She angles away from it without trying to look scared, and doesn’t see the two plainclothes Turkish cops who are loitering in front of the tram stop, looking like two businessmen waiting for a ride up to Taksim Square, maybe to meet a client at Starbucks, maybe to catch the subway to Esentepe or Mecidiyekoy, or a bus to Besiktas and a ferry across the Bosphorus to Uskudar or Kadikoy. It’s ten-thirty now, they could be at their meeting in Kadikoy by noon, given good traffic on the Asian side.
They see her. With that practiced nod, invisible to anyone who’s not a cop, they peel themselves away from the tram stop and follow, one twenty feet behind the other.
They know where she’s going – to the Istanbul Migrants Center just around the corner from Tunel, a low building in a garden sandwiched between the grand old Swedish Consulate and that building with all those suspicious Westerners, mostly Christian missionaries, the two policemen are sure. Who else would spend their time and money giving food, blankets and medical care to a bunch of worthless African illegals?
One moves in about five feet behind her on the right, rounding the gradual corner away from the tram stop on the outside to get in between her and the gate for the garden. The other one tightens up on her left, if they’d been labeled A, B and C they’d have made a nice equilateral triangle making its way through the crowd.
She’s been here before, asking for food, a place to stay and cold medicine. She didn’t know what a “cold” was before leaving Morocco. At first she thought she was dying. Then some other migrants explained no, it’s just a cold-weather thing here, go to the IMC, they’ll give you something for it.
She turns left after the tram stop, following the tracks up Istiklal, and is about to cross over into the garden when one of the policemen steps between her and the gate, reaches out and almost without breaking stride guides her by the wrist on down Istiklal.
The other one has his cell phone out and is calling the cops back in the police car by the coffee shop, watching to see if she’ll try to make a run for it. They don’t think she will. That’s one reason they’ve decided on her.
She doesn’t. She keeps walking until the police car pulls up beside them, the two plainclothes men gently help her into the back, get in themselves on either side of her and drive off.