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Summer love-8

Spokane 1982

She was a small town girl whose father and mother were first generation Americans. She was raised in a tiny town in Idaho where Daddy worked at the brickyard and Mama stayed home tending to children.  But now, she (my mother) was the “boss” and her firm yet impartial demeanor had gotten her far and proved to be an example of what was expected in our household.

Headlights cast a dim glow on the staircase that lead to the kitchen and mom’s heels could be heard as the car door shut. Excitement paired with nerves took hold as I braced myself to face her. She had been my mentor and best friend and never failed when advice and comfort were required. But this was somehow different and I knew that mother would be surveying him with a most forbidding inspection, leaving nothing undiscovered.

Keys jangled in the lock and a frozen stance was held in place upon her entry. He smiled and graciously stood before her, an unassuming and yet confident young man. She shook his hand and then excused herself to change into more suitable clothing for a relaxing evening at home. His level of respect drew me closer and it was clear he knew how important family life was to me and it seemed he shared the same values.

We situated ourselves in the living room on the top floor just outside her bedroom door. Large white couches, end tables and side chairs had been carefully placed throughout the oddly shaped room. The ceiling slanted until it reached a point that ended in a large skylight jutting out into a triangular shape. A fireplace was the focal point of this space and was finished in white lava rock and a marble ledge.

He crossed his legs and kept a fair distance between us, only acknowledging me when he was spoken to. A curious lack of physical affection was eventually chalked up to his culture and a desire to be considerate in front of my parents. It was as if he fit in to any and all situations and easily molded himself into the perfect and appropriate companion. This quality was especially admirable to an animated, gum chomping girl who felt she was somehow overly chatty, and at times inadvertently too flashy.

 

 

Update on the book

For the past few months Saleeha (oldest daughter) has been working on the book. She has organized, suggested and reviewed. I worked last year until I needed a big break but now that school is almost starting I will put my efforts back into finishing the book and first publishing a poetry book. I am new to all of this but feel that it is time! It is something that I have to do or need to do or just a part of the process of recovery but whatever it is, this is the time. Thank you for being there on this journey. Your love and support mean everything! 

Riyadh 2001

Jeans were seen as inappropriate and bad for the bones and female form. Silence gripped the room as he looked up and down rubbing hands across his face and then head, ultimately finding their resting place in his lap. The usual commentary repeated itself and unbeknownst to my scrambled brain, it made little difference what logic I attempted to pursue; she was young and did not have a womanly body, we lived on a western compound where all young girls were allowed to wear jeans and lastly there was no way to return these items. I finished my plea with a reminder that his children were modest beyond the norm and had never engaged in activities that would reflect poorly on him.  A roundabout discussion as to why my parents would bring such offensible items into our home and the improbable threat that he would actually speak with them, ended in tears. It was necessary to place myself on the side of caution and therefore I stood firmly with him. I knew there were only two options, we were either with him or against him. The jeans were rumpled into a ball and placed well away from view, hidden in a vast and endless cavern that contained forbidden actions, thoughts and words.

Her frail figure approached the table and placed the plastic sack down on a chair just beside me, tucking it under miscellaneous jackets, bags and items that were stacked in a pile. Her eyes shifted nervously at first forward and then a slight tilt of her head dared to look behind her. He was nowhere in sight that was the obvious and unspoken conclusion. The younger children voiced their irritation at this seemingly wasted trip to Faisaliah (one of the first malls in Riyadh). Clatter of shoes rubbing against the table jangled our nerves as Heme squirmed and rolled between the table, floor and chairs. The pants were eventually taken from the sack and handed over to my lap where I surveyed their color, length and ability to conceal her tiny figure.

Plain light blue, loose fitting and ordinary, they appeared to be the best that we could find and the only suitable option in this upscale, trendy mall. They looked to be perfect, a replacement for the shiny, fashionable jeans and shirt that Grama had recently brought from America. Grama and Grampa supplied all clothing and as far as she knew that is where necessities came from. A play station, toys, shoes, towels, mixers and of course clothing had become my parents “gift” to the children as well as to him. Dress pants, ties and shirts were purchased and put together into suitable and professional sets and then brought as yearly gifts in boxes that either preceded their visit or came along with them. This was undeniably the most helpful lifeline that we were blessed with but also came to be a sharp double edged sword, both welcomed and dreaded.

