When Abdullah’s father died, he inherited the press, and with it the responsibility of providing for his mother, grandmother, and the six siblings with whom he shared an apartment.
He was eighteen then, and every day for the past ten years he had stood at the bottom of Boğazkesen Caddesi, where the steep cobbled street meets the road that leads over the Galata bridge, under the shade of a red and white awning, serving fresh-pressed juice.
His father pressed only oranges, and only the orange kind. In every memory of home they were there, hanging in nets from butchers’ hooks in the ceilings, the way he still stored them today. Globes the size of cricket balls, dimpled and scarred, gushing at his mercy with a sweet juice that was more yellow than orange.
When the press became his, he couldn’t stand the thought of a lifetime that colour. Dying orange. For his first delivery, he asked for the usual, plus a dozen nets of blood oranges. Their flushed pink skins and firm guts excited him. In those first sad months of February and March, they were perfectly ripe. They poured forth a vibrant redness that wouldn’t let him be sad.
Next, it was pomegranates, strawberries, red grapefruit. Thick peach and apricot, clogging up the filter with their flesh. The angelic lime paleness of apples and lemons. He juggled them five, six at a time, stopping even the locals in their tracks with his hypnotic rainbow arc of fruit.
Soon, his cart was groaning under the weight of them. He sold more colours of juice than any street seller in the city. Then, a YouTube channel, a shop, commercial juicing machines, six keen staff and a future. And at the heart of it all, standing on the front counter, was the press.
Even now, it was never without orange skins beside it, and barely a minute passed without a sticky hand around the lever. These days it was only used for orange juice – the orange kind.