This post was written in response to a good friend’s comment. He said I should write more about the long reach of abuse.  Thanks Joseph! His blog is full of amazing poetry. https://seeingthewhisper.wordpress.com/


Yesterday morning 2017-Idaho 

Coffee made its customary drip drip and steam rose from the machine as it processed my morning cup. It had taken 30 minutes of washing and preparing, numerous mugs were rinsed and inspected, ultimately being set aside. An alternate cup of instant coffee sat on the counter growing cold among spoons and dots of peppermint creamer. The routine of this first piping hot mug of coffee always seemed the hardest; dishes littered the counter and sink as I did my best to make one safe and delicious serving. I paused and a feeling of despair gripped me, it was just a cup of coffee, a simple task. I refused to give up or backslide to the previous winter when I exited the kitchen most days, exhausted and empty handed. A text to Foof meant I had been unable to complete this project and a request was made to pick me up on her way to work, purchasing a large black coffee. I rinsed the plastic reservoir one more time and waited for the water to warm, treasuring the moment but also wondering why this undertaking was so difficult.


He picked up the instant coffee and turned it from front to back numerous times. His eyes grew wide as he read the contents and then blankly stared, “So you are drinking American coffee now?” A light hearted yet sinister tone abruptly brought me back to the reality he had created and the usual guilt that followed. A slight grin crossed his lips accompanied by a chuckle and that telltale look of disapproval. I felt foolish and tense wondering how I could have been so selfish to purchase this item and not gain his approval beforehand. My lower lip quivered and the thought of this small action bringing more unrest to our household became unbearable.

It had been three years since we were forced to leave the Western compound which resulted in a move to a tiny housing group of sorts. It seemed as if we were back where we had started so many years before and a feeling of hopelessness left my intense awareness dull and fractured. A strange and foreign rebellion had been silently creeping from the back of my mind to the front. Simple things escaped me and the household’s sense of balance that allegedly teetered on my shoulders was somehow off kilter. I made numerous errors in predicting his moods and yet somehow it all seemed pointless as eruptions could be triggered by the slightest move. I stood tensely waiting for a reprimand but instead he pointedly set the jar down and stated what he felt was quite obvious it was up to me and I should do as I pleased, as always I was free to make my own choices.

Given his words of approval I bought tiny jars of instant coffee and after a few months passed safely, I drug out the machine he had purchased for mom and dad’s trips to our home in Saudi. I made a fresh pot each morning and used a mug mom brought me from back home. Sipping coffee after getting the kids off to school became my new routine. Piles of laundry, dishes, vacuuming, picking up and preparing a home cooked meal began after that initial cup. A small window of opportunity had afforded me this little pleasure, reminiscent of late nights in college years sitting at local restaurants enjoying the company of friends.

An air of confidence slowly built piece by piece and with it the realization that I was indeed a free being. One day I was the ever pious wife and the next I was a daring woman who boldly sat in front of him drinking coffee. I knew the day was coming but dared to enjoy this new era while I could, not thinking of the repercussions. Little hints were dropped and ignored until it all came rushing out. “So you sit drinking your coffee, showing me you are American, better than me”! With each syllable his voice raised and his fist slammed on the counter.  After that day the coffee maker was bagged  and put in storage and instant coffee remained hidden in the back of pots and pans.

2008 Al-Khobar

The door slammed, footsteps clicked on the marble floor and his voice boomed as he called for the children one by one. A timid voice echoed through the stairwell answering him, aiming to calm any tension that had not dissipated after his departure. A sense of panic wrapped in recent rebellion sent my mind into a dizzied state. I was sure that he was right, the recent tirade had been fueled by my insolence and a cup of secret coffee.  I grabbed my mug and tucked it in its usual hiding place, between my thigh and the arm of the recliner. A burning trickle made its way down my outer leg and yet went unnoticed.  He walked past and glanced at the chair not acknowledging my presence in the room or in this world. I had become “one of those women that he hated” and there was no going back.


