The Nice Thing About Strangers

Creative Non-Fiction Short Stories. :) Travel, Oldsters, Love, and Compassion.


Passing the produce market, a woman in a pink coat walks alongside her preschool child, and calls over her shoulder to her own mother who has stopped at the tempting piles of strawberries. The older woman takes one. She eats it.

The daughter calls, “Mama, don’t do that,” nodding knowingly toward the littlest one, who can also pick up such things as habits and unpurchased strawberries. “Don’t do that please,” she tries again to plead with her parent, who carefully selects another and walks along with a third, shoplifted strawberry in her hand, boldly approaching two boys who work there through long days and late nights. Grandma notices the boys, and she slows her pace significantly. She is suddenly frail. She hunches and waves at the boys like someone confused and blameless–but still taking a sample.

–Istanbul, Turkey
market in Istanbul

One comment on “Blameless

  1. Jeff Walker
    May 11, 2016

    Great observation and story Paige! I can see this one vividly due to your writing.

    Just before I hit “Post Comment” it occurred to me that at some point we are all three of the main characters in this story (or even four if you count the boys who worked at the stand). We are the young, learning from our elders through observation. We are the parent, intently focused on setting good examples for our children or the youth around us, and we are the elders, unencumbered with the responsibility of directly raising the children and while conscious of being good role models, also wanting them to know that life can be fun, too.

    And then there are the worker boys. Need to work on how they fit in.

    Anyway, it popped into my head because of your story and because of Fr. Henri Nouwen’s book “The Return of the Prodigal Son” (a favorite of mine) in which he talks about the same thing regarding that parable. At various times in our lives we are the prodigal, the father, and the older brother.

    Sorry…got a bit off track there. 🙂

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This entry was posted on May 4, 2016 by in Travel, Turkey, Writing.

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