With the babies both asleep and no pressing need to be anywhere except with my own thoughts, I let the sight of the fishing trawlers winching vast teaming nets lull these thoughts backward and forward as our stop drifted on by from the bus.
As the nets, vast masses of taughtly woven black yarn, raised higher in the air, I watched again and again as the smallest of the catch slipped unnoticed back though those tightly pulled holes and drop, soundlessly, back into the blueness below and I wondered, questioned, whether it is really possible to escape your fate, if the inevitability of a later, final, encounter with these nets should negate the freedom they must feel as their fins hit the sea, or if they don’t notice the nets at all, merely accept the rise and fall as though overly cresending waves on a not overly noticeable day.
Today held a beautiful morning. Through a wonderful series of miscommunicated coincidences, we ended up having coffee in Bebek allowing me to sit back and watch my husband and son hunt kittens and run explorative fingertips over marbles cool edge. In many ways our life here is blissful, it feels ungrateful to complain about whats not, but I miss what we don’t have and this is just it: time. Life doesn’t tick here but skips, rushed forward by the chaos that is business and formalities and expectation and the unexpected. Time doesn’t have the relativity that I’m used to. Or used to be used to, should I say.
Many of the fish which didn’t escape will make their way to Istanbul tables tonight. It’s fish season in Turkey, from September through February, and my favourite time of the year. Fresh anchovies, oily sardines and a fish native to these waters, blue fish, known as Lufer or Çinakop size depending, will feed our family for many nights of these months. When G and I first lived together, when marriage was still uncertain and hijab was a lifetime away, we spent hour upon hour walking the shores of the Bosphorus, fishing rods in hand, catching up buckets of fish. As our lives have since changed and rods have given way to tiny fingers and pram handles the fish have remained, the season unchanged. One of my favourite forever pastimes is watching from a bench perch as men of all ages and creed all cultures and sizes stand side by side, mexican waves of Turkish fish flying from the sea to the shore. I may be always and forever foreign, but uncomprehending I am certainly not.
When time is unrelative to anything real, and what’s real is as loose as the time, life takes a transitionary tone and I feel tired of this country tonight. I feel tired of having to defend or ignore, to explain or concede, to repeat or just simply let be. I feel tired of having to be more than just me, and of me never being the whole of it. I would love one day where the morning becomes the afternoon and the evening becomes night and my foursome just slips through the net.
Still, I’m grateful for this morning nonetheless.