Simit with tea
- 21 Nisan 2014, Pazartesi 14:38
Simit with Tea - A short story by Sait Faik Abasiyanik
I would’ve liked to add “aged cheese” to this heading but it is better that I don’t because next to the companionship of simit and tea, it fades away to the background. We do have days when we have both simit and tea but the three of them?...Maybe I should’ve separated tea from simit too. Only simit, that delicious man made fruit of the morning should have been my topic. But what can you do?
I couldn’t bear to leave out the tea. Although tea is secondary to simit, their companionship nevertheless is a genuine one. No breakfast can take the place of simit with tea! If a person eats a breakfast of butter, preserves, honey and even grapefruit but doesn’t leave his house in a car, one should get upset with him. After a breakfast like that, you must hop into a car without getting your shoes wet. Sitting in your fancy office chair without any mud on your shoes you must start a phone call:
-“Just like I said last night. Not a dime less.” You must hang up the phone and start
- “How is the stock market? Did you say 76.20 ? Don’t sell, wait. I am telling you to wait. Obviously I know something. I won’t sell for 77 either. Not a dime less than 80. OK I am waiting. If I don’t hear from you by noon, I may change my mind. Mark my words….” You must say.
However, after drinking tea with simit, we can walk on the muddy streets and with sesame seeds still between our teeth, we can run from place to place. It rains as we run, sweat drips down our foreheads. With sesame seeds between our teeth, we can still smell the morning tea. When will the day end? When will we finish the pile of paper in front of us and lay down in our beds and get some rest? See, it is morning again! Acem Hasan Efendi must have brewed the tea. Where is this dimwitted simit seller? He comes and sells us the simit from yesterday, or he doesn’t come and the tea loses its taste.
Once again, on the streets of Istanbul. If you are a clerk, papers, if you are a writer, stories, if you are a worker, looms and if you are without a job, parks wait for you.
Everything finds its taste and takes its first step with the smell of the tea infused in you and the sesame seed between your teeth on a day when the rain is going through you.
Now it is time for the aged cheese: Suppose that we got up in the morning in a good mood. We checked our pockets and saw that we could sacrifice a twenty-five.
-Give me 25 kurus worth of cheese! Make sure it is well aged, will you?
An incredible feast awaits you on the marble counter of the coffeehouse. What is this yellow block laying flat on the grocer’s paper, this blonde thing? Is it aged cheese or baklava with many layers? Could this be a woman full of desire reclining before me? Here are two freshly baked simits you can’t bear to break apart. Here is Acem Hasan Efendi’s tulip tea cup with red fingerprints.
Here are the sesame seed crumbs. Place your hand next to the marble counter and fill your palm with them. Toss them into your mouth! Then, rip a small piece from your matchbox to use as a toothpick and as you clean the sesame seeds from your teeth, arrive happily at your work.
The great feast of the morning is over. We can now light up a cigarette.
Sait Faik Abasiyanik
Son Kuslar, 1952.(Last birds, 1952)
Translated from Turkish - Hatice Orun Ozturk; November, 2008