Romani girl

Today I was out researching a story on café culture for a foreign newspaper and I saw the Romani girl above carrying this small boy past the cafe I was sitting at in Karaköy, where the privileged young and beautiful lounge, surf and socialize. She was importuning some man for a handout or something she wanted. It happens all the time, but there was something striking about her. No one batted an eyelash. About an hour or so later I stopped for a tea on the Golden Horn past the Galata Bridge still thinking about the story I’m working on. There she was again perched on a stool with a glass of tea at her feet and a foolishly long cigarette, awkward between her painted nails, and this young boy, her brother, I hope, fast asleep in her lap. She’s tiny and he looks almost half her bodyweight, yet she carries him around and tenderly kisses his forehead and picks nits from his hair and all the while he sleeps, ragdoll sound. Then the çaycı took the stool from her for another customer. While everybody else was snapping photos of the Golden Horn I couldn’t take my eyes from her. I gave her enough for a tea and a balik ekmek, but certainly don’t feel any better for having done so. People have accused me of being an angry man. I think it’s because there are times in life I feel completely powerless to do anything, or transform the reality before me into anything positive. She’s 12 years old. I’m angry.