The Sailor


This Friday, let’s relax and read something afar from our daily routines. Below is a story of an immigrant who left everything behind to sail for new adventures in the United States like many of us. Share it if you like and enjoy it!

When he woke up, the wall clock was showing 10:17 am. His eyes were dazzled with the streak piercing the room through the gap separating the curtains of the large window. He walked to the window as he was rubbing his eyes. It was spring time. He opened it, and he could feel the warmth bearing the freshness of the oxygen in the street. “Life is running afresh,” he mused. He watched the people passing by under his window. Kids were laughing around at an older woman, who obviously had difficulty walking. She was so old and slow moving that the kids on the block were laughing and copying her. He gave the scene a smile and rolled his eyes to a farther point beyond the street. He could see the port and vessels loading or discharging their cargo. That view was not alien to him. Because he has been a sailor all his working life. Now he had quit, and was looking for a job. He was enjoying his time by taking long walks, visiting his friends, hosting his grandchildren at home and frequenting the neighborhood bar.

His eyes got stuck with the gulls circling over the port. He noticed the gulls were following a specific pattern at flight.First, they were climbing up and once they reached a higher point in the air, they were diving down. But, they appeared to a human eye as if they were circling around since they were flying in a secret orbit. He remembered the day when he had first found it out.

It was almost thirty years back. Then, he was younger and in an adventurous mood. He discovered the fact about the sea gulls just before he jumped into the sea from the ship he worked for. He was so excited and joyful as he was swimming in the water. Once he reached the shore, he was not aware that he had set foot in Brooklyn. That day was the beginning of his new life in America and that day was as radiant as it’s today. “It’s been long but I still sense the same feeling inside. It’s thrilling as ever!” he thought.

As soon as he was outside, he ended up in the middle of a chase between two kids running by in front of the building. He leaned back against the wall to avert a sudden bump. He wanted to yell at them to be careful but, gave up. His first stop was the grocery store round the corner. He was of Turkish origin and he enjoyed speaking in Turkish to the grocer, Necmi. They knew each other for almost twenty years. There were many Turkish Americans living in the neighborhood. Necmi’s place was kind of a meeting spot for him and his buddies. He saluted his friend, Necmi as he entered the store. He walked in the store to see if anything was new. “Nothing new, Necmi. I see you didn’t bring the feta cheese I asked you for earlier,” he complained, “I love that cheese. It goes great with wine.” Necmi kept silent since it was a trap to attract him into an innocent quarrel. This time, he wanted to avoid it by staying quiet.

“Fine, Necmi.. Alright… By the way, I’ll be at “Gaslight” tonight, if you want to join,” he continued. Gaslight was his fave where he enjoyed drinking and chatting with his friends. He headed for the park. Yesterday, he saw a lady of his type there. He was fifty seven and lonely. He thought she also looked alone like him. Maybe he could come across her again there. Who knows? He thought a man has to be with a woman and enjoy his time.  If you would ask him, he would say that he felt like he was in his thirties. Once he arrived at the park, she was sitting on a bench and feeding the pigeons around. “A nice day to be in the park, huh?” he asked wearing a smiling face. “Yea,” replied the woman. He approached the bench where the woman sat and took his space next to her. ”So, you come here often? Honestly,  I don’t,” he asked and replied to himself. ”But, I will do from now on,” he went on throwing a smile at the woman. The woman slid farther from him on the bench and replied looking disturbed,” Honestly I am waiting for my husband.” Oh-oh that was not the possible reply he wanted to get. “Oh, really? I’m sorry, I didn’t mean to perturb,” he said and got up from the bench. He cursed his bad luck after he wished the lady a great day. ”Damn’it! Life began getting harder on me… Can’t I meet any unmarried women on this planet?”

Finally, it was night and he came to the front door of Gaslight, he threw a look inside, it wasn’t that packed, but a decent number of people and none looked familiar at all. It was a venue where old friends gather to chat and gossip. He greeted the bartender once he reached the bar, ”Hi Carlos, wassup ?” “Nothing much, buddy” said Carlos. ”Usual? “Carlos went on. He nodded in response. The music was quiet and relaxing. He smelled his dry Merlot for a moment and sipped it in a ritual trance. “Yes, that’s it. It…tastes great,” he thought. He swiveled his head to look around, and he found himself eye-to-eye with Araceli, who is a pro. He smiled at her and made a finger gesture meaning he’s broke tonight. Araceli turned her head away after she noticed that he was really broke. That made him mad and swear; “Mean b….!” As the night crawled to its relaxed mood, he wanted to smoke and checked out his pack in his jacket’s side pocket. As he was about to go outside, a familiar sound grabbed his attention.  It was coming from the table just behind him. He tilted his head to the left to see the people. They were two young men engrossed in a non-stop conversation. They were speaking Turkish and he overheard that they were construction workers. One of the guys asked, “Have you heard anything from the village?” “Nothing new,” the other replied. Those guys were from the same village in Turkey. “They say it’s been many years, and they still keep purchasing all the land around the village to set up a nuclear power plant. They couldn’t convince all the landlords yet,” said the older one. “Yea, I heard that…many villagers are leaving for bigger cities,” said the other in a sad tone. “Oh, I also heard ‘Deli Sakine’ has died,” said the older guy. “Really?” asked the other one.

There was a short pause. The sailor at the bar stayed still with his mouth wide open. Obviously, he remembered something out of the talk behind. He was no longer interested in a cigarette. He was like riveted on his stool, he looked like  he was in shock. The older guy broke the silence; “She was weird… And a freak as she was called… But I ever liked her.” The young one agreed, ”Yea… She used to watch every minibus coming from the town to see if she would see her son.” “What was the name of the guy?” “Sinan” “He’s son of a b….!” “Why?” “He never cared for her…He never called to see how she was doing. But she never gave up, she thought her son would show up some day. Actually she was not freak, but a real caring mom.” The sailor was trembling as moved with the talk of the guys behind.

The older guy continued, “They say Sakine’s brother Cemal once called Sinan and told him his mother has passed away. She was alive then, though… But, those days Sinan was undocumented in The States and his uncle, Cemal knew Sinan could not leave for the funeral because he was illegal. Cemal made this scheme up to sell his sister’s land to the nuke company. Since Sinan was not in Turkey, Cemal got ownership of the land first and sold it.” The skies were tumbling down on the sailor. He was trying to stay calm. He gulped and decided to breathe in and out slowly. He thought he had to control his feelings. But that didn’t seem to help…  He finally let a large tear trickle down the edge of his right eye… And the other eye followed… He was silent, but shedding a stream of tears…. They seemed to have accumulated for years inside him, and waited on by that night… He did not bother himself with wiping his tears… They kept trickling down…He didn’t even hear what Carlos was asking him;”Sinan, do you want a refill?”