There were two things that Zehra found out the hard way. When she had met Ahmet he was a young handsome footballer and the Euro cup hopeful for the country. Ahmet had even taken her to Bebet hills along the Bosporus where the rich of Istanbul lived to show her the mansion that he intended to buy as a wedding gift.
Life seemed a bed of roses for Zehra and that was the first thing that Zehra learnt. Life was sadistic, it would show you the possibility of a good time and then snatch it away from you. It was not tragic that you failed, it was tragic that you almost succeeded and that was where Ahmet came in. An accident injured him and from the footballer of repute he turned into a drunken wife beater. That was the second thing that life taught Zehra. It taught her that misery sought someone else to blame. And in the case of her marriage Ahmet’s misery had sought to blame her.
It was like clock work. Ahmet would wake up in the afternoon while she was already at work. He would call her and find her something to abuse her about. By the time she got home he had already had his first drink. She would try hard to ignore him and even harder to do nothing wrong around him but the more she tried the more she failed. It was as if Ahmet lived to traumatize her. He would find an excuse to assault her with anything he could… Slippers, belts, sometimes throw the very glass he was drinking from.
Zehra’s trips to the hospital became a weekly ritual. Doctors who stitched her up could scarce believe the story of a woman who seemed to have some kind of a accident every week. They knew. They suggested that she should approach some woman’s organization. Some organization that dealt in this matter. But Zehra shrugged it off. It did not matter.
It was a week after the annual Mesir festival that Zehra found out that she had a new neighbour and also that she was six weeks pregnant. What should have been a cause of celebration turned out to be a cause of deep sorrow for Zehra. How was she going to bring up a child with a primordial beast like Ahmet? Should she tell him about the child? Would that change him, make him more humane?
She didn’t have to think about the problem for too long. That evening in a drunken stupor Ahmet kicked Zehra so hard that she lost her child even before it could take its first breath.
In the early light of a spring morning Zehra sat on the bench in the park that ran along side the street where she lived. She had enough. There was only one way out of this. She had to kill Ahmet. Just kill him. That was the only way.
Then she looked at her apartment building across the street and found her new neighbour in his balcony, staring at her. Like he had picked up her thoughts. He did not even care to look away. He just stared.
How does one take a life and make it look like an accident? Zehra was so consumed with this that she thought about it all day. She did not care about the beatings anymore. She didn’t even cry out loud or make a sound when Ahmet chaffed her peaches and dove skin with a burning cigarette. It just had to be done. He had to be killed.
One week of interest research on the subject matter told her that poisoning was perhaps the best way. There was the old arsenic concoction it would show up in blood. So, how does one do it? Lost in her thoughts Zehra did not see the neighbour stepping out of his house in time and bumped into him quite literally. She apologized quickly and then she noticed that he was wearing a police officer’s uniform.
No! Her mind screamed, God could not be doing this to her. She could not have a police officer for a neighbour! Was this why he was staring at her? Did he know what she was up to? She walked aimlessly through the market street all day. Even if she bought the poison the police officer next door must have heard enough through the thin walls and he would know what would have happened. This killing plan was not going anywhere. But she had to kill… herself… not her husband. She would have to end her own life.
Ahmet was home earlier on that day. Drunk as usual. He seemed to be in a particularly fiendish mood on that day. In a fit of rage he went for Zehra and grabbed her neck to strangle her… when the deep rooted instinct for survival made her grab a knife and slash Ahmet across his throat. Then his face, then his chest, his arms, his torso, his legs…. over and over and over.
Then a knock on the door. “Please open the door, I know you are in there.” It was unmistakably the voice of the police officer who lived next door. He had heard everything through the thin walls. The humiliation, the screaming, the beatings, the horror she went through everyday at the hands of the man she had married. And now he lay there in a pool of his own blood, dead but with the police outside. She looked at herself in the mirror, the knife still in her hand, blood splattered all over her. She knew she had to open the door. It was all over.
The Police Officer walked in, looked at the blood soaked scene then turned to her and said, “we must first get rid of the body”… All Zehra could do was stare.