Red haze

As we said our goodbyes and left Al-Khobar, the scrub brush and various greenery that comes with being close to the sea all faded away, the red and tan desert hues returned. It was all behind us now,we were going back to our usual routine. I looked out the window at camels and desert and more desert. People always told me that it was very beautiful the way the sand unfolded before you, never ending. But I still missed the pine trees and forest I grew up in, seeing the deer dart across the long windy road up to the house in the woods. The thought of living in Al-Khobar near water was some how comforting or maybe it was the idea of being near relatives. Either way we were now heading back to our life in Riyadh, a certain melancholy surrounded me. I sat in the car looking out at the desert that stretched before me, thoughts of my childhood and the beginning rushed through my mind. I felt a twinge of uncertainty but this could not be addressed, I had made my choices and I needed to now live with them, make the best.

As we returned to our apartment we set back into the daily routine. Β He walked down the stairs and around the corner to drop the boys at the school. See See and Foof played with baby boy who was now 15 months old, watching him toddle around the house, pushing him in Grama’s perfume scented box. He giggled and crawled out of the box making his way to the kitchen holding onto my legs. I knew my job well and did my best to make things as they should be. When he entered there was to be no sign of anyone living in this place, no toys, no ladylike touches, neat and clean as if no one lived here and in many ways I felt as if we did not.

The idea of moving to Al-Khobar was a hopeful sign of improvement and so far we had only made progress in our new life in Riyadh. Each day he spoke of this job and the beautiful compound that we would move to and each day I followed his words as if they were reality waiting to be played out. There were many rules in the apartment and in order to keep things on an even keel for the children, they had to be followed to the letter. They were young and should not have such restraints, but I could follow and did. My window was still a place of solace and a reminder of those less fortunate.

One day he arrived home with the news that he was offered a job,a new car and compound living. He would need to move to Al-Khobar right away and we would be left at the apartment for 3 months on our own. He would return on most weekends and we would move in the summer. It was a bit unsettling thinking of getting the boys to school and back with 3 small children to cart along, no apparent way of getting out for any necessity and a list of other concerns, but we would be moving to a compound! I was filled with a guarded optimism and started thinking of all that was to come! I stood at the window looking out at the sky, a red haze loomed covering everything in view. There was a sort of beauty to this, as if a red snow storm had engulfed the city. I thought of the cake that had splattered at my feet and tears came to my eyes, I brushed them back as unwelcome reminders. Munira, the older of the female cousins laughed with him about the cake, he laughed back, a laugh I had not heard for years. They joked and spoke in Arabic, I understood little. I saw Munira’s smile turn as she raised her voice and stood. She waved her arms at him and walked toward me as if to shield me from this obvious assault on her senses. She pointed to me and I understood the rest. “He had put his bare foot up to my face and told her with a sheepish grin, yes watch she will kiss my foot, watch!”

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140 thoughts on “Red haze

      1. That doesn’t surprise me. Thankfully you have rights and family here; does it feel that way? You are so courageous for sharing! It must have been terribly humiliating. He deserves to have people know the truth.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. no he is in Saudi! My kids are all here! Many of my friends had to leave their kids behind! I am blessed! He just pops over randomly but hadn’t for almost 2 years until this year!my kids do not fear him at all! They are strong they are more irritated and do not want him around me!

        Liked by 2 people

      3. That’s great news:) I am so happy for you, that you have your children! I was thinking of the time you said he stopped by, and didn’t know if that happened often. I’m glad they are there for you:) That is truly special!

        Liked by 1 person

      4. Sorry for all of the questions. I am just completely engaged in your story. I can’t wait to hear how you finally got back here. Your parents must have been dying inside. It’s hard to imagine your sister having a completely different experience and being happy over there. Was she not able to help you? Did she not now what you were going through?

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      5. My parents didnt know, you put on a face and when they found out a little part it was my last year there, my parents were older and knew if they intervened or made trouble, i would pay, its a nasty cycle! Ask anything Sadie!

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  1. You’re so talented Lyn…I just can’t say enough about how beautifully you paint the picture for the readers..
    I can so understand when you say, living near water, my memories of the Half Moon Beach & others are just so strong!! And then you talk about the desert tan hues.. ❀️❀️😍😍
    For a person who has lived in these places, your posts are like an eye candy..

    Liked by 1 person

  2. The idea of moving to the compound must have brought you so much happiness, and a little understandable reservation too. That last line, his line, made me angry for you. Sorry you had to be embarrassed by him that way.

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  3. What a complete jerk! It’s good to know that you were able to escape the abuse you endured, so many others are looking for a way out but feel trapped. So glad you are telling your story for others to be encouraged and inspired. I love reading these tidbits of your journey and can’t help but feel the misery that accompanied it also. Thankfully, it is only now just a memory and you are well πŸ™‚

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  4. All I can think about while reading your stories is “how can anyone bear such shame and humility” and then, at the same time…..I have experienced a small portion of that kind of a man and I know we do what we feel we have to for the children and ourselves…..we do not deserve that…..that is why we “find a way” to freedom. Hugs

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    1. We live in the states in the northwest! He lives in Saudi! We are still legally married! He just popped in a few months back and that is what prompted me to blog! depression quite honestly, but we are not together at least not in my mind!

