The Lost Azimech
By Muhammed Taha Inan
The day had finally come; as promised, Ibrahim was going camping with his father on his eleventh birthday. Even though he had barely slept that night, the following morning, instead of breakfast, the scent of spring mixed with excitement was what woke him up. In such an ardent rush, kissing his father.
“Baba, Baba we’re late, Hadi! Wake up,” he said, pulling the blanket over his head, with a listless voice.
“Ibrahim its 7.00 o’clock, give me an hour more, Lütfen.”
“But Baba, mom is already up and you . . .”
“But mama isn’t going to drive Canım,” Taruh continued but the young fellow was already convinced.
Frenetically, but in a serious manner, he said, “Tamam, but only an hour Dad, or we will be late!” hopping off downstairs to his cooking mother.
Every spring Taruh would flee from Istanbul with his friends to fathom the riddles of the deep universe. He believed that the mystery above the sky was the key to the secrets that lay behind creation. Understanding outer space meant understanding the self. Self genesis, he called it.
“Those who moor for themselves today are those who sail for others tomorrow.”
Life meant more than earning a living; he saw how other parents raised their children to become slaves. Though Taruh was a Muslim he believed in existentialism but as a man made artifact. As Omar Khayyam put it: “I am Heaven and Hell,” and for him too, it was all in the soul of the self to choose either misery or prosperity.
Ibrahim’s eagerness increased more and more as they were having breakfast.
“Baba when my sister comes will we take her too?”
“Of course, Oğlum, when she’s just about your age.”
“Is that why Anne isn’t coming?”
“Because what, Oğlum?”
“Baba if Anne comes, her tummy comes. If her tummy comes, sister comes too, and she’s not grown up yet. Is that why?”
Emile and Taruh both smiled at their son. They were both content with Ibrahim’s innocent perspective. They called him their Aşk Meyvesi, for Ibrahim truly was a fruit of their deep mutual love, the sweet red apple of their eyes.
Time had come to hit the road. Emile kissed her son, expressing how proud she was. While Ibrahim was getting everything in the car, she hugged her husband and kindly asked him to go easy on their child.
He kissed her on the forehead and reassured her, “Be at ease, he’ll be fine. Kids have broad imaginations. They tend to be curious about life more than us; it’s common.”
“I know, but I’m worried. Please take care of him...”
“I will Aşkım don’t worry...”
Taruh hugged and kissed her forehead again. “Allahaısmarladık, see you in two days.”
Of course Ibrahim asked his father millions of questions along the trip. Taruh wasn’t bothered at all. In fact, he was even pleased. They talked about the solar system and star types they would see. Ibrahim was surprised when his father mentioned that stars had a life span just like human beings.
“Baba, who buries them when they die then?”
“Nobody, they blow up as a supernova and either become a new star or a black hole.”
“Black holes are bad, right Baba?” It was an important question and even an expert like Taruh could get outmanoeuvred by a child.
“I’m not sure son, it depends. That’s why we’re here, to get an answer for our questions.” He replied and changed the discussion to the planets but it didn’t draw Ibrahim’s attention as much as the previous topic.
After six hours, at around three p.m. they were finally twelve hundred metres above the sea level at Sülüklü Lake. Ibrahim was amazed at the sight, maybe because it was his first time witnessing such a beautiful habitat or maybe just because it was really incredible. Butterflies, dragonflies, crickets, frogs and squirrels all around were celebrating the elegance of spring. He felt a pleasant pain through his nostrils all the way through his lungs while inhaling the fresh oxygen offered by nature. Enclosed by mountains and forests, the lake was crystal blue at the banks and changed from turquoise to green towards the centre.
“Baba, why are there long logs stuck up in the lake?”
“There not logs, those are trees son.”
“How is that, they don’t have branches?”
“It’s because this lake was formed three hundred years ago by an avalanche. Afterwards, the water around the mountains rushed into this area and gathered forming this natural lake.”
Astonishingly, the only thing Ibrahim could say was, “Wow.”
“You the avalanche’s mark can still be seen, just across the lake.”
After a few minutes of silence Taruh continued, “Do you know there use to be many leeches here, that’s why they call it Sülüklü Lake.”
