Part I


– December 2007

Conspiring almost nightly with my best friend and partner in crime the decision to go back and see ‘if it’s really real’ had been made. It was already Mid October and absolutely teeth chatteringly, want to go to the loo all the  time – freezing. I couldn’t even wear my short skirt on Saturday night and I never, ever resort to jeans unless my legs are really hairy.  I’d kissed goodbye to the tan ages ago and only the morning ritual of dusting a little too much bronzer across my T zone made me feel closer to the hope that one day I would be reunited with both the glorious sunshine and my gorgeous Turkish boyfriend.

‘A winter break too Turkey, but haven’t you just been there?’

‘Don’t you want too go to the Maldives for Christmas like every one else’ piped up Claire who frankly thinks she’s too good for this office, but I can’t see why.

‘I just fell in love with the resort’

You fucking liar I think too myself with a wry smile. It wasn’t the resort I fell in love with, it wasn’t even the strength of the pound against the Lira (although too be fair that is an added bonus), it’s not even the fake designer bags, the kebabs, cheap fags or hospitality it was all about Him.

My friend and I had discussed our options and within seconds we knew that we could not tell anybody the real reason behind our Christmas break in Turkey. Why, because we would look like two sad losers chasing an impossibly sad dream of conducting  a relationship with a Turkish boy who works in a resort and who has like a zillion euro bints on the side and is obviously just a passport pirate after our euro millions.

I always get a little offended by this view point I’m attractive after all so why can’t he be solely after my body?

Well if you think any different then you are either a bastard or a bitch.

But at the moment I can’t lose face and let everyone know the truth because secretly I am shitting myself; thinking that going back there for him could be an utter disaster quake. And as my emotional defenses are paper thin right now I just can’t handle the post quake ‘I told you sos’’

It’s Boxing Day and I’m a bit concerned. Nicola and I are under the illusion that travelling with Turkish airlines equates flying first class with BA. I don’t know why but when we get together we tend to behave above and beyond our stations. And with girlish excitement claim to be ‘International Women of Mystery’ whilst clinking glasses at Gatwick Weatherspoons. We focus on the important things like admiring each others Designer sunglasses a mast our newly dyed heads, roam the Mac counter spritz and blitz the perfume confections repeating the mantra ‘just looking, thanks’ and like tunnel visioned work horses gloss over the fact that we have a hellish journey ahead of us to Antalya via Istanbul. It’s going to be about ten and half hours not including the two hour transfer at the other end. Bear in mind the journey time on any normal flight to Turkey is just over 4 hours I think someone is having a laugh at our expense as we paid through the snout for these ridiculous tickets. And frankly any money spent right now on anything is money that we know we can’t afford. Sorry mum, I know your present yesterday was shit house but I spent all my wages this month pursuing my selfish fantasies, lets just hope the cynics are right and that it will all be over before next Christmas.

Istanbul Airport, god only knows what time. We head to the nearest Bar nestled behind the huge live information board. ‘Godddd’ Nicola declares in her hybrid skeggy/south London accent. We’re parked up on neat little Formica chairs, the sun is flooding in from a huge wall of windows and Nicola has already spotted that ‘fuck being tired I’m never too tired too talk about the boys glint in my eye’… yes I’m right she knows and she’s already up at the bar ordering two large alcoholic beverages. Well we’ve got a couple of hours until our connecting flight. She returns to her seat and not long after the drinks show up on a tray attached to the arm of a beaming Turkish waiter. We both bleat ‘Tesekkur ederim’ we giggle as we have christened one of the four Turkish phrases we know. I’ve totally lost count now of how many times we have ordered the same again, but my cheeks feel flushed and I’m feeling really  rather  merry.

‘Do you think the boys really will pick us from the airport?’ I ponder out loud. Nicola slowly lifts her hands to her neck and in a grand gesture sweeps the hair from her shoulders, winks and says ‘Of course they bloody will. No one, no tourist girl or whatever has ever travelled 4000 miles too come and see them before. I bet they can’t believe how lucky they are. Two beautiful girls from London! – are coming back, just for them

‘Yeah you’re right’ I seem to say that a lot to Nicola when I can’t think of anything else to add to the stream of thought. But this time I hoped that she really was right, it wouldn’t be a great start to be left stranded at the airport, I shuddered at the thought of being stood up before we’ve even began.

‘What time is our connecting flight again, god I could do with a fag couldn’t you?’

Nicola volunteered to test her eye sight by looking at the massive information board, which we had stupidly elected to sit behind. I held my head in a merry daze thinking of the boy and what might be when I saw Nicola running towards me. She can quite fairly as I’m her best friend now be compared to the Rhinoceros. Majestic from a distance but when they narrow those black beady eyes engaging you as a target and hurl themselves towards you – they are fucking scary. ‘What, what is it?’ of course I knew what was wrong, I just didn’t want to participate in this disaster quake of a situation even though looking at the empty glass collection in front of me I was at least 50% responsible for.

‘Get your shit now; we’re late for the fucking plane’

Panic stations. The Gun had been fired. We ran, then like competitors at a false start suddenly stopped dead in our tracks realising that we didn’t know where we were supposed to be running too. Shit, shit and shit. Tears started too well. Focus for god’s sake, focus.  Nicola shouted ‘Security’ then pointed and shouted again – ‘there’ I followed, limp-running under the strain of burdening too much hand luggage (I never learn.) Nicola was in front of me, and had already whipped off her cowboy boots, skull belt, bangles, and earrings. I was still trying to untangle myself from the web of hand luggage. ‘Hurry up’ Nicola barked at me. She was hot stepping on the other side of the conveyor belt. Gate 32 – right. ‘Fucking hell, we are not going too miss this flight we need to be in Antalya’. Yes she was right our sex lives depend on it. She ran ahead, I limp-run like a female Quasi Modo serf after its master. We both screen the gates which surrounded us in a big walled circle.

 ‘I can’t see it’

This was it has to be said like being stuck in a nightmare. Running around, and round in a circle with heavy bags, desperately looking for a number. Ever since I failed Math’s at GCSE I’ve had a major fear of numbers, which in adulthood has become quite irrational. So if Gate 32 was right under my nose I wouldn’t see it as I am in complete denial of numbers – I am number blind. Thank god I’m not on my own then. We had done a full circle now, and people were definitely staring at us, yes we were red faced, panic stricken, getting louder and probably more grotesque by the second. But can you blame us? We couldn’t find our gate…

‘Over there!!!!’

The sense of euphoria, of utter relief made me feel like I had discovered Star gate SG9, not Boarding Gate 32. Security hadn’t even pretended too look at our boarding passes they just pushed us through. The sea of pissed off native faces that ‘welcomed’ us as we crashed, exhausted into our seats was enough to indicate just how close we were to missing the flight.  Fast forward an hour and a quarter and the pair of us are attempting to minimise the damage or at least camouflage the fallout from the hellish journey that we and our puffy eyes have just endured.

