I lost a journal, a milky coffee colored journal that I kept in the 10th grade. She had a name, “the notebook whose color I picked.” Now, thinking about her name, I guess making that decision at the time meant to me that I was a grown up. I had the money and the freedom to go to a kirtasiye (stationery store) and choose and buy a journal for myself. She was the first journal that I kept my promise to. I filled almost all her pages with countless memories, poems, feelings, conversations, stories, shopping lists, prices, my first trip to America, the long silences I had with my brother in that trip, my thoughts about the Turkish government, our Machiavellian president and his fascist cronies… She even knew about my dreams and prayers. I guess after seeing all my dirties, she decided to run away. Or maybe she just didn’t like her name. I looked around and made some effort but didn’t lose myself over losing her.
Two years passed by. I graduated high school and took a gap year. By the time I moved to the United States, I had already forgotten about her. Unbeknownst to me, she had followed my family when my father was removed from his position in Istanbul and transferred to Konya. She did not remain lost and decided to come back, though not to me. She opened her veil and revealed herself to one of the five police officers who came to our house with a search warrant five days after the July 15th coup attempt. He skimmed through her pages, taking long pauses now and then; he saw my most personal feelings and once caged rages. His eyes were wide open. He looked deeply satisfied for finally having found something tangible, three hours into the house search. I was behind the door, unable to touch anything. The more I thought about what she knew about me, the more scared and lost I felt.
I couldn’t stand there, seeing him looking at her. I went to the living room, which they had already searched. I laid down on the couch, pushing my face as deep as I could into the cushions. I thought about how the government would use her as evidence for my family participating in the coup attempt. I thought about the labels: traitor, enemy of the state, criminal… We were already called those labels before. I did not care about other people calling me criminal or traitor. But now it felt real. I betrayed my family. I couldn’t calm myself by calling it just selfish, stupid, careless. I was a traitor to my parents, for not following their extreme care that kept us safe all those years from the claws of this government. I was an enemy to my brothers, for separating them from our father. I was a criminal to my thoughts, for not being able to contain them, for letting them slip away.
I thought about my father going to jail, all because I wanted to fill the pages of a stupid journal, all because I wanted to tell myself. I wanted to be known and discovered as candid as possible. I wanted to see myself unclothed, through her eyes and on her pages. I felt like Adam, when he touched the apple with Eve and was cast on Earth, naked. I imagined seeing my father in prisoner’s clothing, skinny and alone. I felt cold. I imagined my mom crying. Every sob of hers put more pressure on my throat. I felt fear. I imagined my brothers looking at me. Their gazes locked onto my eyes, waiting for the moment I would look up. I couldn’t. I thought the never ending darkness behind my eyelids was more bearable. I chose black.
My journal was found. I was lost. A loss whose color I picked for myself…
Lutfi Sun is an international student at Trinity University from Turkey. He is majoring in Economics and Mathematics. He does not write much and thus does not have any previous publications. Sun wants to get a PhD in economics and teach for the rest of his life. He likes all animals, and is especially in love with praying mantises and snakes. He is a passionate tea brewer, server, and drinker.