“Where are they now?”
“Well our smart fishermen came up with a magnificent idea of raising salmon in the lake. Eventually the salmon ate the leeches.”
“So there aren’t any leeches Baba?”
“Nope, thanks to humankind, they’re extinct here.”
It was true. Humans did bring corruption along with themselves where ever they went. Ibrahim wondered how humans became monsters as such. He thought of this while setting up the tent with his father, gathering wood for the fire and even when he was taking a nap.
When he woke up, darkness had already descended upon them. Taruh was by the fire barbequing hotdogs while Ibrahim was frozen with astonishment. Surrounded by millions of twinkling stars and planets, the little child with his head up was almost about to lose his eyes. Those eyes in return sparkled like a mirror in the sky. The moon was a complete substitute for the sun, illuminating the atmosphere and leaving shadows behind its subject. If he could only have wings, nothing would stand in his way.
“Maşallah Baba, they’re so bright! Why don’t they appear like this at home?”
“Well the light in the city blinds us. It is darkness which shows us the beauty of
“It’s beyond beauty Baba. I wonder what’s happening there now.”
“Let’s take a closer look and see what’s happening.”
While Taruh was taking out the telescope, Ibrahim’s eyes fastened on a star that was flashing simultaneously with his heart beat. He instantly got up and rushed to his father who held out his arm with anxiety and fondness.
“Dad do you see the blue star there, under the moon?”
“Yeah but you know the one above the moon, that’s Saturn. Isn’t it amazing?”
“It is but Dad tell me more about the blue one, she looks wonderful.”
“It’s called Spica but the Arabs called it Azimech. It’s a . . .”
Ibrahim interrupted his father, “Azimech, she’s lovely and so beautiful, isn’t she Baba?”
“Yup and Azimech means the solitary one. Actually it is solitary in a sense, for its features differ from the others. It’s a binary star and is most visible in the spring.”
Ibrahim thought it would be better to keep his feelings to himself. What a coincidence it was for a star to shine at the same pace of his heart. The blue tone gave him confidence, its light gave him love and even the name gave him meaning. The solitary one, the untouched, the innocent one; just like himself. All night his father talked about the Ursa Major and Ursa Minor, the Twin constellations. He showed him how to locate the North Star and they even caught a falling star but the little one was already infatuated with Azimech. She was his missing half, his own self genesis. That night he had the best sleep of his life unaware of the fact that stars were the leeches whose salmons were the humans themselves.
Ibrahim is woken up by the honking sounds of cars, which he has become accustomed to. As he gets out of the tent, his legs are pulling him back in. His countenance indicates disappointment when he sees his sister’s unpromising face. Though he knows her response, with hope against hope he asks persistently for maybe the thousandth time over the years.
“No trace of her again, right Nura?”
“Unfortunately Abi . . .” she replies in a sinking tone.
Ibrahim’s heart aches as he looks at the Sülüklü Lake. It has nothing to do with what he left back twenty years ago with his father. Now the lake is an artificial one used as a fish farm to breed salmons for the sake of financial interests. As he walks towards the sidewalk, the butterflies, squirrels and birds celebrating spring come into mind. It is a pity to see everything fall for the sake of civilization. The green forest has been replaced by high buildings. The fresh air that used to burn Ibrahim’s nostrils has left itself to toxic fumes. All that he deeply treasured is gone. Both of his parents, Taruh and Emile, have been buried nearby and his love Azimech has been lost in the artificial light. She no longer appears in the night, just by the moon. But Ibrahim knows as long as his heart beats, she will be shining concurrently, even though she isn’t actually there.
Muhammed Taha Inan was born in Van, Turkey, in 1993. Due to his father’s education, as a family, they travelled to the U.S.A right after his birth. There, he studied until 5th grade and moved to Saudi Arabia in 2004. After losing his father in 2008, he permanently moved back to Turkey with his family until present. He has attended several academic conferences and symposiums on literature in Ege University, Pamukkale University and Karadeniz Technical University. He is currently continuing his education as an English Language and Literature student in Kocaeli University. Meanwhile he is working on a novel about lost identities and also composes poems in both English and Turkish. He may be contacted through email, firstname.lastname@example.org.