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      1. I’m soooo glad you aren’t with him anymore. My heart hurts for you when I read some of your posts. I know depression, but you are working on getting all the gunk out. Good for you! My husband and I live separately too, but very close to each other. We find it helps us to have our own space.

        Liked by 1 person

  5. Lynz, it is shocking what he did but not unexpected to me. I was married at one time to an Iranian and I understand the mentality. I have said this before and I mean it your story is compelling and the fact that you are now happily living in the US is a testament to your strength and determination.

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      1. Was it…oh dear…
        I’ve just had another look. I knew you were together a lot longer than six years but thought the comment meant that the last six years were the worst. Apologies for that. I now see it was apuginakitchen who mentioned the six years. My comment about you being brave to reveal the incident of ‘the foot’ and keeping life going for the children’s sake, still stands.

        Liked by 1 person

  6. Lynz such a picture you painted. Such a cultural shock. Skimming through the comments I glad you’re free sort of speak. What about your children how did they fair? As I read I think of the book Not Without My Daughter. You have great strength.

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  7. Oh my what a pig he was….treating you like an animal…I love that the women came to your defense…the only thing positive about the next three months was he wasn’t coming home every night..I know that you a vesitile woman and will make it work for you and the kids…hell you had too!!! you amaze me, I would of found a phone months ago and yelled mommy come get me and the kids….wow is all I can say one more time….wow Lynz you are one tough cookie!!!!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Well my mind was confused just trying to survive and he warned me many times i could never take his kids any where. The last year was horrible i spent most days in my room trying to,keep,him from exploding at me in front of my children! So we went to see my son graduate from,university back here! He came with us and left after 3 weeks. My daughter was 19 had waited a year already to start school. He said she should get married! My older kids told me no way are we going back and they knew i would not leave them! So i stayed!

      Liked by 1 person

  8. Lyn, I hope this blog is an exploratory step toward the writing of a book. You could compile these stories into a really riveting full-length narrative. You have unique experiences and perspectives that scream to be shared with a larger audience.

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      1. There are a number of approaches you could take. You could simply publish a book filled with individual short stories. But you might also consider arranging the short stories chronologically, then linking them together to make one longer narrative. You might even including a few recipes between chapters or at the end of the book. The possibilities are endless! Your writing style is rich and engaging so I don’t think this would be a huge step out of your comfort zone. Self publishing through CreateSpace makes it relatively easy to get your book out there. You would, of course, want some beta readers and an editor. I’m sure some of your blog followers would love to beta read a longer work for you. There are all sorts of resources to find editors and cover designers, when you’re ready for that.

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  9. Lyn, a beta reader is someone who reads your rough manuscript before you send it to the editor. This should be someone who has an understanding of the elements of good literature, someone who might offer suggestions about where their attention lagged, where they needed more information, that type of thing. You don’t want someone who’s going to focus on minutia like spelling, punctuation, and grammar. That all comes later, after you have your story down. Family members and close friends can be beta readers, but only if you trust them to read and respond to you with a critical eye. A lot of times friends are unable to deliver helpful criticism (both good and bad). You might look into to writer’s groups in your area. Becoming part of a group of like-minded writers not only keeps you on task, but helps you build a community of trustworthy readers. Beta readers need to be committed. It really is asking a lot for someone to read a rough manuscript and then provide feedback. If you want more ideas, feel free to email me at linda@rangewriter.biz

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  10. Beautiful writing Lynz, so evocative, I have read other comments and agree with them – I particularly like the idea of arranging the stories, but maybe flit from present to paste as you ‘recall’ some past event, and YES interspace with an appropriate recipe. I love reading about your life and am so glad that you liked one of my posts, so that I could discover you. Lindy x

    Liked by 1 person

      1. I am sure there is a whole batch of us willing to do this. I think for now just keep writing until you have enough material, then try to weave it into a story. Maybe start to read some books written in this genre – very popular atm – good luck x

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  11. I can but imagine what hasn’t been said and for 16 years you endured although I am sure you shielded your children from much of it and to say I admire your courage doesn’t seem enough…..I really hope you life mainlyis lived in the sunshine now and not the shade you are amazing πŸ™‚

    Liked by 1 person

  12. This is a very good story, Lynz. I’m sorry I hadn’t read it sooner. I’m at a loss for words. The ending is so upsetting! Do you ever plan on divorcing him? I’m sure one day you can get an agent and compile your blog into a book. Your blog would make a best-selling book. The recipes and stories are very good.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. I see. I know it’s a very hard thing to go through. Since he doesn’t live in the U.S. it makes things harder. I admire you for just carrying on. You seem so positive about life too.

        Liked by 1 person

  13. This feels a bit ‘in at the deep end’! I bounced in expecting to say I’m not much of a cook but thank you for your visit. Then I went ‘9 kids!’ And then… I thought what an extraordinarily difficult time you appear to have had. Hope it’s getting better. Best wishes! πŸ™‚

    Liked by 1 person

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