilets, sometimes I was in the backseat of a car and sometimes in a double bed of a tidy house. I took exams, gave money to beggars, went to the South and swam for hours. I read many pages, watched thousands of movies and despised the television. I laughed saying, freedom in love, baby, I was dumped and attempted suicide. I dated five men at once, had dinner with crackers, and identified myself with protagonists from novels. I earned so much, made a career, and spent a king’s ransom for shoes. I cried watching Titanic, but I kept this a secret, I laughed saying, who can cry for this stupid movie. I envied and made people jealous, dyed my hair, changed cities, and finally stuck to Istanbul. I imitated girls who didn’t shave their armpit hair, I started using razor instead of wax, went to concerts, and advised my girlfriends. I gesticulated rhythm, blew my nose, and chose living alone by leaving my family. I picked fights at government offices, had credit card debts, swore, I was marginalized and I excluded people.
But I never had an abortion.
I entered the clinic, smiling at the nurse who said, “Please come in, Dr. Okan is waiting for you.” I sprawled on the leather chair in the waiting room. After asking for water, I wanted to reach for the magazines on the coffee table, but I didn’t. It didn’t attract me to carry the screams of the outer world into the whispers of my inner world.
“Dr. Okan is completing the preparations, we’ll take you in soon.”
I stood up and walked towards the wide window. There was a great playground near the clinic and it had a slide in the shape of a dinosaur, curved and full of tunnels. There were no children playing there for it was early in the morning, but they would carry their parents to that sandy ground a few hours later, being charmed by the radiant sun. I was looking at the green dinosaur’s body which was partly discolored and stared at its huge, smiling mouth. Once upon a time somewhere a huge green dinosaur smiled at me like that once.
My grandpa called me, “Funda! Funda! Come on girl, come out wherever you are.”
There was sand inside the dinosaur and it smelled like pee. I didn’t know at which part or joint I was. The sunlight caused green light inside by reflecting on the plastic. The smell of pee was mixed with the smell of overheated plastic. I wanted to find a way out of the dinosaur, but I constantly went up and down the same stairs, coming to the same cubbyhole. I wanted to slide down the dinosaur’s smiling mouth and cuddle with my grandpa. I shouted for my grandpa while walking around the cubbyholes, but the playground was so noisy he didn’t hear me. I heard him, I bustled more as I heard him. The edges of my white ruffled socks were filled with sand. Then I gave up and decided to stay in a cubbyhole, I crouched down without completely sitting to keep my beautiful dress clean. I didn’t cry. A boy who had sweat on his forehead came to me, he had soldier toys in his hands. He asked whether I couldn’t find the exit. I hopelessly nod. He offered to show me the way. I followed him. We walked around the dinosaur for a while. At a cubbyhole he stopped and said, “This dinosaur is magical,” with buggy eyes. “When a girl enters here, she cannot exit.” Then he laughed and ran away without looking back. I looked at the pee flowing down my muddy legs. The yellow pee was mixed with the green reflected on my ruffled socks.
Doctor Okan, saying “Hello Miss Funda, please come in,” smiled less but more sincerely than the dinosaur. I answered his questions, sitting on the chair before the table. There was silence for a few seconds.
“You don’t look nervous.”
“Women are usually nervous before the operation.”
Meanwhile, the nurse came in and confirmed the room was ready. After the doctor said I had to follow the nurse, she would prepare me and we would be together in a few minutes, I looked at the large hips of the nurse and entered through a door on which an illustration of one of Monet’s paintings was hung. There it was!
I was shattered by the magical sinking feeling in your stomach of the first kiss with a man or a woman you liked. I may have seen it in movies, read it in books, dreamed of it, and fictionalized its look millions of times. I put myself in the shoes of women who were afraid, confused, and thought they committed a sin and I thought of what I would do. I wondered about whether I would feel inferior like many friends of mine and I created dramatic scenes in my mind, imagining playing the leading role. I wrote various scenarios for my mental movies full of strong melodrama and constantly questioned myself about what to do during the actual moment. Then it was there. It would embrace me soon.
I walked and went beside it. I touched its black, bright leather. I was trembling with excitement. I couldn’t help but bend my head back after a soft inguinal spasm. I touched its shiny metal arms and saw my breasts enlarging with the coldness.
