The Nice Thing About Strangers

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

Another Route

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 … Continue reading

June 13, 2016 · 5 Comments

Crossing Guard

I’m waiting to cross the street, watching for a few hustling taxis to pass, when I feel a presence on my right. I instinctively move a bit to my left. I am … Continue reading

November 9, 2015 · 1 Comment

Big Sister

The morning bus is packed, and I am standing in the baby-carriage corral near the front. There aren’t many parents rolling their babies on board at this hour, so it has … Continue reading

November 4, 2015 · 9 Comments

The Humbling Scenes: Part II

So I knew I couldn’t walk to my Turkish class, and would need another plan. I stared at a map and felt some vague hope that if I went to a … Continue reading

October 28, 2015 · 8 Comments

The Humbling Scenes: Part I

If you have a good sense of direction, please never forget that this is a gift. Like those who can sleep in airplanes, you have been granted something very beautiful. … Continue reading

October 26, 2015 · 9 Comments

Brotherly Love

It’s such an early shuttle to the airport. Two brothers wear green plaid shirts, grey sandals, black cargo pants in larger and smaller sizes, respectively. Groggy as they board, their mother … Continue reading

August 12, 2015 · 5 Comments

You’re a Stray and That’s Okay

The woman proudly marches with a designer purse and sunglasses, but she also totes a plastic bag of cat food. She stops along the sidewalk to give a handful of … Continue reading

November 19, 2014 · 7 Comments

How To Be Clever

The man who writes very little always has the advantage over the one who writes a lot, since his every phrase is carefully constructed; just as the person who stays … Continue reading

March 14, 2014 · 6 Comments

Out with the Girls

I feel that I am growing old, I feel lonely and in need of the support of old friends, in which (in my case) rather small battalion I certainly count … Continue reading

February 24, 2014 · 14 Comments

On Gratitude

It is an intensely long line at passport control. Flights keep arriving and people keep cutting. A tall man and I are both determined to stick to the vaguely orderly … Continue reading

February 3, 2014 · 13 Comments

The Hamam Opt-Out. Istanbul.

Because the idea of sitting in a hot room and being scrubbed by a stranger sounds more like Dante than vacation, I’m parked in the waiting room of the Turkish … Continue reading

November 1, 2013 · 12 Comments

Places I’ve Gone on Account of a Book

I read a book one day and my whole life was changed…Where were the kindred spirits with whom I could talk? Where was the country in which I’d find the … Continue reading

October 11, 2013 · 12 Comments

Hoşçakal to Life as You Know It.

You’ve thrown away your chance for a normal life…This is what makes you such an exceptional person. -Orhan Pamuk. Snow.

August 21, 2013 · 7 Comments

Mr. Independent

A little boy in a blue t-shirt acts tough, strong, fearless. He clutches a toy truck low at his side and eyes the passengers on the train. His father sees … Continue reading

May 17, 2013 · 12 Comments

In Bloom.

She had no expression ready for so direct a glance and with a sense of failure she fluttered and dropped her eyes. She wondered if she were blushing. She had … Continue reading

April 15, 2013 · 3 Comments


It is a Turkish barber shop in Vienna. A lean, dark-eyed man smokes a cigarette, even as the barber lathers his face for a shave. The barber works around the … Continue reading

April 3, 2013 · 8 Comments


I dare to unearth the Turkey travel guide in their presence. Yes, it is in English and the four old Turkish men are all trying to communicate with me in … Continue reading

February 4, 2013 · 5 Comments

Benim Kızım and Other Cures for Airsickness

The general rustling of reading material charges through the airplane. Everyone shifts in their seat, digs through the belongings that should be stowed under the seat. The whole middle section … Continue reading

January 21, 2013 · 16 Comments


The café is a drafty perch for spying on the nearly vacant city. Crows tap dance on the metal plates over the rooftop terrace. A boy with an accordion embraces … Continue reading

January 9, 2013 · 7 Comments

How Little I Know

He looked at the snail. Can it see me? He wondered. Then he felt, how little I know, and how little it is possible to know; and with this thought … Continue reading

October 12, 2012 · 9 Comments

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