My dear Istanbul,
I must say in the very beginning that you taught me so much about love and loss. The two are like twins that cannot live without one another. Of all the places I’ve left in my life, leaving you was the hardest.
I started missing you while I was still there. I tried to memorize as much as I could. Your smells and sounds, your tastes and pictures. I hoped if I made a bigger archive of pieces of you for myself, if I took more photographs, it would be easier to live without you. What a fool I was!
I miss your ferries. The birds that followed them. It made me smile every time the ferry left the coast.
I miss your sudden spring in December, and then again in January. Your rooftops in Kadikoy from where we would catch the falling sun.
I miss your islands. Silence in the night. Stray dogs that protected us. Beautiful horses on the beach.
I miss your music. Sounds of the East I have never heard before. In languages I don’t speak. “Is it a sad song?”, I would usually ask. They always were.
I miss your food. The kind we would grab on the street corners. The kind that we cooked and shared together. Life is just less sweet without your sweets.
I miss your cats. I have never met creatures that are so beloved by everyone and yet so free from anything like cats in Istanbul.
I miss your full moons. I remember precisely every one of them. Those were the nights that would bring change.
I miss my new found family. Their warm hugs made me feel safe even when fear filled hearts of the people and streets of the city.
Whenever I close my eyes, I run away to you. I am there again in almost every dream that I remember. But sad truth is that the Istanbul that I left is not the Istanbul I will ever be able to find again.