Trafika Europe 5 - Slovenian Interlude

4. The Day We Started to Burn

“Bastards,” he said.

It was the last day of spring and we were walking hand in hand in the mellow light from Istanbul’s historic Galata to Taksim. Even though we avoided the main street, we could hear the protesters from the square. The crowd was chanting in unison, their collective roar a foreboding. We walked past a graceful Levantine building with “Everyday I’m chapulling ” sprayed on it in red paint. The evening was mild and the last of the sun's rays were licking the tops of the buildings, pretending peace. The sound of my heels scared two stray kittens off the sidewalk, leaving behind a half-eaten bowl of chicken livers. Ahead of us, boys in Messi and Ronaldo shirts were kicking an old football around, their screams echoing in the street. Inside my head, the word bastards was also echoing. Cold, judging, condescending. Neither of us had said anything since. Partly out of a need to defend the bastards, but also in an effort to fill the crack between us with words, I asked, “Why bastards?" A simple enough question, why . But he stopped abruptly and turned to me. Behind him, a pink sign flashing: Serotonin Café. I thought about going in and melting into the comforting smells. But he was saying, “Why? Why ? For


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