Awash: Young Lady from Saudi Arabia
عواش : شابة من السعودية
A Novel by
إذا تم طمس أبواب التصور للأشياء في مخيلة الإنسان ، فإنه يبدو كأنه يراها بمنظار ضيق خلال بئر مظلمة لا يعرف مدى عمقها أو أنه أغلق على نفسه ، أوكأنه ينظر في نفق ليس في نهايته وميض ضوء. أو في كهف مظلم بلا نهاية ، ولكن الاعتقاد والإدراك لا يمكن حدوثهما بدون وعي يصور حقيقة الأشياء الواقعية. (المؤلف: حسن يحيى)
If the gates of imagination of things were closed, a human being would seem as if looking into narrow endless dark well, or closed him/herself up, or looking in a tunnel with no light at the end, but perception and belief cannot happen without conscious imagining the true objects. (The author: Hasan Yahya)
The young woman from Saudi Arabia, received her father, after it came to his knowledge, that she has an affair with a young man. She unexpectedly, spilled out what was in her mind:
– Dad, I prefer to tell you first, before you are told by others, straightforwardly, I have news to tell you. I knew a man, who is interested to marry me. He’s my professor.
When Abdul-Aziz, a professor himself, in Abdul-Aziz University at Riyadh, Saudi Arabia left the United States earlier, back to his country after his old son graduation, he was forced to leave his daughter (23 years old) to finish her B.A degree. She was studying music, the most neglected and may be banned major in her country. Such a choice was encouraged by her Dad. But never supported by her Mom.
At first, his wife and friends were surprised from his acceptance the major of study, and more surprised to leave their daughter alone in a foreign country, especially the United States. But the professor was extremely liberal, where he spent his life when he was in his twenties at Cambridge University, London. His daughter and his two sons, were born in England during his study. After graduation, the family returned to Saudi Arabia. The kids were young and grew up in Saudi soil. They were following Arab culture even though they were in Private foreign school.
Six years ago, the professor came to United States of America as a guest professor at Michigan State University, where his old son was also enrolled to study mechanical Engineering. His daughter joined her brother in the same university after two years in the high school in America. Later the family left the United States back to Saudi Arabia.
Awash was the daughter who was left with her younger brother, to continue her degree. Too many debate sessions occurred between her parents about leaving her in a different culture like the United States to continue her degree. Finally, considering her younger brother acceptance in a near by town, the parents accepted the idea of leaving both in the United States. The circumstances of the young brother were remote, when he decided to live on campus, 175 miles away from his sister. The cultural shuck was mild because they were living in an area were Arab community was developing.
Two years passed, Dad decided to visit his two sons. His daughter Awash and her younger brother. She was closest to the international airport, The son came for two nights, and spent time with Dad and sister. Then he took his Dad with him, the daughter was busy for the finals.
Dad had to come to the United States before summertime to see his daughter Awash after her mother pleadings with her to leave and come back to Saudi Arabia, and live with the family were every time she refused to do that. Answering the same question, Awash said:
“I won’t be able to adjust there anymore, Dad,” was Awash’s answer every time we have phone call or exchanging messages through the internet.
Dad was wondering how a person could, after living in a country for over fifteen years, in his daughter’s case, cannot be able to adjust anymore. She had been living for last six years only, from them two years studying music at the university. Just six years, she was finding it difficult to return and adjust in her country of origin. Yes, Dad believes that there was some habits where women are not permitted to drive, or show up unveiled, but these were out of cultural respected cultural and religious mores. It’s too strange are the notions of children of this generation, he wondered.
So, one day after Dad met with an accident and saw death with his eyes, he decided to visit daughter, as death could arrive anytime to fetch him. No body knows, this is the lone fact cherished by Islamic faith.
After two days, Dad returned to his daughter’s apartment. He noticed something strange. Awash was receiving calls form a person. She tried to hide the caller’s identity for a while from her Dad. But Dad was curious to know one evening. So he began chatting with is daughter.
Dad looked at his daughter, who by now had comforted herself in the sofa after arranging my clothes, the dining room was the place where Dad and Daughter have this conversation.
– “Dad please come on, sit with me,” called my daughter as she pointed towards a sofa placed adjacent to her.
– “Is there anyone else residing with you Awash?” Dad asked her, restraining his desire to directly ask her the obvious. One of his friends earlier, whispered to his ears, that she has an affair with a man.
Awash said nothing. She for a couple of seconds froze in her sofa thinking about ways to break the news. Then Awash thought after gathering enough courage to face her father she moved closer to her Dad who was sitting on the sofa, and waited his daughter to speak out what was in her mind.
– “There is something I want to tell you, Dad.”
In his heart, Dad knew what was next. Or expected to hear, the news of her love affairs. In his deep heart, all his Arabian values, traditions, and religious notions were going to be erased by his twenty–three daughter. He could constantly hear noise of random stirring and utensils being moved and placed in the kitchen. He descended into his reverie searching for a fault in the upbringing of his daughter. There might have been some flaw on his part or on his wife’s part that today he was sitting with his grown up daughter waiting for the worst ever breaking news.
