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The Life of Nejla Ateş (Dance of Fire)

The Life of Nejla Ateş (Dance of Fire)

The Life of Nejla Ateş (Dance of Fire)

Özer Baysaling tells the story of his wife, Nejla Ateş, the Turkish Delight that shook the Middle East, Europe and the United States of America in the 1950s.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Nejla Ateş…

 

 

This piece of writing is based on a true story.

 

That was the first day we met… And it was impossible for me to know how it was going to change my faith.

It was the year 1965. Nejla Ateş, who was named Turkish Delight in America and had a big fame as a dance star, had just arrived Turkey. One of the biggest newspapers Hürriyet had published her life story. Not only they had not done this before to any one else, but also the series of articles were published for 15 days. We were working at the Casablanca night club as acrobats those days. Our manager and the owner of the night club arranged us a job in the revue which was set up by her.

 

In the very beginning of the rehearsal, our director yelled out ‘she is coming!’. From the back of the stage a tiny, beautiful Tatar girl with slanting eyes and a wonderful body flew out slowly. We glanced at each other for a moment. And then one more time… And a couple of other times just like a glittering lighthouse. I was all but stunned and affected. Then we started the rehearsal with the strong effect and the excitement of those glances.

 

Nejla Ateş and her Dance of Fire…

 

In the opening day, Casablanca night club was splendid and full to overflowing unlikely any other day. Fashionable society filled up the club. In Turkey, that was the first time for a dancer to be the leading star of a show performance. Following her, famous artists of that time took place in the program and we, the acrobats performed several times during the revue. Especially the last part of her dance show was very popular. Nejla Ateş laid down the floor at the end of her dance for the Gods. By that time all the lights were gone and just one red spot was following us. We came onto the stage with naked tops and carry her up to the God’s world. It was a magnificent show and it lasted for a long time with success.

 

At that period, I was both going to the law school and working as an acrobat with four of my friends to provide money for school.

 

My acrobat team “The Olympics”

 

Nejla Ateş used to wear a very attractive perfume on the stage. Every night, that scent came home with me and I was fascinated by it. I was almost addicted to that perfume. An other day, I was waiting impatiently to smell the same scent.

 

Later on, like every good thing, the club program came to an end. I felt myself alone in emptiness. Nevertheless, Nejla Ateş offered me to work with her in a tour. I accepted it without hesitation.

 

One day, she invited me for a tea in her balcony. She seemed very upset. After a short talk she said to me: ‘I am in love with someone for a long time but I don’t know if he loves me or not. I feel great pain. My heart is burning and I can’t help myself from feeling for him. I don’t know what to do.’ With great curiosity and even jealousy I asked: ‘Ms. Nejla, who is this person you are suffering for? Is he far away in America?’ She hesitated for a moment and answered with her eyes looking down: ‘No, he is not far away, he is very close to me’.

 

At that moment, I felt my brain had stopped and my heart was beating like it would fly out of my chest. Each part of me was shaking. A worldwide famous dance star was declaring her love for me. That was beyond all of my dreams and thoughts. I barely stood up, approached her and kissed her lips with the unbearable passion and flame of my young age.

 

As she told me later, her feelings had started with our very first glance at the rehearsal. After that day, she used to dream about me while looking at the fabulous scene of the Bosphorus of Istanbul.

 

*****

 

When we went to Konya for the tour program, she wanted to visit the tomb of Mevlana, the great thinker. We went there together. She prayed for our relationship and wanted help from Mevlana.

 

One day, she gave me a joyful news. That night, she would be waiting for me in her room after the show. I was very excited. My hands were shaking.

 

Nejla Ateş

 

When I knocked up the door, it was opened slowly. She was wearing a beautiful nightgown which was brought from Hollywood. She wanted me to carry her to the bed and I did so. I tried to discover the secret parts of her body which danced beautifully. With her great female passion, she dragged me into an magical world. She was breathing faster and faster… We became as one…

 

At that period, I was a 23 year old student who was raised in a conservative family. The road in front of me was straight and evident. However Nejla was 14 years older than me. After our relationship had started, I felt myself in an unfamiliar jungle. I would later face the forthcoming events but how could I know that the joy of love lasted a moment but grief of it would last forever…

 

After the tour, I immediately left my family and started a new life with love, passion and indefiniteness. I was in the jungle well then. The more I wanted to escape, the more mysterious adventures embraced me.

