Unmarked Glass Door
I was alone in the office with the deportation official. He had my passport and forms that he received from the official that brought me there. He was busy typing on his computer keyboard and I was left alone with my thoughts still racing in a million different directions, trying to make sense of what had happened. It was not long, before I started to get worried about Magda. Will she cope with the luggage? Will she get her booking changed? Will she find the deportation office? It felt as if time was frozen. It felt like hours, but it was not more than one hour before the door opened and Magda walked in. I was over-joyed to see her, but I could see that she was visibly up set. She hugged me and I wiped the tears from her cheeks.
She collected our luggage and then had to change her flight on our cost. She was able to book her seat on the flight back to South Africa and then she started to look for the deportation office. The directions given to her initially was hopelessly inadequate and she went from one dead end to another, until she recognized the official who escorted me to the deportation office earlier that morning. She was frustrated and felt lost and abandoned. She could not keep the tears back when she approached the official and he was quick to respond and to bring her to me at the deportation office. It was only then that we both realized that the office was unmarked. She walked past the closed door several times but had no idea that I was behind the door!
The deportation official took her booking confirmation and started to capture information from our passports and other documents on his computer. After a while he confirmed that he was able to book us both on the first flight back to South Africa, scheduled for 12:30 am the next morning. He explained that we can leave the deportation office, but that we may not leave the airport building. We had to return to the deportation office at 21:00 to board our flight. He kept our passports with him when we left the office. We just wanted to get out and breathe deeply as we reflect on everything that happened that morning.
As we walked back into the airport building we noticed the signposts for the Airport Hotel. We were feeling exhausted and we both knew that we can do with a quiet room where we could just rest and reflect. I made a call to one of our support group members in South Africa and explained our situation to him. He was as surprised and shocked to learn what had happened to us. He agreed that we should book a room for the day in the hotel. He was going to make some inquiries on his side and will call us later.
It was such a relief to walk into our hotel room. We took a shower and then tried to rest. It was difficult to quiet our minds. We had so many questions and we felt very insecure and fragile in that moment. As we revisited the sequence of events that morning, a picture started to emerge, but we were still in the dark about the reason behind the refusal for my entry into Turkey. It was like walking head on into an unmarked glass door.