I looked over to the other side where Ruya, Mina and their brother were anxiously waiting for us to pass. Technically, they were already in “Club waters.” Behind them stretched the private beach with long chairs and striped cushions, matching umbrellas, sun bathing moms and swimming children. A few waiters in uniforms were walking among them refreshing their drinks. We were not supposed to be seen by them. No way. Especially not entering through a hole in the fence.
I handed the backpack to Mina through the hole and grabbed Esin by the hand. Her hand was shaking and she was already crying.
“C’mon” I said trying to smile, “we are going into the Club. The Club! Look, it is right there. Here, I will hold your hand and Mina will help you on the other side.”
She put her leg through the hole and then stopped.
“It is so rusty this wire” she cried, “We will have to get tetanus shots. I don’t want to go to the hospital again!”
I checked to see if any of the waiters were looking towards our direction. Suddenly I realized that I was not that crazy about swimming in Club waters. I was tired. It would have been more fun if we stayed back home and played the latest Dallas episode with the girls.
But Club was right there, on the other side of the fence! I was so close! So close to that place we were never allowed to go! It was in the Club that the popular kids of the island met…They hung out inside its gates while their parents dined and played cards in the fancy gardens. Among the island kids the ranking was so clear: you were either a member of the Club or you were a loser. We, the losers, played on the streets by the outer walls of the Club. We jumped to see what was on the other side of the walls, or sometimes climbed on each other’s shoulders to take a peek into this unknown land.
Club stretched over a large property of at least several blocks. It had several gardens, restaurants, cafes, a discotheque, a swimming pool, tennis courts, children’s playing grounds, and the beach. There were many gates to enter the Club all around our neighborhood. They were guarded by men in uniforms and a wire fence. Each gate had a golden color metal plate attached to its wall: Club Anatolia- Members Only.
My mom had told me that the Club is not for us. When I wanted to know for what kind of people Club was, she mumbled something like it was for people who have no books in their houses. I would not want to hang out with their children, would I? The public beach that we always went to, the one on the other side of the island was much better and cleaner anyway, no? Also the sewage pipes went under the Club beach and all those people were swimming in poop. Didn’t they know about it? Well, they probably did and most likely they were not swimming but just hanging out there to see and to be seen.
I looked to see if there was any poop floating around us and could not see any. My mom was correct in one thing though. Grown-ups were not swimming. I could see children in the water but no adults. That was good, no one would notice us among all these kids once we were in. I tried not to think how easy it was to tell our anxious faces from the joyful club children’s who were happily swimming and splashing water to each other just a few meters away.
“No way!” I grunted more at myself than at Esin. “Nothing can be more exciting than entering the Club. Right now we are entering. Now you pass through or I will push you through”.
To be continued…stay tuned.
I love your mom’s explanation ‘for people who have no books in their homes’.