Weekly, Prime Time
Your mother is not abandoning you. You are abandoning her
Zeynep helps 7-year-old Melek escape suffering at home which echoes her own painful childhood, and seeks to create the mother-daughter relationship she always longed for when they flee to Istanbul.
Zeynep, a young lonely teacher, feels a powerful sense of empathy for her seven-year-old pupil Melek. She sees in her an underlying sadness and yearning which echoes her own suffering as a child. Finding support in each other, they are destined to forge their own mother-daughter relationship.
The teacher first sees Melek as a hardworking and cheerful child. Scratching below the surface, she reveals a fearful and wounded girl. She is a victim of physical and emotional violence at home. But before Zeynep can help, she must overcome a deep fear of attachment stemming from her own childhood.
Zeynep was left motherless when she was just five and spent two years in an orphanage until a rich woman called Cahide adopted her. Her real mother Gönül killed Zeynep’s father and was sent to prison. Though Cahide loved her like her own child, she grew up introverted and with a feeling of abandonment.
The bond which Zeynep forms with Melek contrasts with the isolation she felt growing up. Although full of gratitude for Cahide, the feeling that she is a burden to the family grows after her adopted mother has two more girls. She resolves to leave home as soon as she gets the opportunity.
After studying photography, she sets off alone and never returns to her family. She finds solace in taking photos of migrating birds, organizing her life around their migration times. Her dream of joining a migration-tracking group held up, she becomes a teacher and finally crosses paths with Melek.
While her cold and distant character is ill-suited to teaching, little Melek will ultimately bring out the best in her. Fascinated that the girl remains so positive despite the suffering which the teacher sees within her, Zeynep feels very close to her. Yet, she is determined to leave on her long-planned trip.
Her decision to visit Melek’s home and say farewell is a turning point in both their lives. The girl’s mother turns a blind eye to the abuse which her lover inflicts on the child, who is left to die in a garbage bag. Confronted by this horror, Zeynep realizes she must save her.
Desperate to find a way out, Zeynep hatches a plan to fake the girl’s death, making it seem like she drowned at sea. As they prepare to run away, she seeks to strengthen Melek’s resolve. “Your mother is not abandoning you. You are abandoning her,” she says.
They flee to Istanbul where a big secret from Zeynep’s past will emerge. It is time to stop running away from other people and face the challenges which come with bringing up a child. She finally has a chance to experience the mother-daughter relationship she never had.