‘I look like shit.’

‘No, it’s these awful mirrors’.

 I look again then look at Nicola. ‘I don’t really look like this do I?’ she looks at my reflection in the mirror then earnestly looks at my face. ‘No, god no.’ I wish she had left the ‘god’ bit out. Satisfied with our new foundation masks we feel ready to venture into daylight, and enjoy a long over due fag. Shame you can’t double drop cigarettes, I’m just going to have too chain it. I wonder if they will come, I mean Nicola pretty much bullied the boys into picking us from the airport. God knows how they will manage it they’re practically destitute.  I wonder what skint is in Turkish? I must learn to speak a bit more of it. And then there they were. I can’t believe they are actually here, and with a Taxi in tow. Mustafa sheepishly embraced me and took a strand of hair between his fingers, hopefully admiring my DIY peroxide job, and then he stands back a little – taking me in. He then strides forward and passionately kisses me – Heaven. Nicola was already in the front seat of the cab, which I was pleased about as that meant I could no doubt snuggle up with Mustafa and knowing how they drive in Turkey he can also buffer me from slamming up against the window. I just hope my arse will hold up, sitting on the plane was agonising enough. I had a bit of an accident last week, you see. I was on my way to meet a friend, got on the train, and without looking landed smack in the middle of two seats impaling my tail bone on an upright arm rest. I cannot explain this pain too you. I whimpered it was that bad; my whole body went into shock so much so I couldn’t even muster a ‘fuck’ upon impact. I tried to sit down and found that any such contact was out of the question, so I sort of crouched in the corner and tried to pull myself together. At least it was Friday night and I knew that my friend would help ease the pain by prescribing an assortment of illegal substances. But now in the back of the cab I thought I should explain the grimacing faces I was pulling as the road too Alanya seemed to be very bumpy indeed, and my arse was simply not coping. I had already briefed Nicola, just in case. ‘Look don’t tell him the truth, let’s say I was horse riding in the romantic English countryside and fell off my steed. Okay?’ Well it sounds better doesn’t it and doesn’t make me look like such a twat. My real concern however was not the fabrication of the truth but whether I could have sex with this inconvenient injury. I was hopeful.

So we’re at the Hotel which is located in the centre of town and has a marblesqe lobby, which never fails to get my hopes up. We know the drill, and the boys have their I.D cards at the ready. We booked online for a party of four in order to save any embarrassment at reception. You see for some reason the locals don’t approve of fraternisation. I can’t see why, it must be super for business. ‘The boys’ are standing unconfidently behind us, which is worrying me slightly. All is becoming illuminated in this unflattering artificial light. I don’t like the way the Receptionist, a leather faced balding Turk is looking at me and N, and then at Mustafa and Mehmet.

What’s with the dirty looks? I feel embarrassed when I realise that the man behind the desk is casting a judgmental objective view over these Boys, and us European women who should know better.

God I wish Mustafa and Mehmet would man up and be a bit more, I don’t know like arrogant English tourists who have paid nothing for a Hotel but expect to be treated like VIPs upon arriving at the Hilton. After 20 minutes of negotiating we have reached a stale mate that basically results in the heartbreaking decision that the boys are not allowed to stay in the Hotel. ‘This is Bullshit’ Nicola declares swaying her skinny jeaned hips as she paces the room, sucking her fag so hard in fury that it makes her red lipstick bleed. The three of us, Mehmet, Mustafa and I are a captivated, yet beaten audience. The Boys can stay the night as it’s late but they have to vacate the premises like criminals tomorrow morning. As reality bites I chip in ‘Fucking Bastards’ Mustafa hangs his head in slingshot wrists. We decide that we’ll have to find alterative accommodation but secretly Nicola and I know that on our shoe string budget that ain’t going too happen. In short this is a major blow and everything seems pretty shit house. Let’s just hope my arse rises to the challenge as I attempt to have hot ‘miss you’ sex with Mustafa. ‘Cause all I need now is that straw to break my tender backside.

Mustafa leads me into the darkened room, and I’m pleased that he hasn’t bothered too flick the switch – I’d rather do it in the dark now anyway as its been 5 hours since I last applied some rescue make up and I could do without being under the spotlight. He’s leapt into bed as quick as a flash and I am turned on already by his enthusiasm. Until I realise that he isn’t in Bed too get naked, in fact he’s pulling the covers right up to his ears – and he’s shivering. Its cold he says. And now for the first time I notice the temperature in the room and it’s got nothing to do with the weather. I won’t be deterred; I’ve travelled a long way for this. I position myself on top of him, but the bastard doesn’t move an inch (discounting his teeth which are chattering) He doesn’t seem to want too embrace my very up for it warm body by unraveling the three layers of covers for fear (I hope) of letting the cold air in. After what seems a humiliating forever of inertia he finally relents.  It wasn’t spectacular, or what I had fantasized about for three months but after such a false start what could I expect?  How could I complain anyway, I was feeling pretty damned triumphant after all my arse did not pain!

The next couple of days were pretty uneventful, apart from Nicola and Mehmet exchanging a few choice words, few being the operative word as the language barrier was bloody impossible at times.  Mustafa and I on the other hand mostly spent our time walking hand in hand as we roamed the streets. He did teach me  how to ask for a Bagel from the three fingered, horse toothed vendor though.

That evening all four of us headed to a delightful Restaurant situated at the very end of the Harbor close to the historic Red Tower. The lights reflect beautifully in the water a kaleidoscope of warm candy colour hues undulate with the pull of the tide.  We soon order drinks – I had long got over the fact that I would be paying for Mustafa, and more often than not which ever friend or friends of his were around. While I’m not rich I’m in the real world and can understand the massive void between my life back in London and his life in Turkey. The economy is fucked here. So as long as no one takes the piss, you get used to it. However all of this paying for a man business left a nasty residue in Nicolas mouth. And her fiery northern temperament did not take kindly to the bill being thrown her way by Mehmet and Mustafa’s friend Yassin. We’d met Yassin in September, he was one of the Dive crew and all we really knew about him was that his dad was a policeman, one that beat his son. Last time we had seen him he was sun kissed and wearing Hawaiian print Board shorts. Tonight it was like being introduced to a stranger, he was totally different. Apparently he was at some kind of Turkish police academy following in his father’s footsteps. When we first met Yessin he seemed to be an introverted, somewhat lost boy. Now he looks like he’s heading to a fancy dress party dressed as Colombo.  This ridiculous cop parody and blatant arrogance doesn’t suit him and doesn’t sit well with Nicola. He makes a cocky quip about being a poor student, laughing while his fingers drum the Bill which is still sitting under her nose.

The fine freckles of her porcelain face became darker as the blood beneath boils. No police academy training could ever prepare a man for the scathing attack she unleashed on Yessin. Whilst it was not undeserved, she really let rip. She left me squirming with embarrassment. I mouthed a sorry at Mustafa. He doesn’t look amused. Yessins phone rings as if too save him, he signals Mustafa and they both leave without so much as a farewell. I feel awful. God were they that offended?  I take that back I don’t feel awful, I feel like shit.

