2-The beginning–Morning villa

This is the second story I posted in my series

That night our 10 boxes had been lined up along the empty living room wall. As tired as we were the kids and I ripped open tape and rummaged through each box to find the new, fresh pillows I had purchased and brought along. At the time it seemed like a strange idea to buy pillows, but I did anyway. I also packed 2 blankets passed on to us years before by a man who finished school and left everything he owned in his vacant apartment to go back home. They were big rough blankets, light and dark browns with images of horses or some type of animal. We found the blankets and pillows and made a make shift bed on the floor. We slept in the men’s mejalis (sitting room for male guests) or any other room, it didn’t much matter as each was interchangeable with the other.

Sleep came easily to us after hours of traveling. The kids had laid on their seats resting their heads against each other, they slept intermittently throughout each flight. For me it was different, my 20 month old daughter had no seat so she sat on my lap,which at this point had shrunk down to a small space. I shifted between having her on my lap and letting her sleep on the floor in front of me in the bed the airline provided. This meant a quite ridiculous picture of a woman, 8 months pregnant resting her legs up near the food tray because there was no other place to put them! Then when Foof woke, having her sit on my small space of a lap while I rested my weary feet back on the floor. What a site!  I didn’t sleep much just a nod off here and there when my head would jerk forward waking me from the few minutes of sleep I was able to catch. So, sleep overtook me quite easily that night. We all snuggled up next to each other as we always did at home and slept on our make shift bed.

I awoke with that feeling when you are on vacation or visiting Grama when you think you are home but then realize your surroundings are not the same. I peered out of one eye to see that things had not changed and were as I had remembered them when I went to sleep. My two older children were not there so this woke me from my heavy sleep. I turned on my side, hips throbbing, I crawled to a position that would enable use of my hands. I slowly stood and straightened out my body.  I roamed around the villa to see in the light of day that things looked the same, but every line on the walls, each crack through the plywood and lack of furniture was much more evident. I felt a sudden twinge, that sick feeling when you panic and question, your mind bolts and races and wanders. I then composed myself and tried to remember that I was a God fearing, good woman, we came to this place not for glamour or fun but to start a new life, to raise the kids in a safe environment, to learn a new language and culture. Yes, this was the right choice and I would carry on and make things the very best.

I called for my boys and finally they answered, they had been used to playing in their play house in the back yard, running through the green grass and riding bikes. So, they had gone exploring looking for that place to play. Directly out of the brown door were the stairs that had led us to this place, going up was the roof which was surrounded by tall ( 5 to 6 foot) cement walls. Downstairs was a small courtyard where a car would be parked, but now was empty.

With the boys safe and occupied, I made my way back into the living room. It was hot in the villa with no a/c and everything closed up. I walked to the wall and peered up to the brown, plastic window. I reached up and pulled until it opened.

A small breeze gently caressed my face, the sweat beads dried on my forehead and I felt a momentary relief. The next thing was water and food, I went to the kitchen, a room with a sink and a counter next to it, a small drain in the middle of the floor. Where would I find food or water? Was the water in the sink drinkable? The children would wake soon and they would be hungry. On the counter a small sack from the local bukala (neighborhood store) inside were several bottles of warm water and a melted container of sticky mango ice cream.

Windows in the villa

150 thoughts on “2-The beginning–Morning villa

  1. The picture of you, hippo-like on the plane trying to balance to teeny tot on your diminished lap is at once heart-rending and hilarious. I’m not sure I could have born the sticky mango mush … I’m eager to know what became of it!

    Liked by 2 people

    • He went to Saudi about 2 months before us, got the villa, um no furniture but got indoor outdoor carpeting black, and an old set of these pads from the swap meet. Yes he picked us up from the airport and took us to the villa. Then went to work the next morning so we were all alone, no food, a few bottles of warm water and the ice cream. He came home at one p.m. and brought a bag of rice, took a nap as he did every day and we sat. At the time I was so shocked and I was pregnant so I didn’t know what to do. no phones available in Saudi, no p.o. box, no windows, no where to sit, no appliance, no fridge or stove etc. and no way to go out to buy anything. So I slept all day jet lag and it was darn hot maybe 100 degrees. It was weird and I guess the perfect next step to isolate us.

