Soon Kerem arrives, back from the front. His eyes are red and bright, and he’s breathing heavily.
“It’s like a war!” he says happily, alive with the chance to do something for his country, something to stop the imminent demise of all things democratic and progressive, all things Ataturk. He washes his face in the sink and gathers supplies: water, cloths, and lemons—the anti-tear gas kit. He is going back out to help the protestors in the thick of it, helping them to stay there. He tells us about the water cannons smashing people back and to the ground, and he rolls up his sleeve to show us a frightening bruise. “Rubber bullets,” he says and rolls his sleeve back down. “The policeman shot me while I was filming him.” He pulls out his phone and retrieves the footage. Kerem’s elderly father walks away, refusing to see. His mother, his wife, and I watch and are appropriately infuriated. Our reactions recharge him, and he grabs his bag of supplies and heads to the door. “Please don’t stay out too late,” calls his mother.
We hear the girls spot him from the terrace as he walks up the street. Going out to join them, we are distracted by the long line of water cannon trucks speeding along the main road at the bottom hill; things are going to get worse. Kerem’s mother goes inside, but Kia and I turn and watch him as he walks past the graffiti on the ancient wall that curves up to the stairs: DEMOCRACY THIS WAY. Then we lose him in the crowd of eager young folk–men and so many women who have too much to lose–surging up the hill.