I watch as he walks away. It took a lot of will power too stay seated. I follow him desperately with my eyes, but in his wake it’s as if one by one he snuffs out all of those beautiful lights, until I can no longer see him. He’s lost in the darkness an indistinguishable figure absorbed by the crowd. He has gone.

Something about a French girl


Mehmet, Nicola and I walk back to the Hotel. I quiz Mehmet about Mustafa’s unexplained exit. He was typically vague which was probably on account of him knowing very little English. I must have been tipsy because any sense of pride evaporated, insecure and paranoid I stupidly asked if Mustafa had any other girlfriends. In broken turk-lish Mehmet said something about a French girl. I mean for fucks sake Nicola and I had growing suspicions that Mehmet wasn’t quite the full ticket, but why did he have to tell the truth. My heart leapt into my throat and stayed lodged until I reached the Hotel and washed it back down with some Whiskey. Would Mustafa come to the Hotel, would I ever see him again? Was he with this French girl?

I bet she was stunning, I bet she looked just like that Amelie girl. Bitch.

An hour or so later, the bottle was definitely half empty surrounded by two overflowing ashtrays and Nicolas laptop Dj-ing was in full swing.  There was a coded knock at the door – it was him. He entered, not bothering to even throw me a charitable glance. He took a large gulp of Whiskey. Seems he couldn’t even stand being in the same room as me as he continued into the Bathroom, Mehmet in tow. The door was left ajar. I could see him; his face glistened in the yellow light. He caught my stare in the Mirror and slammed the door. He was actually crying. It turned out that all of this drama was because Yassins dad called him with information about Mustafa’s cousin who had been arrested for drug dealing. That explains the tears then.

It must’ve really hit home – I haven’t told you yet have I? Mustafa was apparently imprisoned for a month for possession of Cocaine. At the time I didn’t quite believe it, and at this point still wasn’t 100% sure of the facts, as frankly I hadn’t been privy to any facts. All I really had for evidence was Mustafa’s absence from MSN.  I was about to right off my holiday fling when Yessin came online and told me that Mustafa was caught at a party, doing a line and was now in Prison. The next message was an indirect request for £1000 to get him out of prison. It smacked of a scam. And I told Yessin just how I felt about giving Mustafa or anyone £1000. The whole event had since been swept under the carpet and I don’t know why but I pretty much held the carpet up, whilst Mustafa did the sweeping.

So the tears in the bathroom, made me re-think. Perhaps I had been too quick to judge. Now his story started to stack up, poor bastard really was locked up. Conveniently I was now feeling sorry for him and once again I was holding up that carpet again, ready for him to sweep the French girl right underneath it.

New Years Eve had finally dawned and as we were unable to wake up in the arms of our lovers we sat on the balcony not giving a toss about what we looked like supping our third coffee, sleep still in our eyes. The sun was shining bright and although the air was cool, we still thanked the sun for casting a ray or two on us.

‘I wonder where Mustafa’s sleeping then.’

‘Well he told me that since the whole police thing his mum and dad kicked him out of home. So he’s crashing with friends when he can’

‘And when he can’t?’

‘He says he’s sleeping rough’

‘Oh right’ Nicola lit up; I mirrored her and reached for a cigarette.

By the time the Butt was in the tray the subject was closed. Way too deep for today – at least.

Let’s keep it simple, after all we need clear heads too indulge in hours of prep ready for a News Years Eve we might actually enjoy. Seeing as we’re not in the UK and don’t have to put up with the immediate come down as we enter some cest pit pub which I wouldn’t normally be paid to enter let alone pay 20 quid for the privilege. Anyway tonight will most defiantly be different and that’s a good thing, right?

‘Wowser, you look totally fucking stunning’ Can you tell I’ve had a few already? It was early evening and Nicola looked show stopping in her artfully sluttish All Saints dress. And I felt pretty good myself in a black dress with a plunging neckline that would send me straight to Hell in the eyes of the Imam but what’s another ticket too hell anyway?

I’d been sick already and hadn’t even left the Hotel room yet. The vodka was going down, but I didn’t expect it too come back up so soon – well, not until 2008 at least. My Mascara had already run so I wiped away the offending residue with my fingers. I forgot to wash my hands and left a black smudge on the tip of my nose after pinching it whilst forcing another shot down. A never ending cycle my eyes watered as the sting of alcohol hit the back of my throat. This time I couldn’t be bothered to sort out the Mascara. Nicola was already growing impatient. ‘Well here we are’ I said as Nicola and I looked at each other through the mirror of the lift – ‘ready to see in the New Year’. Stepping out onto the street, I guess we both felt gorgeous, but a little under dressed. This wasn’t the West End. This was some unknown back street, in Turkey 5 months shy of the tourist season. And by the reaction of the local men, they were not yet prepared for bare legs in December. One old man, came out after us from a beaten up truck – his face as deeply worn as the roads he’d travelled. He came up to me and said I was beautiful. Never one to turn my nose up at a compliment, (after all you ever know when the next ones going to come) He leaned in closer and whispered in my ear that unlike his Contemporaries he loves to lick pussy. Apparently he’s very good at it.

‘Right, well okay – thanks for that information, but we’re going to have to decline both of your kind offers, as we can walk to the Harbor and urm, well thanks but no thanks for the other offer.  Bye!’ 

We could hardly contain our hysterics but with good grace burst out laughing when the little old man was out of view – Hilarious.

Mehmet cut a willowy figure as he perched on a mooring post. The detail of the Gullet Boat behind him almost swallowed him whole so at first we didn’t see him. Nicola beamed, striding up to him in her towering platforms and planted a longing kiss on his lips. ‘It’s New Years Eve Askim’

‘Where’s Mustafa?’ I enquired.

‘Mustafa have some problem’

‘What’s wrong?’ I had a sinking feeling.

Mehmet gave me one of his signature blank looks. Nicola and I were all too aware that problems whatever they may be have no place at the start of NYE. She sensed that I needed a lifeline. And before I could dwell too deeply on the absence of Mustafa she dragged me to the nearest Bar.

‘C’mon lets get a drink; Mehmet will wait here for Mustafa okay’

‘Okay’ I said my head down and lips pouting as I rolled an empty can of coke under my shoe, ‘Okay, fuck it – we’re going to have a wicked New Years Eve, let’s go!. I kicked the Can hard and it plunked into the sea hardly making a sound.  As I linked arms with Nicola I turned my head and pleaded with Mehmet ‘Bring Mustafa to me’.

It had been an hour or so and the mood, no matter how much Nicola and I had tried to revive it was decidedly stagnent. Then Mehmet suddenly appeared. He said that Mustafa was here but wouldn’t come to the Bar and that I had to go and meet him. He was by the Boat. Great I thought. Am I going to be dumped now, is that it?

