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Old 28th September 2004, 15:04   #1 (permalink)
LİVİNG İN PARADİSE
 
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Travels in Turkey - Part 6

Going Back

All too soon, the holiday came to an end. Cathy and I had arranged to come back in September that year, without the children. None of the children wanted to go home and all five of us would have happily stayed the summer, autumn and winter. Alas, there was marriage problems to be solved, school to attend and money to be saved. As wonderful as Turkiye is, it is impossible to earn a decent wage and save.

The flight was in the early hours of the morning and Mehmet had already said that he wouldn't be going to the airport. Over the years, it became a habit that if he was too upset, then he would stay in the hotel and I was left to go to the airport on my own. Whilst I was unhappy about the idea, I did respect his feelings.

We arranged that Mehmet's uncle would take us to the airport in the family car and spent the last day, saying goodbye to friends, a last visit to the beach and then packing. It is amazing how much junk children accumulate on holiday, how much they manage to lose and how much they can pilfer!!

The boys decided that if they couldn't be found, then they wouldn't be able to get on the plane……………….whilst they dispersed into the evening, Cathy and I finished off their packing and sat in the bar until it was time to leave.

Mehmet's mum had said her goodbyes earlier and wrapping her scarf around her head, had rushed into the house with tears streaming down her face. His father, who still doesn't speak much English, gathered the children around him and said' My grandchildren'.

I would like to say that Cathy and I were responsible parents and gathered our flock around us, organizing them like a troop of soldiers. Hahaaaa! We sat at the bar drinking and talking, sobbing, clinging onto Fedai and Mehmet, like we were due to be executed first thing in the morning. Knowing what we were going back to only made matters worse. The kids ran awol and Cathy and I wailed like grieving Iranian women!

Around midnight, Mehmet's father appeared in his customary PJ's and asked where his brother was? A hurried phone call and the man duly arrived in his own car. A sigh of relief from Mehmet's father, tears from Cathy, myself and AJ and loud protests from Alex and Callum.

Mehmet took me to one side and promised he would wait for me. He said he would stay home in the evenings and not go with any other woman. I believed him and promised the same. Kissing me tenderly, he turned and walked into the hotel. Not stopping to look or wave.

With tears streaming down our faces, Cathy dragged me unceremoniously into the car. Luckily, I was wedged between her and Callum with AJ sat on my lap. Alex and a suitcase were wedged in the front seat. We drove out of the hotel and away down the mountain under a Turkish crescent moon.

The journey too the airport took two hours. Apart from everyone crying, well Mehmet's uncle wasn't Alex was constantly being sick and we had to keep stopping the car, so he could get out. We were still in time for the flight and dropping us off outside the airport, Mehmet's uncle waved us goodbye and drove off.

God, we must have looked a sight. Five tear stained faces, three scruffy kids- one smelling of sick and I swear, the original four suitcases, three extra bags, plus assorted carrier
bags! We stumbled, dragged our kids and belongings to the check-in desk.

We spent 45 minutes in the departure lounge waiting to board. No-one spoke and we all sat huddled in our own misery and thoughts. The boys went off to find the loos and we waited for the flight to be called.

Bing bong! A strange mumbling came from the tannoy and Cathy and I looked at each other and said ‘What?' Alex came rushing up and said ‘that's our flight mum'. Cathy and I stood, gathered our children and hand luggage and walked out to the plane.

We found our seats, strapped ourselves in and the plane hurtled down the runway into the night sky. Below, the lights of Dalaman twinkled in a farewell gesture. The kids fell asleep, Cathy and I didn't have anything to say and soon we were all snoring contentedly in our seats.

We missed breakfast and were rudely shaken awake by the flight attendant telling us to put our seat belts on, cigarettes out because we were landing at Gatwick. I woke the kids up and told them that their Dad would be at the airport to meet them and to try and smile.

The plane landed, we went through passport control then outside to look for Peter. He wasn't in the waiting bay, couldn't be found in the short term car park and was eventually ran to ground by the kids doing a systematic sweep of the airport parking lots.


Welcome Back

He gave the kids a cuddle, kissed his sister and ignored me completely. I wasn't surprised. Thinking to myself ‘oh if that is the way he wants to play it, so be it'. I went to climb into the front seat of the car and was told in no uncertain terms, ‘to get in the back'. I would like to say that matters did improve, but unfortunately after one almighty argument that summer, the marriage just fell apart.

Not immediately. There were countless arguments, Peter threatening to divorce me on the grounds of Adultery, him telling me that I could keep Mehmet as a bit on the side and the added jibe of I would never manage because I would miss his money too much, only made me dig my heels in harder and eventually sue him for divorce on the grounds of unreasonable behavior.

The rest of the year continued much as usual. Peter working every hour he could and when he couldn't, planting things we never saw in the kitchen on his allotment. He took no interest in the children, which wasn't new but I was growing tired of acting like a single parent. On the occasions he did arrive for school events, it was always late and the teachers had no idea who he was.

I looked after the two boys, kept house and tried to save money from my job as a company secretary. This was extremely difficult as although I was paid a salary, the minimum for tax purposes, Peter insisted that this was housekeeping money and I had to write down everything I bought.

Had money been tight, then I would have understood better. Peter now worked self-employed for British Gas, designing oil rigs. As part of the contract, he had to set up his own company which is why I was company secretary and he the managing director. At that time back in 1990, he was being paid the outrageous sum of £18.50 an hour. With the 60 hour weeks he was putting in, we should have been rolling in the readies, especially with all the tax scams that I was shown how to do.

If we were, I never saw it and It bugged me that I had to ask permission to buy new underwear and clothes. Whilst the kids and I never had much money, Peter had a brand new car, business lunches and dinners- to entertain clients and to which I was never invited, fashionable suits and regular weekends away.

