I imagined Medusa to be terrifying to look at; she was in fact very enchanting, true to folklores that have surrounded her mythical existence. She has been sleeping here, well her head–two of them–for thousands of years now, hidden deep in the belly of the Basilica Cistern in Istanbul, Turkey. I tried to wake her up, in the hopes that I will gaze upon her lovely eyes and turn into stone. Precious stones. I stood there for half an hour, she didn’t wake up.
The cistern wasn’t that huge as I expected it to be. It’ll take you at least an hour to complete your rounds here (minus the 30-minute worth of selfies in front of the crowded yellow-lighted pillars found in the center aisle).
I imagined invisible mermaids floating in the chamber’s canals. They were probably whispering at each other. Gossiping. Staring at the hundreds of strangers, passers-by and onlookers in their underground kingdom. They were floating together with their koi fishes–and somehow only the kois were able to see these beautiful mermaid princesses. I wish I could.
Why is Medusa in this cistern? Despite finding the answer from Wikipedia, I still chase after this rhetorical question in my mind.
I left. And I left my heart with Medusa.