      Liked by 3 people

  2. Where was “the man” of the house while you were going through this big move and change? “The man” is supposed to take care of his family. Wow… how short he fell. (okay, sorry, I really do try not to sound annoyed at him, but sometimes I just can’t help it, 😉 )

    Liked by 1 person

  3. The resilience of the human spirit is unbelievable! That is, if you have any, because obviously he doesn’t. I pity his youngest child, at least the others have you and you managed to get them all out… The book could be in diary form, I think with a bit of help it would make fascinating reading. And you already have an audience!

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  4. I’m at least glad you felt safe letting the boys play on the roof and in the courtyard. I’m curious what you did for food… Can’t wait for your next post. And I can imagine the plane ride. I’ve traveled pregnant with a child on my lap too. Thankfully it wasn’t for a move!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks Sadie, just waited for him to arrive for his lunch around 1 and he brought a bag of mendi- saudi rice. Then just waiting for each time he came home. He slept until 3 then back to work, saudi schedule home at 9 pm. This is the traditional work schedule for saudis and all stores everything shuts down at that time.

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        • we had no refrigerator or stove or cupboards! a big empty room with a sink and a counter! So, nothing to cook on or put food in. Then we got a used fridge and the a used stove etc. but many problems haha with the stove. so, it wasn’t until we moved to the compound that I could just go to the store with a bus driver! Thank God!!

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          • I feel very guilty, you and I discussed that a long time ago! I did what I could, but really we had nothing as in nothing! Little to no medical care and he was unwilling to take us, limited food and no way to get out! no phones etc. It was bad, I try to be positive and matter of fact in my writing, but it was bad! We made do, I played in the mejalis we had pillow fights, I cut up a baby book (feel so bad) but we had nothing, so we colored on it and laughed and played! So, I tried but he would not give in and if I bugged him it meant big problems. I will post tomorrow where I am a little more bold! Thanks Sadie, you are one of my dearest and biggest supporters! xoxo much love to you, Owen and the kids!

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  5. Well that was certainly not the white picket fence that most newlyweds dream about when starting a family. You just described the beginning of your nightmare. Glad to see you on the other end of that today!

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  6. What I like best about your stories is the sense of the deep love connecting you and your children. You let your children be children and gave them the best life you could. I’m glad you finally got angry. I experienced the power of clean pure anger that propelled me to divorce my first husband. He was not an awful person but I did not feel heard. I wanted to be free.

    Liked by 1 person

        • Honestly I was so afraid, but again it was the kids! My oldest daughter had passed the GED and he said she should get married!!! So she sat for two years and I promised her I would get her to the states and university, my other two who were 17 and 15 and told me they would not go back no matter what and they knew I would never leave them! So, I was very scared but I stayed! My daughter graduated with three majors and is now working on her Masters degree while working in admissions at our university! She would be married I am sure and sitting with no education or possibilities! So, the kids once again and my love for them, forced me to stay!!

          Liked by 1 person

  7. This has to be the cruelest homecoming I’ve ever read. He was basically acting like a jailer, and this was his family he was supposed to love? Unimaginable, truly.

    You’re such a good writer, Lynn, I hope you’re able to turn this into a book one day. People would definitely buy it.
    Have you heard of Blurb? (http://www.blurb.com/) You can create books with photos on line and sell them there too.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Lynn, I think I am still just shaking my head ! That was unacceptable, selfish, disrespectful and need I carry on ! Please excuse, the word, but the hell that man put you through…..unbelievable ! There is a saying that says…’Every dog gets his day’ I wonder whether he will get his day? xxx

    Liked by 2 people

    • He did after I left him but he would not divorce and so it was 3 years of this and a baby immediately. She was 18 years younger, a career woman and had been married. He claimed that did not make it a second wife situation although he came here and we were trying to work things out and he then went back to her and his child, twice a year. We also talked daily. It was heartbreaking! that was honestly the hardest part and just the cherry on top of years of abuse!

      Liked by 1 person

        • It really well hmm I don’t know how to explain my feelings. He had told me constantly he would marry, as a joke. In my next segment I might post something I wrote, each time anyone talked to him in the end he would say, “bring me a second wife” so I had been humiliated for years hearing this, when he did it I just felt devastated! I was waiting for him to say–Lynn wow I am sorry you are a good person- instead he married and would not agree to divorce me! She left him after 3 short years but they are still legally married as well.

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