My uncle Feridun Görkem, painting my aunt Ani after they had to sell the flat on Tolstoy Avenue in order to be able to pay my uncle’s gambling debts. As destructive habits go, his was not an overwhelmingly damaging one. However, as it happens often with addiction addicts, one day his luck just suddenly deserted him. Afterwards, his luck bought a small, rundown flat in the suburbs, repaired it and started to live an isolated life like a reluctant hermit. This shouldn’t have concerned us under normal circumstances, however, as it is often the case in real-life stories of similar nature, the desertion of my uncle’s luck caused further destruction and mayhem in their household and kickstarted the chain of events which would unfold in such a swift and terrifying manner that, my uncle lost all his hair, 27 kilos of his hefty figure, that beautiful, spacious flat as well as all his worldly possessions and his right of residence in my grandmother’s summer house in the wink of an eye. Later on, my uncle, totally desperate, found refugee in his luck’s small house in the suburbs, and my aunt had no choice but settle for divorce.
This photo was taken by me in 1967 in that house, built my uncle’s luck following his desertion. My aunt had asked me on that ominous day to accompany him to the house, where we were supposed to get my uncle sign the divorce papers. But he was so smooth-tongued and charming on that fresh July morning that he didn’t have to utter many words to persuade my aunt to pose for his latest masterpiece. After I took the photo, my aunt asked me coolly to leave and not come back. She said: “I will be returning alone when your uncle is done with the painting.”
I left, bought two simits from a street vendor, sat down before a teahouse, ordered a big black tea and thought to myself: “Now that he reconciled with his luck, my uncle will never finish that painting!”