Che or Feyyaz
by Zeki Demirkubuz
translation: Ahmet C. Toker
It was years ago. One night I visited my parents, whom I had not seen for a long time. We shared the room with my brother, who was about 12 years old at that time. Feeling out of place, I woke up with the morning prayer. Not to wake the household I did not get up and stayed in my bed, waiting silently... Out of boredom, I started examining my brothers room, which once belonged to me, and thinking about the years, my memories and my youth which I spent here in this very room. Nothing much had changed after me. An old table on the corner, two portable beds facing each other, an Isparta carpet as old as me on the floor, and teenage photos of mine and Che's on the wall, with the paint scrapping off... The only difference were the half sitting half standing Besiktas footballers in their striped black and white jerseys, gazing at me out of a seemingly large poster, carefully hanged between me and Che. I could be counted as a Besiktas fan, but those day I was not interested neither in football nor in the footballers. I recognized only Metin Tekin among them, whom I would see time to time in the University. Just as I started examining the poster, and concentrate on the footballers and their jerseys, I noticed, with a shiver, my brother, lying just across from me. He was on his sides, with his eyes wide open. Without the smallest movement, or sign of life, he was looking mesmerized at me. In reality his eyes were surpassing me and gazing into the distance. I cannot describe how creepy it was. For a long period I waited without saying anything or mowing, while my mind filled with thousands of fearful thoughts. In the end I managed to grasp myself, and call him, quietly, "Cemil".
Cemil, like a dead man rising, moved a little, and whispered quietly, coming back from where ever he had immersed into:
I was relieved. "What are you doing? Aren't you sleeping?"
"Lad, don't make me afraid. What are you contemplating about in this time of the morning?"
"Brother, I wonder what Feyyaz is doing at this moment?"
Che Would Have Envied
I knew how reserved and naive of a kid Cemil was, but I still could'nt grasp what I had just heard. I looked into his face for a long time, unable to answer, then at the poster above. I first tried to findout, which one of the football players in the these black and white striped jerseys was Feyyaz, and then to understand, how possibly could a piece of football player manage, in a manner which would make Che envious, to penetrate the heart, the dreams and the imagination of a kid. But it was hard to grasp. Especially for a big-nosed socialist like me. Because it was necesarry to wake up early on matchday, with a pain in the chest in order to understand this. Because it was necesarry to wait for the kick-off full of stress and anger, it was necesarry to put on a black and whte jersey, perhaps not a striped one, and hit the roads in rain, and in snow. In order to understand this, it was necesarry to walk faster out of anxiety of being late, when you come closer to the stadium and hear the chants from outside. In order to understand this, it was necesarry to wait on the ticket line under rain, and give the money you saved the whole week without eating or drinking, for a ticket in the Besiktas Inonu Stadium, let it be from the uncovered stands, and be a Besiktas fan in a Fenerbahce game, in Fenerbahce stadium or in Izmir...
Cemil is 30 now. He is unemployed. He could not handle it when he added, as if his love for Feyyaz were not enough, love for Sergen Yalcin, Ilah Mansiz and Pascal Nouma... He suffered a lod, and made us suffer a lot too. He sweated and worked a lot, and spend his youth at the stadium gates in order to play in Besiktas. But this fucking life did not give him an opportunity to score a goal against Fenerbahce. Let it be. It is not important at all. He grew up to be a good, honest and virtous man. He never strayed out of the way. Myself, his older brother, his family, and his friends love him. But as far as I hear, he does not wake up early these days. He is saving his early waking for the morning of 4th of May...
Now that I have told this story, I cannot help adding this footnote. I and Cemil hugged each other for the first time as grown-ups in Besiktas Inonu Stadium, when John Carew scorred in a Fenerbahce game. We almost cried...
Dedicated to the dear players of our great Besiktas...