A Saudi woman in voluntary exile is visited by fellow Saudis. They commence on encouraging her to end her exile, return to Saudi. She considers her options.
Yazan Made of Wonders
I held Yazan's head in my lap. “You masturbated, didn’t you?”
“Maybe I did. Maybe I didn’t.”
“More than once?”
He turned his face away, his burning cheek pressed on my knee.
The next day, I heard his thoughts. I heard his thoughts through his journey back to Saudi, from the hotel to the airport to the check-in line to the waiting lounge to the passengers cabin. I heard his thoughts about, if he could grow strong enough to make his own choices, he would choose Sarah, the woman he has loved for so long.
I heard, later in the evening, when the plane's lights were dimmed and sleep dawned, his thoughts on how he would have fucked me from every hole and position in that coach cabin. I heard his kink and felt pink.
Does it effect on a man watching the woman underneath him churn and hurt in ecstasy? Does it make him feel stronger, bigger and closer to his ideal?
Does a woman feel more woman when she can reach the apex of her womanhood and hold it for so long? What would've been worse, one who comes too easily or one who never comes at all?
And I wondered if this is just another lusty ruse, if I'm just making up excuses to get laid. If this is just another distraction or infatuation taking force.
Saudi has always been more than just a country. It’s home and family and identity. I adore and hate and lust her, my country.
Since I refused to go to Saudi, Saudi sent her messengers to me, Mshari and Yazan. And they did as they were bid. Two horrified, oedipal Saudis sat in my living room and encouraged me, as gently as they could, to go home. “Give it a shot. See how it works. Things have changed.”
Saudi, without marriage, already drives me mad. Imagine if I were married and deeply lodged in the social system? There is no such thing as a sane Saudi. I won’t even be sane enough to decide on how to spend my evenings with all that noise.
I told them that I am in Indonesia for sanity. The only thing that would send back to Saudi would be a bout of insanity: Falling madly in love.
Obviously, all this is designed to confuse. I needed to count the pros and cons. What do I get out of going to Saudi, and what do I get if I just stay in exile after all?
Pros of Living in Saudi:
1. I can make a lot of money. Own things.
2. Get a job. Write.
3. Get married, get laid, have children.
4. Be with old friends and family.
5. Have every kind of tea and dairy and achar ever known on earth.
6-10. Affirmations: Kunafah. Shawarma. Baklava. Ma’soub. Hummus.
1. "What personal freedom?"
2. A job is only as interesting as it can get.
3. Money can only entertain so far.
4. "What privacy?"
5. If married: In-laws. If single: Mama.
6 - 10. Abstraction: Culture - Commonness - Comments - Context - Calling.
What's Saudi got that is worth the trouble? What's she got to make me move so far and heavy? What's she done for me that Indonesia hasn't?
These questions will answer themselves when the time comes for me to know. Like all of my questions, the questions that I have asked before and groped for answers, I'll know when the time comes. كل شي في وقته منيح.
And the best thing out all this wonderment, is the realization that I have a choice. That makes me fucking cash. I have a choice and the time to weigh my options. I am that rich. I've been blessed.
I live in a very narrow world.
I wanted to expand on it, fill it with more oomph and oh-la-la. That was one of the reasons why I left Saudi in the first place; I felt choked.
Instead, I got stuck there, in the past. Relieved but unpassed. I’ve been twenty-five for eight years. I haven't gone anywhere else. This also illustrates the nature of my relationships with others. Ever since I defied the norms, the norms dropped me too.
Yazan's Saudiness prodded me with devil’s talk and questions:
- What if I had been good?
- What if I let them have me their way?
- What if I married like everyone else?
- What if I never left?
- What if...and never the answers.
I stared long into the devil’s void, challenging its devouring emptiness. "Are you done yapping, ingrate?"
It felt wrong for Yazan to leave the house at two in the morning. If the neighbors were going to talk, then I had better make it worth their while. So we took turns, Yazan and I, to shower and unwind. We undressed into sarongs and shirts, then sorted the bed. The silent domesticity affirmed flighty thoughts and purged idle talk.
I said, “See, I don't got me a man I can call mine, but I ain't alone. I don't get to do everything, but what I do get to do is not bad either. I don't want everything, because having everything would have been boring.”
And the boy who was pulling my bedsheets in my clothes said, "Alia, buck up. You ain't ugly. You're worth the fight."
Happiness is worth the fight.
Booze of Wonder
I’ve had booze and the Sight hasn’t shut down.
I thought that committing sin would shut down my Indigo abilities; I would be normal. Normal and homogenous go very well with Saudi. Since the man who taught me to drink was a Saudi, I returned the karmic favor by teaching Yazan how to drink.
But I can still hear them. I can still hear the voices in my head, of spirits and men. Not as loud as they used to, not to point of distraction. But clear enough. Urgent enough. And it has made me wonder if nothing would shut them down.
It made me wonder if I could ever fit into the Saudi society. Or if the rules only matter when I am with the Timekeeper, my imam and father and guardian.
Then I remembered. What hasn’t the Timekeeper done and given to make my life comfortable, ingrate?
“Well, we kissed,” I said.
Irhan came for dinner after the Saudis were gone. He knew that Yazan and Mshari had left that morning, and I was blue with homesickness. I told him about Yazan sleeping over. Irhan cocked his head to the side. “Did he try to...?”
“No, he didn’t. The very-available and very-tempted Saudi just kissed me. I sensed him, from the way he kissed, I sensed his edge and need. I sensed him trying his damndest to control himself. He isn’t accustomed to being in a situation where sex is an option that is not taken. All the times he’s been in private with women, he has had his heart’s content. Temptation is a terrible thing.”
“But he's Saudi. How could he not…”
“He’s been previously informed, actually.”
“Mshari, who is Yazan's friend and is your family.”
“Yes. Mshari took the time to tell Yazan in private about me. Then he left us alone. He stood aside. That was his gift. Mshari made us happy just by backing off. He must love us that much. We’re grateful. I am.”