“He’s going to think you’re a slag now, I hope you realise that!”
My husband marched alongside me pulling his suitcase behind him, his face red and angry. Any joy we’d experienced on the flight had disappeared.
“You can’t shake people’s hands” he whispered angrily.
“I’m sorry…I didn’t think it was a problem” I replied, sad that we’d only just landed in Turkey and this was how we were starting off our belated honeymoon.
I’d innocently shaken our taxi driver’s hand at the arrivals gate. I couldn’t understand my husband’s anger though. The taxi driver was an elderly man and, in my eyes, I was just being polite.
It didn’t make sense from a religious stance either, because I’d seen my husband kiss his non-Muslim female friends on both cheeks before, right in front of me – so why was it a problem that I was shaking his hand…?
My confusion soon turned to sadness…and for most of our three-hour drive to the private villa we’d rented, I was given the silent treatment, again. His way of making sure I learned my lesson. I cried quietly in the back of the car, hoping the driver wouldn’t see. We must have looked like such a miserable couple…
Eventually he took my hand in his and caressed my shoulders. He’d calmed down and was back to normal. Maybe now the honeymoon could actually start…
Fast forward a week and we were back at the airport, en route to Istanbul. And I was back to experiencing the silent treatment…
This time I’d replied to something he’d said, in an ‘unacceptably’ sarcastic tone. The words ‘yeah, ok’ were deemed offensive enough to turn his face dark, and for him to ignore me until we landed.
Once in Istanbul we headed straight to the Blue Mosque for the Friday prayer. We agreed to meet back outside the mosque’s main, shared entrance, took off our shoes and headed inside.
Once the prayer was over, I followed the women back towards the entrance. As we walked out, I saw my husband waiting and headed straight towards him. As I got closer, I knew something was wrong…
“Why are you walking alongside all those men?” he barked at me angrily. I didn’t even realise I had been, but explained I was just using the same exit as everyone else.
Not satisfied with my answer, he marched off furiously back down the hill towards our hotel. I followed, but eventually gave up trying to keep up with his angry pace and trailed a few metres behind. This was another ‘mistake’ and back at the hotel, I was chastised for not being the ‘good wife’ that would have chased after him. As I sat on the bed he continued to shout about my unacceptable behaviour. A tug of war ensued as he packed up his suitcase and tried to leave. The sight of other guests in the hallway seemed to calm him down however and he retreated back inside.
Emotionally exhausted, we both lay down. He slept whilst I thought about how different this was to the holiday I’d planned.
Once he awoke, he took my hand and caressed my shoulders. He was no longer talking about leaving.
We went for a walk and in an attempt for some normality, he took photos in Taksim Square. The photos show a couple smiling…but up close, my red, puffy eyes show nothing but sadness.
I was learning the hard way, that I would need to tip toe around his angry outbursts a lot more carefully than I had been so far.