First Secret

I tried to stay calm and spoke to my precious boys with great ease and smooth words. I didn’t want to press too hard and knew it was already difficult for them to discuss. I talked instead about the fettucine I made for them while they were at school. We were not allowed Western products but one day when he requested fettucine for his friends, I took my big chance and started purchasing comfort foods here and there. I brought a plate of toffee bars and told the boys about our day, how See See and Foof made a new pad house and used the box as a train, how I had been thinking about them all day, and finally how no way would anyone ever hit my kids, ever!

I served the lunch and left the kids to eat. I could not contain myself any more or stand the thought of anyone ever hitting my children. I taught my children to be respectful and also wanted them to have that same respect given to them. How could I teach them respect if people were hitting them and how could they learn or be safe in these circumstances? I was not allowed to go in the school because it was men only, I did not know how to speak Arabic to call them and complain. My only link to the school was him.  He was taking his usual afternoon nap but this could not wait! I entered the room and picked up his clothes, moved things around in order to rouse him from his sleep. He finally rolled over with one eye squinting at me. He held out his arms for me to come and sit and hug him. I sat on the edge of the pad and told him about the incident at the school. I rambled on about protecting my children and that I had not traveled all this way, taken this leap, put up with these ridiculous conditions, all to have my children put in this situation, no no it would not happen like this!! He looked irritated but didn’t dare interrupt me, he knew when it came to my children I had a resolve that would not be broken. He said he would go into the school and discuss this incident but also issued a warning about speaking to the boys regarding school. He claimed that this lead them to the conclusion that they were indeed being treated unfairly. I left this point hanging as my main goal was to protect my children, period! For all the years to come one trade was made for another to secure basic necessities or to make things better at school.

I cleaned up the sufra (tablecloth like plastic placed on the floor ) and dishes and told the boys to start their work. The little girls went back to playing around the apartment always finding new things to invent and discover. After finishing my chores I went to the window, once again I looked to the outside world and life of the street below.  The usual people milled past, car wash man, I wondered where his family was and what special dishes they had prepared longing for his return to their dinner table, little boy selling water to passing cars, hoping he would be safe out there on his own, the many stray cats that frequented the garbage dumpster that I later fed and cared for. I thought of the past life and how dream man and I had run off and married unbeknownst to anyone. It was as if that life were indeed a dream and one that seemed to have never happened not even while sleeping. He came in his old green vega, dressed in his best slacks, a shirt and sweater over it. He was clean shaven, thin and dark. His eyes were large and brown and held a certain comfort in their edges that turned up when he was happy. I had donned the white dress from mother, it had a ruffle down the middle and seemed just ever so elegant for a gum chewing, comedy queen! I felt this was a dare in some strange way, both of us had set our mind to marrying and it had to be done. We were in love, not the fleeting kind of love where words are spoken and actions not complete, but the real kind full of sacrifice and promises.  He spoke softly and never raised his voice, any matter that came up inspired great concern in his eyes but never a rise in temper. We looked at each other in nervous anticipation but no words were spoken. We drove the 90 miles to get a marriage license and then to a nearby town where we said our vows. The whole way as we wound our way through the wheat fields and eventually thick woods, we stayed in silence. Maybe it was the dare being completed that muted our voices and thoughts. It was a wonderful day that ended at a Chinese restaurant and then an over night stay at a cheap motel. We woke the next day and I felt in awe and fear of the fact that I was actually married. On our way home through the fields and forests he informed me that I was never to speak of this day to anyone, not my parents or sister or anyone. He said that his parents would not approve and it was better this way. I kept my promise of  this secret day for years to come and realized that is was the first test and I had passed.

131 thoughts on “First Secret

  1. Did you feel he would have taken you back home from Saudi if you wanted him to?
    Every newlywed wants to share their excitement… How sad you couldn’t tell anyone. Did you have to pretend to be living a single life? Was he trying to drive a wedge between you and your sister and parents? I am on the edger of my seat!

    Liked by 2 people

      • I can’t wait for the happy ending….. Or at least the get away from the not so great middle….. The only thing not completely breaking my heart in every read is knowing you are now safe and without him – and that you have your wonderful children that encourage and love you. And time will heal. And if this writing and the encouragement of many helps that healing, I am grateful and glad. 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

  2. I’ve just discovered your blog but I am enjoying reading your stories immensely. One of my best friends grew up on the Aramco compound in Saudi. Her mother still livees there with her father & has little to no rights. Its encouraging to hear someone speak about their experiences as a westerner living over there.
    x SF

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Lynz you are an amazing, strong, independent, intelligent, courageous, nurturing woman! Always look to your inner self for direction and trust it!! Thanks for sharing your secret.

    Liked by 3 people

  4. Oh Lynn I find your life story truly amazing. You are such a strong woman to persevere through all that has happened (and is happening) in your life. I have to say that I agree with a lot of the bloggers who have said that you are a wonderful writer and have the makings of a novel here.

