The secret of 17 years ...Written by Simko Ahmed
Geplaatst door admin op October 26 2010 22:31:04
14th September 2007
I arrived my hometown Sulaimani just few days ago, it was more than 17 years when I was there the last time. Many things has changed there but the highest building in the
The secret of 17 years
Written by Simko Ahmed
14th September 2007
I arrived my hometown Sulaimani just few days ago, it was more than 17 years when I was there the last time. Many things has changed there but the highest building in the middle of the city is still the same but only the name has changed from Hasib Salih to Sulaimni palace, it was and still a biggest hotel building in the city . Nobody I knew from the city anymore. I stayed in Slemani Palace, I walked all over the city and memories flashed back anywhere I went. The only reason to come to this city after such along absence is to meet Tara , a girl that we have been in touch by e-mail for the past few years but never met in person. She was a student at the Sulaimani fine art institute and we had an appointment to meet up that day at noon. I checked my bag and looked once again at the bunch of postcards and checked the video tape inside to make sure that I have everything with me.
I went to the art institute waiting for her in the cafeteria, perhaps I was the oldest person in the entire crowd, some student staring at me, they may think I’m a new teacher or some old man came back from abroad and want to marry a young girl. As I was waiting for Tara and have never seen her photos, I was looking at any girl coming in to the cafeteria
“oh God any of them could be Tara, they are all same age anyway “ I said to myself
I have told her the day before that I’m wearing black T shirt with blue jeans, I was sure that she will have no problem in finding me, any way I ‘m the oldest person in the place, so she will find me easily.
10 minutes after waiting, she came with big smile on her face
“you must be kak* Baran*”
“hello Tara, is nice to meet you after all those talks”
“you look much younger than what I expected” she said
“actually in the place like here someone feels the age, all youngsters are around” I replied with soft laughing voice, and was thinking I have wasted that age in dust of wars, but still feel lucky that I’m alive.
“I might have twice age as you”
“that is right I just turned 17years old, last week” she said
I knew exactly which day she was born? I have been celebrating that day for the past 17 years in my lonely apartment in down town Tokyo.
“so you were my mother’s friend” she said
“yah that is right I met her in Tokyo in 1988 when I was just moved there”I said
I have been talking about all those things by e-mails to her, but in that situation I was talking about them once again just to make the conversation.
“oh yah I remembered” she said
“there is photo of you in my mother’s album , I just realized that now when I saw you, I think it is Japan so many building behind you and you look like my mother’s son” laughing voice
“by the way how old are you?”she asked
“how old you think ?”
“my elder brother’s age? That I have none” she said with joking voice
“ you are funny girl” I replied
I know how much Kurdish likes to make jokes, I was more nervous than expected, trying to laugh when she did.
“I’m 33 years old, as I told you almost twice than you”
“Kak Baran , do you want to go out for lunch”
“can you call me Simko not Baran , I prefer that name more”I said
“ok Simko then, no need for Kak anymore , we are friends” she said
I could feel something in her eyes, may be like most of the girls there dream to marry someone form abroad and escape the Kurdistan, we went to have lunch in the most famous old Kebab restaurant in the city, that taste took me back to long time ago, and I felt how 17 years is long?
“So tell me how the hell you found me on the internet?” she said
“well I knew your name from your mother’s postcard, she use to send me few via her friend in London, so I just checked internet for people’s search and found your e-mail address, I was not sure if that was you but the age matched with your profile, I was lucky”
“so tell me about your mother, how she died?” I asked
“she was sick and working too hard she passed away last year , she was still 51 year old, not that old to die but cancer never negotiates”
“so you wrote me that you live with your grandpa now, right?” I said
“yah I live with them and they live together with my uncle‘s family from my father’s side , you know that my Dade passed away long time ago when I was only 5 years old I hardly remember his look, and you know here single woman can not live a lone so I moved to my grandpa‘s house , very crowded house he has 8 children” she said
“you happy?” I asked
“yah not that bad and not many other choices either”
“are you back to meet family? Or getting married?” she said with a very unusual voice.
“no , no my family all died in Anfal campaign, and I just came back to see some friends”
I couldn’t tell her I came all the way from farthest Asia to see your eyes and give you this parcel.
“so tell me about yourself and Japan and how did you meet my mother?” she said
one of her hair fallen in her dish I removed before she bite on it I put it in my pocket avoiding her to notice.
