Bodies (2)

After a cold shower, I get dressed. Black shorts, a black singlet. The air-conditioning hums a vibrating melody of its own, birds chirp outside, and in the distance I can hear an old 80s-number one-hit: “I like Chopin…” Watching myself in the mirror, I flex the muscles of my left arm, then my right. I feel my biceps and decide I’d better do some sports this week. One has to maintain one’s working assets, after all.
That’s when I remember I’m supposed to take a decision. To stay fit and muscled is not the best idea, I gather, if I choose to…
I rummage through the breast pocket of my jacket and take out my mobile. It’s an instinctive reaction. Even though I try to persuade myself that I only do it because I need to know how late it is.
Almost noon. And an icon is blinking. I must’ve received several text messages while showering.
Resisting the temptation to sigh, I quickly go through the messages. My network provider has sent most of them. “Welcome to Turkey; you’re now using the Turkcell network; here’s the pricelist for phone calls, text messages, multimedia messages; if you want to call someone in France, do not forget to dial +33 before dialling the phone number”, that sort of stuff.
Which leaves me with three text messages sent from three different numbers the international digits of which I do not recognize.
All three convey the same content:
we know who you are.
we know where you are.
we know what you’re doing.
Peeved, I look around as if to make sure no one else reads the messages. It’s no rational move. I’m alone in this big, chilly, glitzy but uninspired room.
we know who you are.
we know where you are.
we know what you’re doing.
I sit down on the bed, stare at the last SMS, and feel new questions bubble up in my head. How many messages have I received in total? What do they mean? How shall I react?
I could simply ignore their existence, shrug them off. I’m capable of that; better: I’m an expert when it comes to ignoring things, when it comes to muttering “Who cares?” It’s not a method that makes unpleasant things disappear, but one that helps to avoid questions. Which, in turn, helps to avoid stumbling upon unwanted answers.
But ever since I’ve spoken to Jane, I’m wading through a swamp of doubts. What if she was right with her zany explanations? What if this was a serious situation, as she suggested? What if I was really bound to shake off my certainties and react?
First, I found it ridiculous. All these stories about secret services, foreign intelligence agents, baksheesh, and stuff.
Oh, sure, in my opinion, father was capable of getting involved in fishy business. To spy on his country on behalf of a foreign nation shows enough bad taste that it would fit his character. Father was never one to shy away from bad taste.
I have evidence. He married mother, after all. And he was in politics.
Jane spoke about money, too; loads of it. Money father was supposed to have cashed in as payment for his permanent treason. A fortune. There again I recognize one of his traits.
But the more she insisted, the more I became inclined to not believe her. I found her stories too far-fetched. Why would the Americans pay to know what’s going on in the French government? It’s ridiculous!
Finally, I started to falter while waiting at the airport in Rome. Someone left me a voice message, that’s why. A man with a strong Eastern European accent whispering in English, “Not convinced yet? You should be more careful. Accidents can happen so fast…” The message bore all the signs of a B-movie. Yet it made everything Jane had told me look, and feel, real.
Doubts, doubts, doubts… they seem to grow and overwhelm me. I don’t like that sensation. I sigh.
That’s when the mobile vibrates again, pulling me out of my fruitless pondering. It’s a new text message written in a foreign language:
Yapmanız ne yapıyorsun
I only recognize one word. I’ve seen it a couple of times while riding the taxi that brought me here from the airport. It’s a word they use on their traffic signs. The word “dur”. Meaning “Stop!”


Book launch of my new poetry collection "twenty-five" on Sunday, Oct. 26, 2014,

1 comment:

  1. Dear Dieter. Hope all is well and happy. Catherine