Monthly Archives: April 2019

Dreams and Fantasies … The Homecoming

My soon to be husband and first boyfriend made a lot of promises. He emphasized the amount of land he owned and how that land might sustain us in some vague, promising way. He painted a picture of an idyllic life filled with enjoying each other’s company, travel, and living an adventure filled life. Just the kind of life I’d been living, and the kind of life I wanted to continue living, but I’d have a partner to share it with.

I booked a flight to New Orleans from Saudi Arabia. I’d travel from Dammam to Bahrain, Bahrain to Amsterdam, Amsterdam to New York and New York to New Orleans My multiple flights would take almost 24 hours to complete, but I didn’t mind. I was in love and going to meet my love. I was going to be with my life partner, my first love, my last love.

I arrived in New Orleans and went straight to the car rental counter to book an SUV for the drive to Mississippi. I got a nice, large SUV that was comfortable and smooth. I settled in, drove away from the airport, and called my intended. We chatted excitedly as I drove through the darkness. He pointed out places of note and places that I should avoid. We laughed as the miles between us got shorter by the minute. I drove quickly through the southern darkness, across Lake Pontchartrain, into Mississippi and finally his home town. He lived on the outskirts of the town and I had to find my way through the damp darkness to his home. But, finally, I found it. I had arrived…

I pulled up to his front door, and he was standing in the doorway leaning on a cane. As I climbed out of the truck and walked around to him, my spirit voice yelled “RUN” with such an urgency that it made me hesitate. As I walked up to him, again the voice cried out “RUN” and I spoke back to it: no, no I’m not going to run, I have to see this through. I’d come too far to listen to that panicked voice. I had already invested too much time, energy and money.

I saw him. He looked a little like the man I’d known 45 years before. But his right side was completely paralyzed, and he dragged his foot as he walked. His right hand and arm hung at an unnatural angle. When he spoke, most of his teeth were missing. He was much much thinner than I remembered. He was not the same man. His speech was difficult to understand and it took a big effort for him to speak.

When I walked into his “house” I discovered that it was a two room dwelling, barely above a shack, with a refrigerator that didn’t work, and an added unfinished extension that was filled with mold. Every window was either cracked or had a hole, and the floors were painted concrete. There was a stove, makeshift sink and deep freezer at one end of the large room. Against a wall was a ripped up leather sofa which sat on bricks. In the corner behind the door was a large bag of dog food for the two dogs he owned. There was a bed in the room and a dresser that was dilapidated and falling apart.

To the right of the large room was a bathroom with a stained bathtub, makeshift sink and small toilet. Just beyond that was a tiny bedroom with a full sized bed, and new air conditioner. This was my new home. Parked to the side of the cabin/shack was a van that barely ran. It would not run at all in the very near future.

When I walked in, there were no flowers, no candles, no wine or champagne. There was just some cold food that someone had brought. That was my homecoming.

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Impossible Dreams and Falsehoods …

I had a boyfriend in Saudi Arabia.  I wasn’t supposed to have one, because dating is actually illegal, but I did.  He was a very handsome Egyptian, who was a bit younger than me, but I had no intention of trying to marry him, and he had no intention of marrying me.  I was having fun.  There were a number of other men interested in me.  Dammam is a male Mecca.  There are at least 10-15 men for every woman and a variety of men from all over the world.  It’s really Candyland for women.

One day, in October of 2017, I got a call from my sister who told me that her oldest daughter’s father had died.  The father that happened to be my first boyfriend’s brother.  He had contacted my sister and wanted to reestablish contact with me.  I was shocked.  All of my good memories of him, from my teenage years, came flooding back.   I thought about the handsome, business savvy man who was a building contractor.  The man who had bought his first home at 19.  The man who treated me like a princess.  I conveniently forgot about the man who had abandoned me when I got pregnant.  The man who came around after the abortion and wanted to continue having sex with me.  The man that I’d walked away from twice.

Of course I’d talk with him.  Of course, he could contact me.  In a day or two, my phone rang and he was on the other end.  After some small talk, I offered to call him on Skype.  And that quickly became our routine: he’d call and hang up, and I’d call back via Skype.  His phone was an old fashioned flip cell, so we couldn’t do video chats.  I had to rely on photos that he sent.  He had to rely on photos that I sent.

