It was the happiest moment of my life, though I didn't know it. Had I know, had I cherished this gift, would everything have turned out differently? Yes, I f I had recognized this instant of perfect happiness, I would have held it fast and never let it slip away. (...) A lovely spring breeze was wafting through the balcony's grand doors, carrying the scent of liden trees. The lights of the city shone on the Golden Horn below. Even the slums and shantytowns of Kasımpaşa looked beautiful. I thought how happy I was, even feeling as if this was a prelude to yet greater happiness. The gravity of what had transpired with Füsum confused me, but I told myself that everyone has his secrets, fears, and moments of worry. No one could guess how many of these elegant guests felt similarly uneasy or carried secret spiritual wounds, but it was when we were in crowds like this, sorrounded by friends — and having downed a glass of raki or two — that we persuaded ourselves how trivial and transitory those sentiments are. (...) I remember going from Fatih to Edirnekapi, and from there we turned right to follow the city walls all the way to the Golden Horn. As we passed the poor neighborhoods, as we advaced along the crumbling city walls, the three of us fell silent, and we remained so or a very long time. (...) As we drove up Şişhane Hill a crowd was milling in the middle of the road and the traffic had come to a standstill. At first I thought it was another holiday gathering, but when the crown parted before us we found ourselves right beside two vehicles that had crashed only moments ago, and the dying victims. (...) We caught a glimpse of someone still trapped inside the car, whose front was completely crushed, her head bobbing as she fought for her life. I shall never forget the crunch of shattered glass under our tires as we drove on or the quiet that followed. We hurried on up the hill, and as we sped through the deserted streets from Taksim to Nişantaşı, it was as if in flight from death itself.
The Museum of Innocence, Orhan Pamuk