It is another phantasmagoric Istanbul sunset. It colours the sky in all shades of orange and red, while the waters of the Bosphorus turn purple. The sun shoots a final salvo of flames and then sinks into the wet horizon like spent silver. The villages along the shore seem ghostly in the twilight. Fatima Sultana, overawed by the fiery spectacle and its afternath, feels as if she too has melted into the sky.
Fatima, a Caucasian by birth, is best remembered for her love of roses. A lot like a rose herself, with her blushed cheeks and full red lips, she was nicknamed Gülistu(rose-garden). She is wearing a lilac-coloured velvet caftan decorated with roses embroidered in golden yarn. It is of the fınest quality as befits her station in life. The sunset colours have given way to darkness. She approaches the window and admires the new moon, a silver crescent that winks from above.She longs for her beloved husband Adbulmecid Khan. She smiles bitterly:”love is magic. It’s cannot be controlled. No one falls in love willingly.” Fatima’s devotion to her husband is endless. She feels enchanted by the alchemy of this love but she cannot understand it.
Fatima Gülistu Sultana, whose son Vahidettin became the last of a long line of Ottoman Sultans, passed away with love still in her heart in the month of May, 1861, when she was only thirty-one and Istanbul was awash in roses.