May 29, 2014

Life here yani

Driver pulls over. Ben Suri. I'm Syrian.

Riding shotgun down the highway smoking a menthol cigarette.

Içmiyorum 'I don't smoke'. Ama 'but' nane 'mint'...nane... ok.

Kadir is belting Arabic ballads with the radio... kalbim 'my heart' why are you going?

I'm snapping my fingers high on nicotine.

Seat belts are fastened behind our backs so the car won't complain.

It's all Turkish mixed with Arabic.

Iki sene 'two years' in Turkey. Savaş 'war'.

He just dropped his brother at the airport. Sud Arabistan. Riyadh.

Hayat 'life'.

Hayat zeyn! Life is good!

I'm 28. I'm 23. So young! But you look like you are 20. I know I know. 

I'm on the phone with his sister now. Merhaba. Iyi misin? Maalesef arabi bilmiyorum. Mafi arabi. Zeyn. Zeyn. Inshalla görüşüruz.

He's on the phone now. Sadiqa arkadaş kız binit mn kanada kanada.

Is it the cigarette? I can understand everything.

Kadir takes off his sunglasses. Oh he is 23. Baby face. Those black lashes.

I point out my street. He drives past it. Kidnapped for tea. His mother insists. I insist more. My coolness ends here. 

Phone number written on paper. Turkish girls staring when I get out of the car, sunglasses and hiking poles, shouting goodbye at this car driver in skin-tight white and matching capris. 

What a life. This funny city near the border of chaos. These interactions.

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