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When I watch them at the window opposite I forgot all my loneliness and wretchedness. Once, I was the merry housewife of a happy house as well. I had a compassionate husband with a heart beating with love, and a beloved child. However, an evil disease stole them from me. And now I am all alone. When watching the lives of the new tenants moved to the flat in the opposite apartment house, my dark, deep, suffocating loneliness as though lessens. They don't feel the need for closing their broad windows facing my house with a balcony that no one go outs and with shutters always half closed.

For months I feel warmth in my heart. It is as if I have reached the continuation of my life that has darkened years ago. They are a family consisting of a young man, a beautiful woman and a little child who seems to be about five years old.

The man is tall, delicate and has black hair; the woman is blonde, has light eyes and a beautiful body.

In the mornings after the young man kissed his wife and child and went to his office, the mother was placing a small cane chair in the small balcony of their room and sitting her daughter on it and putting a great many toys before her. And she was saying:

- "My sweet Yildiz!… Play like a good child, ok!"

And the little girl was answering with a chirping sound:

- "And you'll make housework, mummy, is it so? I'll play quietly…"

The young woman was touching her lips on her daughter's golden hair and leaving the balcony, and starting housework.

The child was singing songs and playing with her dolls, and from time to time calling as:

- "Mummy!…"

And the young woman (whom I saw through the open window of the small kitchen) was responding her:

- "Yes, honey…"

Last morning the doorkeeper woman who always helped my housework said:

- "Madam, those who moved into the opposite apartment house have called me, and I went. My! What a pleasant lady… She asks with request to whom she will employ in payment for wage. She has laundry. Moreover the house was to be cleaned. She asked me to come once a month. Sure I would. She talks so sweetly. If you had seen that little girl closely, you would love her… She became familiar with me immediately. She speaks in happy tones. Her father is said to be working in a bank, and both have no relatives. The woman is said to have worked formerly in a bank, as well. But after the child she has given up working. She said, now they were just barely managing ends meet, but still they were pleased. I did the laundry. Cleaned out the house. Her husband came towards evening. He is amiable as well like his wife. May God protect them, their love!"

Days and months passed watching them. The young woman was occupied with her housework and child. And the man was going regularly to the bank. So passed spring and summer, and then came winter.

This year the winter came with rains. And then suddenly turned into snow. There was something unusual at the opposite house. The man was not going to his work.

The doorkeeper woman has come in the morning.

- "Ah, Madam! Words fail me! Do you know what happened to them! The young man is taken ill, and an epidemic to boot… They say fever… His wife is crazy about… She doesn't worry about herself. She says she was distressed about her child. Should we take the child here…"

I got up and wrote a letter to my young neighbor. I asked her not to get distressed and send the child to me as if putting her in the care of a grandmother, that I would take great interest in her. An hour later the doorkeeper woman brought little Yildiz with a bag of clothes. The young woman has sent a message besides: "Dear Madam. My husband is lying down of typhoid. His body is weak. He needs care. I entrust my daughter to you. May God protect you! I kiss your hands with respect. Suheyla Aysim."

Little Yildiz is a wonderful child. Her eyes are extraordinarily beautiful. They are bright and crystal-clear blue. Intelligence is seen in her eyes.

She, looking with her beautiful eyes to mine, stayed facing me.

- "My mother asked me to thank you. If there weren't you, my mother could not take care of my father. Until he recovers I will be your guest, but not trouble you and be very well-behaved…"

Then she bent and kissed my hand. Her hair was like a crown made of golden curls; I had never seen such a beautiful child before.

I put my arm's around her and embraced her:

- "Yildiz," I said; "I am like a grandmother for you. You should call me grandma…"

She, immersed in deep thoughts, looked at my face in great detail:

- "In fact I didn't have a grandmother, she said."

I gave her those old valuable toys. She sat down beside the porcelain stove on a down cushion. She began to play games talking and singing by herself, as if playing in the balcony of her house in spring.

My eyes are at the opposite windows. A doctor comes twice a day. That table in the midst of the room turned into a pharmacy shop-window. It is covered with drugs.

And Yildiz's mother has turned into a nurse's aide. She sometimes comes to the window and looks opposite to us. Her eyes resembling those of Yildiz are always sad.

The doorkeeper woman informs me about the patient. His state is rather serious. I stay awake all night long like Yildiz's mother. I'm not able to fall asleep. I pray God for the happiness of this small family.

But if the prayers had any effect on fate, I should have a grandchild like Yildiz.

It was snowing. Yildiz was watching the stars through the window. Sound of a siren has been heard at a distance.

The doorkeeper woman who was kneeled down next to the door said:

- "Madam."

I turned her my eyes full of tears, she, with signs, asked me to take Yildiz from the window.

- "It comes to take him away," she added.

- "Yildiz, honey," I said. "Would you burn those calendar pages in the stove?"

She turned cheerfully:

- "Yes, grandma!" she said.

She has become familiar with me within the last twenty days. I had tried with all my power for her to enjoy all moments.

I got the calendar from the wall and gave her. Little girl tore off her future dark days and placed them into the stove, thus, forgot watching the snowflakes that she resembled to butterflies.

The white car with sirens took the young man brought down in stretcher and her wife, and went away.

The opposite window in light was dark now. Should a little of their light has not warmed me, this disaster would become my own misery.

Days were passing. As Yildiz was asking her mother and father I was telling all kinds of lies to distract her.

One morning the young woman suddenly came. Her face was of the color of death, and eyes were swollen and bloodshot. I read the disaster from her eyes. My body, my soul was as if dumbfounded. The mother approached. Kneeled down and embraced her daughter who rushed into her arms.

My tears overflowed from my soul were falling down on my cheeks.

They stayed embraced for moments. When the little girl asked:

- " Mummy, is my father recovered?"

The young woman's arms got loose. She seemed to keep it all to herself. She tried to smile and said:

- "Darling. He is not recovered yet. They took him to Europe. He will come a few months later."

- "But mummy, I miss him so much. How will I stand for months!"

The young woman embraced her daughter once more:

- "I will be with you Yildiz … I will…"

Then turned to me:

- "I don't know how to thank you…"

- "My daughter!" I said, "I owe you. Your beautiful daughter, in spite of all my sorrows, has lived me bright days. Daughter, do you know what I think now?"

She was waiting, her faded eyes looking at mine.

"I am used to the girl, and she is used to me as well. She would love me this much if I were her full grandmother… Separation from her will be a second disaster for me… Let be not separate… Let me be your mother and her grandma…"

A light shined in her blue eyes. And then she set free her tears. She rushed into my arms:

- Ooh mother!… My mother!…"

My heart burning with the longing for a daughter was relieved.

- "My daughter!…" I sobbed.

Cahit UÇUK