 

With the excitement of our first days, we had crazy nights in front of the Bosphorus view. We drank and made love all through the night till the morning. Sometimes she put on 7 layers of tulle and took them off one by one dancing and twisting. And sometimes she danced along jazz, oriental or Indian music. Dancing was God’s gift for her. At the end of her dance, she always let herself fall into my arms and we lived every moment with pleasure, making love till the morning lights.

 

My situation was both delightful and crazy. The real world didn’t resemble dance. Nejla was penniless since her manager secretly lost her 1.000.000 dollars in the gambling and then committed suicide. We weren’t able to make ends meet. She sold her car and a diamond ring (which was her ex-fiancé petroleum king’s gift) to return back to America but love had priority and so couldn’t leave me behind. After a while, we found ourselves in a single room in the suburb.

 

*****

 

Nejla Ateş

 

 

‘Most of the time people who seem friends forget all about your kindness and secretly get pleasure from your disaster.’

 

Suburban life was then became the part of our lives. After good days, we started to distinguish our friends and enemies. When you provided food, drink, fame and some advantages, you could find lots of friends. However, when your situation was going down, those friends became less and less.

 

Nejla Ateş

Life didn’t always give people good things and if you didn’t benefit from them, luck wouldn’t come up to you easily next time. The hands of faith can both give you money and fortune and poverty and misery.

 

I was a student who didn’t have a job or money. My family was pushing me to leave her and return home to finish my school. People who once upon a time admired Nejla’s art, started to complain my family about her after they learned our relationship. However they didn’t know that leaving her in such a situation would affect my life worse and my regret would be unbearable.

 

We tried not to show our misery to anyone else. And this kind of behavior tied us more and developed a great deal of respect between us. But despite this, our love surrounded us like a sickness and it made both of us exhausted. Yet we were trying to think about the good sides of it and lived an adventure full of recreation and destroy.

 

My father was a captain. At the end of a long period, he ran out of all his patience and wrote me letters from Africa, China and some other countries, telling met hat he would kill her if I didn’t break up with her. He also wrote me that her past was very dark and God knows how many men she was involved with till that time. That kind of behavior wasn’t appropriate for my father. Maybe he was right at some point but still that was not my father.

 

 

Nejla Ateş in the movie of ‘Son of Sinbad’

 

Many months passed but there was no hope of survival.

 

On the way of our house there were muddy narrow streets. We had to walk through them with our feet covered with mud. And there was a small stream in the lower part of the street. When the rain falls, all the houses were full of water. People were always suffering there and after my observations, I began to realize their world which was full of poverty and misery. They were living in a timeless world in which they feel cold and suffer from hunger.

 

We were living a miserable life in our shack that had a single room without a window. There were no electricity so we used candles or kerosene lamp to lighten up. Our room was dark and cold. If we found a little amount of wine, our world would seem different to us. But if we didn’t find it, we got close to each other and tried to warm up with each others heat. That was still a pleasure for us to become one body and soul.

 

 

The toilet was outside in the small garden and even the water in the barrel used to get frozen. Therefore we usually got sick and suffer from cystitis. Since we didn’t have water in our house, we were filling our barrels from the fountain on the street at nights without being seen by anybody. I was wondering, would the people who didn’t care about our situation those days, try to benefit from my education of law to get their things done. I was really wondering… I would see and I really saw that.

 

Nejla had brought two nose-less ‘Pikaneese’ Japanese dogs from America. They were gifts to her from the famous actor Jeff Jandler. These dogs were just like her children and she loved them almost more than herself. However the dogs which were fed by special food once upon a time had to eat bread in plain water which they didn’t like and refused to eat. She loved all the animals. I had not seen such a loving person like her. She always pitied old, sick and disabled people and tried to help them in many ways.

