Thanks to Lina Strenio
He looks at her surreptitiously while drinking his coffee--cold, as always--slowly. Every morning the same ritual: take the child to school, make the bed, tea for her, coffee for him, the little table by the window, just as she wanted it, bread with butter. Today she has her eyes encircled by blue shadows. The corners of her lips are slightly turned down, but this is normal for her: even when she laughs wholeheartedly it looks like she's laughing sadly, because of the natural shape of her mouth. Her hair covers her face. She hasn't combed it yet. She'll do it later, when she goes to work. She doesn't speak. Perhaps she's tired. Perhaps she didn't sleep well. He went to bed late, and she pretended to be asleep.
The woman is young and her hair is long and black. She looks pensively out the window. And sips her tea. Cold again. She doesn't bring it up or reproach him. She doesn't want him more withdrawn. Everything she says, he takes it the wrong way. She doesn't feel like arguing today. She's tired. She slept little and badly. Like almost always. She stares outside and sees the Bosporus, looming in the horizon, gray and silent, a lonely minaret slicing it in two. It's been so long since they strolled by the sea. She's tried to tell him she needs tenderness like she needs oxygen. She does not know how to be without tenderness. Without giving and receiving. Feelings. Sensations. Gazes. Embraces. Words. She needs all of that. She doesn’t have enough with forcing him to escape with her a couple days a month, to express his love. She doesn't understand him. Some days she asks herself who is this man, this man she lives with. Yes, he loves her and she knows it. Her life is full: the hotel is working, their child is healthy and smart, their parents are still strong and fit, their new apartment is beautiful. Everyone envies her. She looks at him from under her bangs. What is he thinking about? How can she get inside him? Know what he is really thinking? Know what he really wants? . . . Does he know it himself? Does he know why for so many nights they have been sleeping in the same bed but dreaming their own dreams? What could he be thinking?...The tea is cold, and she feels her hands freezing on the white porcelain cup.
"I had a bad dream last night," he starts to say in a low voice, unsure, not knowing if she wants to hear it. "I don't remember all the details. I don't know if it was us or another couple. She had short hair. It was my birthday. We had argued. I don't know why. I was tired. The night before had ended late. We were still in college. I left the room slamming the door. I couldn't bear to see your eyes full of tears. Not that day. It was my birthday. I wanted to be happy. I didn't want to think about the money that was running out or the scholarship that hadn't arrived or your mother who was not answering the phone. That day I didn't want to think about anything. I just wanted to see your face happy. But I left. I grabbed my bicycle, the green one I had for so many years. I wanted to leave. Far from you. Desperate I could not make you happy...And, I don't know how, that taxi ran over me. I remember the face of the man, getting out of the car. Looking from one side to the other like a crazy person. He had his hand on his head, as if it was hurt. White hair. A gray mustache covered his large mouth. He seemed lost. I wanted to help him but couldn't move. It seemed like I was nailed to the ground. I wanted to yell at him, I was upset, but I couldn't open my mouth. Every time everything was moving more rapidly around me. I woke up with a dry mouth and clenched fists. Covered in sweat and shaking. Everything seemed so real. You were still sleeping. It didn't look like you. I sprang out of bed, afraid to infect you with the fear."