Fight


I witnessed a fight on the Metrobus. Two stops before the last one, a man over 60 and another in his twenties started antagonizing one another in a whirlwind of expletives. We couldn’t understand the reason. I only heard the sentence that triggered the consequent altercation: “That’s enough!” said the man. And then the younger man’s feverish verbalization of curse words began, to which the older man responded with other words along the same theme, rising and sitting down numerous times.

There were only a few people on the bus, only a few more stops, that lethargic time of the day. The fight caught us all in surprise. A few people tried to calm the young man down but his rage was not to be diminished. Others tried to say mitigating words to him. But his hatred was not to be satiated. The young man’s girlfriend was struggling. As she was trying to cover her boyfriend’s mouth with her hand, she also was also begging the other man to “please just let it go.” The exchange of hateful words continued to increase and if people were not present to create a barrier, a physical fight would have ensued. Just then, we arrived at Fikirtepe, the doors opened. Even though it wasn’t their stop, the young girl and some others dragged the young man off the bus. Things calmed down. A few passengers asked the old man in total shock, “what happened, how did this fight start?” “They were kissing each other in front of me the whole time,” said the old man. And he continued to complain. I think this was the moment that we all retreated into ourselves.

It was so easy to foster our misconceptions. And just then I remembered a bit of advice from James Altucher. He had written somewhere that by pretending to be everyone’s mother, he was able to feel compassion for anyone. This was the perfect time to test this theory. First, I was the man’s mother. What did I want to say to him?

“Dear son, I created you and added new life to this planet. I taught you what I knew. My goal was to prepare you for this life. To protect you with beliefs and rules for which you’d feel familiarity. The essence of religion is love. Perhaps I didn’t show it enough, but I loved you. Without conditions or rules. You are now old enough to be a father, even a grandfather. You’ve lived through it all. You tested your beliefs in many ways. You’ve had countless opportunities to understand that not everyone can or will tread on the same path as you. Why did two young people in love bother you so much my dear son? Which shortcoming were you reminded of, which wound was reopened? Tell me. Cry it out. Don’t be afraid that anyone will see. Why did this love that doesn’t affect your belief in the slightest, bring forth such horrible words, poison your heart so such an extent?”

And then I was the younger man’s mother. What did I want to say to him?

“Dear son, I created you and added new life to this planet. I taught you what I knew. My goal was to prepare you for this life. To protect you with beliefs and rules for which you’d feel familiarity. Perhaps I didn’t show it enough, but I loved you. Without conditions or rules. Today you are an adult. At your side is a beautiful young girl, spring is here and your blood is aflame. You’re learning to touch and love, to want to show your love. And to the whole world! But why did someone who cannot tolerate to see love make you so uncomfortable son? Which shortcoming were you reminded of, which wound was reopened? Tell me. Cry it out. Don’t be afraid that anyone will see. Why did this insult that doesn’t affect your love in the slightest, bring forth such horrible words, poison your heart so such an extent?”

The people who cannot tolerate each other, who feel the right to interfere in other’s lives, who lose control over their reactions and fall into wrongdoing even though they are right are all the sons or daughters of a mother. It’s their common ground.

Ege

 

Translated by Feride Yalav-Heckeroth

 

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