 

Nejla Ateş

 

 

Our life in that house lasted for 3 years.

 

Speaking of my father, we exactly played a scene from La dame aux camélia of Alexandre Dumas. Even worse than that. We were the living actors of that figment of the imagination. My father wanted to kill her, she was a fallen show star, we had a huge age difference and etc. All of these were beyond that novel and we were living in it.

 

Nejla was very upset too. Sometimes she said ‘leave me and go away’ and sometimes she said ‘I can’t live without you’ and cried.

 

After working in Baghdad, Egypt, Middle East and Italy, Nejla had gone to Paris.

 

 

Was the life in America real or was it a dream?

 

There she had a big struggle and had to face some difficulties. Even once she had worked as a target in a knife throwing show. But finally she became the leading dancer in a worldwide famous night club “Casino de Paris”. She took place on the covers of all the French newspapers and magazines. Meanwhile she had started French lessons and learned enough of it fluently.

 

Nejla first star in the “Casino de Paris”

 

One day, one of the most popular managers of America, Lou Walter had watched her and immediately annulled her contract to take her to America. So she had started to work in the most famous club of that time, “Latin Quarter”. She had been very excited to start a new life in New York.

 

Latin Quarter in Broadway America                              Metropole Cafe in N.Y. America

 

There she had made a great deal of fortune but maybe she had not thought that one day the fountain of money would be dry. The most popular clubs and managers had been after her but her own manager one day left her with his wife and secretly went to gambling. That night he lost 1.000.000 (yes, that’s the real amount) dollars which belonged to Nejla and he had committed suicide. After that incident, Nejla worked harder to meet the deficit. That was the punishment of her limitless trust for the people.

 

During those hard days and with the longing of her country, Nejla had decided to commit suicide too. However, as a coincidence, one of her friends had rescued her when she visited her by chance. She was saved in the hospital although she was in a coma.

 

For a short period she was engaged to a petroleum king and he gave her a 100.000 square meter land in Texas as a gift. However another manager trick her and sold that land for 50.000 dollars. The new owners of the land later found a big petroleum reserve there and provided almost 5.000 barrels of petroleum in a single day.

At the Latin Quarter in New York

 

The person she was engaged to was ‘Sheppard (Abdullah) King 3rd’. At that time he was one of the wealthiest people in America. After he divorced his wife, dancer ‘Samia Gamal’, he proposed to Nejla and that news had great repercussions in the American media.

 

King Sheppard had invited Nejla to their big farm in Texas to introduce her to his family. His mother had been drinking a lot and she had been a very rude person. One day she took a rifle and pointed it to Nejla and told her to stay away from their fortune and leave the farm. But Nejla was so courageous that she got closer to her and said that she didn’t look for money and told her that if she had enough courage, she would pull the trigger. After that she immediately left the farm, canceled the engagement and return back to New York.

 

Nejla Ateş

 

Later then, Hüseyin Bin Fazıl, the Baghdad Emirate watched Nejla’s show and invited her to his table. He admired her so much that he offered her to be his wife in his harem in Kasrı Şirin Palace. But Nejla answered just like that: ‘Your highness, I can only be the wife of the man I am in love with even if he doesn’t have any money.’ And she left the table.

 

She was not only admired by American families but also Armenians, Jewish people and the Greek people who emigrated from Turkey. She had worked in the most popular clubs of America for 14 years. And also danced in the famous show of Bob Hope.

 

One day, Bette Davis and her husband went to the club to watch her dance. They were sitting at the very front table and her husband was quite drunk. He threw a cigarette paper to the stage. Nejla immediately stopped dancing and got that paper thrown out of the stage and continued her dance after they apologized from her.

 

 

 

Furthermore, she was in cooperation with FBI too. They frequently got information about some customers from her. And sometimes they show her the pictures of people and want her to let them know if that person showed up in the club. She used to keep the license of the New York Police Department as one of the special things in her memories.

 

She was also admired and protected by the old members of mafia too. They used to like her very much just like their child and usually asked her if she needed something or not.

