On August 11 of this year, I had posted under “I wonder, if you…”, excerpts from my “Black Rose” – a short story I wrote as my final exam toward my FreeLance Writing diploma. I now have earned that license and want to thank you once again for encouraging regarding my question back then whether you would be tempted to read more after those few sections. To share a secret with you…I went beyond a mere submission of this work as my final project and dared to enter it for an essay contest…Starting today, I will be posting this tale of fiction in chapter installments through its end. Other than my instructor’s remarks, I have no information as to how this story reads outside my own biased embrace of it, and would therefore greatly appreciate any thoughts on it you may want to share with me.
For the record: There is nothing fictional about my story’s central theme – honor killings. It is my hope that the links I provide below will make at least a dent in raising further awareness with our continued help. As for the title itself, it, too, is no product of my imagination. Black rose is claimed to be unique to Halfeti, Turkey.
“Oh, dear God. My girl. My poor girl. Who did this to you? What they did to you! Oh, God. No! No!”
“Mom, help me…”
The ambulance sped through the many rural areas to Şanlıurfa hospital. Where Huban was born. The medics raced her stretcher through the emergency entrance, while a loud speaker summoned doctors to the OP. Her mother’s bewildering plea was the only sound in the crowded lobby: “Please. Please. No window, no mirror. I beg of you. Please!
“Hello there, my love!” Huban stirred.
A smile grew on her face.
“Hi there, love!”
“Butrus, you are here! You are here! But…oh no, wait, don’t look at me. Please, don’t. My hair -“
“My love, you’re beautiful,” he interrupted.
“Remember, whenever the sun shone on it, you’d –“
“say,” Butrus picked up from where Huban left, “your hair is too stunning. Don’t you ever confine it in braids. The light won’t know what to do, if it can’t fall on its waist-long drop. To show off its blackish maroon hue!”
“Okay, okay, you fixed my hair. But…but, see what they put on me?”
“All I see is my elegant Huban on top of a radiator,” Butrus responded.
Harran University was brand new, and its library, still under construction. A radiator below a dormer window had become Huban’s reading place between classes. It stood at the end of a hallway that strayed from a high-traffic lecture hall passage. A deep and wide marble slab atop the bars – a code for heating companies back then, diffused the burn for her just about enough. Rapt in her book, Butrus’ sudden presence had caught her by surprise, especially the ease at which he engaged her in a conversation.
“Poor me, my seat choice never escaped your teasing.”
Butrus grinned and went on: “It was an October morning. An unusual chill had set in. Black was your color: a high-neck, long-sleeve sweater, bell-bottom pants, low heel boots and a long-strap handbag. And then…there was your hair. Down. All the way down.”
“You looked so good in black,” Butrus spoke in awe. “The sun-shaped pendant on your necklace was the only different color on you. Outside the honey-touched sparkles in your eyes, of course. I had never seen such a shade of intense green before.“
How about you, my darling? Huge hazel eyes. Long thick eyelashes. Eyelids adorably slanting with each attractive smile.
“You were wearing clear, stylish glasses,” Huban uttered.
Those light brown waves of hair resting on your neck.
“You knew how to resist the college-male fad of well-below-the-shoulder-look.”
Your tall, slender, shapely body in a casual outfit. The faint laugh lines on the corners of your lower eyelids. And those lips…curling upward with each laugh. Leaving me with a sensation I hadn’t felt before.
Wednesday afternoons, Huban had a secret routine. Skipping her last class, she left the campus for the language institute. Butrus had started learning Spanish. She secured a spot in the farthest corner of the alley across from the multiple-story building. His classroom was on the second floor, with windows looking over the school’s spacious, circular landing. He always came out first. His rushed feet nearing him to her delighted Huban. One arm tucked in the back, donning his landmark smile; he greeted her with the same ‘hello, my love, hello!’ Then unveiled her favorite flower: a rose. One black rose.
Chapters 4-6, forthcoming on next Sunday…
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Black rose of Halfeti Turkey
More on the black rose of Halfeti, Turkey
Images of the black rose and Halfeti, Turkey
International Honour Based Violence Awareness Network
The AHA Foundation
PBS Speak Truth to Power