This is a story I wrote after I returned from a short trip to Istanbul. It is bsed on locales I visited there. Aysun - As beautiful as the Moon Aysun groaned as her back muscles protested when she straightened up. She wheeled the large supply cart which contained all her supplies for cleaning and replacing in the rooms allotted to her towards the next room. She and Serra were in charge of the third and the fourth floor of the Akgun Palace, the oldest five star hotel in the city. Mechanically she inserted the magic card, as she called it, into the slot on the door of the next room. She had to finish four more before reporting at the linen storage room for some extra work… She longed for a smoke but not before she finished her chores… The Housekeeper was strict about her girls caught smoking around the guests’ rooms She groaned when she opened Room 242. It was a mess. The bed linen was strewn about on the floor, and the room looked like a china shop in which a bull had run amok! She shook her head and grimaced before starting her exhausting duties. First, she replaced the soiled linen and spread fresh ones. As she dusted and polished the furniture, she glanced at her reflection in the huge oval mirror. She was starting to look old…She laughed mirthlessly at her thoughts…She couldn’t afford to be vain about her looks… yet, there were lines on the face that once used to be whistled on… Life’s troubles come down heavily on a person’s looks, she mused sadly. As she mechanically disinfected the bathroom surfaces, she wandered back in time…when she had been what her name meant… Aysun… as beautiful as the moon! How smitten Erhan had been the first time he had seen her… It was during the Summer Festival in Behramkale… Every year various artists would flock down to Assos village for the festival and there would be music in the air… Many a romance flourished during the festival and many were doomed when the artists left, leaving broken hearts… But Erhan had not been like that… He had stayed back after the Summer Festival to woo her. He had persisted till her baba had agreed to accept him as damat ( bridegroom) for his pet daughter. Life changed for Aysun in Istanbul. Erhan had a number of fans and friends… yet, they had fallen into hard days… The arrival of Emre the son and Melek, the daughter in quick succession had made things worse… Erhan became distant and spent most of his time away from home…He obviously did not want to take the responsibilities of raising a family… He preferred his lotus eating friends and had finally walked out on her… Aysun had been devastated. She was in a quandary… with two kids to raise she had to find herself a job. Initially, when Beria, her neighbour, had suggested the job in the hotel where her husband worked, she had demurred…She dared not go back to her village in disgrace. Her Baba would be shamed by the scandal! Finally, her dire straits made her accept the job as a room attendant… and she had stuck on…for 18 years…in the same job…though in the past 5 years, she was in a Five Star Hotel… The hotel may be five star but her own duties were no different what it had been in the ordinary hotel in the suburbs where poorer of the tourists flocked. The job was tough and not what she’d have dreamt of doing when she had been young and in her village… Had she married Zeki, the village school teacher, she would be a respectable woman now… Instead, she had chosen her own path and meant to travel along it come what may! Her hopes were now pinned on her 17 year old son, Emre and her 15 year old Melek… She finished the bathroom and started vacuuming the room… Then she saw it. It had probably fallen off the table and rolled under the dressing table. A bottle of perfume! As she turned it round to see the brand, her heart started palpitating! Gucci! Wow! That was a nice brand… Melek had been keen on buying herself some exotic perfume for her birthday. They had both gone shopping but Aysun had to refuse seeing the price tag. Melek had sulked saying she never got anything she wanted and Aysun had lost her temper… All her life, after Erhan’s disappearance, she had lived for her kids. She had sacrificed all personal longings… but had spared no effort to fulfill theirs… Aysun had wanted Melek to do a course which would get her a job at the Front Desk of her Hotel….but no, she wanted to take a degree in Science and Melek always got what she wanted. When all the girls of their age dated local boys and dreamt of settling down, Melek had fancy dreams of going abroad for higher studies. She simply did not understand that it was impossible for Aysun’s meager income to realize her dreams… Emre had to join the sports academy in a year… He was a talented football player and his coach had persuaded Aysun to put him for professional coaching… Now the girl wanted hi fi cosmetics. Aysun had refused to buy Melek the perfume and she had sulked for the entire week… Seeing her sad face had hurt Aysun, but there was no way she could spare hundreds of Liras for a bottle of perfume…. Now, the bottle in her hand burned her heart… She was supposed to replace it on the dresser along with all other things that were strewn about on the table. She was sure the guest would have other bottles of perfume and may not miss one… Dare she take it? In her eighteen years of service she had never done anything like this… No! She decided, she won’t start now… For she felt, if she did not resist this urge, it would become a habit! With a stony heart she resumed cleaning the room. Finally she dumped the armful of dirty linen into the basket of her supply cart… As she was able to close the door, her eyes lingered on the bottle of perfume again… a shade too long… Without thinking, she retraced her steps, took the bottle and slipped it into the pockets of her coveralls… Little did she know that Fate was going to deal a heavy blow on her! End of Part one… http://www.indusladies.com/forums/stories-fiction/20986-hostages-of-life-part-2-a.html This is the link of part 2 if some one wants to read further.