Look at my eyes!

Sadaf entered Lara’s room with two cups of coffee.

“I’m wasted, Sadaf. Both Japan and China were too much in one day. Look at my eyes!”

She made her eyes slant.

“Hahaha, Lara! Try as you like, you can’t make yourself look Asian without making those huge eyes smaller. I know the Japanese garden is nice, but what’s up with China Town?”

Lara answered without thinking: “Myself! Do you know, I’m an alien in this city, and so is China Town. But we are both world citizens.”

“Feeling like a stranger makes you feel better? How?”

“Yes, I don’t feel so alone!”

“Right, but there are lots of foreign people living in this city. Look at me, I’m originally Pakistani.”

She sucked her lips into her mouth. She always did this; it was a nervous twitch. Once Lara had thought she did this because she was ashamed of what she had said and thought she probably shouldn’t keep speaking.

Lara pulled Sadaf’s ponytail.

“That’s why I’m staying with you, to feel my difference more.”

Sadaf was used to Lara’s jokes, but still she screamed.

“Oh, don’t!” Sadaf sat beside Lara and prepared to ask her something. “Why do you feel better by being different, foreign and—what did you call it? —a loner?”

“It doesn’t make me feel better, Sadaf, but it makes me more me. Think about it: I came here from overseas. I’m far away from my country, yet close to me. You can’t see what’s very close to your eyes, right?”

Sadaf tried to look as though she understood.

“Can you see a beautiful painting when you put your face against it? It’s like that. Getting away from myself made me closer to me. Never mind, I’m feeling deep and talking nonsense.”

Sadaf felt sorry for Lara, then realized she was late. While Lara was putting the dishes from the night before into the dishwasher, Sadaf prepared to leave the house.

“Don’t be sad, Lara, I’ll pray for you!”

“Thanks,” Lara said and came to the door with the towel in her hand. “Take care”

Lara closed the door. She realized that she hadn’t prayed for a long time, or maybe the time felt longer because she didn’t pray. She had lots of reasons to pray, but she had just given up. She needed to go and apologize by praying.

She put on some music, needing an outside sound or she would have had to listen to her conscience. It was talking to her, but she decided to turn a deaf ear.

You are without HOME or YOU are HOME.

 

 

“I know what it is like to live in a house, but you have no idea about living on the streets. That’s why the topic is so strange to you. Don’t tell me that you did camp or stayed in the mountains. Staying on the streets of a city is way harder than staying in nature. Why am I on the streets? Not because I have no home, but because I accept the streets as my home. This is my own choice: my home is my street. You may not believe it, but I am happy this way.”

He answered everyone’s questions as if reading their minds. Instead of telling his story, he was following a path of unanswered questions.

“You may think of us as alcoholics, uneducated and useless. This is quite wrong. There are some homeless who used to rank very highly in society, then they lost everything. Some do not even call themselves homeless. As for me, I can’t deny I have drunk a lot. I have also been involved in bodily injury and robbery cases. I was in prison for a while, for a short time did drugs. However I managed to free myself from the things that made me dependent.

“Hey, you! The one with the glasses sitting in the middle—yes, the one asking ‘Me?’ Do you know that it is not the same for you to open a pizza box as it is for me? You only open a box, while I open a treasure chest.

“Some of you call us ‘shadow people’. You are real and we are just your shadows. Really? You are very wrong. I’m homeless and I’m aware of that. I’m here with all my awareness. You have homes, but you remain homeless and you die without even realizing it. What about it? If you don’t know which street your doors open onto, you are the real shadow people. Homelessness without awareness is much more dangerous, believe it or not.

“We are known, accepted. We are who we are. We don’t have a roof above our heads, but what about your upside down roofs, relationships and worlds? Who can call them home? We are the residents of the streets, but you do not even belong to the streets because you have closed your doors on both sides. You are stuck between the inside and outside; you live in emptiness.

“I am homeless, right? And I am well aware of that, but you? Where is your home? I am the visible homeless, you are the invisible ones. That is the difference between us. You are the real homeless, not me. Now please, you, namely the real homeless people, come to the stage as I’m going home.”

He left the microphone and took a scroll from his belt. It was a yellow rag and the words were black. While he held it up to the audience, they tried to read what was written on it.

You are without HOME or YOU are HOME.

ALCATRAZ 


Alcatraz: Upside-down World
Lara was putting bars on the window of her heart to complete the view in her mind. She looked behind the bars, pouring concrete on the feet of her looks. She ignored the ones demolishing the wall before her eyes because she was applauding the ones building the walls. Everything was upside-down. Lara would have put it right if she had known how to.
Homes rising from the ground clung to the roofs raining from the sky. The roof was upside-down so lives hung in the air. People had to walk upside-down to live in these homes or demolish them and build new ones.


In the world of upside-down souls, trees hung from the skies and stars gazed from the ground. One had to climb to the stars to go from one place to another.
Lara tried to walk upside-down in her upside-down world. She wasn’t successful though. She realized that changing herself was more difficult than changing the world.

Angel Island 

Angel Island: The Surgery of Oneself
Cihan was in the surgery room of the soul as he was planning to cut out everything ugly and bad. He lay himself down on a big stretcher, turning the white lights on to see everything better. He was as hungry as the wolf in the ‘Little Red Riding Hood’ story. He had to release himself from unreasonable dreams, bad ideas and bad acts, then ultimately he would become an angel.
Cihan lay his body down on the stretcher and scratched his eyes out to stop them from taking a fancy to the beautiful ones. It was time to cut off his ears so as not to hear tempting offers. He then cut out his tongue so as not to say anything bad. After breaking his nose to purify himself from bad smells, he cut his hands so he couldn’t press the red button.
The door of the Imperial Suite in his body palace was locked. It was hard to enter his heart. He had pulled everything out and assumed he would be lighter now, but all beauty had left him as it couldn’t be seen where there was no ugliness.
Becoming an angel was not possible for a human.
“Why has the beauty left? I did everything to make her to stay with me.”
It was not possible to exist without your opposite. Good was only good when compared to bad. There would be no good deeds without sin. Beautiful was not beautiful when nothing was ugly.
To open those doors, you had to turn what you had into goodness and beauty.

Gallery

The Japanese Tea Garden. 

Lara was passing through the Japanese Tea Garden. The color of the flowers gave her a new sense. Beauty was to be aware of your own culture in another culture’s garden. The purpose of her visit was to drink some green tea and smell the bergamot and taste the jasmine.

Passing through the small temples, she had to squint due to the flashes of the cameras. She watched the fish in the water from the small wooden bridges. The roads were going up; bridges in all cultures are about to going up. The differences build new gardens in our minds. We put other colors and smells to what we had already have. Gardens make us regard our cities from a higher place, adding soils and putting new ideas in our own homes .

Lara was watching a Japanese show in America. The taste of their tea was completely different than the tea she had been drinking for years. The difference was nice. It was worth going to the other side of the world and exploring herself. Not only her viewpoint but her whole being changed with the tea she was drinking.