When Ali Met Sally (Part 2)
Sally grasped the hands around her neck, feeling the gnarled knuckles and leathery skin. With every ounce of strength she could garner, she wrenched the hands away from her neck, sucking in gulps of air and staggered to her feet.
Hearing a scuffling sound coming from outside, Ali appeared in the doorway of the house, switching on a wall light which bathed the yard in a muted, yellow glow.
‘Nene, ne yapıyorsun?’ he shouted, rushing to help Sally, who was now rubbing her neck. He then proceeded to shower a torrent of Turkish onto the attacker, who responded with much arm waving and shouting.
‘It’s OK, Sally. This is my grandmother. She thought you were a thief,’ he explained, putting his arm around her shoulders, trying to comfort her.
Sally backed away from him, not trusting what he would do. ‘I thought this was your house!’ she said indignantly.
‘Well, technically it is our grandmother’s house but we live here too,’ Ali responded. ‘We like to make sure she’s okay.
In the summer she sleeps here outside,’ he added, pointing to an old iron bedstead piled high cushions and a dusky pink cover thrown over it. ‘It’s too hot inside so she sleeps here where it’s cooler.’
Now considerable calmer, Sally looked over at the bed and then at the old lady who was now making her way back to her bed, still muttering to herself. ‘I can’t believe she managed to have such a strong hold on me,’ Sally sighed.
‘She’s spent her whole life working with sheep and goats so she’s very strong,’ Ali confirmed. Making sure that his grandmother was back in bed, he led Sally back through the house and out onto the terrace, where Jo and Nuri were happily chatting.
‘You’ve been a long time,’ Jo said, winking at her friend. ‘Been having fun?’
‘Hardly! Sally replied. ‘I was attacked by someone who thought I was an intruder!’
‘What?’ Jo exclaimed, sitting up from her slouched position. ‘Are you alright?’
Sally, now being able to see the funny side of the encounter, explained, ‘Ali’s grandmother was asleep outside and when she heard me walking back from the toilet, jumped me. Fancy being attacked by a granny!’
Ali, eager to make amends for Sally’s fright, invited the girls into the kitchen. ‘Would you like an ice cream? he asked, lifting the lid of a large chest freezer full of boxes of Magnums, Cornettoes and ice lollies of every description.
‘Wow!’ Sally cried, ‘So this is where you store all your ice creams. I’ll have a Cornetto, please.’
As the four friends sat licking their ices, a hazy sun was beginning to rise over the hill in front of them. Ali told them to listen carefully. They sat with bated breath and then they heard a faint whistling sound in the distance.
‘What’s that?’ Sally inquired.
‘It’s the shepherds signalling to each other. They stay out all night protecting their flocks and have a special system of whistles to communicate with each other. If you listen, you will hear one calling and then another replying.’
Fascinated, Sally sat motionless, concentrating on the high pitched tones she could hear in the distance. ‘Do you understand what they’re saying?’ she asked Ali.
‘No, but they’re probably arranging to meet up or telling each other where they’re going to take their sheep to graze for the day.’
The stillness of the dawn was rudely interrupted by the strident braying of a neighbour’s donkey, which made the girls laugh. ‘This has certainly been an interesting experience,’ Jo giggled. ‘We’ve seen something of the real Turkey tonight. Who’d have thought all this was going on just up the road from where we sit on the beach!’
‘We’d better be getting back to our hotel,’ Sally sighed, not really wanting to leave but knowing that she would feel terrible the next day if she didn’t get to bed soon.
‘We’ll drive you back,’ Ali offered.
Walking towards the car, Sally was aware of Ali’s arm around her shoulders and smiled as he gently kissed her cheek. ‘I like you, Sally,’ he whispered into her ear.
‘I like you too,’ she countered, finding his lips.
‘Can I see you again tonight?’ Ali asked.
‘I’d like that but I’ll have to see what Jo thinks,’ Sally replied, looking ahead to where Nuri was kissing Jo. ‘But I have a feeling that she will agree. That’s if we manage to get back through the forest in one piece! Hopefully, now it’s lighter, you’ll be able to see the way better.’
Ali laughed. ‘Don’t worry. I’ll drive very slowly. Then I can spend more time with you. I’ll be counting the minutes until tonight.’