“oh thank you, it was my hair, I should tight it up rather than keep it so wild, some of my friends telling me I look like a lion” she laughed very beautifully.
12th June 1989
I was jogging beside the Tamagawa river in Tokyo, “momigi” Autumn colors in Japanese, I loved that slow and soft breeze cooling down my sweaty body, the park was crowd in the weekends as always lively and noisy . I got so tired I laid down under the Sakura tree* I have seen that tree in cherry blossom season it was so beautiful like a bride in her white pinkish dress, as I was staring at the blue sky and suddenly unexpectedly I smelled Dollma * the best Kurdish dish that I love.
oh my God that smell took me back to Kurdistan, I looked around to find where it came? I saw the middle aged woman defiantly foreigner sitting under the tree shade and reading a book and had small pot half of Dollma and eating from it slowly as her eyes were dancing on the lines of the book in her hand. She noticed me after a while that I was staring at her, then she said “Hello”
“Hello” I replied
“where are you from” I asked eagerly right away
“ well I’m form Iraq, how about yourself” she answered
“ I was afraid to answer right away, I lied by saying “I’m from Turkey”. I didn’t say any Arab countries because I was afraid of Iraqi spies who were scattered all over the world, I was afraid that I couldn’t speak Arabic too and she will find out about me easily”
“where in Iraq” I asked
“north , you know about Iraq” she said
“yes I know north where?” I asked
“you know sulaimni, a Kuridsh city in the north?” she replied, right away tears came to my eyes, and she noticed and asking me in Kurdish “are you Kurdish?” asking very surprisingly.
“I’m from there too” I replied in a sad voice.
“what wind swap you here ?” she asked with eyes full of question and surprises.
“well since a year ago I came here, I run the Anfal* war “
I could see such a big sympathy in her eyes and she felt so caring and sorry, she could see the long pain behind my few words, I could see that we were on the same boat, you didn’t need much words to understand. We Kurdish are familiar with pain we all knows the bitter taste of tears and we never feel happy smile since we left our childhood.
“come here I really feel so shocked and surprised by seeing a Kurdish boy in this part of the world, I still can’t believe my eyes, have some Dollma first, I made it from scratch last night” she was talking just to bring my tears back to my eyes and ease my feelings.
That Dollma has the taste that since then I haven’t felt that taste anywhere els. It was just like dream in the city that I never believed that I can find anybody smells Kurdistan.
“Do you live here? “ I asked
“ oh no, I’m here for the workshop training in Tokyo University, I’m a bacteriologist I’m here for two months training course and will go back the day after tomorrow, it is my last weekend, pity it goes very fast”
“What is your name” she asked
“in Kurdistan I was Simko but here I changed to Baran which means rain in our language”
“because the day I landed at Tokyo it was raining, I found the drop of the rain is the only thing familiar to me in this new world.
“nice, my name is Rukhosh” she said as moved her hand toward me to shake hand
“are you with your family?” she asked
“oh no I have no idea where are they now?, I was in Qaradakh* when Anfal military campaign started, when the Iraqi attacked the village of Koshk I was there I run with the villagers for many days we finally made it to Iran, the people behind us who were late to run they were all killed by chemical bomb”
“why did you end up apart with your family? She asked
“ I was in Qaradakh with my cousin he was a Peshmarga, I run away there because I didn’t participate military training for the student in our school, my family thought the city is not safe so they send me to the village to my cousin”
“what happened to your cousin?”
“he was the first one to get killed in the village, he loved swimming he use to go to the river to swim every day. That day when the first military helicopter came they shoot him in the river, when the helicopter left we run to the river I found him dead in the river many ships and animals were also killed beside the river, with some other people we put his body into the hole close to the river, you know those safety hole? people dig to hide themselves when the bombardment starts? We put him there and covered the hole with some tree leaves and stem and then we covered with soil. We had to do that very quickly because we knew that they will come back and destroy the rest of the village, so we put some breads and water and some other necessities inside the blanket and start to run as quick as we could, it took us 5 days to reach Iran’s border”
“oh my God, how old are you?” she cried with very emotional voice
“I’m 18 year old now”
“so you are totally a lone in this country, how did you get here?
