The Old Bazaar

Wish I Were Here

Skopje, Macedonia – September 2014

I head toward the minarets and domes, and then follow the brick wall that encloses the Old Bazaar. A tall, thin man materializes. He marches along beside me.

He looks at my camera and smiles. “You tourist?”

I tense up and glance around for other people. “Yes.”

His smile broadens. He asks where I’m from, if I’m going to the Old Bazaar, do I like Skopje.

I allow myself to relax as I answer his questions. They don’t see a lot of tourists in Skopje, and maybe he’s genuinely curious. People are always telling me I’m too closed off to people, too paranoid. Maybe they’re right.

The man points at my wedding ring. “You have husband?”

“Yes.” I smile. Out of habit, I add, “He’s back at the hotel.”

“We go do sex now?”

I grit my teeth. “No.”

He curls his lip, spits on…

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