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  • Ceren Cubukcu

I wonder...


I was 19 when I traveled abroad alone for the first time... It was June 1996 when my dad left me at the İstanbul Atatürk Airport.

I remember being very excited for the trip... I was going to spend the summer in Italy with my best friend Nadia as a graduation gift from my parents.

I wonder if there was a young girl excited to travel alone on the night of 28 June 2016 when bombs started exploding, guns firing...

I am pretty sure there was...

Nowadays kids start travelling alone much earlier... many of my daughter’s friends travel alone in the accompany of a flight attendent

I wonder if there was a young kid with the flight attendant he recently met and trusted, yet still nervous and anxious to meet his parents at the arrivals when bombs started exploding, guns firing...

I am pretty sure there was...

Nadia came to visit me a couple of years later... I remember waiting for her at the arrivals excited to catch up after the couple of years we had not seen each other... there was no skype, facebook, whats app.... anything of that sort... maybe ICQ. We made a point on calling each other taking turns every month but again it was not like seeing each other in person... I arrived early at the arrival terminal to wait for her...

I wonder if there was someone waiting for a friend when bombs started exploding, guns firing...

I am probably sure there was...

My early years at work consisted of looonnnng hours of the advertising agency life... we all lived and worked for the vacations. We would be hunting for the cheap flight tickets... our bucket list was very short termed. We wanted to see as much of the world whenever, wherever we could afford to.

I wonder if there was a group of friends traveling to Istanbul for the first time excited for the discovery ahead when bombs started exploding, guns firing...

I am pretty sure there was...

We were tired but happy when we arrived at the airport after the 13 hour flight which carried us back to our new wedded life from a wonderful honeymoon.

I wonder if there was a honeymoon couple at the arrivals when bombs started exploding, guns firing...

I am pretty sure there was...

When I was pregnant my husband’s job required a lot of traveling... he was away a couple of times every week to Europe. I remember being nervous about all the flying he did... pregnancy hormones did not help... I would be uneasy until he called from the airport to announce he arrived safe.

I wonder if there was a pregnant wife waiting nervously at home when bombs started exploding, guns firing...

I am sure there was...One of the man killed at the bombing was a father to be.

The first time I left my daughter at home after my maternity leave to travel for work I was still breast feeding... I remember sobbing silently as I passed though the security control. When I landed at the Ataturk Airport four days later I felt like I could not stand the seperation another hour... the passport control, the wait for the luggage, finding a taxi had felt like eternity... I thought I would explode out of frustration.

I wonder if there was a new mom anxious to reach to her baby at home when bombs started exploding, guns firing...

I am pretty sure there was...

In the past 23 years that I have been a resident of beautiful Istanbul, I have always felt lucky. Despite all the traffic and the chaos the city has an energy like no other. The diversity of what it offers is magical... even when we lived abroad “home” was always here.

Atatürk Airport is a vital part of our life here, very central... any time of the day there will be a couple of people we know in the airport.

As much as Iove I travelling, It is always the same feeling when my plane lands in Istanbul... I feel home. I feel safe.

When my sister called me Tuesday night to announce the bombing at the airport, I was home. I was safe.

I was watching the good wife on my ipad after a long day at work enjoying my alone time before I head to the summer house to meet my husband and daughter for the weekend.

There was not much on the internet yet... she said they say there was an explosion and shootings at the airport... she was curious whether someone we know was traveling that night... I cut the conversation short hoping what she heard was wrong or nothing serious... only 20 minutes away from the airport, I was home, I was safe, I wanted to go back to watching The Good Wife... instead I started surfing the net for the latest news.

Latest news; 44 dead, 238 injured!

In the previous bombings I felt strange when people marked themselves safe on Facebook... It really felt silly marking yourself safe when you were home and safe and ordinary innocent people had died outside doing ordinary things. I avoided marking myself safe in the next 2 days after the airport bombing until I received a FB notification “a friend is worried and wants to know if you are OK... mark yourself safe.”

No one really feels home and safe now. Still a magical city... kind of sad nowadays.

As for me I was supposed to be on an really early flight this morning to join my family... really early so I can be there when my daughter woke up.

I wonder if there was a mother rushing out off the airport to kiss a child good night at the night off the bombing...

There is a sad chance there was...

I did not take my flight this morning... I did not feel like going to the airport.

I woke up really early to join my sister and cousin to drive down to the summer house.

My daughter just called me announce she is awake.

I was not there when she woke up but hopefully I will join her for lunch.

And hopefully we will soon all feel safe wherever we are.

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