“when I run to Iran, they took us to the hospital, but I wasn’t affected by the chemical bomb, so they let me off soon, when I was in Qaradakh I became friend of tow sons of one of the high rank Peshmarga, I run with them all the way to Iran. There his father asked us to go to the embassies of the other countries to ask asylum there, we went to many different embassies, after few months waiting and many interviews, Japanese embassy in Tahran accepted my application and I came here”
“how about your friends?”
“they were accepted in England where they had relatives”
“so what you do here?”
“I’m still studying language and I’m applying for university next year, I like Civil Engineering”
“good luck then”
The talk took us till the dark, and she was very nice to me and I could see she had the biggest heart in her chest, she wanted to see where I live, she came back with me to my small apartment in downtown Tokyo, that time I was living in the 12 floor of the old building with small balcony from where you could see the high-rises of Tokyo and the skylines
“it is great place, did you arrange this house by yourself” she asked
“yes I love art so that’s why I put all those art works on that small walls”
‘do you drink wine?” she said when she saw the bottle of red wine on my table.
“all what was prohibited to me there are allowed here, but there they tasted better, here you have everything but nothing tastes like in there, but only your Dollma” I said
“you funny boy, you like joking” she said with big smile
“listen, I’m still in shock by knowing you, that was so much beyond the expectation , I have dinner with my host university professors, I have to leave soon but will love to see you tomorrow and I can take any letter you want to your family and send you news from there” . in Iraq the post service has been stopped for almost two decades because of the wars and the hardest thing at that time was to keep in contact with your family or friends.
we exchanged telephone numbers. It was very shocking thing meeting her in that park that I usually going for sports, I promised to cook for her at my place for tomorrow evening.
For the next morning she called me and asked to meet beside the Dog status called Hachiko in Shibuya square. Shibuya square is the meeting place for Japanese and there is a status of Hachiko in the square, during the second world war Hachiko used to wait for its master there every days, the master was using this station every days so he was meeting his dog every evening after work there. The master will die in the air bombardments of Tokyo by American war planes, Hachiko was standing at their meeting points every days beside the station waiting for his owner, looking at the crowd every days for his friend and owner, but Master never appeared, one freezing snowy morning people found Hachiko ‘s body dead in the venue, since then that place became the meeting points for people and almost every Japanese people knows that story nowadays.
I met Dilkhosh at Hachiko square, we were going around the cities temples , sky scrapers and gardens, I had just bought a second hand video camera it was my first day to use it I was so exited about it , we had very exhausted day.
What I could cook was very simple Kurdish food, rice and beans with meat. We had dinner candle in the middle of the table in my balcony we had view of the Tokyo’s high-rises, all those red lights were blinking on the top of the buildings it looked like an illuminated concrete forest.
“how did you find my food” I asked
“it is good for teenager boy” she answered with bit teasing voice.
We had made so many jokes that day it looked like that we have known each others for many years.
She was drinking wine with me, I t was my first time for me to see Kurdish woman drinking
“ my husband is drinking even for breakfast, he never know that sometimes I was drinking his alcohol but never dare in front of him”
that was the first time I knew that she was married
“do you have children too”
“no, not yet “
“how long have you been married?”
“look boy, I’m not that young you think, I had been married 10 years ago, how old you think I’m” she asked
“may be my elder sister, that I have none” I replied teasingly
“you are such a funny boy, you like joking” she replied with the voice you could easily say she is bit drunk.
We almost finished the bottle of the wine, I was taking video of the high-rises, it was one of my old dreams to have a video camera and shoot that scene of the high buildings at night when the light blinks.
I put the camera on self record and put it on the fence of the balcony in a way that I could see the dining table and us through its small screen.
“I don’t mind to be on your tape, you live at the end of the world, you never reach me” she was talking in a drunk voice and laughing “if my husband will see this , I’m sure he will never, hahahhah” she was taking
“is so good to be yourself” she said this few words in more serious voice tone, and start to light her cigarette, you know you somehow lucky to run this rat hole there, a country that Saddam Husein runs, you know! you don’t know how sad that place where we live in? Iraq all is like an oil painting from close you can’t see it well once you get far from it you see what a filthy and ugly it is?, boy you stay here and you never come back, change is so helpless the war come and war goes, wish I was free like you to decide what I want?”
“what you want?”
“it is simple , it is freedom” .
