By Meline Toumani, adapted from her first book, There Was and There Was Not: A Journey Through Hate and Possibility in Turkey, Armenia, and Beyond, out this month from Metropolitan Books.
We sat in the parlor, waiting. Finally an old woman appeared in the doorway. She wore a polyester dress onto which ivory lace had been added at the wrists, and a pink crocheted shawl covered her shoulders. Using a walker, she lurched across the small room. She tried to smile up at us while also keeping an eye on her feet. When she reached the chair that had been set up for her, two members of the nursing-home staff held her arms as she lowered herself into a tentative crouch. They redirected her several times until eventually she landed in the seat.