Photographs in Words 13 – Niko’s Table

The 7:10 evening ferry boat to Büyükdere is not due just yet.

In Niko’s ice-cream parlour, each of the seven small, square tables with grooved edges and glass tops, is already taken. Among the standing customers are “khent” (crazy) Nurhan and Hikmet. On the jetty, groups await the arrival of the passengers. Nurhan’s mother carries his cardigan against the chill of the evening. Tasula, Zeynep, Mihran and Nadya have arrived on their bikes. Tasula’s is brand new.

As soon as it rounds distant Yeniköy, everyone on the jetty recognizes this evening’s boat, “Halas”.

As Halas approaches Büyükdere, the captain sounds the horn. Once, twice, three times. He turns off the engine. A hush falls over the jetty. Now, you hear only the murmur of the parting waters. The passengers, who left for the city this morning, and those gathered on the jetty, wait to be reunited. Some, maybe for the second time this evening, will find a table at Niko’s.

The 7:10 will come again tomorrow evening and the next day. It will come every evening.

***

Niko leaves Istanbul. The ferry boat station closes.

Niko’s assistant moves the parlour across the street. Niko’s ice cream is still made there. Behind a screen, at the back of the parlour, is Niko’s last remaining table.

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