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IMG_0559Yesterday, as I sat seething in man territory, I was praying we didn’t miss our flight when a nasty thought popped into my head. Should we by some miracle make the flight, our luggage allowance is 20 kilos each. I knew I was slightly over and had assumed my extra kilos could be added to Dursun’s, who only had a small holdall, and then I remembered the dead body…..15 kilos worth of meat in a black bin bag. I do believe I started whimpering at this point.

We little women are still in the kitchen, Dursun and Ide chatting to Myda and the girls are cleaning. The world carried on revolving for everyone but me. I just sat there wishing I had a hip flask.

Myda & her kids

Myda & her kids

As the solid tick from the kitchen clock torments me, Myda leaves the kitchen and returns with a gift. Dursun and Ide break out in smiles and almost coo with delight as Myda hands me a top on a hanger; a white shirt with a denim waistcoat attached to it that is covered in rhinestones. “Gi” she says, telling me to put it on. I do believe I died a little.

As I take the top and stand, preparing to go to the bathroom and kill myself, there is a rustle in the hallway. The omnipotents are leaving.  A male voice wings its way down the hall with a “hadi” and everyone jumps to attention; the top is mercifully shoved into a carrier bag, Dursun and Ide hitch up their skirts, grab bags and canter down the hallway, and I follow at a slow trot. God forbid we keep the men waiting.

After doorstep hugs and kisses, we pile into the car and are soon clunking our way out of the village and on the way to the airport. Phew!

Ide

Ide

Fifteen minutes later we are saying our goodbyes; handshakes for Haci Amca, hugs for Ide who has  tears in her eyes. “Come back soon” she says as we make our way into the small airport, preparing to face the weigh in.

As chief ticket and kimlik holder, I hand these over at the desk and put my suitcase on the conveyor belt, watching the little red counter spin its way up to 23 kilos. “Is there another bag?” the male clerk asks. I nod and place Dursun’s holdall alongside the case and watch the counter spin. Its 20 kilos exactly. Told you she was a smart cookie didn’t I?  Taking some items from my case, I shove them in carrier bags and we are good to go.

There is an upside to being late. We only wait fifteen minutes before being called through to departures and another ten before we board the plane. Again we are faced with a male already sitting in our row of three and again, I sit in the middle.

We all know that airlines have various ticket options but did you know that alongside ‘business’ and ‘economy,’ there is ‘crèche?’  No? Me neither. Of course, faced with the ticket option ‘crèche’ we would at least be able to avoid it.  Hot, tired and desperate to get home, I wrap my headscarf over my face as we take off to the sound of engines and screaming babies.  I hear my mother in law whisper “bişmillah” as the plane judders upward and I leave any worries about our safety in her religious hands. If I had the energy I would be saying “Allah Allah” and “ooooofff” at the noise.

The babies and toddlers scream for the entire journey. When anyone casts admonishing looks at the parents, they do that smiley, half apologetic thing with their faces as If to say “what can we do?” and “Isn’t little Mustafa adorable really?” I spend a lot of time buried under my headscarf and toward the end of the flight, I am laughing uncontrollably.

“Kym?” Dursun says as she gives me a slight nudge. I think she thinks I have finally cracked. Removing the headscarf I just look at her and keep laughing and she gets it. Both of us sit there laughing at our luck. “Oy Kym, oy oy” she says.

As the captain announces our imminent landing, I notice the boy to my left gripping the arms of his seat. I’ve not paid any attention to him during the flight as It wouldn’t really be appropriate for me to strike up a conversation with a male stranger under these circumstances.  Seeing him now, gripping the seat, I turn and ask “are you scared?” he looks at me with panic on his face and nods an affirmative.  “Don’t be” I tell him, “everything is going to be ok.” He gives me a half smile and carries on gripping.

I love domestic flights. Somehow everything moves along faster than normal and we are off the plane and have our luggage all within fifteen minutes. I leave Dursun in charge of this while I nip to the loo.

As sods law dictates, the minute I am in no position to answer it, my phone rings. When this stops, Dursun’s phone starts to ring also as I have it in my bag.  I ignore them both. A few minutes later, while I am washing my hands, Dursun’s phone rings again. I answer it and its Murat who starts shouting about why we didn’t answer the phone thirty minutes ago. With an ‘oh no you don’t’ attitude, I cut him off.  Grabbing Dursun at the baggage claim, we haul our luggage outside and wait. “Where is Murat” she asks. “Oh I don’t know, I’ll ring him” I tell her but, as I am about to, she spies him pulling up to the kerb.

Now, here I have to tell you a little something about my husband. He is lazy and has a thing about parking directly outside where ever he needs to go and, if there is not a space, he will drive around in circles until there is one. 

He is opening the boot of the car as we approach. “Hoş geldin Kym” I say sarcastically.  He goes off on one then about the Polis moving him on and why didn’t we answer our phones. I make that ‘talk to the hand’ gesture and get in the car.

As we drive along, Dursun is telling him tales of Urfa. Murat looks at me expecting me to join in. I continue staring out of the window. It’s a two hour journey from Izmir and naturally, the mood thaws. Eventually we pull up in the village and dinner is ready……well, it would be rude not to.

Before leaving for Urfa, I had made arrangements to meet up with a girlfriend tonight. Under normal circumstance I wouldn’t have made such a plan as all I really want to do is wander half naked around the house, dancing and unpacking before taking a basic luxurious shower, after which I can fall gratefully into my own bed. However, tomorrow is the first day of Ramazan, a month of fasting between sunrise and sunset for the devout Muslim. I remember, a while back now, sitting in Dursun’s kitchen and agreeing to fast on the first day with the family but, after the week I’ve had, I think I have suffered enough. I do normally give up alcohol for the month though and that leaves me with the tiny little window of opportunity that is tonight.

It’s around 9ish when we finally get home. No time for faffing about. Dumping my suitcase in the spare room, I take a particular present from a plastic bag, grab a bottle of Mojito cocktail from the fridge, say my goodbyes to moody Mu and turn on my heels, back out of the door.

At my friend’s house, we sit on her terrace, surrounded by candles and sip mojito’s as we catch up on the week’s events. Bliss? Well it would be if I were not being dive bombed by mosquitos! Did you know there are no mosquitos in Urfa? How fair is that eh?  Due to this, we move into the salon, lounge around on the sofa chatting and the next thing I know Its morning: Sunlight is streaming through the window, a child is poking me saying “do you want to play a game” and there’s a text message from Murat timed at 3:30am saying “where are you?” Hmmmmmmmmmm

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