I was at least 100 meters away from him but I could feel his sadness already. I was happy to take the weight off my stilettos and resumed Mehmets earlier position on the post opposite Mustafa. I made a half hearted attempt at a smile which felt hollow when he didn’t reciprocate. He finally opened up talking to the ground instead of looking at me. He spoke of his woes, of the month he spent in Prison of the shame he had brought on himself and his family. His parent’s marriage was on the verge of collapse and the situation had been exasperated by what he had done. They kicked him out of the family home. And when he couldn’t find a spare floor or couch he slept in the park.

‘My life is shit’

I wanted to say; well at least you have me. But that just didn’t seem appropriate. He looked like he was about to slit his fucking wrists for Christ sakes. How was I going to save him? (And our night)

Well, I did what any woman would do. I mustered every bit of persuasive power I had in my bones and gave him a charming, enchanting rhapsody; a sermon about ‘The Future’. I mean what else is there in life? If we don’t have the hope of the future, especially when the present is so shit as he puts it. Then what’s the fucking point? The future equates hope and I know that hope is a life line that people cling on to – it’s how people survive. So yeah I think it worked, or maybe I just ranted with so much fervor that he felt that he now needed a drink so we walked hand in hand and joined the others at the Bar

We all got wasted, trashed, totally shit faced. We watched the fire works explode from the top deck of a boat, spilling Vodka as we danced and stumbled around. We were briefly visited by a couple of ethereal Chinese girls, all lamp black bobs and translucent limbs. I imagined that they were twins visiting us from another planet. When they were gone Nicola and I continued our tyrant, assaulting Mehmet and Mustafa – drunk talking over each other about everything and nothing in particular. Club hopping we laughed, drank and danced ourselves silly. We even indulged in the obligatory group hug when it was officially announced that 2008 had arrived. All in all it was a very good night. I did have some G&T ‘another years gone by’ tears but apart from that it was good. That’s what I was thinking to myself wrapped up in the arms of Mustafa, underneath some tarpaulin on a damp mattress on the top deck of a Boat. My drifting thoughts were interrupted by the early morning Azan. That’s when I realised how cold and wet I was and that an almighty hangover was only minutes away.


1st January 2008


Dear diary,

Hi. How are you? Pretty shit name Diary. Unlucky. Parents wired or something? Shame. Sorry Diary I don’t mean to take the piss. I’ve never been faithful to you in the past – I’m sorry.

I’ve toyed with the idea of you, teased and courted you at times but I’m serious now.

Don’t roll your eyes at me like that. I know its January. No, it’s just a happy coincidence. You are not merely part of an empty resolution list – I promise. You know what, fuck you then. If you’re gonna be like that. You’re boring me anyway. Went out last night (of course) feel like shit today (of course.)

I’ll write again tomorrow, I just feel a bit Sick now okay.

Love ya long time : )


The four of us head to the Beach; we pick up some Efes Extra on the way. What’s a night in Turkey without this extra strength fizzy piss? After one my knees go numb. After two my fanny tingles. I can only assume that for some reason this sensation contributes to this home grown brew giving me the horn. And after the third or is it the fourth I can’t feel my face! Anyway it’s great stuff. But this is extra strength Beer at the end of the day and I can’t glamorise it too much. After all this is the kind of wife beating juice that homeless folk swill back at the ranch. But its alright I’m on holiday and it’s cheap, like 75p a can and at 8% volume – I think you get your monies worth. I bought a Guitar yesterday and Mustafa is staring at it like he has never seen a musical instrument before. It’s on his lap and he’s painfully plucking at it. The strings recoil making hideous sounds like some kind of animal warning off it’s pray. It hasn’t put him off so I pass him a Beer and a Winston. His hands now full the Guitar can recover, I bet the tunings fucked though. I’ve noticed some physical distance between Nicola and Mehmet over the last few days. Her mounting frustration seems to have peaked and she’s almost indifferent towards him at times. She told me that the sex was good. And that he seems to be quite experienced for someone so young, fucking her in the shower like he does. She told me in graphic detail how he Plies and kneads her body into different shapes, like she’s the Kama sutra version of Morph. I’m Impressed. I admit as a red blooded woman I was actually quite envious. However the green eyed monster soon died when she said that after all that steamy sex he simply grunts and rolls over. I had noticed how Mehmet could be quite, well just generally insensitive and nonchalant towards her. I wasn’t convinced that her relationship would go the distance. I hoped that Mustafa and I would make it. A big droplet of rain hit my forehead. I looked up towards the night sky and just in time blinked- catching a raindrop in my eyelashes. We took shelter underneath a Beach Hut and continued the reverie. Some of Mustafa’s friends had the same idea and soon the party of four was a party of ten. I was feeling quite merry and pleased to see that Nicola and Mehmet having been forced to cozy up were getting reacquainted. Maybe they will be alright, after all? The rain hammered down as we all marveled at the intermittent thunder and lightning show. We had a panoramic view point and it was quite something watching the jagged white flashes hit the horizon illuminating the vastness of the sea just meters ahead of us. I begin to gently strum the guitar feeling confident that my amateur attempts would be drowned out by the almighty percussion of the thunder storm. Mustafa asks if I can play a song. ‘Can you sing?’ He asks. Jesus. I take another swig of the Efes. Gingerly I start an interpretation of PJ Harvey’s ‘Good Fortune’ He watches me intently, why does this suddenly feel like an audition? After the first verse I hear him say ‘Sexy’ and relax. Afterwards I receive a modest round of applause and feel quite pleased with myself. I have never sung in public before. Cheers PJ. My bladders set too burst after all the booze and Nicola is feeling my pain so we make a mad dash for it. We race through the downpour looking for somewhere to Pee. Laughing like hyenas we dart through the park, zig zagging drunkardly through the assault course of flower and fauna (a stray dog) towards the loos. We manage to skip over most of the puddles until I miss judge one and sink into a monster one – Fuck. And the Toilets are locked after all that. So we resort to squatting in front of the entrance – Classy. We laugh at this and then laugh even harder when after fighting to pull her sodden jeans back up Nicola asks me in vain how she looks. We look like two drowned rats but insallah the boys will still think that we are two sex goddesses gracing them with our presence. Yeah, like I said God willing!

On the way back the conversation moves onto Mehmets appearance. Nicola says he is working a John Travolta thing circa 1972 we get the giggles again. Not too mention the red and blue two tone turtle neck. We both exclaim ‘what’s that all about?!’ the 3/4 length leather jacket with collars turned up that’s what sealed the Travolta parody for me. For Nicola it was the grease slicked quiff hair. ‘And why doesn’t he blow his fucking nose, I swear every time I look at him it’s like bubble watch!’

‘Yeah Mustafa wipes his nose on his sleeve. What have the Turks got against tissue exactly?’