 

One of the famous sculptors in America made her statue depicting her in a dance costume. But one day it was stolen from its exhibition place. But the thief couldn’t carry it further so he left it in the front gate of the Central Park. The traffic messed up and the police had to interfere. That had been a big news for the media.

 

Sculpture of Nejla Ateş

 

However Nejla’s major fame came by the ‘Fanny Operetta’. She played with the famous actors and actresses of that time, like Ezio Pinza, Walter Slezak, William Tabbert, Edna Preston, Don Mc Henry, Florence Henderson, Gerald Price, Alan Carney. The director was again a very successful person, Joshua Logan. He created a special scene for Nejla and had a separate song composed for her. She was dancing on a beer barrel surrounded by a light coming from down. It was the scene that made her unforgettable for many people.

 

Nejla Ateş in the movie ‘Son of Sinbad’

 

 

She also acted in the ‘Son of Sinbad’, ‘King Richard and the Crusaders’ and many more. The whole America knew her as the ‘Turkish Delight’. And many famous people like Egyptian King Faruk, Iranian Shah Rıza Pehlevi, Queen Süreyya, Indonesia King Sukarno and many more prince and princesses went to watch her dance and congratulate her as a Turkish girl. She was also invited to the parties by FBI and Kennedy’s. She also danced for charities for the sick people without taking any money.

 

She became very famous. Even the keys of her Cadillac were made of gold.

 

Among her close friends, there are: Edith Piaf, Orson Welles, Bob Hope, Esther Williams, Marilyn Monroe, William Holden, Gloria Swanson, Gary Grant, Charlton Heston, James Dean, Doris Day, Susan Hayworth, Gregory Peck, Bing Crosby, Rita, Ava.

 

 

 

Also she worked with Louis Armstrong, Duke Ellington, Dizzy Gillesple, Jim Krupa, Clifford Brown, Max Roach, Frank Sinatra, Nat King Cole, Frankie Laine, Samy Davis Jr., Al Martino and Tony Bennet. Judy Garland and Fred Astaire wanted to have dance lessons with her just like the many American women who were waiting for her to open a dance studio.

 

 

Marilyn Monroe was her neighbor and her close friend. They used to visit each other, have long chats and go out for shopping. Nejla always said that she was a very friendly, pure and easygoing person.

 

I have much photographs, musical notes, news papers, magazine and others…

 

At the Fanny Musical Play

 

My struggle

 

I started a hard life struggle after our suburban life. I finished the school, opened a law firm in the finest part of Istanbul and I also opened a sports center for the body builders. We moved to a new house in a fine place. This was a rebirth for us after those miserable years. Rebirth with my great effort…

 

I was going back and forth between my law office, my ‘Herkül Sports Center’ and various lawsuits. My status changed a lot with those activities. I was also the President of the Body Building Association and the leading trainer of the National Team. I was traveling a lot and my status was perfect.

 

Özer Baysaling with Lawyer Robe

 

 

I don’t know the secret of life

 

It was a very important thing that Nejla had been an adorable dance star in the golden age of American show business. However the cost of fame was much harder. We sometimes asked each other ‘how come those days passed by and they wont ever come back?’. And sometimes she reminded me the day she declared her love for me by singing a song of Nat King Cole: ‘I want to tell, but too young’. She also liked the song of Elvis Presley ‘Love me tender’ and she used to sing it every time I got angry with her.

Sometimes she opened her chest and took out her dance clothes while giving me some information about each of them and sharing her feelings with me.

 

Nejla at the Dance of Fire.

 

Jealousy

 

We were both working, saving money and at the same time going on pleasure trips and enjoying our time. Nejla started to get weight. Her fame was behind. She used to be the centre of attention till that time but then she was the second person and I was the first one. I became an attractive man with a good job and social status. That’s why I could spend less time with Nejla.