Little ones jumped to attention and sat upright, the girls fixed loose hairs and smoothed their abayas and I knew that this was it. He smiled and sat directly opposite my chair and I reciprocated with a grin and nervous laugh. Heme pestered and whined asking for ice cream, cheesecake and fries. I shushed him and placed him on my lap informing Baba (their father) that we had found the perfect pair of pants, a replacement for the distasteful and repulsive ones that had been the topic of discussion just days before. He waited patiently as I took them out and did my best to make them look mundane, unflattering and non-threatening. An exasperated sigh wisped between clenched teeth and parted lips, his eyes rolled back and forward and his hands rested in their place on his lap.

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Summer love- 7- True life story

This is a series regarding the time period when I met him. I hope to shed light on how it all began. The first 6 installments can be found here:

https://lynzrealcooking.com/2018/08/10/summer-love-6/

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Spokane Was. 1982

A single pine cone dropped from a tree that lined the well manicured dirt road. Pine needles and other natural debris were constantly raked and hauled away leaving a pristine entry way to the house that stood on the hill. It was the last of five homes that marked this mile long road and mom insisted that it be picture perfect.

I slowly made my way between two towering pine which had become the parking area for extra cars. The smell of popcorn, hot dogs and concessions permeated my hair and clothing making it necessary to quickly make my way in through the car port door and hopefully straight to the shower. I gingerly opened the door and walked just two feet when I was greeted by his smiling face. He approached me cautiously and placed a single kiss above my forehead.

The noise of Dad’s recliner clanking shut reminded me that he was still home and most likely taking a break between projects. He taught high school English and was the department head but for now it was summer and time was spent checking off jobs that mom had listed on a piece of lined paper. Within minutes Dad walked past and reminded him that they would need to start early morning and might possibly need more supplies. He nodded his head and grinned eagerly,  piecing sentences together that tasked his rudimentary English skills.

Summer love-6

This is an ongoing series explaining how things all began. Links for the first five installments can be found here:

https://lynzrealcooking.com/2018/07/06/summer-love-5/

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Spokane Wa. 1982

His hands had brushed wet hair away from sleepy eyes and a kiss landed on my cheek and lips. He was reserved, even unassuming but somehow acted as if he belonged just where he was. I watched him walk with Dad to the pickup and found myself in a haze of emotions, unsure of what to think or feel.

Ice bags teetered on my shoulder until I delivered each one to the counter where they were scooped into a container. Orange butter was dropped into a machine followed by popcorn and seasonings. Condiments were refilled along with hot dogs and lunch meat. The morning routine never changed and soon the doors for Bingo would be opened.

Denise raised a neatly manicured eyebrow and stared through steamy glasses after filling paper bags with freshly seasoned cheese corn. An ongoing play by-play was expected and given to my middle-aged co-worker who delighted in these youthful exploits. Her full attention was focused on the morning’s events and the idea that the man from just a week before was now staying at my family’s home.

Each hour was marked by the large clock that hung opposite our counter and the continuous round of games that cycled on the hour;  diagonal, X, Letter T and postage stamp until they announced the blackout. “BINGO” and finally it was done, we packed up supplies, washed counters and Denise motioned for me to leave. Her smile melted into a quizzical and almost cautionary look as I waved and made my way out the back.

 

 

Summer love-5

This series details the beginning and how I met him. The first few installments can be found here:

https://lynzrealcooking.com/2018/06/01/1-summer-love-life-story/

https://lynzrealcooking.com/2018/06/08/summer-love-2/

https://lynzrealcooking.com/2018/06/15/summer-love-series-3/

https://lynzrealcooking.com/2018/06/29/summer-love-4/

Spokane, Wa. 1982

Sunlight streamed through branches that had recently bent to the will of a rising wind. Pine cones and needles that were in need of raking littered the driveway and mom’s requests for their speedy removal were met with agitation and a promise to “get to them” after work one day. He held my sweaty hand and pulled me closer sending shivers down my neck and back. Soft whispers in my ear left drops of water on his forehead and cheeks as wet hair was swept aside and lips pressed gently onto mine.

The slider door opened and dad’s presence jolted me into a new reality.  I removed myself from his arms and turned to acknowledge my father who stood on the middle deck peering down. It was nearly 8 a.m. and I was responsible for opening Bingo; bags of ice needed to be carried, containers of popcorn made and condiments filled for the various food items that were offered. I spoke slowly and told him that I would have to leave and he was welcome to sit at Bingo or spend his time at the house in the woods.

I unlocked the door and ushered him inside where he greeted my father with the utmost respect. His self assured demeanor was a welcome change and he seemed to fit perfectly into our family environment. I was assured that everything would be fine as he and dad walked to the car to spend a day running errands and working on projects around the house.  I jumped in the car and made my way to the track where a day of Bingo, a break and then a night of work in the concessions stand would help to support my spending money throughout the year.

