Istanbul

 

Istanbul is my favouritest of all cities. I want to see the changing of all seasons here.

And I want to write you a rambling love letter about Istanbul. If you look too closely, insistently, for reality in this letter, you will not find it. Its reality, and Istanbul’s and mine, are interwoven with goblins and threads of memory and fancy, and this letter has golden threads running through it. Ask Borges. He’ll tell you. All reality is tinged with imagination.

Now, that’s a long introduction.

There was this big, fat brown cat sauntering across from Mavi today. I’d holed up in the room for a while, reading my tarot cards for some guidance and comfort through a (small but significant) uncertainty. Then I saw the cat, and all was forgotten for a moment. He waddled across, sat looking up for a moment, and thoughtfully scratched his chin.

“No,” he thought, “It smells like eggplant in there.” And he wandered away. Gravel got inside his paws, and he didn’t bother to shake them as he walked toward the sea. The gravel, they felt cushioned, protected by the furry paws; they rolled off when he took a flying leap over the traffic, and felt wind against them. Wind flying east, joyously, and seagulls flying with them.

Flying? Oh, no. Slipstream buffet, more like. Two valiant sweeps of the wings of this one seagull our cat was watching, and one whoooosh! back, because the wind’s too strong.

“She’s trying so hard,” thought our cat contemptuously, with a swish of his tail. “Fuck you,” thought the seagull. You might think she was replying to the cat, but she was really cursing the wind for fucking up her flight record. It’s not easy being the fastest slipstream seagull in the bay. “The record’s mineminemine!”

As though the wind cared. She blew, blew like a confident whistle; blew east, east, east; east into the meydani where the last rays of the sun touched the Ayasofya, slipping past the tomb of Ahmed III. She blew east, carrying the spicy, niggling aromas of Nihat’s aubergines and pilav. She blew the delish smells straight into my nose, whereat I gathered my steps and betook them quickly, ravenously, across the square and into Mavi’s kitchen.

Perhaps, I thought, perhaps I’ll stay here a while, share my time with others I’ve come to know by sight and smile and the occasional word. Perhaps I’ll put the uncertainty off for another day, and for now, tuck into the ambrosia Nihat’s made for us.

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