Awash took her father’s hand into her bringing him back from my reverie.
– “Dad there is something I want to tell you. But I wonder how?
– “What? Is this my baby talking. I am all ears. What do you want to tell me?
– “Dad. It is difficult for me to say. You know, I wish my Mom was here, so I will be more free to talk with her, to tell you.”
– “well Awash, I always listen to you and your brothers. You grew up on one principle, not to lie and to be open-minded. I think this is what I expect. So don’t hesitate to tell me the truth.”
Few seconds passed, then Awash said.
– “Dad! ……… I have …… a boy-friend.” Then quickly corrected the statement, “ Not a boy-friend as you know love relations in America, I mean, there is a man as we do in Saudi Arabia, a man proposed to marry me.”
Dad heard the volume and frequency of stirring increased to irritable levels. A man in love with my daughter? Well, it is not a surprise. But he wanted to hear more especially when he asked several questions together.
– “Who’s he? When? What? What do you mean he proposed to you, Awash?” Where are we? Are you cut from a tree?
Awash left her Dad’s hand, as her eyes changed their course from her Dad to the floor.
Dad pressed again,
– “tell me in details. Awash? How do you meet with him, who’s he? Is he an Arab? An American? A Jew? Black or white?”
– “Dad! I will answer all your questions. We are officially engaged, nothing illegal of our relations.”
There was no hesitation in her voice. I would have loved a little wavering in her voice but there was none. She was determined young lady. As Dad was proud of his daughter’s spirit and consistency, he felt guilty of her upbringing. He felt for a while, betrayed. The Arab culture rise up in his inner mind for a while. But his temper never reached negligence of what his kids say or do.
– “Are you living together, Awash. I never thought you come to this stage as an Arab girl, daughter.” Dad said, “I never expected you are liberal more than your Dad. At least you could have spared your Dad from this embarrassment to keep the secret until I meat with him.” Then he murmured, “Two years made you change your values 180 degrees. What happened? Why all this, you still a student?”
– “Dad! Dad!”, again, Awash had to bring her Dad back to this battle ground where they sat down, a battle ground covers all of the Arabian, and Muslim traditions.
– “Call the boy, I like to see him!”
Awash called the man. He was residing in the nearby building, few minutes he show up, William ( or bill) was a fat and chubby white (boy) fit to be his brother more than his son-in-law. He was smiling, a nice-looking young man, but looks older than Awash though. Dad was not expecting Bill to shake hands with him and embrace him as Arabs do, kissing both sides of the neck. However, somewhere he wanted that too.
– “Hello! Mr. abdul-Aziz, how are you, Sir? My name is Bill or William. Nice to meet you!”
This was enough from this white boy to shatter Dad’s dreams to have Muslim values imbibed to the core son-in–law. He was expecting an Arab, specifically a Saudi boy from those who were sent by the government to study abroad. But to his surprise, Bill is something else. He was a white-Christian, promising to convert to Islam.
Dad answered back his hello, disguising his uneasiness with a big smile. But he thought he was not able to disguise it properly. Dad found the opportunity to ask him:
– “I heard that you and Awash are engaged, are you planning to get married?
– “I suppose!.” The young man answered.
– “Where do you plan to live after marriage? I mean did you have any thought that you become a Muslim convert and come to Saudi Arabia to live there?”
– “I would love to, we fully discussed this matter several weeks ago, we arranged with the Mosque sheikh to convert before the engagement. I am glad that conversion will be in your presence. I have no objection to move with her anywhere on this planet, even though I heard negative things about life and culture in Saudi Arabia. May be all what I knew and heard is far from real.”
Two hours passed, Dad was asking and Bill was answering. Until the conversation came to end. Dad was surprised by the openness of the young man. And his inner mind says: “this is not a quality of Saudi young men, who always hide their opinion before old people. The young man attempted to stand saying:
– “It was a pleasure to meet you and talk with you! I have to leave. Now.” He stretched his hand, Dad shake hands with him, and Bill left.” Awash was pleased that her Dad walked to the door accompanying William, and stayed for a while until William rode his car and drove away.
In fact, he left both of us in the battle ground alone, but there was no losers. Dad understood Awash wish, and offered a future plan. Awash was sure that she was doing the right thing. Her brother came in the weekend. All spent a wonderful time in Bill’s home up north of the State. Dad met Bill’s parents, the father was in Saudi Arabia two years ago, he was among the desert shield operation personnel stationed at Eastern side of Saudi Arabia. The mother was divorced, but attended the meeting. Dad was happy. We all were happy.
One week later all her fears have gone away, Awash felt of her self-confidence strengthened by her Dad’s support, and Dad left back to Saudi Arabia. – Two years later, the whole family came back to the Unite States to celebrate the graduation and the wedding of their daughter. )(2132 words)
The marriage river has some huge stones, both Awash and William tried hard to remove. (To be continued.) www.hasanyahya.com
@Hasan Yahya, Michigan, April 2012
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