I’m saddened by the fact that Nicola will be leaving soon. Will I be okay on my own? It’s getting late in the day now and Mehmet has still not showed up. His girlfriend is flying home tomorrow. What is wrong with him? She’s on the phone too him now. She’s pulling OMG faces; I’m rolling my eyes and tutting in moral support. Every time he stops talking, and stops making sorry excuses I’m guessing, she dives back into the dialogue like a stealth jet until finally she screams and like a nuclear bomb explodes with ‘No, don’t you tell me to fuck off!, YOU FUCK OFF! – He hung up on me, can you believe it the bastard hung up on me’ I kind of think to myself that she left him with little choice there, what with the fuck off bit. For once I guess he listened to her. Nicola pulls herself together and we chew the cud on the relationship, and unanimously come to the conclusion he was way below her league anyway. Which he is, bless him. ‘Do you think I should meet up with Veysel?’

‘What the Hairdresser with the tiny dick!’ we both laugh. A couple of days ago we enjoyed a marathon pampering sesh at the local salon and Nicolas Hairdresser took a shine to her, and her to him. We all went for a drink together afterwards and I left Nicola and Veysel to it. After midnight Nicola came back to the Hotel and told me all about Veysel and how after taking a stroll on the beach one thing led to a bit of heavy petting and that’s when she discovered it. 

‘It was like a Worm, a Worm! That’s when I said no, no. I just couldn’t face it – literally!’

‘So are you sure you want to meet up with him again? I say, slightly stunned.

‘It’s my last night and I need a bit of romance’ How could I disagree to this harmless request. I’m a die hard romantic and I can see that the prospect of leaving Turkey for damp and dreary London could make you lust after one last shot of romance. Even with a man who has a small penis.

 The following day Mustafa and I waved goodbye to Nicola as the coach pulled out of the station. I was sad to see my best friend go but at the same time my stomach was filled with butterflies, nervous excitement mixed with trepidation. What did this next week have in store for me – now it was just the two of us?

It’s early in the morning and I’m wide awake. Being a ten hour plus girl, to say the least this is unusual behavior. It could be something to do with the coffee of course. Bleary eyed I called room service for my body was tired, but my mind was totally, wired. So yeah Coffee seemed like the answer. Nicola was gone and I felt desperately alone. I just couldn’t stop thinking about what had happened last week and what was going to happen this week. There was no way my brain was going to let me sleep in. Bollocks. Mustafa had promised me last night that he would meet me every day at noon. But being the first day I was nervous that he wouldn’t show, that I was leaving my self wide open, maybe he didn’t really give two shits. After all I didn’t really know him. Not really. So I took myself, my coffee and my fags to the balcony. The sun again, yes it was calling me…

‘Come on girl make the most of it, because in London you are going to miss me’.

The street below is quiet. Everything is so quiet. I’m thankful when life’s daily background music starts to roll. Turkish women in gypsy headscarves and long patterned skirts begin to rise and with them they add their own percussional rhythms; which is lead by a woman and her broom as she sweeps her yard. Then a cock crows as two women alternate beating an elaborate carpet. They are giving it some welly as plumes of dust are flowing from this seemingly clean carpet. I wonder who they are thinking of as they whack the life out of the thing.

To my great relief Mustafa met me dead on twelve just like he promised. He’ll never know how pleased I was to see his awkward smile. ‘Hi Askim’ he winks at me.

‘Hi, got a light?’ I say all cool as a fucking cucumber. If only he knew how I was stewing all night, worrying about nothing it seems.

After dinner the following evening Mustafa drops me off at the Hotel ensuring me he’ll pick me up later. I soon grow restless and before long I head to the lobby where the Bar is. I notice an old woman sitting alone and politely introduce myself to her, asking how she is. Selma raises her shaky crooked hands extending her spindly fingers like branches that were about to snap and replies harshly

 ‘What do you think? – look at me.’

 She was Norwegian, as were most of the retired guests in the Hotel and had been in the hospitality business for 20 years. She had also been married to a Bulgarian man but she did not elaborate.

‘Oh, Mustafa is half Bulgarian’ I chirped, eager for Selma to shed some more info and hopefully light on my very own mysterious man. I foolishly thought that we’d found some common ground here. But instead of her telling me how wonderful Bulgaria and its people are, her face twisting slightly, she grabbed my arm. ‘Be-care-e-ful’ she grimaced like one of Macbeths witches. ‘They have a darrrk side, they wills turn on youz without-a- warning’.

‘Oh right, well he’s only half Bulgarian’. Thank fuck I think too myself. Christ this old lady doesn’t mince her words. ‘Selma I’m just going to pop upstairs and get ready, I’ll be down in about half an hour and we’ll have a drink- alright’.

An hour and million outfit changes later, I was finally ready. I checked myself out in the mirror, striking a few poses I stood back admiring the pretty floral dress, the short hemline almost diminished by a pair of 60 Deniers. The icing on the cake; Sexy flat boots – very now.

I was pleased to see Selma hadn’t moved. Actually thinking about it maybe she couldn’t. Anyway I greeted her with a drink. As I got closer it became clear that perhaps I should have ordered her a shot of Espresso. I know I should respect my elders an all that but there’s just no other way to put it; Selma was absolutely rat arsed. I don’t know why but this really disturbed me. My friendly pity had suddenly transcended into fear. She was already incapacitated; I mean the woman was on sticks! And accordingly to the Receptionists who rolled his eyes when he told me how she had to be manhandled into bed on a nightly basis. Selma herself backed up this story, but when she told me how helpful the staff and the resident doctor were it sounded like she enjoyed the attention. This information coming from her seemed a bit, well creepy. Perhaps this factored into her self medicating to excess. She leaned in closer and I instantly wished that she wouldn’t. As I watched her struggle to negotiate her own faculties her mouth making unnatural shapes as she tried and actually did spit out her words at me. She reminded me now not of one of Shakespeare’s Witches but one of Roald Dhals hideous incarnations. I shuddered at the thought.

‘Why don’t you wear something normal?’

As I don’t quite understand the point to this question she has enough time to pull another corker out of the bag. She continues, raising her splintered voice she declares

‘You look likes a Ruzz-i-an Whore’

I can’t believe what she has just said, and out loud. Nor can the receptionist, as he winks at me then covers his mouth with his hand. I can see that he is finding this hysterical as his shoulders quiver from the strain of barely contained laughter.

