The following days are a blur.
I send the kids to my parents in Saudi as I had neither the courage nor the bandwidth to explain what had happened.
I pick up the few items I had left in the other house and place them neatly in a box that I then donate to charity. I return his keys with the driver, I throw the last of his belongings in the trash.
I look around and for a fleeting moment I am satisfied. As far as I can tell, all physical evidence of the reconciliation was gone.
“So much and so little can happen in a short while,” that was something my ex mother-in-law would always say. And today, as I contemplate this thought, surrounded my nothing but the echoes of my now empty house, I realize that I was, no no, I am, completely alone…in such a short while indeed.
Reem comes over to check on me. Bless her, she doesn’t say I told you so. Instead she comes and sits beside me while I stare out the window and try to think of how and where to pick up the pieces and start over from a place I never knew existed.
Slowly, I start to formulate a plan.
The first time, I let him walk all over me, this time, I am determined to hurt him. I know exactly how. Rashed will not be allowed to see the kids. I tell Reem my idea, she says nothing. We continue to sit in silence for what seems like hours. Every now and then I turn to check if she’s still there. And every time I do, she still is.
My phone rings loudly.
I do not recognize the number. “You should probably answer.” Why? “What if, I don’t know, what if it’s important?” Reem reasons.
Hello? The other end of the line is quiet. I try again, hello?
“Please don’t hang up,” I take a deep breath. Although I had never spoken to her, had never even heard her talk, I recognized her voice immediately. It was Sama.
I want to scream but I am terrified that if I do, I might not ever stop. “Why on earth are you calling me?” I ask, “Haven’t you done enough?”
“If you could just please hear me out,” she whispers. There is something bizarrely calming about the tone of her voice.
“Fine itfadali, how can I help you Sitt Sama?” It is becoming harder for me to remain composed.
“Not on the phone, we need to talk… in person.”
Reem is frantic, jumping and gesturing for me to hang up, but I don’t.
Instead, I agree to meet her in the parking lot behind the gym the next morning.
To catch up on Chapter 6, click here.