    Liked by 3 people

  5. wow another great chapter….what you endured…but I love the mother bear in you….the kids were so lucky to have such a loving mother…he ccouldn’t deny you when it came to your children….I admire you for your tenacity for your children’s rites…your a strong woman, I am so happy you are safe and your kids are with you….I am sure that wasn’t easy…but I will wait on the edge of my seat for that chapter….sister you are truly awesome…I am telling you, write a book, you will make money on this story…..XXXXkat

    Liked by 2 people

  6. Wow Lynz, your transition from living in one culture to another, certainly kicks mine into touch, I do not always find things easy and have had to learn a new set of very frustrating rules, and indeed language (and food and cooking, this is what prompted my blog) But nothing compared to your experiences (plus my children were safe in university in the UK)
    Knowing how difficult, I have found things, I have gross admiration for you and it is SO wonderful that you are sharing these stories with other women.
    One thing that may surprise you is that I am still a ‘secret’ after 10 years together and 6 years living together, my partner’ mother would not accept me. We are going to be married next year and his parents do not know and have never met me. Sometimes I do wish that I had fallen in love with someone from my own culture, Bon courage, Lindy xx

    Liked by 2 people

  7. Hello Lynz,

    I really love your blog, lovely cooking recipes and a beautiful web of life stories.

    You write with an honesty and passion that is so refreshingly different and so inspiring.

    Have a splendid week!

    Liked by 2 people

  8. Lynz, you are one courageous woman. I’m sorry he forced you to keep this secret because secrets really do keep their keepers prisoners. You are finally free now ❤ and I'm so happy for you. You are an amazing mom and keep writing your story because now you get to write your own ending. 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

  9. Your story is one of an intelligent and strong woman. Perhaps you don’t see yourself that way but there is a reason why we are attracted to your blog. It is not because of pity or we think you need another follower. Your posts reflect strength as well as seriously yummy recipes. You have faced and continue to face obstacles with courage and humour. Lynz, look at yourself and recognise the beautiful person you are..inside and out. Thank you for sharing your life with us. You are a wonderful inspiration for us all.
    Xxxx Natascha

    Liked by 3 people

    • Natascha your words are more than mere words to me! They are really hope and validation! It is still hard and I do worry all the time to be honest! But having you comment and tell me I am “good” it means allot. I carry tons of guilt still but I have my kids and they are healthy and I am making sure they are all educated and safe! Thanks and much love to you!! Lynnxxx

      Liked by 2 people

  10. I DO understand. As women, we can torture ourselves with guilt. I should also tell you that you have a real TALENT. Your writing is beautiful. I say this as a teacher, not as a blogger. Your kids love you and are happy. Remember that not all “successful marriages” can be witnesses to that when it comes to their kids. That is success indeed! ❤❤❤

    Liked by 2 people

  11. Lynn! You capture the insidious beginning of the control so masterfully! I am so grateful you have this forum for sharing AND receiving support!!! Thank you for your bravery on so many fronts. As said so many times above, you have truly been through something amazing, and even with the scars, I know you have come out even stronger. Much love to you!!! ❤

    Liked by 2 people

  12. This was a really tough secret ..I mean hiding your marriage from your parents is unthinkable…I can’t even think what struggle if would have been for you 🙂 You are indeed a strong woman 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

  13. Hi Lynz, i am so touched by your story. I can’t even begin to imagine what you must have gone through. The question on my mind right now is…Is love really enough to get married to someone? If we do not do a background check,family/cultural check, we end up in a love trap. And we women become the prey most times. From my heart i pray that your wounds would heal, your scars will become less painful. And may you find help with taking care of yourself and kids. I’ll definitely love to read about how you finally won the battle of isolation and abuse. Loads of love from a sister!

    Liked by 2 people

  14. Lynn, I wish your stories were made up. I imagine the manipulation is subtle and reasoned away at first. I’ve been in situations like that where I question myself so I can only image what daily life with someone like that must do. I’m happy you’re living back in the states with your family.

    Liked by 2 people

  15. Wow! I can not imagine how you must have felt about your children going through what they did at school and you not being able to directly take care of the issue. But you are strong and bold and it helped you get through it all;)

    Liked by 1 person

  16. OMG. This is wonderful. First I was thinking about how the act of feeding your little tribe has factored into your survival of very unusual circumstances. Then you yanked me out of my revery and took me on a fast camel ride into how we become lured into traps that bind us in unexpected ways to behave in ways we never imagined we ever could or would. There is depth and complexity between the lines. Really fine.

    Liked by 1 person

  17. Hello, Lynz. We’ve been visiting each other’s blogs today, catching up. I have to say that I felt more of a calmness with this post. You seem to be getting stronger and gaining strength motivated by maternal concern for your children. I always feel the closeness of you and your children each time I read a post. You are often confined in a small living space with not much outside support and yet you all thrive on this closeness. You take something as simple as a packing box or pillows and turn them into props for wonderful adventures. I love that feeling of mother/child bonding which pervades each chapter. But I must admit, I am relieved to know that you do end up in a safe place.

    Liked by 1 person

  18. We may have read each other’s blogs but this story helps fill in a lot of the holes and spaces in your life. I have shared being with men who hurt me, emotionally and physically. I also had someone who controlled me. I feel so much sadness that you and your children went through all of this. Wasn’t your sister the one who introduced the 2 of you? Did she guess or know before others in your family?
    I believe you are a strong, loving woman who did not deserve such treatment (mistreatment). I am proud of your accomplishments, Lyn. I will check other posts again soon. So much to think about, dear one. Hugs to you and your children. ♡ 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • thanks so much! she felt he was a great guy up until I left! she never could believe it, he is a prince to everyone but me! They are all amazing! I need to connect with you more and read more! this summer has been a mess he was here, it was not good so threw me into feeling down! I am now getting back to me and hope he will just leave me alone! much love and hugs!! Thanks! tell me what to read on your blog that explains you! I want to know about you!!

      Like

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