Junto Magazine Vol2_Issue2 - Page 39

Junto Magazine, Volume 2 Issue 2 light of street lamps. waver like dying flames. You forgot you You’re staring at them. had companions for a moment, didn’t Them. The protestors. Those who are you? Yet barely an hour ago, you tried, not you, standing up for something they and failed, to badger your way into their believe in. You’re not sure what; your friend group as they danced through the lack of Turkish is crippling. You could mall. You all speak English. That should ask someone: “Ne yapıyorsunuz?” What have been connection enough, but as soon are you doing? But maybe that means, as they are out of your frame of sight they What do you do? What is your pro- disappear. Side characters are, after all, fession? Their answer would fly right disposable. through you. Your companions creep close, clutch- You fear taking the twenty steps out- ing their shopping bags. They gawk. You side of the flood lighting of the mall’s fidget. The crowd chants: Something in paved entryway. Twenty steps and you’d Turkish! The boy pumps his fist. be a part of them. You’d merge into the The police arrive. mass of bodies dotting the street like mo- You’re watching the young boy on saic tiles as they shout in Turkish into the potted plant and only know about the the night sky. Their words disappear, not police because your companions scurry even retaining the off. Words fly from ghost quality of hot their lips; you think breath into frigid Life has gotten far lonelier you hear them yell air. than you ever imagined and cops! Something in Run after your your gift of intangibility turns Turkish! they yell. companions. Run You want to yell after the other you into a ghost. with them. Vent American English your loneliness in a speakers where wordless cry. you’ll be safe. In A young boy climbs atop a potted plant four months, go home and from the safe- and pumps his fist. He might be twelve, ty of suburban New York, you can exag- maybe older, but in the dark, under street gerate your bravery. Run like the coward lamps, you can’t tell. He pumps his fist. you fear you are. He yells. His face is drenched in shadow. The Turkish police are liberal with You can’t be like him. Your anger isn’t tear gas. You read the news. You should righteous. run. But you think of the graffiti you saw And if you can’t be like him then you in Izmir, another city in Turkey. In slash- should leave. You never really wanted to ing red paint, in English, the wall read: take those twenty steps and stand on the “All police are bastards.” It’s too simple, fringes of the crowd. Proximity will not but simple feels true and powerful. Black translate their words and this isn’t your and white. fight. You think about heroes a lot, don’t But what are they saying? What are you? Shouldn’t you be a hero and do they protesting? something? Your three companions, other Ameri- The crowd pulls together with an in- cans, appear behind you. Their shadows take of breath. Someone, or multiple