Frank didn't give the impression that he was enjoying himself on his holiday. He was lonely and morose and had a cold in his head. He sat grumpily on the beach in jeans and tee-shirt while everyone else was wearing next to nothing, but he still got more sunburnt than anyone. In fact, he was a physical fiasco, always complaining about the heat and about not being able to eat the food. I don't know why I liked him. Maybe I just wanted to have a boy around to keep away the attentions of the Turkish waiters. He also had soft brown eyes.
That evening we went to a disco and he started getting all sentimental about some trashy pop songs. That was it: my passion was inflamed. For the next two weeks we travelled round Turkey together, until I began to realise that Frank was the saddest loser I had ever met.
All he wanted to do was travel forever. He had no money, but he had no plans to return to Germany which he described as a bourgeois hell-hole. He knew little or nothing about the modern world, the only things that occasionally excited him would be pieces of ancient stone or masonry that set him ranting about Greek mythology.
To this day I have never been sure whether Frank just wanted my company because I was increasingly paying for his meals and accommodation. I certainly wouldn't want to dwell on the mean side of his personality. But it did begin to become tiring when he pestered me to take him on to Syria. "Just show me Palmyra before I die," he gasped melodramatically, as though his whole life was in my hands.
I ended up running away from him in a bus station in Antalya. It was pretty shocking. I had just lied to him that we would be catching a bus together to Antakya on the Syrian border, but then I grabbed my chance when he was in the toilet. I jumped on a bus going in the opposite direction.
He was the least observant person I had ever met, so there was no danger of his spotting me. The last I saw of him was from the bus window. He came out of the toilet coughing and wiping his nose. I wasn't exactly sad, but I knew I would never forget him.Reuse content