In Search of Lost Time

She came from the country of carnivals and I from the Bosphorus’ deep blue. I spent last week in a city I lived in twelve years ago with a friend I also hadn’t seen in twelve years. When we saw each again, it didn’t feel like years had passed but only a few days. We cascaded like a wide and effervescent river through the city’s gray and old streets. We had lived through so much and been in awe so often that it took us days to talk and listen to everything. And sometimes we understood each other through the language of silence. Like when we stood before the waltz statue at our favorite museum and swore it would dance away if only it fell into the right hands.

A moment arrived between our laughter and tears when we stopped and noticed something together once more: we’re free because we have nothing to purchase from this city. We’re free because the only thing we want to take home with us is our fond memories. We’re free because we know and accept each other as we are, and, most of all, because we listen to one another. And this freedom is simultaneously our only wealth.

In the novel The Sheltering Sky, Bowles wrote, “Death is always on the way, but the fact that you don’t know when it will arrive seems to take away from the finiteness of life. It’s that terrible precision that we hate so much. But because we don’t know, we get to think of life as an inexhaustible well. Yet everything happens a certain number of times, and a very small number, really. How many more times will you remember a certain afternoon of your childhood, some afternoon that’s so deeply a part of your being that you can’t even conceive of your life without it? Perhaps four or five times more. Perhaps not even. How many more times will you watch the full moon rise? Perhaps twenty. And yet it all seems limitless.”

This one week was a spellbinding journey for me where I rediscovered the profusion of my memories. I remembered again and loved the past once more. And I thought that the passing and disappearance of time is perhaps an illusion. If we can remember, every choice that brings us closer to who we are is only a breath away. And compared to our memories, even the most precious stones are dull and meaningless.



Translated by Feride Yalav-Heckeroth

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