He told me that he’d had a stroke, but had recovered from that stroke.  He didn’t tell me that he was at that moment in a wheelchair.  He didn’t tell me that his right side was paralyzed.

He wanted to marry me.  The woman he’d been married to for over 40 years lived in Houston, and he was finally divorcing her.  According to him, they’d been separated for many years.  On reflection, I believe that their separations had been sporadic and inconsistent.  I believe he had probably lived with her off and on over the years, when it was convenient for him.

I agreed to think about marriage.  I bought him a watch for Christmas.  I sent him ice cream for Valentine’s Day and for his birthday.  He never sent, or even tried to send me anything.  Never.

He told me that we could “remodel his house.”  We started planning for a future.  I started preparing to leave Saudi Arabia.  I broke it off with my handsome Egyptian boyfriend.  I was falling in love again.  I would have a partner, a soulmate, a man I could love and be loved by.  My future looked sweet.

But, he didn’t tell me that his “house” was really a two room cabin (almost a shack) with a bathroom and a shell for another room that was covered in mold.  He didn’t tell me that he had no transportation and lived 20 minutes from the nearest store.  I didn’t know that the floors were concrete and and the roof needed replacing.

I didn’t know that most of his teeth were missing.  He said that he had “no problems with performing sexually.”  I didn’t know that in reality he was impotent.

I started shipping items back to Mississippi; to my new home.  I started thinking about being married again.  I resigned from my job.  I told my wonderful friends that I was getting married.  They had a celebration for me.  I talked to my friends about visiting me in my new Mississippi home.  My soon to be husband chatted with my friends on the phone.  He invited them to the wedding.  He offered to pay for everything.  He told them that I could “have whatever I wanted.”  They fell in love with him.  I fell in love with him.

I was on my way.  The narcissistic magic was working, and the spider had caught the fly.

Falsehoods and Impossible Dreams …

I should have known not to do it.  I should have known not to allow this man back into my life.  He had shown me who he was when I was 17.

He showed me again at 31.

I had recently gotten a divorce, and was thoroughly enjoying my life.  My sister and I were living in an apartment together, I was working part-time and thinking about going to law school.  My first daughter was 11 years old and growing up fast.  She had gained some independence, and so had I.

This same man contacted  me through his niece.  She phoned me, and told me that he wanted to see me, and that he was now living in Dallas, Texas.  I agreed to talk to him.  He called and invited me to Dallas.  He offered to pay for the plane ticket and all of the expenses.  We decided to take a road trip to New Orleans and party there for a few days before heading back to Dallas.

The plane ride was mostly uneventful, except that I had to fight off a slightly drunken white man looking for a good time.  He sat right next to me, and slurred as he talked about youth and beauty, while looking at me lasciviously.  I shrugged him off, laughed at his attempts to pick me up, and looked forward to seeing the man who had been my first love.

My ex-boyfriend picked me up at the airport, looked at me sideways, and said, “Geez, I didn’t know you were so good looking.”  I remember the almost complete compliment and felt slightly pleased that he found me attractive, even after almost 15 years had passed.  He was 38 or 39, and still as deceivingly handsome as ever.  His beauty again distracted me.  His beauty had always distracted me from who he really was.

He drove up to a hotel, I don’t remember which, but I do remember that the room was large, and well-decorated.  He wanted to have sex right away.  He began kissing me, and I allowed it.  He lay me down on the bed and climbed on top of me.  I remember feeling repulsed and disgusted as he stated through short breaths and gushed, “I knew it would be good, I knew it would be good.”  I felt dirty after he finished.  I felt used.  He got up, showered and left.  He came back later that night and repeated the act.  I felt trapped.  I had no money, no transportation and felt that I had no choice but to comply.  I was afraid of what might happen if I didn’t.

That night, I barely slept as I desperately tried to find a way to leave without being harmed.  In the morning, I got up and dressed before he could climb on top of me again.  I told him that I had been throwing up and felt very sick.  I needed to go home.  He looked surprised and disappointed, but he believed my frightened lie and took me to the airport.  I almost jumped out of the truck before running into the airport.  I had to wait for a couple of hours for my flight to take off.  In that couple of hours, I became so enraged that my head started pounding.  The anger made me cry, so I had to go into the restroom and close the door so that my violent tears could come freely and privately.