A rush that could not be explained clouded logic and urged me to take steps toward surrender. A borrowed car, directions scratched onto a single sheet of paper and his calm and humble character made it hard to hold strong.

Wood house and middle deck

Broken-life story

 

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This story has been running through my mind and I am finally able to write it. 

2010

Duffle bags, carryalls and backpacks lay strewn on the basement floor packed and ready for our trip to the Oregon coast. A refrigerator for cold drinks, a microwave and full closet were extra amenities that made this area homey and self-contained. Bed sheets were crisp and perfectly made complete with hospital corners. A fragrant bouquet infused with tones of unknown annuals drifted through the room from hanging baskets just outside our door. Trips back from Saudi were spent here, up the mile long dirt road that wound and curved all the way to the house on the hill.  Since our move back we spent many weekends and holidays in this very room, laughing and feeling the guarded freedom that we now enjoyed.  This house held more than comfort and memories, it reminded me of the person that I had once been.

Sweaty fingers grasped the phone, holding the receiver, pushing buttons and finally disconnecting it from the wall. His words were clear, “You are a liar, a thief” and now it seemed as if his rages had permeated even this safe place and had leaked over to my mother and father. I heard my dad’s voice loud and bold “DO NOT CALL AGAIN” and then the phone was disconnected. I scurried around pushing bags, picking up clothing, pacing past each child, counting heads. It was 1 a.m., I surveyed the darkened room and stood ready, on alert thinking of a plan to pack and head back home. The urge to flee was muted by my mother’s calm yet firm reminders that we needed to get sleep and the vacation would go on as scheduled.

She paced back and forth on the grass just outside the slider, a pensive look could be seen on her face as she fiddled with a shirt sleeve. I surveyed the room, plastic buckets and shovels, treats stacked neatly on the dream bed mom had fashioned for me and the youngest children. I stood frozen staring at the childlike figure that walked back and forth through the early spring foliage. She held the grace and fury of a woman on a mission and she would not be dissuaded by fear and rancor.

Numerous voicemails containing threats and warnings instructed us to leave my parents’ home and return to the little apartment. He cautioned that he would be coming to take his children away if they went anywhere without his express permission. We were not allowed to have a vacation and no one would enjoy the company of his children if he was not along.  I held the phone listening to each word repeatedly until her soft slender hands touched mine and removed it from my shaking fingers.

She shut the door and waited for the next call, walking past the window through the trees and bushes. An hour passed and her exasperated and shaken expression turned to sadness. The usual shame and guilt took hold realizing that my daughter now had to manage crazy that had no limits. I collected myself and lightly moved beside her as she listened to his raging voice, “YES I want your mother dead so I can take my children back to Saudi, yes dead!”

Her eyes welled up with tears, but numbness and strength coursed through my brain. It was finally spoken, heard and real and meant that maybe I was not the unbalanced and spoiled woman he had been “burdened” with.

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Summer 2017

 

 

 

The brave


He stood in front of the mirror shaping his hair into the style he had become accustomed to. The blue backpack that had been purchased in fifth grade still looked almost new, he carefully placed a binder inside and stacked his lunch on top. “Goodbye mom, love you, keep your phone on high” and with that he walked down the steps and to the bus stop, leaving me with a warm feeling of affirmation.

His little hands clasped my purse and the standard words were spoken, “You won’t leave right mom, you will be right here, promise?” I smiled and hugged him issuing the words that had become well known to us both, nodding and motioning for him to join his class as they filed down the hall. He stood as he had each day, unable to leave my side until I spoke the words in exact order, with a resounding and unshakable tone “I will not leave this spot, I would never lie to you, I love you” and with that he reluctantly fell into line.

I took my place along the wall, each day inching further away, hoping that it would not prompt a negative response and push us back to where we had started. Progress was slow but at least he was sitting at a desk, only leaving class every hour to make sure I kept my solemn vow. The teacher peered out with a curious look as I took my seat, tucking my purse to the side.

In the four years since our arrival there had been several attempts made at getting him into school and each time the result had been the same. An overwhelming shame and guilt followed me and eroded an already shaky resolve that told me I was justified in moving back home.  I questioned my abilities as a mother as I watched my children struggle with things that seemed basic to other students. His words rang clearly in my ears and were a reminder of my failures, “Lynn, you don’t know how to raise a family”.