 

In fact, Nejla was proud of me and my situation so she mentioned about me everywhere. But meanwhile she felt a deep jealousy because of the interest of the women for me. That feeling made her upset and my life unbearable. The end of the day was my nightmare. Sometimes she was silent and loving but sometimes she welcomed me drunk and scratched, pinched or hit me badly. She sometimes regretted what she had done and apologized me but she couldn’t control her jealousy. After a while I started to feel ruined and tried to find other ways of happiness. Maybe that was because of the money I earned or my social status. Many women where around me and I started to think that I deserved better things.

 

Fatal Femme

 

Love affairs; Right or betrayal?

 

That year in Turkey, there was a lack of energy. Snow didn’t melt for days.

 

One of my clients Aynur was very rich and she stayed in Hilton Hotel in order not to face these difficulties. I was her lawyer for a while. One day she invited me to the hotel to have a drink. It was a cold winter day and I couldn’t resist. We started to walk. She hold my arm and said that she loved me. I felt her warm breath in every word.

 

We drank our cocktails at the bar looking at the magnificent scene of the Bosphorus. I didn’t realize how the time passed so quickly. It was late at night and still snowing. She offered me to stay.

 

The excitement of a new relationship with a new woman made me weak. I couldn’t resist more and kissed her lips. We stood still for a short time. She was shaking in excitement.

 

After a while, Nejla learned all about this relationship and got very sick. Aynur left Turkey and started to live in Paris. She sent me miserable letters and was inviting me to Paris. That time there was a body building championship in Belgium. I used this chance and an irresistible feeling led me to Paris. When our team returned back to Turkey, Nejla wanted to welcome me at the airport. But when she realized that I wasn’t there, she felt terrible and fainted.

 

However, Paris was a magical city. Love in Paris was different with a woman who loved you with all her heart. Despite this, I began to feel uncomfortable with what I had done. Living with the money of a woman wasn’t for me either. When I called Nejla, her voice was exhausted. She was wondering when I would return. She had a loving, faithful heart full of hope. At the same time, Aynur was trying to hide my passport and prevent me from going back. But she knew the city very well. So, we were walking, sitting at the cafes and enjoying our time. It was like a love story in Paris. She didn’t want to leave me and wanted to marry with me. But I couldn’t. I finally return back to Turkey. There I faced the worst surprise for ever.

 

While I was enjoying my days in Paris, my lovely mother had died in Istanbul. The world was black for me. That was insanity. My loving, caring, elegant, self-sacrificing, dearest mother had gone. I cried for hours with unbearable pain in my heart.

 

Nejla learned that when I was in Paris. Although she could use this for the advantage of herself and could make me return, she didn’t do that. I was suffering a lot. I thanked her for she didn’t give me this news when I was in Paris and also apologized for the pain I caused her. Like an angel, she took me in her arms and comforted me. As I recall from a French song, the joy of love lasted a moment but grief of it would last forever…

 

After that, women still didn’t want to leave me alone. Eventually Nejla attempted a suicide again. Knowing the truth that she could die because of me, I felt real regret and I gave up.

 

Nejla

 

My father’s visit

 

After the death of my mother, my father was really confused. After long years of sea life as a captain, he couldn’t blend in our world. He felt really blank after my mother. After this incident, he had changed and became mild. He needed love and care. So I decided to visit him more frequently.

 

One day he said: ‘Son, I know we’ve been through a lot and you’ve really suffered. Look at from my point of view. I could give my life for you so I had to interfere your life. Even I had gone through very sad days. However, today there is nothing we can do other than accepting these. The girl had suffered too. God knows her feelings while she was fighting for her love. So I will visit you. That will be an apology in a way to forgive each other.’ I was really surprised. Life brought us lots of interesting things and that was one of them.

 

I brought my father to our house after a short time. Nejla was waiting for us in excitement. The woman who ruled the stages in front of the world, was shaking. And the man who wanted to kill her now telling her that he was sorry. She answered him: ‘You were right father, but I loved Özer very much. I am the reason of all these miseries’. Then she fell on her knees, took his hands and cried. Meanwhile I was watching them with happiness and asking to myself ‘so why did we have so much misery all through the years? Was it worth it?’…

 

My father stayed with us for a long time. Nejla cared about him very much and looked after him very well. And my father liked and appreciated her so much. It was another lesson for me.

