Enes Talha Coşgun translated this story from Turkish to English.
On a working day, those who were half asleep, their heads in their front, their hands in their pockets, on the way of their bread and butter; were staring at the image of a woman passing like a feather through the middle of the street and leaving an ephemeral strong wind behind her.
As she was walking with running steps and her broom hair was flying, the woman was saying, “A promise… I made a promise.” She took to the main street regardless of the stranger glances and did not slow down until the bus stop. Even at the bus stop, she was clapping her hands, banging her feet on the ground, and shaking as if she had a basic need that was inviting every human being.
She tried to get on the bus before anyone else. Yet she stood up as if there was no place to sit. The woman, who was warned by the driver because she was constantly walking from front to back and from back to front during the trip, sat on the edge of an empty seat. She swung back and forth restlessly. When they reached a rather desolate stop, she hurriedly raised her hand. Even though she stumbled as she got off, she did not stop, she redressed her balance by bouncing on one foot and started running in the direction the bus was looking.
That street, surrounded by detached houses and lush gardens, was the last stop. As the driver stepped away from his last passenger to go home, a wristwatch at the edge of the stairs, shining with the golden light of the rising sun, caught his eye. He got up in a flash and picked up the watch. He put his steering wheel straight and drove after her. When he could not show his presence by shouting and making hand gestures, he honked the horn with all his might. However, the woman did not react even in the face of this loud noise that could deafen a person.
At the end of the road, the driver parked the bus. He lost a lot of time during that time. He followed the woman into the field with the watch in his hand. Among the yellowed grass and under the warm gaze of the sun, one ran ahead and the other one ran behind.
The woman, whose hair resembled wheat stalks, was carrying youth on her leaping legs. The driver, who welcomes the signature of agedness in his forehead was stopping and breathing constantly, and opening the distance between him and the woman in front of him. There came a moment when the driver felt dizzy and his vision became blurred. He felt like he saw a silhouette waiting for him ahead.
When he recovered himself and caressed his face, he came across the woman’s large, black eyes. He realized that the owner of the watch was really waiting for him. First he walked and delivered the woman’s deposit, feeling the disintegration of the soil lumps free from the plant on the sole of his foot. Then he tried to leave, but something strange fixed his feet where they were. The man waited for a move: A word, thanksgiving or some other reaction. However, the woman was still standing with the same expression, without saying anything.
After seconds of recession, the woman who turned the clock, muttered, “There are five more minutes.”. She closed her eyes and drew the fresh air into her lungs, deeply. “Thank you.” she said then, looking at the man’s face. “You brought me here, and my watch to me. I would not like to withhold you.”
“Forgive my curiosity, please.” said the driver. He closed his lips, took a deep breath, and gave himself time to choose his words. But the woman already knew what the driver wanted to ask.
“I looked like crazy when I ran, didn’t I?”
“Actually, I was wondering why you were in such a hurry.” the man said. “I wanted to help if there was an emergency.”
Suddenly the woman began to laugh. “Well… It doesn’t matter, really. I mean, it’s important to me, of course, but it’s not something that other people can make sense of.”
“Can you tell me if it’s not private?” said the smiling driver. Curiosity was a gap in the wall of the human mind, and if it isn’t filled, the wall could not remain calm and solid.
“The time has come, I must keep my promise.” Looking at her watch once more, the woman began to walk, looking around. When she came to the middle of the field, she stopped. The fingers she took to her neck untied the chain of a necklace. She bent down and dug the ground slightly, put the shiny object out of her neck into the pit and covered it up. The driver was watching what happened in amazement.
“You left your necklace!”
She nodded her head, smiling as if she had done an ordinary job. “I was able to keep my promise in the third year.” she said, relieved. “Oath of the golden seed…” she added, focusing on the driver’s face, which was looking confusedly.
The woman answered the question with a question. “Do you have children?”
In the dream of the driver, the children in the house came to life.
“Yes, I have two children.”
“You must have seen how vast the imagination of theirs are.”
He was giving preference to watching TV instead of playing with his children who were coming and asking him to play with them. He was scolding those innocent minds who were telling things excitedly by saying, “Don’t be ridiculous!”. He bowed his head in embarrassment and blinked his eyes to disrupt the scene.
“Right…” he said. “Their minds are free, not filled with thousands of problems like ours.”
“My brother passed away three years ago, today and the minute I buried the necklace.” She frowned for a moment, her voice vaguely hoarse, but she swallowed and her sorrow was shrouded. “He had been receiving cancer treatment for a long time. Before his death, he wanted me to make a promise.”
The driver remained silent. This was an unnamed mourning for a child he didn’t know.
“Every year I will walk into a random field and bury a golden jewel. The owner will find this jewelry and if he is having a hard time, the jewel will be support him to overcome this hardship. And if he wouldn’t need it, he will remember that one day he may fall and that God’s help will never leave him alone. Yes… That’s what he said. If he had lived, we would have done it together.”
The breeze was blowing her hair out. The air made its presence felt on their skin like a father stroking his child’s head. After a short silence, the man asked, “So why the field?”.
“Sometimes he was nauseated by medicines. He didn’t want to eat anything at that time. My mother used to talk about the benefits of grain to convince him to eat. And thus, my brother admired the farmers over time. There were always fields in the paintings he drew, you should have seen them, the wheat he drew with the golden color he obtained by mixing yellow and orange crayons… “
Feeling a hot drop rolling down his cheek, the driver took a deep breath, his lungs trembled. “We say, ‘May God forgive his/her sins.’ for our dead, but what could be the sin of an angel that he should be forgiven? May God bestow his blessings on him in paradise, and forgive our sins.”
“Amen,” she said, crying, looking at her feet.
Her rush in the morning had left its place to a pure tranquility. She followed the driver out of the field. Inside of her, there were both longing, and joy in being able to keep her promise this year. Maybe her little brother’s body wasn’t alive, but she was going to keep his golden heart alive in the golden seeds.