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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 Comments Post a comment
  1. Alice #

    If you only knew what would be ahead of you. 😦 God bless you Lynn!!!
    Let’s get together this year!!!!

    Liked by 1 person

    February 9, 2018
  2. But your life DID eventually change, and in the best way possible due to your strength and courage. XOXOXO I’m looking at your photo collection on the right of your blog and see only fun, family, and happiness!

    Liked by 1 person

    February 9, 2018
  3. Oh how your heart must have felt! Holding onto hope that things would be different! My eyes just tear up reading , can’t imagine living it!

    Liked by 1 person

    February 9, 2018
  4. You have a way with words Lynn as I read I almost feel like I there with you. It’s an amazing true story and you have really come full circle now and are teuly blessed. Hugs my friend!

    Liked by 1 person

    February 9, 2018
  5. 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

    February 9, 2018
    • Thank you! This is actually part of my book after we entered Riyadh! The first night. I am working on it now and am so behind on bloggin!

      Liked by 1 person

      February 9, 2018
  6. 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 ❤

    Liked by 1 person

    February 9, 2018
  7. Fascinating as always Lynn. We, fortunately, know the after story, so do not fear for the longer term. You, however, had to endure this, not knowing what the future had in store for you and the children. Hugs.

    Liked by 1 person

    February 9, 2018
  8. Great read as always!

    Liked by 1 person

    February 9, 2018
  9. Wow. Every chapter is gripping…heartbreaking.

    Liked by 1 person

    February 9, 2018
  10. Hope drives us to places we never dreamed we’d go. 🌟✨💫

    Liked by 1 person

    February 9, 2018
  11. I can still see why you are struggling with this. That is a lot of years of abuse. I’m pleased you are making headway writing about it. Stay blessed.

    Liked by 1 person

    February 9, 2018
  12. What a scene, Lynn. I think I held my breath while reading this. And look where you are now. Surrounded by love and beauty. ❤

    Liked by 1 person

    February 9, 2018
  13. Hope spring eternal, Lynn. You gave him every chance possible. He did not deserve you.
    Leslie

    Liked by 1 person

    February 9, 2018
  14. And then it was only the beginning. Thank God this all lies behind you, Lynn 💖

    Liked by 1 person

    February 9, 2018
  15. Very impactful post. You went thru and experienced alot. Glad you are back home in the USA and safe. Gary

    Liked by 1 person

    February 9, 2018
  16. I love the way you write. I am there with you seeing, smelling and feeling panic setting in myself for you…xxxx

    Liked by 1 person

    February 9, 2018
  17. Your story is compelling and gripping. So glad, Lynn, that you not only survived but are now thriving!

    Liked by 1 person

    February 9, 2018
  18. We always have that little glimmer of hope. I’m so glad you kept enough of it to get to the place you are now, Lynn. xoK

    Liked by 1 person

    February 9, 2018
  19. Vibrant descriptions, Lyn. I must have been a very unsettling time to say the least.

    Liked by 1 person

    February 9, 2018
  20. 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:)

    Liked by 1 person

    February 9, 2018
    • This is so true!!!

      Liked by 1 person

      February 10, 2018
      • It shows through in your story, no matter how dire the situation, your strength of character and goodness is there lurking, waiting for its freedom, and thankfully we the readers have the good fortune to know it is coming, because without that foreknowledge, I am not sure I could manage to read on. You are an inspiration:)

        Liked by 1 person

        February 10, 2018
  21. The contrast between Saudi and where you live now is so strong. Did the dust get into everything?

    Liked by 1 person

    February 9, 2018
    • Oh yes so dusty all the time, the floor dusty each morning and the smell of dust

      Like

      February 10, 2018
  22. 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.

    Liked by 1 person

    February 9, 2018
    • 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

      February 10, 2018
  23. Such brilliantly descriptive writing about such a dispiriting existence

    Liked by 1 person

    February 10, 2018
  24. Oh how far you have travelled Lynn. Keep on writing. Your book will be amazing. 🌼

    Liked by 1 person

    February 10, 2018
  25. Your strength got you through these difficult times, Lynn. I’m so proud of you.

    Liked by 1 person

    February 10, 2018
  26. You have been rewarded with the life you lead now.

    Liked by 1 person

    February 10, 2018
  27. Sounds so sad and dismal, Lynn. So glad you are back in the states now and are here to stay! xoxoxo

    Liked by 1 person

    February 10, 2018
  28. 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

    February 10, 2018
  29. You made it through the dust and his soul-shriveling torment of you to your lovely present home. Bravo for you, Lynn.

    Liked by 1 person

    February 10, 2018
  30. Thank you for sharing your story. It takes a lot of strength. Sign me up for the book ❤

    Liked by 1 person

    February 10, 2018
  31. As sad as this part of the story is, you write it so well. But I am looking forward to reading about the end of THAT. Because you have come so far. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    February 10, 2018
  32. Sending you lots of hugs after reading this one, Lynn ❤❤

    Liked by 1 person

    February 10, 2018
  33. Gary Drabczuk #

    Quite a story Lynz. You lead an interesting and tough life over there. Glad you are back on safer and more pleasant turf. Gary

    Liked by 1 person

    February 11, 2018
  34. You’ve amazing writing skill, Lynn. It’s gripping…and poignant too…

    Liked by 1 person

    February 11, 2018
  35. Painful memories but they strengthen your present happiness. Keep writing.

    Liked by 1 person

    February 11, 2018
  36. I remember this clearly when I first read your story…and was shocked. I am so grateful you are out of that hell hole and things have really come right, and you and your family are happy.
    xxx

    Liked by 1 person

    February 11, 2018

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