First thing first: my Turkish romance

It was while I was laughing hard, a comical, loud laugh without any poise, when he said for the first time that I’m beautiful. I believed in it. We were at the foot of Izmir’s famous clock tower then, a beautiful, tall structure illuminated by lights that shift through a pallet of red, violet, and green from time to time. I know he was being honest because he said it as if he tried to argue several times with himself first if it was true.

The night was dark and cold. But there was a warm blast of air circulating inside me. I must be blushing too. I’m kind of happy. It’s been awhile since something so shallow made my heart skip a beat. I know it should no longer be a big deal because it is something that people would tell each other all the time. But then, they are not him and he’s the guy who made my heart skip a beat… for a bit.

Before Izmir, we were at Cappadocia. The wind was sharp in that part of the region. I was starting to love the place. For one, it’s going to be my first time to see and experience snow. Secondly, we are with this cute grumpy tour leader who seems quite interesting.

“This is the craziest thing ever,” it was the first thing he said as the hot air balloon takes off, flashing a smile of wonderment… a sweet, real smile.

Then he said being a pilot to this giant balloon is probably the coolest job in the world. I could not dare disagree. His eyes, a distinct pair of forest green eyes, is probably one of the most beautiful things I’ve ever stared at. You can’t disagree with those eyes.

“Yeah, maybe it is,” I replied. I can’t believe he’s talking to me.

While we were up in the sky, overlooking the beautiful town of Goreme, we talked about so many random things… things like how the easiest way to die could be jumping from this hot air balloon; our lives at work; travelling around the world; where we live; beaches and mountains; murder plots; kids who love to sneak out; an anonymous guy who makes high-speed, crazy jumps from foolish dive points; and treasures that are probably hidden in one of the thin, pointy mountains below us.

Then we flew paper planes (where I beat him), drew objects in snow, and made bets as to whose chewing gum will land on earth first (there’s no way to find out who won this part).

Slowly, the little pieces of disgust that I felt for him in the first few hours of our Turkey trip is disappearing. The wall between us was torn down in an instant, especially when I realized that I’m starting to see myself in him— crazy, bold, and careless.

The ride lasted approximately more than an hour. After getting off, I changed my mind about something. I wanted to disagree with what he said earlier. The coolest job in the world is not being able to pilot a hot air balloon. The coolest job in the world right now is my job because it brought me to this wonderful place… and of course, to him. This job made me meet him. And at that moment, I could not ask for more.

For a week, we shared things only the two of us can understand, listened to songs only us can appreciate, watched weird and funny videos, made awful dares, dance like we don’t care, laughed hard at things, and walked beside each other for miles like there’s no end. When I jumped from that high pavement in Sirince, he caught me with an embrace and that was everything.

I know we were real. The sun, the moon, and the stars were with us in this riddle. There was safety in the way he held my hands. We weren’t awkward in silence. There wasn’t any wall standing between us. We didn’t know everything about each other but somehow, it was enough, that it was okay, that we didn’t need to know more.

“I like you,” he said during our first night together. “You are very different.”

These words still hang around my head until now. It was not the first time I’m hearing them but there’s a special kind of sincerity in his voice. The reluctance echoed in the walls of my cave house but I heard no regrets.

Alas, I’ll say that if it weren’t for him, my trip in this beautiful country wouldn’t feel perfect as it was. Only that it wasn’t really perfect.

“Are you free?” he asked in one of our first conversations, interrupting me while I proclaim my wild dreams to him.
“Yes,” I said. “You?”
“I,” he paused. “just got married”.

I did not act surprise. I didn’t have to. And if you’re wondering, it didn’t surprise me at all, not even a little bit. For some reasons, I already know it’s going to happen. It’s the kind of anticipation I don’t really do, it just happens. It’s just there in my heart, an old nail pinned hard on my vessels, occasionally antagonizing the blood circulation in my system, constantly reminding me how the stars will never align for me.

What we had was not premeditated, a calculated move meant to destroy something or hurt someone. It was a spur of the moment I never wished for but I wanted to indulge. I never asked the universe for a man who’s tied to somebody else. I want my own, god knows that. If there’s someone or something here that’s being unfair, it was not me.

I submitted myself to reality cliches and was fully aware. But you know what? I was unapologetic about everything. I decided I don’t want to say sorry anymore for things I can’t control… things like my feelings. After all, what’s the point of living if life at that moment is already staring you at the face, willing to be seized anytime despite the dangers. We were really happy. At least I was.

Those days were over. It has been just a few weeks since 2017 started and I’m feeling the mid-year vibes already. I kind of feel tired. So many things have happened.

All morning I’ve been listening to the songs that we listened to during the trip… during the many bus rides that we had, the times that we’ve spent in bed, or while we were drinking and dancing in the hotel room with his bestfriend and in that fancy Sirince restaurant with the locals, or while walking in the streets at night dismissing the harsh air rushing in.

A few days ago, we were all over each other. Now, I’m all alone luxuriating on the memories we’ve shared through the photos of us that I took, on the videos of us that were taken, on every little things that remind me of him. I know that a few years from now I will look at that week — probably one of the best weeks I’ve had — with no regrets.

What we are, Melih and I, is a pair of comets passing by the earth once. At the galaxy, we are two separate objects that orbit the sun in different directions. What matters most is that once upon a time we existed together. And it was badass.