88 thoughts on “Worthy

  1. Lynn, so much sadness in your remembering your “past” life in Riyadh. Hard to forget such abuse, even connected to a simple pleasure like coffee. I hope someday you are able to put aside the old thoughts… Raise that coffee mug and cheer your freedom! Happy Weekend! Christine

    Liked by 1 person

  2. You have come so far, dear sister, even if you find it difficult to enjoy your one cup of coffee. I hope, that you have much more than one cup, when you feel like now.
    It is natural, that you have had and will have a little yet, triggers, which takes you back in time to the life with the monster. Triggers can come and go, the most important is, that you notice, when it is a trigger and nothing for real reason of fear in your new life. When you recognize the triggers, it becomes more easy to tell yourself, this was just a trigger from my past. Much love and healing thoughts for you ❤

    Liked by 2 people

  3. I think your friend hit upon a new view of your life and work. We often think in the immediate but not the long reaching effects events have on us. As always your writing is painful to read but beautiful in your artistry and ability to tell your story. Hope it leads to continued healing for your heart and soul.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Your writing is so personal and powerful, Lynn. It’s hard to imagine the tension that can creep up on you, over the very simple everyday joys that we should be able to take for granted. Wishing you many cups of morning coffee, and the peace of mind to enjoy them.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Oh Lynn! Your writing is so powerful, because these memories have affected you so. You seem to be doing so well these days, I sometimes forget about this awful awful stuff you put up with. My heart aches when I read this. Makes me sad and angry. Makes me love you that much more for what you have done and become and the beautiful family you created despite all this! ❤ HUGS!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Don’t feel defeated ever. You have risen up from “hell” and your light shines for others to see, and you have brought freedom to you and your children. Our stories are meant to be told for there are those in the darkness who need to hear them. It is the light that often gives them courage, hope, and strength. I know recounting such things has got to be very painful for you, but telling of the pain is cathartic as it empties the well of your soul of its poisons. You keep writing and telling and rising up from the “pit” you once were bound in. Love and hugs, N 🙂 ❤

    Liked by 1 person

  7. I don’t recommend violence either, but I too love, Joseph’s drop kick idea. This man’s abuse has penetrated deep. Enjoy every defiant mouthful of that coffee, you earned it. X

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Every day that passes you are another day further away from him. The scars he left you with are so deep and inevitably there will be stumbles but you have come and are going SO far. That today you made the coffee with no problem is cause for rejoicing. That he cause this far reaching and insistent pain in my friend is unforgeable and I wish I could wipe him entirely out of your memory… xx

    Liked by 1 person

  9. The past is always contained in the present. You have overcome so much, Lynn. Just being able to articulate why you react the way you do is so important. And one day that coffee will be just your own cup of coffee, to be enjoyed in the life that belongs to you. (K)

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Gosh, now I understand about the tree. I am so sorry about this abuse. A dear Scottish friend in Cairo suffered mental abuse from her Egyptian husband and struggled to move on but stayed in Cairo to be near her grown children. Some of it was a cultural difference but he was just a bad man. My husband worked as a rape counselor in Scotland for Victim Support – this problem is global. I hope your writing works as therapy – mine does. ❤️ My mental illness makes it hard for me to focus on reading or writing, so that is why I disappear for days.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. I raise my fresh brewed cup of java to you to my friend, nothing can keep a good cup of coffee down, He really was an ass above all other asses….I am so sorry that you had to go through that. Here, here my friend, my sister in arms, have a blessed holiday and may every cup of coffee you prepare be hot and delicious….xxkat

    Liked by 1 person

  12. I’m so glad to hear it was easier making coffee the next day. It angers me so much that you still get these flashbacks of fear. I mean come on, NOBODY should be scared to make and drink a cup of hot java. Each day you should make your coffee and raise it up, and say “Thank you Lord for my freedom!” and then savor the delicious taste and aroma with a smile. XOXOXO

    Liked by 1 person

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  14. OH Lynn!! I can’t imagine, I really can’t! I am so sorry at what you had to deal with and the scars it left behind. Feeling guilty over a simple cup of coffee, oh the mind games he played on you!
    Keep writing!! Writing is my outlet, I am so thankful for it! Even if what you write at times you don’t share, keep writing! Its therapy for the soul.
    So awesome that all your kids are with you! ❤

    Liked by 1 person

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