The destination is a mystery. Am I worried? Am I hell? I’m just a passenger, a tourist cruising along for the ride. It’s approximately way past my bedtime and I’m in a classic if slightly battered Murat. I can’t see out of the back window because it is shrouded by a flea bitten Turkish flag. But the front view more than makes up for it. Mustafa is squashed up beside me and there’s two other, well I can’t really get away with calling them men, and I can’t bring myself too say youths so yeah two other guys are in the car. The driver looks like he could do with a cushion as I can hardly make out his Hoodie from behind the head rest. But he’s there and driving like this car is hot property. This is Turkish style I’m told. The music is so loud; I can just make out the angry horns as we dodge yet another red light. I’d like to think this is show off driving for my benefit but, I guess they’re right this is Turkey and this is ‘normal’. The music blasting from all four corners of the vehicle is just like the score of La Haine, but I remind myself this is Turkish rap, not French. It’s hard to distinguish between the two as languages were never my strong point. But I can imagine that this angry Turkish lyricist is one cool motherfucker. What isn’t cool however is how the vertically challenged driver decides to tail another car so aggressively that the driver panics and we end up trapping him down a narrow street. My imagination runs wild and I ask Mustafa who this guy is? Jesus is it some kind of blood feud are we the Montagues of the Murat to the Capulets who are not sitting pretty in a Chevrolet?

‘No, I don’t know who is he’ Mustafa says looking at me like I am asking yet another stupid question. And then they simply stare out the driver for a few minutes and then speed on.

 ‘Just for Fun’ – he finally enlightens me. Okay I think, when in Rome or whatever. Finally the Murat screeches to a halt outside a Barber shop. And I get to Meet Kayhan, Mustafas charming cousin. I instantly take a shine to him. It must be the English eccentric in me, when I see another of my kin my heart just warms up a little. It must have been his side way glances. Big round eyeballs almost blue gray in colour eyes that refuse to look you dead in the eye. Instead his pupils dart inside his skull like ping pong balls trying to escape. I come to notice that said pupils always seem to be dilated. Probably all that sun baked Turkish Hash he smokes. I have heard he has a bit of a glue habit, but I like him so I don’t dwell on his crass choice of substance miss use. I bet he started his drug taking career on the Hair lacquer. Kayhan is small framed but makes up for it in terms of oddness. He just exudes character; he’s a kind of lovable Jester in a court full of nice but slightly dull people. I suspect such frustration is why he seems to constantly search for a bit of mischief. He and Mustafa are defiantly related then. The last customer is quite rudely shuffled out of the glass frontage and before the elderly gent’s foot touches the pavement the volume from the sound system is notched to Max. It’s that Angry Turk again bleating out some shoot ‘em up, smack them down lines. It’s starting too get on my tits if I’m honest. Naturally as a polite guest when asked about the music I comment on its genius like quality.  Then quite unexpectedly Kayhan turns the harsh strobe lights off. Thank god as we are surrounded by mirrors and I don’t favor well in this light – at all. Kayhan has read my mind and walks through the beaded curtains tea lights in hand. I love him.

I was wondering where Mustafa had got too until he comes back laden with bags full of crisps and Efes Extra.  Some of the gang ask me where I’m from, what I do for a living, how is London etc etc. I then ask the inquisitor how old he is – morbid curiosity. Turns out he is just 16, I gulp on my beer. ‘Wow that’s young’. Shit mustn’t say stuff like that makes me look even older than I am. So I ask ‘what do you do?’ He’s runs his own fashion boutique no less – impressive. Most of the evening is spent skipping the first verse of all the songs on the playlist. Can’t they just play one whole song through? Then I get a reprieve from the Turkish Crap, I mean Rap. Some traditional gypsy-esq. music comes on or ‘Dance, bear dance!’ I giggle. They don’t take kindly too my sense of humor. So I just pretend like I wasn’t taking the piss, smile innocently before stuffing another crisp in my mouth. I stand corrected this is ‘Roman’ music. ‘What- Greek?’ I’m confused. Shit. Just keep eating crisps do not ask questions. ‘What do you mean?’ Mustafa gives me that look. ‘What music is it?’ I quickly ask.

Roman. Oh like Romany. Gypsy. Yes I get it, of course. I love it. I say. Anything is better than the previous shit-shop Hip Hop I think. One of them says he is also like a ‘Roman’ and I delight in telling them that I too, being half Irish am also a bit of a gypo. They like this.

It’s time to go. I’m delighted to find out that I won’t be dropped off back at the hotel via the Beach. Kayhan was to play host to the star crossed lovers for one night only. Brilliant I can’t wait to do it in a bed. I was sick of getting sand in my bits.

Kayhan side steps down the street. It’s more of a dance with an A-B via O.C.D round the houses jig, than a walk. I keep a casual distance behind, watching as Mustafa and Kayhan exchange lively banter they only stop occasionally to throw a few friendly punches at each other. I become slower and slower trailing behind as the incline becomes steeper. Suddenly I make a quick skipping run for it; I have an inclination that if I don’t – gravity or this beer will surely get the better of me.  Awkwardly I try and halt the skip run as startled they turn to look at me.  Unsuccessful in my attempt the skipping becomes a kind of weird trot. Satisfied that I’m not some kind of threat they continue on ahead. Not wanting to lag behind again, I run up between them. Instinctively we link arms and they kindly drag me up to the top of the hill. Up here I feel like I couldn’t be farther away from the Tourist resort which feels so familiar to me now. I’m most definitely out of my comfort zone – I had entered the domestic quarter. The smell, the lick to the air was decidedly different. I let my head roll back on my shoulders for a moment so I could take in this vast Mountain littered with pin pricks of light. Morse code flashes of colour from multiple TV sets; a man made reminder that the view in front of me was in fact a gigantic wall of apartments. The moon seemed eerily bright. Crescent shaped this evening, just how it is so on the flag. It was hard to imagine that anything could lie beyond this mass of structure. Worlds end.

 Kayhan had lost his key and said that we would have to wake up his sister. He pressed the buzzer, and didn’t release it, letting his whole body weight rest on the button. ‘She’s a prostitute’ Mustafa says. Kayhan looks at him. It’s hard to tell what Kayhans expression means. I think of Selma. No sooner have I kicked off my shoes am I greeted by a weary looking teenage girl. Mustafa’s such a cheeky sod. I can never tell if he’s joking or not. The beer is on the table. Kayhan gets a bowl, breaks some bread apart and pours milk over it. I wonder where the cat is. The girl comes in to the kitchen and tucks into the gloop. Yuck. Apparently this is a common remedy for stomach ache. I reach in my handbag and give her some Nurofen She looks at it like its class A. After some reassurance from Kayhan she thanks me and swallows the pills without water. Or milk.

It soon becomes apparent that the girl, perhaps feeling the pain relief from my magical little pills is no longer afraid of me – she’s enthralled by my unexpected presence in her tiny apartment. I feel like the Queen on tour of the Empire as she proudly shows me around. I am humbled by her hospitality as I gather kayhan has completely sprung my arrival on her.

She can’t speak a word of English so we just smile and sweetly shrug our shoulders at each other.

Shit I realise we’ve run out of fags. Kayhan and Mustafa like heroes embark on a mission to the far away market to stock up. ‘Can you get some Pringles and a bar of Crunch please?’

