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.