• Özlem Özkan


I bike to the train in a culturally diverse neighborhood in Amsterdam.

A Middle-Eastern-looking man asks for help.

He speaks broken Dutch.

I pause for a moment.

He is on the phone and is holding an old bike.

His phone isn't a smart one but looks like an old Nokia.

I get scenes from movies in my head.

What's happening here?

He asks me to help him pronounce the letters on the number plate of a car.

He tries to give me the phone.

I step back. Wait a minute!

I will do it out loud I say.

I spell the letters.

He thanks me.

I ask him if he is Turkish.

He says 'Thank God I am not'.

It hits me because I am Turkish.

It hits me one more time because I wanted something back in return.

- ÖÖ

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