 

Nejla Ateş and Özer Baysaling

 

I got the permission from my father, so I wanted to make Nejla happy. I invited no one to our wedding. It was like a revenge for me. I didn’t want to invite the people who showed us fake love and respect.

 

 

Our trip to America

 

Nejla wanted to show me all about her career in America and our financial situation was pretty good. Therefore, I accepted the ‘Mr. Olympia’ invitation of the famous actor and sportsman Arnold Schwarzenegger and took Nejla to America. She was very happy to be able to show me the places she had once danced.

 

Arnold Schwarzenegger’s Invitation Letter

 

 

She said to me: ‘Özer, do you know that, even so many years later, here I feel myself at home. I worked a lot in the clubs here, I walked my dogs, got attention by the people. Now it is such a pleasure for me to be here with you. Is it a dream? Broadway seems the same but indeed everything has changed’. She was looking around very carefully.

 

Suddenly she stopped in front of a club. When we looked closely, we saw topless girls dancing on a big bar. Then she saw a 80 year old man and she said: ‘Yes, that’s the place’. We dropped in. Nejla asked him in English if he recognized her or not and the man immediately hugged her and started to cry. He brought our drinks and started to talk. His name was Joe. He remembered the old days sometimes in laughter, sometimes in tears. Nejla had worked there in 1950s. It was a popular jazz club which was called ‘Metropole cafe’ those times. The old man was ashamed of that situation then. He said that he missed those magnificent old days.

 

We walked through the streets, looking for the clubs she had danced in. But they changed a lot and turned to different kinds of places. Nejla was ashamed and said to me that: ‘When I was working here, it was a very important thing to have a name on these clubs. No one could get in without reservation. But look at what they become now’.

 

One day we visited Rex Harrison at the backstage of ‘My Fair Lady’. Later one of America’s popular tv producers Joe Adams and his wife Cindy Adams invited us to dinner. They were both successful and famous. Joe Adams used to organize charities to help people and Nejla used to dance for them without demanding any money. He said to me: ‘Nejla is a wonderful person and an amazing artist. You don’t appreciate her enough in Turkey’. That week, New York Post and TV 4 made a news and mentioned about Nejla.

 

When we were there, a newspaper offered us to publish her life story. Also a TV channel wanted to make a movie from her story. But I didn’t let them. Mentioning about her past and famous life would wound my honor.

 

We went through the whole city, looked around the famous hotels and clubs. And then we went to Las Vegas and Hollywood. Nejla was very happy to show me everything about her past life.

 

 

The illness

Nejla – Tempo

‘Deadly wound stays in our chest’ Virgilius

 

Nejla was suffering from her liver for a while. I took her to the hospital and her tomography was taken. After that the doctors came to me and tell the painful truth. She was ‘liver cancer’. I was in shock. Bad news came out suddenly in an unexpected time. We were living peacefully, my job was great and I could earn money from both my law firm and my sports center. We had a house, a car and a piece of land to make a summer house. We were dreaming about our lovely future. Where did this illness come from?! How would I get over that?

 

Doctors said the operation was inevitable but there is a 90 % risk of death. And even if she survived after the operation, she might live for a very short time. I had no choice other than accepting the operation and I did so. I was trying to hide but I felt very sorry for her. I was struggling hard to save her. I realized how much I loved and cared about her. Who else could love me like she did. She was my enchanted angel.

 

 

When we returned back from hospital, I was counting the days according to the doctors predictions. But the miracles of God were unlimited. She recovered as the days passed. I was holding her hand and we were walking around together. We lived happily for 2 years.

 

2 years after the liver operation, cancer infected her intestines. We were reading the same story one more time. Her adorable body was deformed with surgery stitches and scars. She was in great pain. And in few years, I ran out of all my money and belongings because of these operations, tomography and chemo-therapies. I was suffering in poverty again.

 

Nejla Ateş at the Hospital (Cancer)

 

It is inevitable to lose the one you love. You may suffer for that… However, pain teaches a lot… Releasing out the feelings have consequences… Despite all this, the only alternative of living the life is not living it at all.’ Dr. Scot Peck.

