Yağmur Mavi Şen – Hope Tires

Guest: Yağmur Mavi Şen
Title of The Work: Hope Tires
Original Title: Umut Yorar
Genre: Story

She was thinking that another day would end when the sky was decorated with seagulls, painted in the color of sunset, and the street musician played his violin. She asked the waiter for another cup of tea as she placed her red-bound notebook on the table in her bag. The music that the café had turned on to drown out the hum of people added to the chaos. As she lit her cigarette, the waiter put the warm tea on the table. Although he drank the tea without sugar, he tapped his teaspoon on the edge of the cup. With the tinkling sound it made, he rebelled against the silence on the table and became a part of the hum.

It had been a long time since he had exchanged a few words with the faces he had left in the past. When Leyla came, how would she introduce the subject? How would he tell her what would happen? Would she accept his offer? The answer to his thoughts kept gnawing at him as if they were under his fingernails. Leyla appeared with her long black hair, which was in spite of her short stature, and a white dress that wrapped around her waist. Umut was getting up from his seat to greet her. After hugs, kisses and laughter, what’s up, how are you, how are you doing, what are you doing came one after the other. She was just as Leyla had left her, she saw it. He felt as if time had never passed for him.

Leyla had neither a job nor a family. She was living on the rent of two houses and a shop left by her father.

Hope put her right hand to her mouth and started to tell the story. After returning to her hometown, she met someone and ended a fun engagement period with marriage. In this marriage that lasted four years, she had a child. She named her daughter Umay, and she would soon be three years old… The waiter came to the table and put down the menu, and the conversation drifted away. Just like in their university years, the ordering dialog full of indecisions continued. Leyla started laughing saying, “Let’s order different things, we can eat from each other like in the old days.” No matter how old she got, no matter how many years passed, people really found Leyla as she had left them. They each had a cigarette and a cup of tea while waiting for their orders. Their conversation went on about Leyla still being thin, having her nose done, not having a boyfriend, supposedly having a café but not actually working. When their orders arrived, Leyla started talking about the food this time. She was still crisp. Umut didn’t eat much and responded with a smile to his friend he hadn’t seen for seven years. Leyla told Umut, who was reaching for his tea, the cliché, “You have less thick black hair. Your white hair has also increased. Marriage has aged you. You left on time,” she was saying. But Leyla did not know that neither old age nor marriage was the cause of her hair. Hope smiled and took out the red bound notebook and put it on the table. “You can’t resist the passing time, Leyla, even if it doesn’t change your soul, it definitely changes your body. It takes a place whether you accept it or not. Sometimes a few lines on your lips, sometimes a few wrinkles on your forehead. The weight of my life hit my head the most. As if my head hoped it would be lightened by the loss of my lush hair.” “So I carry my changes above my head,” he continued with a laugh, playing with the notebook in his hand. With a small cough, he changed the direction of his speech. Handing the notebook to Leyla, he said, “I want you to take it, but you won’t read it now. You can read it when I get up or when you go home. But I don’t want you to read it with me. You know I’m ashamed to share my writings and I’m ashamed to speak out what I write inside…” Leyla was silent for a while, and as she took the notebook and placed it in her bag, she was thinking that she wanted me to be content with what she had written down. After Umut told her to get up, the hugs and kisses started again. She waved and walked away from the table.


“I wondered why he had given me his diary, so I started to leaf through the pages, and many of them were not full. It was more like a narrative book with a few incidents rather than a diary. When I asked for the check, the waiter said it was paid. I went home, hung the bag on the hanger and burned the amber-scented incense as I did when I was reading the book. As I was changing, I heard my phone ringing. İklim was taken to the hospital, I think she was about to go into labor. I grabbed my wallet, my notebook, my car key and headed for the hospital. I heard that they had taken İklim into surgery. Time was ticking away. I started reading the notebook in a broken chair in the hazy corridor.

Three hours later, I received the news of the fatal birth of my friend’s baby, whose birth I was looking forward to. After the birth, the decorations of the room where İklim and her baby would be settled started to weigh heavily on my eyes. I didn’t have a single word to say. Among the many emotions experienced, felt and lost, pain was rising up and binding our soul, our tongue, our hands, our feet. Six days passed like this with İklim, with the echo of the silence of death.”


Leyla tried to read the notebook again. She wondered what Hope was trying to say in what she wrote. After turning a few pages, she came across sentences that soothed her curiosity. Umut wrote that he had lost his pregnant wife in a terrorist attack in Mardin. As he continued reading, he talked about the world in a thousand and one ways. He was talking about the fact that what appears in the news is a part of our lives, that it doesn’t stay on screens and third pages, that one day it might find its way into every household. He was saying that one of the thousand had found him. Although there was talk about the angel who kills the body, he said that there were also angels who kill the soul, which had not been mentioned. She said that on that day, while one angel took the life of her husband, another angel took Umut’s soul and at the same time gave him a new life. Umut gave birth in the hospital where she was placed after the explosion and gave birth to her daughter Umay that day. She said that she had made a small gesture to God by naming her baby Umay because God, who had not protected her husband, had protected her baby. She explained with many medical concepts that she could not and would not overcome some of her illnesses caused by the explosion. She also wrote that she had cancer, so her days, maybe hours, were numbered.

So, what do you expect from me, Hope? I was getting an answer from the lines of the following pages as if I had heard what I said. After turning a few more pages, an open address caught my eye…

“I can’t trust anyone, but I believe in you, you know. I have a life I want to lead and I wish it to be healthy in every respect. I realize that I don’t have time to fulfill this wish… … My Umay, my little girl, protected by God. First to Umay and then to you… (a scribbled sentence)


“I didn’t have the courage to turn the next page. I got up from my seat, turned on the TV. The channels were reporting breaking news, I couldn’t focus. `An armed attack was made on a passenger bus going to Ankara. The driver lost control of the steering wheel. The attacked bus rolled down a ravine’. Buzzing in my ears.”

On the next channel, “the names of the citizens traveling on the bus who lost their lives: Hayriye Korkmaz fifty-two, Anıl Sönmez sixteen, Yetkin Narin twenty-three, Umut Yorar twenty-eight, Refik Erkân seventy…” This is what happened, this is what I read. Last week, a baby who couldn’t open his eyes, a mother and father who were left without a baby. Now a mother and father who have passed away, a baby orphaned. Not knowing what to do, I ran to the red-bound notebook, to Umut’s words that I wouldn’t let him finish. The thoughts that appeared in my mind…

“Is this how you balance the world, God!”

I live in my head rather than in the world; between two books in a few verses. I am the first person singular in hijab, including paws in my loneliness. That's all I am.