Rather it was some sort of cryptic code that a faraway mind had specifically designed for her to decipher and that she in her mortality had never managed to crack.
She was a thread of lavender, a most unbefitting hue fallen into a tapestry of browns, grays, and more browns and grays. Though hers was a discordant color, the crowd was cavernous enough to swallow her disharmony and bring her back into its cadence.
One way or another she could always fight back their gaze. What she could not possibly fight back was their silence.
Love loves power. That is why we can suicidally fall in love with others but can rarely reciprocate the love of those suicidally in love with us.
Neither social reforms, nor political regulations. Not even the War of Independence. It is this very bottle that differentiates Turkey from all other Muslim countries. This beer here is the symbol of freedom and civil society.
Not that they preferred ugly women, or that they had no appreciation for intelligence. But they didn’t quite know where exactly to pigeonhole her: among the group of women they were dying to sleep with (the darlings), or among the group they sought advice from (the buddies), or among the group they wished to marry eventually (the fiancée-types) . Since she was sublime enough to be all at once, she ended up being none.
This city was so cosmopolitan once. We had Jewish neighbors, lots of them. We also had Greek neighbors, and Armenian neighbors…… Because Istanbul is not a city. It looks like a city but it is not. It is a city-boat. We live in a vessel!…… We are all passengers here, we come and go in clusters, Jews go, Russians come, my brother’s neighborhood is full of Moldovans… Tomorrow they will go, others will arrive. That’s how it is…
They acted and talked as if no matter what they said or how they said it, one could not really fully express the innermost self and, in the end, language was only a reeking carcass of hollow words long rotten inside.
Don’t you see, they are all faces and names from the bohemian, avant-gardist, arty-farty side of Istanbul. Typical third world country elite who hate themselves more than anything else in the world.
Nationalism was no more than a replenishment of oppressors. Instead of being oppressed by someone of a different ethnicity, you ended up being oppressed by someone of your own.
You see, in this store we refuse to accept the tyranny of normalcy.
“Look, the Armenians in the diaspora have no Turkish friends. Their only acquaintance with the Turks is through the stories they heard from their grandparents or else from one another. And those stories are so terribly heartbreaking. But believe me, just like in every nation, in Turkey too there are good-hearted people and bad people. It is as simple as that. I have Turkish friends who are closer to me than my flesh-and-blood brother. And then there is, of course”—he lifted his glass and signaled toward Auntie Zeliha— “this crazy love of mine.”
“The tattoo that I would like to have is a gorgeous fig tree. But, unlike other trees, this one is upside down. My fig tree has all its roots up in the air. Instead of the earth, it is rooted in the sky. It is displaced but not placeless.”
It was then that four Gypsy musicians… entered the tavern with their instruments— an ud, a clarinet, a kanun, and a darbuka.
It had just hit her why and how people could fall in love with Istanbul, in spite of all the sorrow it might cause them. It would not be easy to fall out of love with a city this heartbreakingly beautiful. With this recognition she raised her glass in a toast: “Şerefe!”
If you find a dear friend, make sure you don’t get so accustomed to her as to forget that in the end, each one of us is existentially lonely and that sooner or later the everlasting solitude will overtake any fortuitous friendships.
It was the future that he had chosen to settle in and call his home—a home with its backdoor closed to the past.
Once there was; once there wasn’t.
A long, long time ago, in a land not so far away, when the sieve was inside the straw, the donkey was the town crier, and the camel was the barber… when I was older than my father so that I rocked his cradle upon hearing his cry… when the world was upside down and time was a cycle that turned around and around so that the future was older than the past and the past was as pristine as newly sowed fields…
Once there was; once there wasn’t. God’s creatures were as plentiful as grains and talking too much was a sin, for you could tell what you shouldn’t remember and you could remember what you shouldn’t tell.