YILMAZ ÖZDİLHe was quite a handsome young man. He was posted to Sofia at that time. He had just moved in; he did not have many friends. He would sit alone at the Bulgarian pastry shop, trying to get to know the surroundings; he would go to the opera in the evenings.
It was a day in February, just like today. He was invited to the city club. They met there. Her name was Dimitrina; they would call her Miti shortly. She was beautiful. She had studied music in Switzerland and spoke three languages. She was the most eligible bachelorette of high society. Well, the Blue Danube waltz was playing in the background.
Our guy did not hesitate a moment; he walked straight to her, asked her to dance. Accompanied by envying eyes, they started dancing. Everybody started whispering, but they were not talking. It was love at first sight.
The next day… Our guy was invited to their house for tea personally by Miti’s mother… This invitation meant an official permit for the young couple to see each other. They started dating. They would go on walking at Borisova Park, go skating, go to the theater. First, rumors started, then troubles… Because Miti’s father was one of the loyal men to the Tsar of Bulgaria; he was a general, a war hero. He was once the defense minister. The daughter of such a man being with a Turk was impossible.
Our guy, on the other hand, could not have cared less. He dared to take his date to the ball held at the Military Club. He danced with Miti in front of the Tsar. He challenged everyone. Right after this, he said, “Let’s get married.” Miti did not even think before she said “Yes.” However, the love story did not end well.
The pressure was unbearable. The father met the young man and told him that this marriage was not possible, “It would be good if you do not see my daughter again.” The world fell apart for the young man. In less than a week, Miti was arranged to become engaged to an engineer. When our young guy heard about the engagement, he took another blow. His term of duty had ended anyway. He packed in rage and returned to Istanbul. As a matter of fact, there was no engagement. Miti had refused to marry somebody else.
Our young guy did not know that. This was the only mistake he ever made in his life.
After this, there were 19 more women in his life, all to no avail. He never was happy. He could not forget her.
As a matter of fact, years later, when he met Sofia Cooperative Theater actors and was chatting with them in Ankara, he said, “I left my youth in Sofia. I loved a girl there, but they would not let us marry…”
He lived with a broken heart. He died with a lonely heart.
Well, Miti… She was 18 years old. She waited until she was 30. Bowing to her family’s pressure, she married a lawyer. It was a loveless marriage, but full of respect. She had two daughters.
She died Aug. 7, 1966. She was very ill. She told her sister Olga, “You know I saw him in my dream. I think finally I am rejoining Mustafa Kemal…” Then she closed her eyes.
They finally met…
Here again is another February… Today is Feb. 14.
Everything may go wrong in the country. The darkest, the least hopeful days may come. We go through pain, we fight, resist. Then a day may come, absolutely, when things go right. But you would still lose that girl, and your life would never be right. So go and take her hand…
Yılmaz Özdil is a columnist for daily Hürriyet in which this piece was published on Feb 14. It was translated into English by the Daily News staff.