Heybeliada – Summer 2019
Just another evening swim at the water sport club… The sea was lovely and cool. This time Lucky the dog was there.. She went for a swim also, jumping from a height of 1,5 meters into the sea, one rather elegant jump… even though Lucky is a bit on the chubby side. She then swam to the small diving platform and tried to make her way up the stairs… someone helped her onto the platform where she spent the next half hour getting patted by the kids, while the sun was setting in the background. Finally, she decided to go back to the mainland, but it took some gathering her courage before she was able to jump back into the water. In the meantime, two older gentlemen are sitting down for a chat, one of them cracking mussels he just fished out of the sea, feeding them to the seagull, who looks like just another regular member of the club. Some girls are posing for group pics against the sunset while their hair is waving in the wind, and the waiter whom they asked to help them is patiently taking one shot after another. We make our way towards the small, but very pretty pastry store where we order some eclairs and tea. We sit down on the terrace and enjoy the view just a little longer, while the sun is making its way all the way into the sea, lighting up the Istanbul skyline in the background. Out of nowhere a lot of dragonflies appear and they are dancing all around the little harbour… On Burgazada (the next island) the street lights light up. A small boat arrives and in the background Leonard Cohen sings ‘dance me to the end of love’…. finally, we get up to ramble our way back home. Bayram guests are arriving for the evening meal. The moon looks like it wants to be a full moon again in a few days time and the streets are quiet. So quiet that you almost feel like you can put your hand on the silence… the wind is warm, and we walk back slowly through streets and gardens where people are sitting on their balconies chatting, murmuring, eating.. The deep pink sky gives a last warm glow to the buildings and the shadows carry us all the way home..
One day later… Again, the evening air is warm, circling around like a gentle wind, touching our cheeks, the skin on our bare arms.. Some quiet excitement is in the air, people are walking in the street, horse drawn carriages are carrying passengers from the pier into the night… bells ringing, horses snorting and the familiar sound of their hoofs clacking on the road. Children are out playing and the dogs have given up their warm spot on the asphalt to show that they, too are a little excited. Some chasing and jolly barking, but nothing too serious. I walk past the little mosque, the green lights lighting up the canopy of the trees. The men are praying inside, while the women stay on the doorstep, to watch their children playing in the courtyard. The garbage containers are just outside, their smell never pleasant, but even thicker in the warm evening air.. I hurry past them, not wanting to breathe in more than necessary and quickly forgetting this short interruption of an otherwise fairy tale like, other worldly existence. A cat silently scoots across the street, a dark shadow completing the scenery for just one fleeting moment.