I slept on the flight back home.  When I got home, I called his niece and told her not to ever put him in contact with me again.  I explained to her what had happened, and her response was “you shouldn’t have let him do that.”  As if I had enjoyed it, as if he was really my lover.

Again, I moved on with my life.  I forgot about him.  I forgot about that encounter in Dallas, the coercive rape, and the trap he set, the mindless contempt he held for me and all women.  I forgot and moved on.

But, he did not forget.  Narcissists never forget.  He kept me tucked away in some corner of his diseased mind for 30 years before showing up again.

Falsehoods and Impossible Dreams, Pt. 1

I am not, by nature, a person who is pessimistic.  I believe that life is a gift, and that each day, if at possible, is made to be lived in gratitude.  I see beauty in the gray clouds that are heavy with rain, marvel at the engineering genius of the women and men who build bridges over endless miles of hard, and unforgiving water.  Smiles are like drops of sunshine for me.

I say these things because my life has taken a turn that was unexpected, in more ways than one, and on more levels than one.  I am on an unexpected, surreal journey that is unlike any I have ever taken.  I have no idea what the destination, if there is one, will look like.

Last year at this time, I was feeling hopeful, happy and looking forward to a future with a partner.  I had re-established contact with a man who had been my first boyfriend.  I was 15 when I first met him, and 17 when the relationship fell apart.  That was a long time ago, and I had fallen in love with this man, who really was a man.  He was 7 years older than me, and should have gone to jail for statutory rape.  But he didn’t, and I loved him, and as these stories sometimes go, I got pregnant in my senior year of high school.

I felt certain that this man loved me.  After all, he never pressured me directly to have sex with him.  I chose to become sexually active.  Of course, I now realize that I was coerced, conned and played with so that he could get his prize.  But, at the time, I thought it was freely and completely my choice.  I went to Planned Parenthood and learned all about birth control, reproduction and clinical sexual activity.  I armed myself with “the pill,” shut my eyes tightly, and took the plunge.  I thought this brought me closer to the man.  And, perhaps it did in some meaningless way, until I got pregnant.

This man, who was 24 at the time, single, working full time, and a homeowner, abandoned me.  I sat at home, and took my high school lessons from a visiting teacher so that I could graduate with the rest of my class.  And home was safely away from the prying eyes of my classmates, who I knew would whisper and gossip about me.  I learned later that many of them knew about the pregnancy, despite my efforts to hide it.  I took my home schooling and waited for the man to come back and rescue me.  I waited and studied for almost 4 months.  I grew slightly larger, and saw my stomach and breasts swell from the pregnancy.  At almost four months, my doctor told me that it was “now or never.”  Keep the baby or have a late term abortion.  I had a decision to make.  I tried calling the man, and he usually answered and hung up on me.  So, I stopped calling, and made my decision.

Early one morning, my mother took me to the hospital.  I don’t remember which one.  I just remember that she dropped me off, told me that “we just went through this,” (referencing my sister’s child who’d been born a few months earlier) and with that, she left me.

An IV was attached to my wrist, or maybe two of them.  The amniotic fluid came out, and the saline went in, as a kind, warm nurse held my hand through the labor pains I was experiencing.  She wiped my face as the tears came from my sheer terror, loneliness and heartbreak.

The baby came and was caught by the nurse.  She looked down at the bundle, and told me, “you had a boy.”  I later named him Amari.  I still miss him.

I had to pick myself up, and go on with my life, which I did.  I didn’t fall apart.  I didn’t slit my wrists, or have any desire to do so.  I didn’t become a drug addict, or drunk, or randomly begin to have sex with anonymous men.  I just kept going on with my life.

After one, brief appearance in my life at around 31 or 32, Amari’s father and the memory of him, faded away.

That is, until October of 2017, when his brother died and he reached out to me half way across the world, where I was working in Saudi Arabia.  I talked with him daily, exchanged pictures, and cried with him about the baby we lost all those many years ago.  I was about to have a new life, an old love, and a beginning that I’d never had all those years ago.