That Old Woman


He was a short, fat, old man, sitting in front of his desk, sipping tea and writing all day long.  Strange music from his small room mourned endlessly.  Small spray bottles of smells from exotic flowers to smells of an enchanted forest were placed on his desk behind his laptop computer screen. A small window looked outside to the cement space between two garages.

He had difficulty walking, but he had no desire to go anywhere anyway.  His son went to work in the morning and returned at night, bringing food and other items necessary for daily living.  Otherwise, he was alone.

At night, he slept in a small bed in the same small room.

One morning when he woke up, he found himself dead.  He worried about the inconveniences this would cause for his son.

As for the world, he had been building a mud house on the water, anyway.  The world was easy for him to let go of.

He had realized a long time ago that life is nothing but a one-way, dead-end street.   Since Death is the only Truth in the world, how come people refused to believe it?  He remembered Beaudelaire’s saying, “The greatest trick the devil ever played was convincing the world that he didn’t exist” Perhaps, he thought, Death is also the devil’s trick. Otherwise, knowing we are all going to die just makes life a counterfeit reality. What a shame that humans are addicted to being and becoming.

He remembered the Epic of Gilgamesh; it made the revolt against Death about five thousand years old. The old man didn’t see it that way.  He believed that his soul was buried in the grave of his flesh.  The Angel of Death will free it from this dungeon, he thought.  He had seen the signs—the ever-increasing limitations of his bodily functions, such as walking and talking,. Actually, they were not the result of old age, but adjustments to new realities, like those of a new born baby.

On the other hand, he had been accustomed to his body.  Could he throw it away like an old shirt, a pair of old shoes?  He had developed a custodial loyalty and responsibility.  He had taken his medicine, carried his cane, worn his medical alert around his neck.


The owner was busy making fresh tea, so he didn’t see his early-bird customer. When he noticed the old man, he couldn’t help but ask, “Did your wife kick you out of your home?”

Instead of answering, the old man scribbled something on a piece of paper and handed it to the owner.  Some other customers wandered in.  The owner hurried to wait on them, and in his haste, he automatically crumbled up the piece of paper and threw it in the trash without reading it.

After the old man left, one of the customers approached the owner.   “I swear, just the other day, we buried that old man, the one with the cane.  He was my neighbor.  He wrote books. You resemble him.”

Before the man could answer, the piece of paper that he had thrown in the trash came to his mind.  He retrieved it and opened it up.  He had no problem reading the handwriting:

It read:  Hear this advice:

Try hard for two or three days to die

Two or three days before your death.

The world is an old woman who has survived many husbands.

Don’t waste your last two or three days with that old woman.

Golpinarli, p.123, v. 15; Can, v.959; Fuzanfur, v. 1074