The Man Who Swallowed the Sea

Naime Erkovan
5 minutes

I say I saw it, but no one believes me. I saw him. I saw the man rattling the sidewalks with his cane. The man who pulls his fedora down over his eyes and covers his light; the man whose watch chain swings like a pendulum with every step. As he walked, his shadow crawled on the walls of houses, on people’s faces, on me.

I saw that man. The man who locked his lips in a sly smile. At some point he got off the sidewalk. He crossed the street. What was there? there was the sea. Everyone knew there was a sea there. I was not the only one who knew this. That’s where he walked towards. He walked with quick steps. But the sea is approached with slow steps. There is no passage, no continuation of the road. Then why does a man in a suit run towards the sea?

I went after him. I was right behind him. I was stepping on the shadow of his hat. Then he suddenly stopped. His shadow stopped. My steps stopped. He looked at the sea for a while. I saw him push his fedora back slightly. Only the sea saw the eyes he hid from everyone. He looked up at the sky, then knelt down. He was sinking to his knees in the wet sand. Suddenly a big wave surged in the middle of the sea. As the rapidly approaching wave was about to hit the shore, the man dipped his head into the sea. I saw you do it.

Suddenly the big wave disappeared, the sea was being dismantled like a false braid. He was swallowing the sea. I saw the mosses and mussels uncovered. The closing lids of the chests full of gold, the lighthouse blinking in vain. Then the man stood up. He wiped the salty water from his lips with his sleeve. I couldn’t move out of fear. When he passed by me, I couldn’t look at his face. But I heard the dolphins. I saw a man who could fit a sea in his belly. Nobody believes it.

The sea churned in her belly as she walked. I was following him, hearing the sound of the water. At some point I looked back. We had left a big hole. Some fish that had broken away from the water were still fluttering on the drying sea sand. The sound of ships could be heard in the distance. I heard every one of them. Where does a ship dock if it cannot dock?

The man was walking tirelessly. I staggered along, wondering where the sea would take me. Children with colorful armbands and bagels were running past us in the sea. “No sea! Come back!” I shouted. The children stopped and looked at me. “That man,” I gestured frantically, “has swallowed her, he is taking her away from us.” The children paused for a while longer, and then, laughing, they headed for the sea again. They were running barefoot on the sidewalks.

Hours had passed. The man stopped for a moment. I saw you stop. He yawned. As soon as he opened his mouth, a fish jumped up. With a somersault, he let himself fall again into the darkness of her mouth. I heard the fish fall into the water.

We set off again. As we walked, there was movement in the sky. A small black cloud appeared first. He was moving with us. But like a magnet, it attracted all the clouds in its path. Soon a giant cloud bank was following the man. The sound of the sea grew louder as the clouds thickened. I could hear the surging waves crashing and dissipating. We kept walking.

At some point the man started whistling. The smell of seaweed wafted from his breath. I can smell it. Don’t I know how a sea smells? My face was wet with his moist breath. Clothes drying on the balconies got wet one by one. Drops were falling on my hair from shirt sleeves, trouser cuffs and sock throats.

It was night. It was the time of the met-crisis. As the man walked, he left wet footprints. I say I saw it, I say I stepped on some of them, black cats stepped on it too, no one believes it. Why didn’t he get tired?

In the early morning he stopped on a bridge. He leaned his cane on the railing and looked down at the river below. Fearing that he would swallow her too, I broke my one-day silence: “Stop!” I shouted. My voice did not surprise him. He must have known I was following him. He opened his mouth. All the fish jumped into the river. Then the sea emptied. The clouds gathering overhead absorbed the water. The clouds that grew with the sea slipped from the sky. The seagulls waiting on the rooftops chased the mossy clouds.

Monsoon rains fell on the steppe for months. I say I know, why doesn’t anyone believe me?

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