 

Nejla was suffering day by day. I couldn’t afford her medical treatment. Her veins sometimes refused the blood. It was a hard period for me either. I was both doing the house-works, cooking, cleaning, ironing, and at the same time checking her food, trying to comfort her through the sleepless nights.

 

We were going to the hospital in the time of emergencies. I saw her lying on the stretcher, looking desperately. Where were the laser glances when we met at the Casablanca? Where was that excitement?

 

I was struggling with these problems 24 hours a day by myself. I was feeling that my life had faded away before my eyes. One day I fell down with a terrible dizziness. That time I was the one lying on the stretcher. My illness was hard depression and positional vertigo. It lasted for a while. The doctors said that it would be worse if I didn’t take the medication. It was complete misery. Our misfortune came and found us again. And the death was an unexpected unknown guest.

 

I was thinking about suicide too. I had gone through it three times but gave it up. That was a terrible summer season and then a melancholic autumn passed by. Dry leaves were reminding me the death. Nejla was suffering badly for a few days. She wanted my blessings before she died. Her beautiful Tatar eyes were looking for death with despair. I felt that she was slowly dying. However I was sentenced to life.

 

When people got used to each other that much, it was a very hard thing to be separated. She had a vital importance in my life. That night the world seemed darker to me. Time had stopped and I was in a nightmare. The night was longer than any other day. Towards morning, I had fallen asleep on the couch.

 

That day was the 19th of September 1995. I woke up with the sound of the azan. I immediately went to Nejla’s room but there was no sound. I felt like I was in an endless silence. No word could describe my feelings. I ran into the room ignoring my dizziness.

 

Everything had gone forever. She managed to reach the other side of the bed in which I used to sleep and stayed just like that like a baby. Instead of the pain, there was the peaceful expression of an angel on her face that time. She fell into an eternal sleep with my love in her heart and the secrets of her past life. She would never wake up again. I burst into tears. I covered her body for the last time. Who knows, maybe that day both of us had died. One of us had gone and one of us had stayed.

 

You can find the book ‘Ateş’s Dance’ at the Amazon…

 

 

Was that the love

 

That collapsed within a dead volcano?’ Pablo Neruda.

 

I told the news to my close friends and my family and made her funeral. She was buried in a cemetery facing the Bosphorus. I put her in the depths of black soil. People of the God come and go in such a different manner.

 

Her glamorous dance career, 30 years of our past life and all the memories… I left the cemetery with all my love and respect for her and went back home. Every corner, even the walls had the invisible remains of our life. I felt her flowing around me. After that day, all through my life, I would feel her soul with me.

 

I went to our bedroom. I faced her death in a bed in which we had enjoyed every pleasure together. I unconsciously went through the wardrobe, drawers and all her stuff. Everything was there except for her. Our pictures were looking at me smiling. There was her necklace which had Koran inside, on the table. I put it there before I covered her lifeless body. She carried it on her neck all through her life. But then it was like a compass for me showing the direction of death and pain. It would be my death compass till the day I die.

 

Two years ego, after all these miseries I got cancer too. I suffered from lymphoma for 9 months but finally managed to recover.

 

Özer Baysaling at the Hospital (Cancer)

 

 

She was a fire. It burned and burned… and went away burning my heart in ember fire. Our memories were good remembrances. How would be the rest of my life? Who knows? Where? With whom? Without her… Without a difference from death.

 

All in all, her dance was between the life and death… She picked me as her dance partner… I couldn’t know… I was 24… She was magnificent…

 

She came with her glowing fire and faded away to a divine world.

 

Our story was a fairy tale… And it’s gone forever…

 

With my Respect,

Nejla’s Husband

Özer Baysaling

(Advocate, Sportsman, Writer)

İstanbul-Turkey

 

ozer_baysaling@yahoo.com

 

Facebook: Özer Baysaling.., google: “Özer Baysaling” and “Nejla Ateş Turkish Delight”

 

 

Bizim Anadolu / August 17th, 2019

 

 

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