They can’t go on their own as it’s apparently too dangerous around these parts. So I’m left in the lounge sitting opposite the girl which is a little painful as we can’t really communicate. The silence only seems to highlight the fact that my flesh coloured tights reek. It must have been that near hike to get here. Shit, it’s bad. I need to sort this out before Mustafa gets back. A game of charades later, which includes in no particular order me holding my nose and making a face, pointing as I  ping my tights back and fourth against my skin. In one final act of desperation I lead her to my trainers at the door and I smell them. Nearly overcome myself, I couldn’t be so cruel as to give them to her, but it would have no doubt sped proceedings along. As the penny drops she kindly leads me to the bathroom where the washing machine is located, and ignoring my protests puts on a wash for my lonely pair of tights whilst I wash the offending odor down the drain. Bless her heart. The boys return and I decline a beer in favor of a Pringles or eight. Now the hassle of Tight-gate seems a bit pointless, as I’m going to have sour cream and chive breath. But with the cunning of a fox I make sure that Mustafa finishes the box, so we can at least cancel each other out in the bad breath stakes. Kayhan starts to play what looks like some kind of Sitar. This enthralling and spontaneous acoustic performance is the perfect way to wrap up the evening.

Morning has broken, tra-la-la, like the first day and I don’t know where the fuck I am. Oh yeah, I’m in a bunk bed, my nose squished flush against the cold wall. I elbow Mustafa as I try and maneuver myself into a comfortable position hard to achieve in a kids bunk bed. A nice surprise Mustafa grabs me and pulls me onto him, and we make Hay while the sun shines through the Mickey Mouse curtains. When he comes back from the bathroom he looks well, just very pleased with himself. Finally I think – maybe I have cracked the boy! Look at him He’s actually smiling. Maybe he’s falling, falling for me? I’m sitting on the edge of the bed half way through a cigarette when he rests his head on my stomach.

‘Where’s my baby?’

My mouth aghast, I nearly lose my cigarette to the floor. He looks up at me; eyes wider than Road kill before impact. I tilt my head to the side, and squint a little as I attempt to focus, too stop seeing little white stars. I draw deeply on my cigarette and stroke his head tenderly. I don’t think it’s the static from his hair which sparks a wave of endorphins which tingle across my body. God am I, feeling, broody? Fuck off! I’m not. It’s simply a head rush from the first fag of the day. Fucking hell dear – get a grip!

Saved by the Bell – or the Azan as it were – well, Mustafa couldn’t just continue his brutal play fighting; not now God had woken up. With the call to prayer still ringing in our ears Mustafa rejoins his gang who are seated on the concrete eyesore come crumbling jetty. Swinging his long athletic legs above the wet and clumpy god knows what’s in it sand. Actually I’m not sure it’s even a jetty I think it could very well be a shit tube. I look at the conjoined silhouette of head and shoulders while I dust the sand particles from my clothes. I soon realise that this is a futile exercise without the aid of a hot shower.  So I stop, stretching my arms out in front of me examining the fresh post fight bruises. The colour of which is complimented by the purple and pink hues of the sunset which veils the horizon. I haven’t yet introduced you to Suat. There he was all teeth and ears a kind of Turkish version of Prince Charles. He’s squatted over the make shift BBQ now. He asks me for a chuck Muck – which is Turkish for lighter. I chuck the chuck muck at it him then make myself comfortable.

I always enjoy being a spectator when men get all pre Neolithic. The air was thick with man sweat and wood smoke. After Suats failed attempts at getting a decent fire going Mustafa valiantly steps in or rather steps above the rust addled grill; legs spread, shoulders hunched, furiously fanning a Newspaper until a million little sparks fly out in all directions. A crackle and pop later, a gleeful smile appears on my face. Mustafa has done it. My BBQ – hero. Good; because I’m fucking starving!

The Beef, least I hope that’s what it is – is seasoned to sand gritted perfection. I wash each chewy charred morsel down with a large swig of coke. I do however feel honored to have had a BBQ cooked for me, though I could have killed for a hotdog. Shame unlike us western Europeans they don’t see food as we do – freshly cut and wrapped in Cellophane; any pig in shit connotations neatly packaged away. It’s criminal to think that Mustafas religious orientation will deprive him of ever enjoying a juicy Hotdog. The sun has well and truly set; laid to rest in dark enveloping waves, submerged in a watery blanket. The moon shines high and bright. I’ve sent Mustafa off to get some Beers, as I watch his confident swagger cross the street the Azan starts to Echo again. Suat and his silent boy cousin turn toward me. It appears he has a burning question for me….

‘Ha-ha Yengi, do you have chuck muck’

I chuck him the chuck muck again.

‘Smoke, yengi Smoke’ -I smile to myself thinking that I really don’t have to be encouraged.

‘Yengi, will you find for me a girl – in England?’

‘Yeah sure’ I say.

‘If you come back, if you come to Alanya – you will bring for me a Girl?

‘Do you want me to import you a Girl? special import?!’

‘I don’t have – Ya.’

‘I will try and get you a lovely English Girl’

‘Oooh, Ha ha’

The Beer is exquisite, probably because its bitterness has cancelled out the lingering after taste of the Meat I have just consumed. The three of us stroll beside the tide walking up the beach towards the famous Castle. The infinity of the defense walls are always beautifully lit and stretch for miles along the Cliff top which divide the two sides of the City. It always reminds me of the Great Wall of China -a kind of underwhelming version. We stop when we reach the roots of the darkened Cliff face. I look at Mustafa and his two friends who just stand there quiet and still. I listen to the waves lapping against the shoreline and wonder what we are doing here. Mustafa walks right into this dead end and evaporates into the Pitch Black. I look at Suat for an explanation.

‘Yengi – he need toilet’

‘Ah, okay, it’s a Cave’

 Mustafa has entered the left side so feeling the urge myself I investigate the other side; discovering another Cave. I always get a bit of stage fright when urinating in public places (if I’m not pissed) so it takes a while for the flood gates to open –  just as I feel  the relief of the first stream I stop mid flow as flash of light flickers between my legs. I hear voices. No panic, it turns out that the two caves are in fact one. It’s just Suat and his Boy cousin making use of the facilities aided by the light of their mobile phone. When I come back out into the open Mustafa is standing some distance from the others. He walks over to me his face devoid of expression. He takes my hand in his – leading me back into the innards of the Cave. I make sure we avoid my recent endeavor and slink my body on top of his. Well I’m damned if I’m going to get pebbles ridged into my back. It’s a hurried and highly charged event – the highlight of my evening.

We stagger back onto the beach. I try to straighten my clothes and pull my fingers through my hair. But honestly what’s the point? His friends know exactly what just went down. It’s not like we were in there looking for precious stones. Besides I can’t wipe the cat that got the cream look off my face anyway. As we walk towards the Playground (yes playground) I think about the recent Sex on the Beach and remember a Cocktail menu I had seen the night before which proudly listed a charming interpretation of this famous concoction: ‘Fuck on the Beach’ this wasn’t a Lost in translation moment. The Bold neon pink typeface screamed I know its ‘Sex on the Beach’ but here ‘Making Love’ is long lost to mythology, even Sex has too much emotional connotations. We’re in Alanya there ain’t no Sex – c’mon Baby let’s Fuck.