13th June 1989
I went to Narita Tokyo airport with her to send her off, she had such a big baggage, she bought so many things in Japan, we had the last tea at the airport, she had to go to boarding area that I couldn’t go, at the gate she hold my hand stared at my eyes full of tears
“I promise I will send news about your family via my friend in England, sorry for security reasons we can contact each others directly, through Jwan in England we can keep in touch”
said that and holding me so tight in her arms, I could feel her warm tears on my neck
she walked toward the gate and looked up at me, I couldn’t stand it few drops of tears jumped from my eyes too, she run back toward me hugged me again and told me “Baran you gave me the best time of my life, I doubt that I can see such a time anywhere els, Thank you”
that was the last words I heard from her.
I went back to my flat, the last night’s table with the finished candle were in the balcony, an empty bottle of wine in the middle of it, the video camera was forgotten on the fence run out of tape and battery too.
15th September 2007
Tara found right time to open the parcel she got from Simko, her uncle’s family were all in a picnic she stayed home saying she has to study, her grandpa was in bed as always half conscious.
It was written on the parcel, read by yourself only, she opened it at top there was a postcard of Hachiko square of Tokyo written on the back “Dear Tara all the postcard are original and that is the only copy you have, I haven’t copied any thing in this parcel including the video tape and the postcard goes on numbers based on the date written.
With eyes full of question and curiosity Tara started to go thought the parcel.
Postcard number one dated 31 December 1989 , picture of the Kurdish girl in customs written in the back
Dear Baran, can not say happy New Year because we never had one and never do, that is my first mail to you since we separated in Tokyo. I’m very sorry to tell you some bad news but I think if I don’t tell you I will regret the rest of my life, I know how strong boy you are? Facing exile life alone in a place that only rain drops looks like your home. Baran your entire family has been gone with dead winds of Anfal , some said they went searching for their son and they never came back, they think you are killed too and I never told anybody about you, because it was not even issue for them. I’m so sorry and huge you from here.
Postcard number two dated 21March 1990 photo of Kuridsh new year , big fire many people dance around. Written in the back
Dear Barani Tokyo I’m not sure if you are aware about situation in Iraq? Iraq Iran is over but we still live in war this time we Kurdish pay more causalities, and my husband was put in the prison for 6 months, and the government put black dote on our family too , at this stage I lost the right of traveling abroad and can’t do training course anymore so perhaps I can’t never see you again, I’m so sad. Baran there is one thing I want to tell you I’m pregnant and now half way, I didn’t want to talk about that to you but I feel bad to hide it either, I have been to the doctor few times and pregnancy started from the time that I was in Tokyo. I think it is the son of Tokyo’s rain. I will tell you more later I really want to talk to you in voice.
Postcard number three dated 3rd June 1990 photo of Narcissus flower
Dear Baran how are you? I’m very glad that the college accepted you wish you became great Engineer and rebuild Kurdistan again one day. You asked how can I be sure that is my son? By the way it is a daughter not son, I did sonar check, as I told you I’m a bacteriologist, after one year marriage with my husband Amin I knew that his sperm is not productive and he can’t make a child, I never told him and never will, I did that test by myself, you and Jwana are the only one who knows that, and beside Amin I have never slept with anyone els except you in my whole life. She is our daughter. I know it is hard for you to accept that you are yourself is a kid, it was the mistake of the best night in my entire life. I’m her mother and all world’s rain drop is her father, don’t worry I never let that creates problem for you, I just want you to be aware. Nobody can even doubt me, all family here thinks it is the medicine finally miracles worked and we can have a child after been together for more than 10 years, they even don’t know the problem is with Amin not me.
Be good and study hard.
Your soul mate Dilkhosh
Postcard number four dated 10 August 1990
Barani chawakam (eyes rain)
May be you are aware that another war started this time Iraq and Kwait, the entire country are on chaos, they take any guys over 18 yeas old to the war, I’m glad that you are far away from this problem, but here is just a sad land every things is sad and pale, people wait for death more than live, in this war chaos my baby will be born next month , we name her Tara what you think, is it nice name?
My heart with you.
