For a short while, maybe a few years, every time I returned, the cities seemed unchanged.
As I opened that door in Skadarska I’d find Igor and Liz eating cake or drinking tea in the same armchairs.
As I walked along Istiklal the street would be filled with the same echoing melody of the blind beggars flute.
Robbie, rough and shy, would’ve just slammed his empty shot glass on the bar as I closed the door behind me, leaving the Kirchengasse night outside.
Shilja would wait for me with bourbon on his empty boat on the Sava.
The barman in Pendor would be mixing the same drink for me and Sarkan as the fall before.
And as I smiled at him, Ivan would dramatically exclame, every time the same, ‘Darling, where have you been so long?’
And, as always, in one of the back streets of Asmalu Mescit, I would run into the nameless boy, who I did’t remember any other moment, except those when he was present. We would both stare, recongnising each other, walk on, stop and look back, wondering only for a moment, when and where it was that we first recognised each other, not know, and forget the whole encounter until it happened again.
So when on my return to Istanbul I found the fisherman’s cat gone, I knew that a new season begun.
The city losened its pomeganate stained grip on me, and I didn t feel the need to know if i would ever return.