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My life story–Anything

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Al-Khobar Saudi Arabia 1995

Her pleasant yet unreserved demeanor abruptly took on a sharp and commanding tone. Hand gestures that included a wagging finger and pursed lips were now accompanied by a raise in volume. She gave one last sharp look his way as his leg and foot made a loud thud on the kitchen floor. Her once welcoming face now stood clouded in confusion and anger. Guilt and shame stacked neatly piece by piece and a feeling of embarrassment quickly replaced self respect as I backed up. I stared blankly into her eyes as she paced and raised her voice one last time. A mismatched array of  English forced its way out of tightened lips, “no no Um Osama, no”!

The customary kiss kiss was given first on the right cheek and then the left. Two female cousins greeted me and hugged little ones that trailed behind. A trip from Riyadh to Al-Khobar had lasted 4 hours and with it a scenic view of red and brown desert that slowly transitioned into sand dotted with shrubs and tents. I was ushered into the sitting room and motioned to sit on the customary pad arrangement.

I took my place and folded legs close to my buttocks, knowing that it was deemed disrespectful to place a foot pointing at others on purpose. Tea, coffee, fruit and sweets were all brought in rounds one after the other. Chatter and talk of school, family and memories of time spent in Damascus kept us communicating while the men attended prayer. My language skills were not perfect but I had put together a list of phrases and understood very basic Arabic that helped but also brought confusion when trying to keep up a conversation. The ladies were limited in their English and so hand gestures and assistance from the boys who had now attended almost two years of schooling made the visit easier this time around.

A family environment that paired duty and service with vigorous expectations and standards was obviously in place. Children were to be respectful to adults, women served men and they in turn worked hard to provide. Wives raised voices and insisted on men returning to the store for items missed, discussions regarding child care were numerous until little ones were eventually handed off to fathers and taken outside for walks to the park. Women requested accessories that were well beyond the meager family budget and husbands were required to comply. A happy mix of loud voices, arguments that ended in laughter, endless amounts of food and finally the last cup of tea, all offered a warm and unusual atmosphere.

I felt at home within these walls and was treated as a guest as well as an immediate part of the family. The female cousins insisted I eat more, drink tea and even urged me to nap wherever I felt comfortable. The message was clear, I was being asked to join this tight knit part of his extended family and no language or cultural barrier would stand between us.

The visit came to a close and we stood talking in the kitchen where the oldest of the two females relished the last bits of a chocolate cake we had thrown together. She joked and laughed with him inquiring about our lifestyle and how he was able to keep up with my American standards. A smug grin crossed his lips as he spoke words that fueled a raging fury and caused his cousin to raise her hands in anger, and with that his foot was placed inches from my mouth “Watch she will do anything I say even kiss my foot

73 Comments Post a comment
  1. Alice #

    Thank God his family respected and loved you. Too bad he couldn’t! What a jerk!!!!

    Liked by 2 people

    May 25, 2018
    • It was like a dare. She stood staring at me and he kept pushing his foot closer until she exploded!! They were amazing!

      Liked by 2 people

      May 25, 2018
  2. I’m smoking mad Lynn. How dare he say that.
    Leslie

    Liked by 2 people

    May 25, 2018
  3. That’s just so awful, so demeaning.
    Thinking of you xxx

    Liked by 1 person

    May 25, 2018
  4. Oh my! This is so painful to read, only you’d know how it must’ve felt. I’m so glad you’re out of that hell, Lynn.
    Now I understand the truest form of what you mean by “freedom” you often write in your deep poems and other posts; I felt the real emotion of it with that ending line.
    God bless you and if your eyes ever fill with tears, may it be only because of joy, always.

    Love,
    Ayya

    Liked by 1 person

    May 25, 2018
  5. You’re welcome! You deserve all the happiness. 🌸

    Liked by 1 person

    May 25, 2018
  6. Thankfully, this demeaning treatment is in the past. What kind of torture that was! Involving his extended family with his demeaning behavior towards you. What he did not realize was that it indicted him not you! You were and still are a beautiful person, Lynn.

    Liked by 1 person

    May 25, 2018
  7. Thank God you didn’t do it.
    Bullies can make people do anything. I have been a victim of bullying( at workplace) and have seen it happen.
    Susie

    Liked by 1 person

    May 25, 2018
  8. Awful man. I’m so glad she defended you!!

    Liked by 1 person

    May 25, 2018
  9. WTF… But another well written piece, all the same. What better revenge?🌹😘

    Liked by 1 person

    May 25, 2018
  10. Well he knows differently now thank goodness. Hugs to you Lynn.

    Like

    May 25, 2018
  11. So glad you got away.

    Liked by 1 person

    May 25, 2018
  12. He just couldn’t ever resist, could he? What a vile creature. Your words pique the truth that it is so often the demeaning of another human that is the greatest cruelty. wouldn’t it be wonderful to travel back in time to that moment and then kick him hard in the teeth! Xoxo

    Liked by 1 person

    May 25, 2018
  13. Bravo to his family for meeting his attempt at a demeaning challenge head-on.

    Liked by 1 person

    May 25, 2018
  14. I’m sure he is still polishing his horns and hooves and you your halo. Thank God you left that life and are experiencing freedom

    Liked by 1 person

    May 25, 2018
  15. Words fail even me at his smugness that he is king and can do and say anything..So pleased you are all now free from that 🙂 x

    Liked by 1 person

    May 25, 2018
  16. Your stories and your courage never cease to amaze me. You are one strong survivor!!! Love, hugs, and blessings, N 🙂 ❤ xoxoxo

    Liked by 1 person

    May 25, 2018
  17. Lynn, were his parents anywhere near?

    Liked by 1 person

    May 26, 2018
  18. I agree with the other commenters – what a jerk.

    Liked by 1 person

    May 26, 2018
  19. Just catching up on reading, Lynn. I’ll probably have to leave those I’ve missed

    Liked by 1 person

    May 26, 2018
  20. He makes me so mad – I am so glad you are here now, though I do say it gives me some comfort to know that there were others at the time who showed you the love and kindness you deserved and still do.

    Liked by 1 person

    May 26, 2018
  21. Hmm how did you get that?

    Like

    May 26, 2018
  22. I’m glad his family backed you up and expressed the anger you did not dare back then.

    Like

    May 26, 2018
  23. What a road you’ve traveled, Lyn!!!

    Liked by 1 person

    May 26, 2018
  24. Lynn, a brilliantly written scene that takes from high of joyful sharing with the women to the manic end of his utterances and insistance. A rollercoaster of emotional turmoil … you bring us full circle from the cousins reaction, to the previous events and ending up with his demand. You must feel blessed every morning on waking every morning. Take care. Xx

    Liked by 1 person

    May 28, 2018
  25. I am sure his family were deeply ashamed of him. Thinking of you.

    Liked by 1 person

    May 28, 2018
  26. Monster!!

    Like

    May 28, 2018
  27. I’d a bit off his frigin big toe!! Watch him smile then….asshat!! so glad you are away from al that control and his madness. xxxkat

    Liked by 1 person

    May 28, 2018
  28. He is the scum of the earth ! 💜

    Liked by 1 person

    May 30, 2018
  29. His cousins probably knew him to be a woman hater.

    Liked by 1 person

    June 2, 2018

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