Welcome home

Riyadh 1993

Events of the night before slowly drifted back, the crunch of dead cockroaches under foot, leaving the airport and walking into a rush of hot blustery air and driving aimlessly through the same neighborhood numerous times.  Each and every street looked the same, an open garbage dumpster positioned in a vacant lot, empty pop cans, plastic bags and remnants of shwarma sandwiches all lay strewn in piles that scattered the street.  Ferule cats snuck in and out of the make shift landfill, eyes glowing in the dark, skulking stealthy, looking more like predators than harmless felines. Workers stood rag and bucket in hand, dressed in ratty pants and shirts, scarves draped around their nose and mouth to filter out the dust and sand that swirled endlessly. They waved, flagging down cars in hopes of making a few riyals. Saudi boys kicked footballs, stirring up dust, their thobes ( long garment worn by Saudi men) hiked up and tucked haphazardly into their surwals (pants underneath a thobe) making it easier to maneuver during a routine game.

It appeared that each and every block was interchangeable and he had no more knowledge of this area than we did. A long line of cement walls with metal gates that enclosed tan colored villas looked to be one unit. He swerved in and out of traffic, looping around and back again to the same neighborhoods, stopping to peer momentarily at the vehicles lined up near the curb. An exasperated look crossed his face and sighs of irritation gave way to words uttered under his breath. After several attempts he finally smiled and said “Abu Abudllah’s truck”(downstairs neighbor and owner of the villa).  He parked the vehicle and exited to open the large rusty gate that stood in front of yet another row of impenetrable walls enclosing block like cement homes.

The van that had been borrowed from a Saudi friend was fully equipped with a/c, luxury seats and a small television.  He pulled out into the street and then backed into the parking area. An empty carport stood before us, hundreds of dead cockroaches lay on their backs, evidence of a recent fumigation in preparation for our arrival. One lone palm tree waved in the intermittent breeze struggling to grow among the concrete of this enclosure. I smiled and sucked down a wave of panic, thinking to myself that surely this was not the place we would call home. After all, I had paid my dues, had been the perfect and dutiful wife for ten years, living with bits and pieces of old furniture that Saudis left behind when returning home, had converted to a new religion and followed it to the letter. I turned away from my old life, singing jazz, pictures and friends. I told my parents that no gifts were allowed for holidays and did not resist when he announced a chosen name for each and every newborn.  It was a slow current that drifted away from autonomy and veered toward total lack of control. But this move to Saudi was the ultimate sacrifice and I was sure this time things would be different.

90 thoughts on “Welcome home

  1. Why are you blogging, Lynn? You need to turn this story into a book! Your writing style is captivating, and with today’s emphasis on empowered women, your story would certainly be a top seller! I do hope you’ll consider it. ~ Lynn

    Liked by 1 person

  2. In that moment, I think it was good, that you didn’t knew, what would happen for the next years, dear sister. Then you wouldn’t have survived. The control come in little by little and then you were caught in. A good reason for us not always to know our destiny in front.
    I’m so grateful, that you are together with your kids and parents and free from that monster. Now you are allowed to live again and I hope, you have found your joy to do so ❤

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  3. Optimism is a good character trait and keep, but yes, always looking for the good in any situation can sometimes blind us to actual evil. Still if I had to choose, I would still pick optimism of distrust and cynicism every time:)

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  4. It wasn’t better thought was it? It was the same ole, same ole plus worse b/c things for him were worse so he made it worse plus 10 for you and the children. He’s such a fucking monster! I know a man like him. Too much so that I will call the spade a spade and not pussy foot around it.
    My prayer is that God or some may call it Karma gives him all that he doled out to you to and your children 10 times more. And more, I pray he doles out that and more to you and me and all women who suffered at the hand of tyranical, evil men.

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    • Thank you dear Deborah! I feel foolish looking back. I thought this was it a nice furnished home with beds for my kids and appliances but instead it was totally shocking. I sat on the floor hard and cold, contractions stabbing. I still cant understand how he had no compassion! Thank you for caring! Sometimes it is overwhelming and I think things will never be normal! Xxxxxxx

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Oh gosh, Lynz, I feel panic in my chest when reading this. I can’t truly empathize with your unique situation and relationship but do recall landing at Cairo airport with tears running down my face. The angst of returning to such a foreign place defeated me. Your writing is amazing, especially as it is true and from the heart.

    Liked by 1 person

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