In the park we generally lark about – the Boys, well they don’t need to regress more than eight years to get back into the spirit. I struggle, clamming up on the micro rocking horse; you know the ones perched on super size springs. Basically I feel like a Dick. This feeling is only exasperated when some Turkish fella shouts out of his window telling us to shut up. So I get up off this stupid thing; I don’t know who invented it but it’s fucking pointless I much prefer the swings. I know where I stand with a swing. I light a fag and after a couple of tokes I no longer feel like Alice ‘to bloody big for the world around her’ anymore. The lads soon get bored and we say goodbye to Suat and his sweet little Cousin. As we head up steep Hill flanked either side by Bungalow type houses I notice that we are taking a different route back to my Hotel tonight. Mid way in the street Mustafa acknowledges a woman walking a tiny dog. They make a swift exchange – the only part I understand is ‘Londre’, so I enquire as to who she is. He spins on his heels to face me, a wide grin on his face. He tells me that she used to be his English teacher in High School and that he told her that I’m from London and thanked her for helping him learn English. I brushed aside the feeling of being his ‘practical test’ seeing the skewed humor in this weird situation. But secretly knew that he walked me down this street as a prize. And to be honest I’m not sure how I feel about that.

I am achingly aware that time is running out. I have just three days left with him. And I’m surprised but every time I consider the impact that leaving him will have on me I measure it as five on the Rictor scale. That’s pretty serious in my book; no doubt in my mind personal injury is imminent.

I try not to dwell on these Black thoughts but it has got to the point where I’m dragging my suitcase out of this damned Hotel. The Hotel which refused to refund me, whose prejudice cruelly subjected me to sex on the Beach on an almost nightly basis. Bastards. And as for Selma she can kiss my short skirted arse as I walk out of that door. Yeah! I find Kayhan and Mustafa diligently waiting for me across the street. Without me even asking Kayhan takes my suitcase and we make the longer than they told me walk to a new Turk friendly ‘Hotel’

I’m being kind here in my description, because to even call it a Hotel is frankly pushing it. It looks like all the other Hotels from the outside apart from the distinct lack of lights. We get the key and I can’t wait to sit down – I’m knackered from the trek. The place isn’t too bad, I suppose. However it’s utterly freezing so we ignore the bedroom and sleep on the pull out sofa, huddled together under the wall mounted heater which I hope to god doesn’t fall on my Head and kills me in the night. Or give us Carbon Monoxide poisoning. I must think positive. I must be grateful for every minute I can spend in his arms even if it could be my last.

I get butterflies in my stomach when he crushes the wasp that just stung me between his finger and thumb.

I’d just got back to the Park when I was Stung moments before Mustafa arrived. I’d only just returned after losing some Cops down an Alley. Half an hour before Mustafas friend and I had legged it in the nick of time thanks to his Eagle eyes. We hovered over a thin white wall, not feeling secure enough to commit to actually sitting down – unsure if the coast was really clear. We were in a good position obscured by a heap of a car and a retro looking Scooter, camouflaged under the low slung branches of an Orange Tree.  I ask ‘Little Mustafa’ why he’s running away from the Police. Apparently he’s run away from his father. He tells me that he had been scouted by an Agent to train at the Fenerbache Academy. This is a big deal in Turkey as Fenerbache is a premier league football Club. His father’s response was to vomit hell fire all of over his sons dreams by refusing to give consent.  Tears skirt the rims of my eyes as I observe the burden of pain etched on the boys face. The tragedy of it was all the more real because in Turkey the opportunity to make a living from your dreams was as likely as Victoria Beckham indulging in a Big Mac. When we’re sure that the coast is clear we return to the Park. I’m sitting on the bench and casually remove what I think is a Leaf or Something from my Hair only to discover too late that it’s a filthy great big Wasp. FUCK.

When Mustafa comes back moments later ‘Little Mustafa’ fills him in on our Great Escape and, my war wound. That’s when He picks up the half dead critter from the floor and crushes it in pure rage. I get all Buddhist like and shudder. He blows the debris of the now unrecognisable wasp from his fingers; ashes to ashes dust to dust. He then kneels down to examine my pathetic pin prick of an injury. Once he’s sure that I will  live to see another day he gently kisses me on the forehead before standing to resume his passionate tirade/strategy for saving his friend from his enraged Father.

It becomes clear after sunset that such plans didn’t include his friend going home anytime soon. I suspect for fear of the physical repercussions. So we all convene on the far side of the Beach keeping an almost all night vigil. It is I admit utterly heart warming to see this brotherly solidarity – there’s about seven of them all standing around rubbing their hands together, misty plumes of CO2 are released into the crisp night air after each exaggerated exhalation. Once again I am made to feel like the guest of honor. Everyone wants to make sure that I’m okay, they keep offering me cigarettes and almost every single one of them has offered me there Jacket at least twice.  ‘Little Mustafa’ evades the groups attention for a moment. I notice that he is slumped against the Beach wall. His troubles seem too literally weigh down his young shoulders. I nudge Mustafa, and the Boys rally around, lifting him too his feet. They all link arms in a semi circle, I stand back and watch as they rapturously break in too a myriad of traditional Turkish songs. The plan has worked and ‘Little Mustafa’ forgets his woes at least for tonight. On the way back to Faulty Towers I nip into the Garage to use the facilities. As I cross the street, Suat walks beside me. He proudly informs me that while I was, urm busy Mustafa told him that he ‘Cherishes me’ I don’t quite believe it. But it certainly give me a spring in my step so I bounce up to Mustafa linking my arm in his and ask him if what He said to Suat was true? He hangs his head and coyly replies ‘Yes’.

The day has finally dawned and of course the last remaining hours, minutes, seconds pass at lightning speed until I’m sitting on the Back of this wretched Bus; hot tears streaming down my cheeks. I watch him stand there as the Bus reverses slowly, then stops. A moment longer in this stationary position and I would have bailed. The Bus lets out a final Groaning gasp as the brakes release – making me jump. As the Bus starts to move out of the Station, I crane my neck as far as humanly possible before rising up in my seat, my finger tips embedded into head rest. There was no stopping the inevitable, No cinematic moment where  half way down the street I shout at the Balding Bus driver ‘Stop!’ and then run into the arms of Mustafa. No. This was not going to happen and even dreaming up such scenarios caused a lump to swell in my throat. Oh, the tragedy of it. The reality of it, more like – such reality being that I had to go back to work. I’m broke as Oak and jacking it in for the sake of Love is a privilege lost on the Poor.  I cling onto the fleeting desolate -sun blanched vista through the dusty coach window. The landscape only seems to echo the emptiness that I feel.




© AJK 2010


4 responses to “Part I

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