Tara was reading post card after postcard, every news got her in sock, the first time she met Baran , she was thinking that this man want to ask her hand but now this man is her young father, that shock reality was hard to accept, fear in her eyes, she is living in the house for many years neither grandpa nor uncle has blood relation with her. She is unofficial born girl that is one of the biggest crimes in this part of the world. People will loose respect from the entire society that was very harsh simple truth for a young girl to accept. She put back the postcards into the parcels, she rushed to the video machine to see the tape that one looked more puzzle. It was still midday the uncle‘s family are not going to come back so soon, it was the best chance to watch it.
She closed the curtains of the windows and door , checked grandpa if he needs water or still sleepy, as she stepped to his room, it was the first time for her to feel this man ‘s blood has no one drop in her body, very frightening reality. She rushed back to the TV room and put the tape in, the tape run blue for a few seconds then the picture came up, Hachiko square with many people coming and going images of the high building, the voice of young man explaining about the names of the street and building, suddenly she saw her mother ‘s face, she looked like those old photos she has left for her in the album but this time is not a still image but moving and talking, the screen got blue again and another image came up, from the balcony you could see the Tokyo’s high-rises lights blinking with all red lights on top and around, very unskilled taken images, it was running over the table with candle light in the middle and some glass and dish around and his mother speaks half drunk ““I don’t mind to be on your tape, you live at the end of the world, you never reach me, if my husband will see this , I’m sure he will never, hahahhah”
“do you have more wine, I think tonight I’m so happy” she said looks more drunk.
“no I don’t have wine, but I have some beers, want some”
“oh yah boy bring it, look at the moon how big, it is with me always, from how many angels I have seen that moon, from sad Kurdistan from Tokyo from the plane, it is with me whenever I go” she said
she started to touch Baran’s hair from back of his head while he was sitting on the chair head back up and closed his eyes” he looked very drunk too.
“you have very soft and nice hair Baran, I love to touch it”
the tape looked damaged in this part the view couldn’t be seen for more then a minute then it came back again , she was holding the boy in her arm and kissing each others there were no sounds just lip kissing sound, they were kissing so intense”
Tara couldn’t stand it paused the tape , started crying more deeper” fucking drink, fucking drink” she realized that if there were not that secrete night of her mother she could never exist , she felt anger but still big love for her mother, she found she never know her like those words on the post card. It was like totally different person to her, that mother who was always quite and had sad smile on the face , scarifying and helping everyone around, working hard, loving her more than anything els, that mother has kept that sad long story only for herself. Tara wanted to know more till the end of the movie. She pushed the play button once again.
“can I ask you the question?” the woman’s voice said
“sure” male voice
“when was the happiest time in your life?” female voice
“so far? When I escaped the chemical bomb and made it to Iran” male voice
“same question for yourself?” male voice
Quietness for a while
“now” crying woman voice
They hugged each others, tears and kisses were raining from their eyes, lips, heart.
She hold his hands and moved to the place that was out of the screen, what she could see table with candle in the middle, plates of left over food and empty glasses and empty wine bottle few beer cans also scattered around it, from far away Tokyo’s concrete forest with huge buildings, red lights blinks everywhere, the only sound of this almost still image was the moan of the female and male, voice of love and passionate
“Oh God you are fire” female voice
“ah that is huge for a young man”
“oh I’m shivering” male voice
the lights were still blinking with hearing the voice of love and passionate, red lights look like blinking faster and faster. Faster and faster.
The moan got down and down, and the blinking lights on the sky scrapers slowed down,
“that was the best time I have ever had and may ever will have” female voice
“I feel it was your first time, Am I right?” female voice
“that far yes”
Sounds of soft lip kisses started again and the screen showed the signal tape end blinking and it cut.
e-mail from email@example.com to firstname.lastname@example.org
Hello Tara, this is me Baran again I have sent you so many e-mails but never got reply wonder if your are ok? I’m back to Japan and really hard not to hear a word from you. Please please just send me one line,
I’m waiting for your reply
21st March 2008 e-mail number 3125 from email@example.com to firstname.lastname@example.org
15th August 2008
the result of the DNA test on the hair showed that Tara is Baran’s biological daughter
I sent so many e-mails since last year I haven’t heard a word form her, it is obvious she wants to keep the things as it use to be? and she too should keep that secrete and dies with it, I disappointed in getting in contact with her, but still happy that she finally knows my secrete of 17years and I’m sure deep in her heart she has big love for his mother and me too. She knows she is the daughter of the rain drop that her mother considered the best days of her life.