I sobered with the nurse’s voice calling me, “Miss Funda.” I looked at her face saying, let’s do it and leave, it is Saturday, I’m working overtime. She pointed at the cabin.
“Please take off your clothes and wear the apron.”
I walked behind the cabin. The apron’s color was disgusting hospital green as I had guessed. I took off my underwear, touched my vagina. It was screaming. By penetrating my fingers in its mouth and clinching its lips, I shut it up as I fictionalized before many times.
“Shut up. You’ll be fucked up soon.”
I took off my dress and wore the apron. I dried my hand on the apron and turned back to the nurse. I muttered inside, come on, do not interrupt now.
“Prop yourself up here now, Miss Funda,” she said and showed it. I trembled. I touched its bright black leather once again. I pulled myself up and my feet were lifted. I slid backwards, felt it embrace my back. Now!
“Stretch your legs over there.”
As I stretched my legs over the cold metal legs of the abortion chair, my vagina gradually got bigger like the mouth of the dinosaur, the poor one-month baby in me was running back and forth in the tunnels of my stomach, hovering around to find a cubbyhole to hide in.
My first try was ten days after I decided to live with Erim. Erim was no different than the others, I didn’t trust him more, didn’t love him more, or didn’t see him differently. Our relationship was almost above average, focused on having a good time. All in all one couldn’t live alone and we grew up, we were at the end of our twenties which was the start of the insistent statements of joining us in marriage. Marriage…
When we were assembling the wardrobe in the bedroom, Erim stopped the drill and asked me, “Funda?”
“Let’s get married if you want.”
“Why bother? We cannot foresee the future. Do not carry us to the court halls, honey.”
“Okay. I just asked. I think so.”
After completely settling in the house and their friends regarded us as a “couple,” I told Erim he didn’t need to use condoms anymore. After all, we would be loyal to each other, he was the only one for me and I was the only one for him. He asked me, “Okay. But what if you get pregnant? You don’t want to get in trouble, do you?” From his face, it was obvious he was not ready for a pregnancy.
“Take it easy, Erim, I’ll use pills and an intrauterine device.”
“Okay then honey, it’s your choice, that’s okay with me.”
I never used an intrauterine device. I stopped taking pills ten days after we settled in. Erim asked me whether I was taking the pills and I said, take it easy.
Disposable father Erim. My sperm bank that didn’t leave home. My beloved who would make me experience abortion. I wished you could videotape everything when the plastic-gloved hands were ripping off the residue from me, but you were not ready for this.
I had to wait for four months. For four months I ran to pharmacies to get pregnancy tests on all my late periods. I drank litres of water if I didn’t have pee, then peed on the small cylinders. I waited for the pink lines. I swore to Erim each time I didn’t see the lines. As I decided to go to the doctor to ask whether I had a problem, the pink lines appeared in the little rectangle window of the cylinder like the rainbow after the rain.
I wanted to experience abortion intensely in slow motion, in the most dramatic way, uniting all scenes in movies, disguising as characters in all novels. I was the only witness to my murder, the only liable of my slaughter, the only culprit of my massacre. This was my abortion. Only mine. I didn’t want to share it with anyone else.
“Green suits you, doctor.”
He coldly smiled.
“The operation will take five minutes, but you will not be in this world for forty minutes when you regain consciousness because of the anesthesia.”
Let’s clink these tools. Hold the scalpel, scissors, and lancet towards the sun and let it shine. I was playing such a disgusting game, right? As if the sand got into my socks.
“Scrape it deeply.”
I heard the flick of latex gloves. My ears were delighted. I felt I was wet. The doctor gulped, “Miss Funda, I’m asking for the last time as is the custom, are you sure you want the abortion?”
“I am sure.”
Gesturing at the nurse. Entering the vein on my arm. Pulling the drug with the injector. Tick tock. Ejaculating the drug from the injector. I held excitement in me. An excitement bigger than the baby.
“I want to see the fetus doctor. Can you keep it?”
He looked at the nurse-secretary as if he were saying, that woman is screwed up. We would count to ten. We would be freed when we woke up. I counted to ten.
One. Two. Three. Four. F…
Ready or not, here comes the dinosaur.
From the book Delistan, 2008
Translation: Gözde Zülal Solak
Illustration: Bui Ngan