a conversation while looking for olives in a Greek salad

Leonard Durso

They heard me speaking English to the waiter while trying to understand what peppersteak “easy” was exactly and even after having eaten it, I am still unsure. But that’s getting ahead of myself, as usual, so I’ll get back to the two young women, one smoking a cigarette and holding it like it might bite and the other one, the one who does most of the talking, keeps playing with her hair and adjusting the shawl the establishment has draped over the chairs in an effort to alleviate the cold. And she asks, as I’m trying to locate the pieces of black olives in my Greek salad, “Where are you from?”

“New York,” I say, as I always say, thinking of myself as a NYer first and an American second, then add, “But I live in Istanbul now,” and don’t add that I’m looking to relocate.

It’s then the one…

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