Prokopios, Kopi for short, was Namuk's best friend. Namuk and Kopi were a good combo. They went to school together, sat next to each other in the class and, of course, played together. During the kite season they flew their grandpa-made-kites higher than any other in the village.
In the winter months the boys stayed indoors, read books and wrote stories. They took to play-acting and revelled in the mythical world of shamans with magical powers, stories spun by Nene.
Kopi, was the grandson of a Muslim Greek refugee, like many who now called Cappadocia their home. They brought along their heritage of political awareness, thirst for knowledge and progressive thinking. That was how Kopi got his name. Prokopios meant progressive.
You could say they lived mirrored lives. As Namuk was a prolific writer, so too Kopi was an excellent debater in school. He represented Central Anatolia in the National School Debating Competition and emerged second. While Namuk studied literature at the Selcuk Universitesi in Konya, Kopi read Political and International Studies at the prestigious Istanbul Universitesi.
With no less than 15 political parties in Turkey, Kopi worked closely with the echelons of the Justice and Development Party and their landslide victory in the 2002 general elections was pivotal to his career. Soon after he became the political secretary to the Minister of Education, a man he greatly admired and wiser than his forty years.
The two friends last met after Kopi's graduation, when he returned to Konya to touch base. They met up with old school friends, where Ruhsar seemed to stand out. Kopi tried to recollect if he had ever spoken to her, but could not pin point a time or place. But somehow now she glowed, and those flawless high cheek bones beckoned to him with each smile she threw his way.
Noticing the side-long glances between the two Namuk remarked "Too busy in Istanbul for girls, eh, Kopi? You don't know what you are missing."
Kopi, irritated by the remark asked Ruhsar to go outside for nargile. Kopi thought the warm fumes of shisha would relax him and give him a better chance of a one to one with this girl he could not place. When they came back into the cafe, they were shoulder to shoulder, laughing and looking into each others eyes.
At the Ministry, his focus was on policy papers for presentation at Cabinet and every night he brought files back from work. The political journey was all consuming. The marriage was becoming routine, rather like two acquaintances in an office. No children in the picture.
His wife, scanning through layouts on her laptop in bed for the June issue of Harper's Bazaar Turkey barely looking up at her husband, informed, "I have an assignment in Konya sourcing traditional jewellery. I will probably look up some old friends while I'm there."
Kopi thought of Namuk and his ears felt warm. My friend, my nemesis. Maybe they were better suited for each other. His passion for his country's future was still blazing, but for his wife, it could have been better, but sometimes things don't turn out the way you want. "For how long?"
"Two weeks, maybe longer."