Creative Non-Fiction Short Stories. :) Travel, Oldsters, Love, and Compassion.
My taxi driver waves me off when I try to help put my suitcase in the trunk. “It’s heavy, really heavy,” I warn in Turkish. He tosses it in and gives me a smirk. I didn’t just warn him because he’s older. The fact is I apologize to anyone else who has to carry my suitcase, and usually add, “I’m staying for a month/six months/nine months,” in order to explain the weight.
He has scraps of gray hair and bushy black eyebrows. I try to meet his eyes in the rearview mirror to communicate my willingness to talk as well as my foreignness, my unspoken plea for patience. I ask about his children, his grandchildren. Though I’m sure many people(and certainly many taxi drivers) hate small talk, I feel at home when I can speak and understand. He speaks glowingly of his family, specifically of his wife and his daughters. I beam.
We are taking an odd route to my apartment. We’ve exited the main road and we’re flying through parking lots, circling neighborhood roundabouts, driving behind city parks. This time he tries to meet my eyes in the rearview mirror to asses my level of worry before explaining, “It’s faster this way. There’s a soccer match, so much traffic.” I nod to show that I trust him to find the way. After I ask which soccer team he likes, he shrugs. “They get too serious about sports. It is only sport. It is not family. People are always fighting over this, always causing problems. I don’t watch.” I plan to weigh in on the rivalries of American football (Go Broncos!), until he carries on in the same breath: “But when I watch, I only watch Beşiktaş.” He chuckles and nods, perhaps feeling this is fair–that one should only care to a limited degree, but that loyalty still reigns.