As the song said “my bags were packed and I was ready to go” but where was Ahmed? True to form Ahmed was late, one of his less attractive Turkish traits. In just a few hours I would be back in the UK and Ahmed and I would be back to living in different time zones.
As the transfer bus arrived to take us to the airport, there was still no sign of Ahmed.
I was heartbroken, as Ahmed had promised to wave us on our way after calling to the wholesaler. Unfortunately, the holiday rep, who’d been conspicuous by her absence for the duration of the holiday, started to assert her authority by insisting that we board the coach as they were already running late and had more pick-ups. As the driver loaded our cases and we reluctantly climbed aboard the bus, my heart sank and my eyes burned with unshed tears. I kept telling myself to get a grip; after all it was just a holiday romance.
As our apartment disappeared from view, we passed by the Aqua Park, Mavişehir, Apollo Temple and all the other places we had visited.It was almost as if the ancient gods were mocking me by reminding me of every poignant minute. We stopped at various hotels and apartments in and around Altinkum collecting holidaymakers that would be boarding the same plane as us. We’d said our goodbyes to the mad bad captain and the terrible twins the night before, promising to keep in touch via Facebook; the way you always do with fellow travellers and actually seldom do.
As the sights and sounds of Altinkum disappeared from view so did my hopes of seeing Ahmed again. Most of the holidaymakers were a little disappointed to be returning home to their hum drum routine; although none more so than I. Some like my friend were looking forward to sleeping in their own beds and being reunited with their families. For me this holiday had changed me in ways I hadn’t thought possible; so even if Ahmed had been my rebound man, I wouldn’t have changed a single bittersweet moment.
As we pulled up at the airport, I collected my suitcase with a big sigh and heavy heart, having resigned myself to the fact that Ahmed and I were just a holiday fling. We were ushered through security at an alarming rate and to the check-in desks. Whilst I was queuing with my fellow travellers, I heard a distinctive voice shout “Dallas where you are, I am lots coming, going, car big pushing”. It was my Turkish hero!
Apparently Ahmed’s Fiat Doblo had broken down and he had borrowed a “friend’s” dubious looking flatbed truck to get to the airport to catch me before I flew. He then had risked life & limb by sneaking past the machine gun totting guards alongside other tourists. As he rushed towards me sweating and dishevelled, my heart leapt; he’d not forgotten me after all. I fell into his embrace but all too soon he was discovered by security and ushered away none too gently. “Phone my phone” he shouted over his shoulder as he was being dragged away. I admit to being somewhat concerned for him, however, within minutes of him being escorted from the airport terminal, I received a text. “fone my fone sokey I am no going policeman house wen coming Türkiye egen”.
Funnily enough, I had never been so pleased to receive a text and thanked the heavens above for Mr Blackberry. Before I was able to respond we heard an announcement to say our flight was boarding.