Raymond Carver

Side'de Carver okurkenBugün, tatilde Side’de okumaya başladığım Raymond Carver’ın Will You Please Be Quiet, Please?‘ini bitirdim. Raymond Carver, O. Henry ve Roald Dahl ile birlikte, hikayelerini okumaktan epey hoşlandığım bir yazar (O kadar çok hikayelerini okumamış olsam da). Beni gençliğimde Aşktan Söz Ettiğimizde Sözünü Ettiklerimiz ile vurmuştu yerden yere… Zaten onun edebiyatta yaptığı şeyi Edward Hopper resimde, Tom Waits de ilk albümlerinde yapmakta (Ayrıca Tom Waits’in hem Short Cuts‘da oynuyor oluşu, hem de Nighthawks at the Diner‘da kapak olarak Hopper’ın Nighthawks‘ını kullanması iyice köprülüyor bu üç ismi. Bir detay daha : Hopper İletişim’den çıkan Aşktan Söz Ettiğimizde Sözünü Ettiklerimiz‘in de kapağını süslüyor ki, bu detay Amerikan ve İngiliz baskılarında bile yok!)

Carver sakince, dipten giderek, bütün o önemsiz ayrıntılara şöyle bir değinerek anlatıyor anlatacağını. Sanki size bir hikaye anlatırken sigarasını içeduran, gözü ötelere dalan, etrafından geçenlere bakıp da anlatıya ara veren yaşlı bir dayı gibi. Sonra bazen göstererek, bazen hiç çaktırmadan yapıyor yapacağını. Bazen tek bir cümlede hatta bir tek sözcükte saklıyor bütün manayı, hikaye bittikten sonra olacakları.

Ve bazen onu bile yapmıyor. Hayat gibi.

Hayat gibi sıradan.

Aşağıdaki alıntı toplamaya adını veren “Will You Please Be Quiet, Please?” hikayesinden. Ralph, ısrarlı zorlamaları sonucunda karısı Marian’a vaktiyle onu aldattığını itiraf ettirtmiş, şüphelendiği bu gerçek yine de onu çarpmış, bir müddet sebepsizce gezdikten -ve bir kavgaya karıştıktan sonra- evine dönmüştür:

RC_WYPBQP-kapak[…]He came at last to his house, porch light on, windows dark. He crossed the lawn and went around to the back. He turned the knob, and the door opened quietly and the house was quiet. There was the tall stool beside the draining board. There was the table where they had sat. He had gotten up from the couch, come into the kitchen, sat down. What more had he done? He had done nothing more. He looked at the clock over the stove. He could see into the dining room, the table with the lace cloth, the heavy glass centerpiece of red flamingos, their wings opened, the draperies beyond the table open. Had she stood at that window watching for him? He stepped onto the living-room carpet. Her coat was thrown over the couch, and in the pale light he could make out a large ashtray full of her cork cigarette ends. He noticed the phone directory open on the coffee table as he went by. He stopped at the partially open door to their bedroom. Everything seemed to him open. For an instant he resisted the wish to look in at her, and then with his finger he pushed the door open a little bit more. She was sleeping, her head off the pillow, turned toward the wall, her hair black against the sheet, the covers bunched around her shoulders, coven pulled up from the foot of the bed. She was on her side, her secret body angled at the hips. He stared. What, after all, should he do? Take his things and leave? Go to a hotel? Make certain arrangements? How should a man act, given these circumstances? He understood things had been done. He did not understand what things now were to be done. The house was very quiet.

In the kitchen he let his head down onto his arms as he sat at the table. He did not know what to do. Not just now, he thought, not just in this, not just about this, today and tomorrow, but every day on earth. Then he heard the children stirring. He sat up and tried to smile as they came into the kitchen.

“Daddy, Daddy,” they said, running to him with their little bodies.
“Tell us a story. Daddy,” his son said, getting onto his lap.
“He can’t tell us a story,” his daughter said. “It’s too early for a story. Isn’t it. Daddy?”
“What’s that on your face, Daddy?” his son said, pointing.
“Let me see!” his daughter said. “Let me see, Daddy.”
“Poor Daddy,” his son said.
“What did you do to your face, Daddy?” his daughter said.
“Its nothing,” Ralph said. “Its all right, sweetheart. Now get down now, Robert, I hear your mother.”

Ralph stepped quickly into the bathroom and locked the door.

“Is your father here?” he heard Marian calling. -Where is he, in the bath¬room? Ralph?”
“Mama, Mama!” his daughter cried. “Daddy’s face is hurt!” “Ralph!” She turned the knob. “Ralph, let me in, please, darling. Ralph? Please let me in, darling. I want to see you. Ralph? Please!”
He said, “Go away, Marian.”
She said, “‘I can’t go away. Please, Ralph, open the door for a minute, darling. I just want to see you. Ralph. Ralph? The children said you were hurt. What’s wrong, darling? Ralph?”
He said, “Go away”
She said, “Ralph, open up, please.”
He said, “Will you please be quiet, please?”

He heard her waiting at the door, he saw the knob turn again, and then be could hear her moving around the kitchen, getting the children break¬fast, trying to answer their questions. He looked at himself in the mirror a long time. He made faces at himself. He tried many expressions. Then he gave it up. He turned away from the mirror and sat down on the edge of the bathtub, began unlacing his shoes. He sat there with a shoe in his hand and looked at the clipper ships making their way across the wide blue sea of the plastic shower curtain. He thought of the litde black roaches in the tablecloth and almost cried out Stop!. He unbuttoned his shirt, leaned over the bathtub with a sigh, and pressed the plug into the drain. He ran hot water, and presently steam rose.

He stood naked on the tiles before getting into the water. He gathered in his fingers the slack flesh over his ribs. He studied his face again m the clouded mirror. He started in fear when Marian called his name.

“Ralph. The children are in their room playing. I called Von Williams and said you wouldn’t be in today, and I’m going to stay home.” Then she said, “I have a nice breakfast on the stove for you, darling, when you’re through with your bath. Ralph?”

“Just be quiet, please,” he said.

He stayed in the bathroom until he heard her in the children’s room. She was dressing them, asking didn’t they want to play with Warren and Roy? He went through the house and into the bedroom, where he shut the door. He looked at the bed before he crawled in. He lay on his back and stared at the ceiling. He had gotten up from the couch, had come into the kitchen, had … satdown. He snapped shut his eyes and turned onto his side as Marian came into the room. She took off her robe and sat down on the bed. She put her hand under the covers and began stroking the lower part of his back.

“Ralph,” she said.

He tensed at her fingers, and then he let go a little. It was easier to le go a little. Her hand moved over his hip and over his stomach and she was pressing her body over his now and moving over him and back and forth over him. He held himself, he later considered, as long as he could. And then he turned to her. He turned and turned in what might have been a stupendous sleep, and he was still turning, marveling at the impossible changes he felt moving over him.

Raymond Carver, “Will You Please Be Quiet, Please?”
Harvill Press 1999, London.

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