Looking back, I should have kicked up more of a fuss, but at the end of a day with two kids, working full time and the everyday things that overwhelm a young mum, I didn't have the energy. I later found out that he had numerous affairs and I would often put credit card receipts through the company books for meals and hotels, miles away.

There wasn't much I could say. I did put my foot down when in the June; he flew off to America for two weeks holiday to meet his old boss. We had a great time without him and I ripped out the fireplace and ordered a new carpet. I wasn't being frivolous, far from it. The carpet had been bought cheaply when we moved in six years ago and the fireplace was ugly. Peter was and is a control freak. Even when I was working as a housekeeper on Saturdays, he refused to baby sit his own children and the money I earnt had to go back into the household accounts.

Effectively, I was trapped. Yes I was earning money but I wasn't allowed to spend it and with two young children, it was very hard to see the light. On his return from America, two days later he said he was going away for the week and would I iron him some shirts. I didn't suspect a thing. I asked where he was going and he said London. I thought, we only live 20 minutes from there on the tube, why are you staying in a hotel?

He muttered something about someone is coming over to see me and still the penny didn't drop. Eventually, it emerged that he had met a woman called Penny in America and she was coming over to see him. I told him not to bother coming home again and took myself off to the solicitors.

After a week, with me explaining to the boys that daddy was away working, he returned with arms full of presents for the boys from her! Now one thing I have never let Mehmet do was try to buy the boys or give them presents, apart from the odd sweets or plastic car.

I refused to let the boys have the presents from his latest girlfriend and was accused of being paranoid. I relented and let them have the toys, telling him that he could explain who they were from. He did, but also told them that Penny had three older children who would be their step brothers and sisters and a younger sister for them. If all went well, they would be flying out to America to meet them later that year.

The boys just nodded and went off to play. Whilst unpacking Peter's clothes later that day, I discovered a whole bag of her clothing crammed into my wardrobe. I pulled it out and boy was she a size. Now I am far from petite, but this girl must be going 17/18 stone. I put the bag in front of Peter and told him that either he removed them from my wardrobe, or I would take a pair of scissors to the lot. He told me that I was being nasty and the reason they were there was because she couldn't carry them back with her. Oh, silly me.

Needless to say, the clothes were removed, he never flew out to America again and I think the relationship simply fizzled out. I have a vague recollection of being told that the woman had become suicidal and clingy and that he had eventually broken off the relationship and wanted to try again with the marriage. Whatever reason I wasn't interested and simply didn't care anymore. I just wanted out.

I suppose life continued as much as normal for the boys. Their father not being around was hardly anything new and life for them went on much the same. Cathy was working every hour she could to save money and I was managing to cook the books and take £20 a week for the holiday. The whole idea was touch and go but I think we both knew that we were going back in September and worked even harder to make it happen.

The summer dragged. Mehmet was now writing and phoning at least twice a week and I was still very much in love. Every day I missed him and I couldn't bear Peter anywhere near me. I would talk non-stop about turkiye and the people until even the dog was fed up listening to me. Only Cathy understood and we spent weekends together planning.


The big 'D'

My solicitor advised me to divorce Peter, rather than wait for his papers to land on my doorstep and I did so. One morning when he had been out all night, I was woken by him banging on the door to be let in at 6am. I had locked him out and he was not in a good mood.

The bad mood was fuelled by the fact that the divorce papers were in that mornings post and I had dared lock him out. I went into the kitchen to make a cup of tea and an argument started. Peter has always had a temper and that morning it irrupted and he knocked a teapot full of hot tea over me.

I won't repeat what I said, but no-one raises a hand to me, or if they do then I simply retaliate. I simply picked up the frying pan and belted him across the head with it. He fell to the floor dazed. Stepping over him, I poured tea and went upstairs to get the boys up for school.

I don't condone violence because it is never the answer. He never lifted a finger to me again and I think the short sharp shock, was what he needed to bring him to his senses. As far as I was concerned, yes I had cheated on him, been open and honest from the start about the whole matter and here he was treating me worse than a dog and as if he owned me.

I am sure this happened a day or two before I was flying back to turkiye, because I can remember having the scald marks on my stomach from the hot tea. I knew then that I had to get away from Peter because apart from destroying me, he was destroying the boys as well.

I didn't tell the boys what had happened, although I have been honest with them from day one simply because I didn't want the school to hear of my domestic life and because the children didn't need to worry about me. I took the boys off to school, leaving Peter to have a shower and get off to work.

When I returned from the school, Peter had gone. The divorce papers had been left on the side, torn into pieces. What went on in Peter's head is anyone's guess, but he was angry that I had dared to divorce him and got my papers in long before his.
No other reason.

My mum had agreed to have the boys for two weeks, so they could go to school as normal. She loved having them and I left money for food and their clothes. Peter was going to pop in every evening and weekends to see them. In the event, he managed it twice.

I picked the boys up from school and took them round to my mums. Kissing them goodbye, I promised that I would come home again and yes, I would bring them back a present. In those days, I would leave them a small wrapped present for every day that I was away, so they knew that when the last one had gone, mum would be home.

I had no idea where Peter was and I wasn't interested. I finished my packing, had a shower and waited for the cab to take me to Cathy's and then the airport.

Once again, I was excited, apprehensive and there were huge butterflies skidding round my stomach. I wanted to go back to Mehmet and Turkiye more than I had would have believed. Here I was 30 years of age and acting like a love sick teenager.

We caught our plane, had a brilliant flight and yes Mehmet was waiting at the other end. Until next time, stay safe.

Jenni

Summer 1990

Last edited by Mushtaq; 10th February 2006 at 22:29..
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