The principal walked past and nodded, stopping to make a few light hearted jokes about my daily presence and the incessant nature of my journey. I laughed awkwardly repositioning myself closer to the wall, trying to ignore the sound of scraping from the plastic chair. A dull silence fell around me as she swished away, stopping to instruct both students and aids. Her no nonsense demeanor unnerved me until she turned and offered a soft grin, a silent reminder of her commitment to our arrangement.

It seemed as if nothing had changed and each small step forward was met with resistance and complications. The house had fallen into chaos or at least it seemed that way as I sat for hours thinking of all the things that had to be done.

Days became weeks, well-meaning suggestions and advice were offered. I was told to just leave, he would get over it, to take a stand and make my move. I knew a shaky trust was on the line and so my position remained immovable. I was asked to help out in various classrooms, to serve lunch and sharpen pencils. A steady trickle of hope eeked its way out with any small but significant advance until I found myself outside on a bench, and then in the car.

Almost three months had passed when he suggested that I go home and make lunch, maybe I could return at recess. I held my breath and tried not to look back.

 

Weekly review

This was my week in case you missed anything! Have a great Sunday.

https://lynzrealcooking.com/2017/09/18/family-time/

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https://lynzrealcooking.com/2017/09/19/love/

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https://lynzrealcooking.com/2017/09/20/update-on-the-book/

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https://lynzrealcooking.com/2017/09/21/cooking-blog-2/

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homemade loaf bread

https://lynzrealcooking.com/2017/09/22/weed-whacking-woes/

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https://lynzrealcooking.com/2017/09/22/grumpy-ana-and-the-grouchy-monsters/

https://lynzrealcooking.com/2017/09/23/lazy-saturday/

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Writing day

Today will be a writing day and I hope to accomplish allot on the book. I have had every intention of working each day, but things happen when you are taking care of a household. So a new approach, I will work all day for two days during the week and not do much else. I will try this and see how it works. This is part 1 of a series I am writing.  I am not experienced so a big book with many pages sounded like too much. Below is just a little snippet from the beginning of the book, of course still rough. I will be around later to say hi and comment, but for now after the kids get off to school I will be sitting in my special quiet room, writing!

2009

 

Suspicion mounted in our already tense world as I asked questions and argued with the usual rules that now seemed to press on my airways, impeding my breath. I felt betrayed by my own awakening and wished that I could go back to the unobtrusive woman I had become. A wave of guilt, shame and anger swept me up into its vortex riddling my mind with confusion. Each day it grew in strength and fury, dismantling the fear that had locked me in for decades. I stood at attention, listening to him angrily berate me, hoping for a reprieve if I froze and resigned myself to his definition of life. But now the time had come, I could no longer hold back, a current of realization would not relent, taking me out of my comfort zone as obedient wife and subservient creature.

It was indisputable, my very existence had become automated, in sync and  undeniable. In the end nothing remained but a walking stick figure fashioned with a replaceable sticky note that said organism.

 

The visit-2

This is the story of when he was last here (May 2015). I will write what I am able to here and there. This visit was followed by starting a blog and meeting all of you wonderful, supportive friends. It also started a wave of anxiety and panic that I have been trying to recover from for the past year. Thank you for your support and caring! 

 

The visit part 2

Flying down the hall felt surreal, a swift reminder of why I had made few attempts at standing tall, holding dearly to the parts of me that still remained. Years spent groveling, kowtowing and doing whatever was needed to keep this turbulent storm under control had now spiraled into an unstoppable rage.

My cheek had narrowly missed clipping the bedroom door as I tripped and stumbled aimlessly down the hall. His hand grabbed my shirt again and forcefully threw me further into chaos. The warm and gentle brown eyes that had left an indelible mark on my heart, were now blank, cold and formidable. It was a look I had learned to fear, biting my lip and scratching pieces of ragged skin on my cheek had become the only way to stop unwanted tears that mockingly fell to the floor.

Bits and pieces of fear, strength and panic coursed through my mind as I gathered myself, preparing for reality to meet fiction in one swift moment. I ran haphazardly trying to keep my feet steady on the floor, feeling the fury that followed close behind and knowing that the moment had finally come. Years of anxiety and terror had now come to a conclusion and all at once my heart felt as if it would sink and I would give up, crumbling into the person he had ascribed to me.

As I toppled into the living room a strong determined voice called out, a young thin figure, wet hair dripping onto the floor stood before me. She raised her voice and shouted boldly, years of being told to stand, wait and silently watch now discharged into words, “What are you doing!! STOP!

 

 

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