The 1st Encounter

“Jem! Can you get the door, honey, I’m changing…”

Jem placed his book down, left his desk and walked out of his room towards the front door. He looked at his watch; it was 20 minutes past 11pm.

Who could it be at this hour? He thought as he walked down the hall.

Jem was a philosophy teacher. His wife, Gonul, who was four years younger than him, worked for a bank as their chief of foreign trade.

Jem was generally known as a difficult man to understand. People couldn’t easily comprehend his ideas. He seemed to advocate one belief one day and another belief the next. The truth was, even Jem didn’t know with certainty exactly what he stood for in life. He had dedicated his whole life to studying and teaching philosophy, but he still couldn’t find a holistic ideal with which he could identify. He no sooner took on a particular outlook than he ran into a myriad of questions with no answers.

Tonight he was studying Indian philosophy. Just as he was getting carried away with his current book, the bell had rung.

He reached the door and peeked through the hole to see who it was. It was too dark outside. He turned the porch lights on and looked again. A tall, thin young man with a polite disposition was standing outside his front door.

He opened the door a little, and asked:

“How can I help you?”

“Are you Jem, by any chance?”

“Yes, what is it?”

At this time of the night in a country like this, anything could have happened! From increased robbery due to public disorder or undercover agents of secret services to terrorist groups of various political movements… all kinds of things came to mind!

“I would like to discuss a philosophical matter with you.”

“At this time of night?”

“I come from a great distance and I know how seriously absorbed you are in these studies. I hear your engagement of late, for instance, is Indian philosophy. Perhaps that’s what you were reading about tonight?”

Jem was taken aback. He had heard correctly hadn’t he? The man had just told Jem what he was doing before he had opened the door?

There’s something more to this man, he thought to himself as he found himself taking a step back to admit his visitor inside:

“Come in… please.”

As the young man walked in, Jem swiftly raced ahead to open the door of the lounge room.

“Can we talk in your office instead?” the man asked.

Now Jem was really confused. Could his strange visitor really know this door didn’t lead to his office or was it just the assumption that guests are usually hosted in lounge rooms?

“Uhm… It’s just that my office is a little messy right now… but if you insist…”

How did he know Jem had an office in the house anyway?

He opened the door to the back hall, which lead to his office and all the bedrooms. Upon hearing the door, his wife called out from the bedroom:

“What is it, Jem? Is everything ok?”

“Uhm… yeah… we have a guest, dear. We’ll be in my room!”

He had stressed the word ‘we’ so Gonul would know the guest was with him.

Gonul took the message and didn’t persist.

Jem and his guest went into the office, shutting the door behind them.

“Please, take a seat,” Jem said as he pointed to the sofa to the left of his desk. The stranger sat where he was shown and Jem took his seat at his desk, which was filled with open books.

8 / 80

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