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I just came home.

This is the first time I've ever been home late. Well, aside from that time I got a nosebleed in field hockey and had to visit the hospital and Mom got mad until she wasn't, any longer. But this is different.

Ekrem is different.

Ekrem didn't always live here. He was born on the Greek side. His father is Greek, but his mother is Turkish, and their own family separation happened years before the city divorced itself. He came here to live, only because it meant getting his own room. Now that the border is so much more difficult, he only sees his father once every few months, and only for a few hours at a time. There are body calls, of course, but neither Ekrem nor his father can afford a projector. So they have to do video, if they want to see each other. I think I'll try to sneak him in here, so his dad can call him.

I don't know why I feel like I have to keep him a secret from everyone, but I do. Perhaps because he's Greek -- I don't think my parents would like that, very much. But also, it's just nice having a secret. In this house, it always seems like we know every single thing about one another. It's impossible to keep anything private. And I'd like to have something that's just mine.

Ekrem seems to understand this. I went by myself to the screening of the movie he gave me passes to, and he saw me outside the doors dabbing at my face with my veil. He offered me a handkerchief. A real one, with real cologne on it. So old-fashioned! He said it was to honor his grandfather, who always carried them for his grandmother, who had terrible hay fever. For some reason, this made me cry even harder. You watch one movie about the evils of humanity, and suddenly any little story about kindness sets you off.

When he offered me that little square of silk, he said: "Don't worry. I won't tell."

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March 2011

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