Dearest New York,

I knew I had fallen hopelessly in love with you when I realised how I couldn’t wipe that silly smile off my face.

Only a few days had passed since we got acquainted. Mildly tripping on my never-ending jetlag and adrenalin surge, I was wandering around the streets days at end without eating or drinking much. I found myself bewildered by your poetic sunsets, the different blue hue of the sky above you and the snap-shot moments full of characters that I could only cite from movies and novels.

I realised you had feelings for me when an utter stranger presented me with a yellow rose as she passed by. I was at a busy square, trying to cross the road at a pedestrian crosswalk when a young woman stopped me and told me how she wanted to give the flower she was clutching on to. She extended the rose with a smile before calmly walking away.

A few days later, as I sat at one of your shabby cafés I adore so much, I knew things were getting serious when a young man preparing to leave shut his laptop and left a napkin on my table as he walked out which wrote “I can’t take my eyes off of you. You’re beautiful.”

There was a time when I was standing outside an apartment door with hefty pieces of furniture – in fact, the first house-move, which unbeknown to me would reoccur numerously during our affair. In desperation, it had dawned on me that I had not a single friend to lend me a helping hand. That is the moment I flinched at the jovial greeting of the Jewish god-send jogging towards me. Evidently, this theology major student had left his house that morning to do a good deed. On that treacherously humid August day, this guy carried all my belongings upstairs and politely refused even a glass of water I had offered him. That’s when it hit me: you knew how to offer support just at the right moment to those you care for.

The same day I found out that my friend received an uncalled-for punch in the arm from a mentally disturbed person as she was navigating among the crowds in another of the city’s squares. She no longer resides within your boundaries. She is back in her home country, enjoying a happy marriage with two children.

You are so adept in how and when to lure whom into your cobweb. The recluses, the dreamers, the escapists, the escapists who have forgotten what they’re escaping, those with aspirations higher than skyscrapers, freedom addicts, those who discover a safe haven for their weirdness as well as at least five more like-minded weirdos, the infinitely patient, those who swear by their talents, those who yearn to be close to talents of all sorts… One minute you’re crossing the paths of two people who admire each other from a distance, the next minute you expose someone in need of a muse with the music they need to hear.

As for how you enticed me? Well, you gently left a book on the ground which contains an answer to every question on my mind… You found the right people for me to defeat my reservations in the most unexpected of places… You delivered amazing gifts accompanied by a mischievous smile whenever I said, “I’ve had enough. I give in…”

Unsurprisingly, our short encounters were much more passionate in the early years. I would try and spend every moment with you without sleeping properly in most cases. Things changed a little when I moved into yours a few years ago. We now were exposed to all of our many faces and we never shied from vocalising everything that should be said aloud. I took every opportunity to distance myself from you, travelling more frequently and buttoning my lips more often. You chose to cross my paths with people prepared to break my heart. You made it rain for days, you sent rats to my flat and now you come to me with a state of emergency.

Yes, there is something truly extraordinary about us and I love you with all my heart.

Hande Oynar