Regent’s Park, London. Photo by Meral Aydos

Victimized by Thoughts: A Getaway from London

Feeling victimized by the thoughts of society, where even your mere existence is subject to opinions of others — including your own, you decide it’s time for a getaway from London. A Spanish sea-town, Begur, where nobody knows you, should work for the best. While their official language is Spanish, you are confident some people must speak English over there, you decide on their behalf — for your travel care-free. Preparing for your first solo trip abroad, you dub yourself lucky in a patriarchal world — as everyone around you appreciates a woman travelling on her own.

You book the tickets, prepare your luggage -have to be small for a three-day trip, otherwise will be subject to fellow passengers’ staring at a ‘fashionista lady with an unnecessarily huge luggage for a bank holiday weekend.’ You pick summer clothes excluding any fancy dresses or high heels which may leave others thinking you may be seeking attention as a solo female traveller.

You board on the plane that will take you to -hopefully quiet- Begur, for a socially acceptable but not acceptable by yourself early flight. It will be a bit comfier if you push your seat backwards to claim more space but concluding that is just another way of attacking the passenger behind, an affordable compromise you adopt. That is a full plane, full of thoughts lingering in the air.

After landing on sunny Begur and a long drive from the airport to the hotel; successfully engaging in all the conversations -the cab driver initiated- with your politically correct approach, you finally arrive at your final destination, an authentic boutique hotel on the seaside.

You check-in at the reception and head to the hotel’s restaurant offering the best view you have seen for the last year in London: a blue sea, waves crashing to the golden sandy beach, relaxed by the smooth wind or smooth thoughts; people sunbathing, reading, swimming; kids running around their parents with laughter. Having deserved a big lunch after completing all the levels of your game from your flat’s door in London to your hotel room in Begur; you kindly call the waiter to order the largest sized pizza they have. As a fit woman doing sports regularly, you are one of the allowed people at whom no one will look and say ‘are you still eating pizza?’

You ask the waiter to recommend a pizza without pork in it. You don’t like pork — though you love pigs while they are alive and smiling. He responds “I am a Muslim, too, sister; here to work for the tourism season” and with a big smile on his face, offers his best service for your meal.

After a guilty pleasure lunch and a full day of doing nothing on the beach, you take a walk in the town while the sun is retiring for the day. Hesitant to go to a bar alone — to avoid people thinking you are there to pick up a date — you go back to your hotel having an ice cream on the way — a grandmother entertainment.

Before returning to your room for the night, to balance the entertainment level from grandmother age to 20s; you head to the hotel’s restaurant for a couple of drinks. Having heard about the famous wines of the town, you ask for a recommendation from the bartender. He advises taking a seat as a waiter will serve your drink shortly after paying for the recommended wine.

The same waiter who has served you in the afternoon approaches your table with his friendly smile on his face. The moment he realizes you are the customer waiting for the wine, you have no trouble reading the big disappointment on his face; most probably because Muslims are not allowed to drink alcohol. He doesn’t say anything other than “enjoy”, you thank him before he leaves to serve other customers.

He loves you at the lunchtime without knowing anything about you and still without any clue in the evening; now he hates you.

While watching him walk away, you sip of recommended famous wine and now here comes your turn: To judge the wine.

Londoner and Writer. Short Stories for Sundays.