Seagulls bounce up and down the choppy waves of the Golden Horn. My hair blows in my face as I sit down at a table with a brown-checkered cloth firmly clipped to it. A scruffy kitten positions itself exactly opposite me on the tamped-down earth, scrunching up its little face as it meows without a sound. I squeeze my eyes back at it, and it gets up and pushes its head against my leg. It doesn’t mind my dog, and the dog doesn’t mind it. Because of its features I call it Leo during our brief acquaintance. Its soft, furry head fits precisely the cup of my hand.
A man dusts off the once-white plastic chairs around me with studious, short pushes. From a big black garbage bag another conjures up flowery cushions with dainty frills and slaps them on each seat that has been wiped. Here and there a chair tumbles with a snappy sound, blown over by the wind. On a bare branch above my head a bird twitters with urgent squeaks.
Down the path of broken pavement a stocky man pushes a cart piled up with oranges, grape fruit and pomegranates. It’s as if the fruit itself is radiating light, not the sun. With a sway and a pull he brings it to a halt by the waterfront, and sits down for a cup of tea at one of the tables. A fisherman starts chatting with him, opening his arms wide to underline his point. The roar of an approaching ferry silences them. When it’s tied up to the quayside, they resume their conversation.
A big aeroplane, bright white in the blue sky, flies over slowly on its flight path to Atatürk Airport. Across the water, turrets seem to appear among minarets and the mumble jumble of buildings. On the Galata Bridge the silhouettes of heads bend over the railing, gazing at their fishing lines. My dog is eating some grass, under a table two cats hiss at each other, ears flat, noses protruding. I’ve had two cups of tea and I’m freezing, but I definitely think spring is here.