“Sorry,” the young woman whispers to the man on her left. “Yeah?” he replies. Both shielded behind their sunglasses.
Late afternoon. The row of outside seats on the ferry to Besiktas* . The sounds of the waves. A sweet, tired sun. Kadikoy* remained behind. Lined up across from the sea are Haydarpasa*, Harem*, and Selimiye*. Passengers become tipsy from the blue breeze, and can’t help putting their feet on the rail and closing their eyes to seize the moment.
“Are you married?”
The man becomes puzzled and studies the woman. No weird intentions or nothing insidious in her voice. He wouldn’t call her beautiful. Nothing is definite about her. Only a crystal solitude. “No, I’m not,” he murmurs, with a small question mark.
The waves are refreshing the souls. Lovers’ dreams are fluttering over the sea. The port is over there.
“Have a girlfriend?”
The man hears sincerity. The kind he was longing for; without a curtain. Nothing in disguise. He thinks what’s the big deal. “No, not these days.” Her nail polish marks a red trace of loneliness. She’ll go back home alone at night, and expect help from her mobile; will keep checking messages, and who shared what.
They’re passing by Uskudar*. Old houses, looking as if they have cardigans on them, stand over a green line.
“May I put my head on your shoulder?”
The man is curious to see her eyes. You can hide behind these glasses as much as you want, neither brave
you become, nor a coward. He knows they both will go home alone.
He tries to say something, but his lips don’t open. He nods vaguely, just so she can hear his answer. The head of the woman, of a total stranger, leans on his shoulder. Her lips seem to have cried.
Maiden’s Tower. Like a candle miraculously placed in the middle of the water.
The Bosphorus bridge; mighty and far. Seagulls. The navy blue of the sea is flapping. Each wave is another line of this poem made of satin.
The woman finds peace. They’re stranger in their hearts, but human needs human. Is she weeping? He tries not to see. Let her weep, if she wants to. He’ll ask his shoulder. If he wonders. If he still remembers. Human needs human.
As the ferry approaches Besiktas port, the wind quiets down. The jazz of the city replaces the poem of the waves. Horns, street sellers, cars, buses, and the crowd. A mad orchestra. The harmony of the chaos.
She takes her head off his shoulder. “Thank you, it helped.”
The man nods, hardly visibly. No, he won’t ask anything of his shoulder. Let everything remain secret.
Leaving the ferry, they fall apart; other people walk in between them. They become two drops, blending into the music of the city.
*Districts of Istanbul.