A brief introduction to this portion of my story which may seem out of place but is actually deliberate– People ask me quite often, “were there good times” ” was he ever nice” so this segment is in answer to those questions. A huge part of the emotional abuse that I went through was the constant- building me up, then just as quickly and even more devastatingly breaking me down cycle. It is hard to explain abuse or give a clear picture so this story will hopefully serve that purpose. You are living under strict rules, harsh criticism, constant fear and lack of love or attention. So these moments, even days occur where you are deluged with warmth, compliments and what appears at the time to be, love. Then just as quickly this is snatched away and can happen over a dropped tissue, a step through a mud puddle, anything.
Life remained the same on the large Riyadh compound. Temperatures made their usual dip and climb, which meant a steady but sure rise until a hot and unrelenting heat was complete. People walked the loop and savored the intermittent sunshine, discussing where R and R tickets would take them for the holidays.The compound had become a revolving door for those who entered the Kingdom with the large communications company. They unpacked, became part of our community and no sooner were whisked off to a “better” or different location. My little bakery had been an experience, but was winding down for the year, never to return. A business meeting with two ladies from a designer label, had resulted in a request for my little bakery to supply five dozen pastries early each morning for their newly established coffee bar. This had ultimately brought the current difficulties of operating a bakery from home while tending to a family of 8, to the forefront and seemed impractical. The older boys were ready to finish their first year at the big school and See See and Foof would be enrolled at the girl’s section for the coming year. After months of aggravation and incessant inquiries, he was finally transferred to a new department and a sense of relief was felt throughout the household. Summer was only weeks away and this meant a break from the back and forth school trips, waking the kids at 5 a.m. and the numerous obstacles faced at Arabic school.
With the school year winding down, thoughts of swimming at the pool, going on the shopping bus and sleeping in, made the household buzz with excitement. It seemed as if an unstoppable wave of happiness filled our home. The year had been full of significant transitions and milestones leading me to believe that finally the time had come, a reprieve from my undeniable mistakes and faults and what seemed to be recognition of my better qualities. The little girls, who had been fearful to leave my side, had now hopped on the big bumpy bus each day, learned to read English and made many friends at the American school. My two older sons had started at a new school and their Arabic language had made huge improvements. He had secured a new position and was sure this would be the best department, utilizing his expertise and optimizing what he was capable of.
The door flung open and he walked in, smiles and laughter, announcing his new position and the change in departments. A much needed and sought after adjustment that offered a small salary increase but a more fitting assignment that would compliment his experience. He walked towards me and his eyes seemed somehow different, the past engulfed me and tingles captured my body as I stood, a young and naive woman once again. He leaned forward and touched me, both literally and figuratively, a touch that had been absent and had been replaced for years with guilt and the constant reminder of obligation. My heart was still connected to this dream, a man that had long since removed himself, but still a lingering dream inside of me that was easily revived. He laughed and joked, asking me to have lunch, to go out in the car and leave behind whatever sputtered and cooked on the stove. In the midst of cleaning and cooking, anything left out of place was not mentioned. The usual barrage of comments about toys, food not covered properly and a chair that had shifted and touched the wall, were now replaced with talk of the amazing woman that stood before him. A dependable, powerhouse, someone no one could touch or come close to and no one would value like he did. I stood basking in this beautiful feeling and watching in delight, his adoration of all that surrounded us. I knew that my patience had paid off and things would now return to where they had started, winding our way in the old green vega, through the Palouse to that hidden wedding chapel.