IÃÂm sitting at an outdoor cafÃÂ© in Skopje, Macedonia, having Turkish coffee with my friend, Adelina. The coffee is strong and thick, has the consistency of mud, but it is really sweet. Its late afternoon, but I still feel drunk and a little dizzy from all the ouzo and wine we had drank the night before. ItÃÂs pretty windy but still warm. Every couple of minutes or so, a cool breeze hits us from where the river runs through the heart of the city about a block away and fills the area with the smell of wild flowers and fresh coffee for a few seconds, then it clears and weÃÂre back to the regular smell of diesel engines and cigarette smoke that you would expect to smell in a European city.
If I try real hard, I can sometimes focus my attention to the sound of the wind blowing through the trees or leaves sweeping across the ground instead of loud buses, cars honking their horns and people yelling and speaking in a strange language.
I look at Adelina, and I can see that she is enjoying herself as well, even though weÃÂre not talking. WeÃÂre both just sitting here, enjoying our surroundings and each otherÃÂs presence. She hasnÃÂt stopped smoking since we sat down. She uses the last of the cigarette she smokes to light the next one before she puts it out. Her hair is a mess, and her sunglasses have definitely seen better days, they look like someone must sat on them and. She looks funny, but beautiful and perfect at the same time.
There are pigeons everywhereÃÂ on the sidewalk, on the floor, in the trees and in the bushes behind me. I wonder if this is really their city weÃÂre in, and theyÃÂre just gracious...