And so I smile

Riyadh 2006

Her smile had faded and stringy hair had been cut into one even line, but it was obvious she still existed. No modern styles were allowed and like the children, she would be summoned to sit in his chair and wait for scissors to chop and shape until this task was complete. Her skin had wrinkled and bits of grey washed through a dirty blonde but there was no mistaking, it was really her.  A red shirt hung loosely over her chest and spots of bleach dotted her pants. The space was noticeable but only with a wide smile which could easily be avoided.  It had been years, even decades since I really looked at her in the mirror.

His job ended and once again he would stay at home for 12 months looking for the perfect employment opportunity. Offers came and went but none were at the standard that he had become accustomed to. He held a U.S. passport which entitled him to benefits and a salary that were in line with his status. His frustration built with each passing day as he slept till noon, drank tea with friends and walked through the house making random inspections.

The balance that was kept when he was working had now come crashing down and although money had been saved and was plentiful, it was not to be touched.  The boys were at University, children needed immunizations and our teeter totter balance could not be disrupted. Eating and drinking had become difficult and avoiding the fractured tooth that hung precariously was no longer possible. It wiggled and moved sending shooting pain along a rugged path that ended only to be agitated more frequently. One last warning was given and an offer to see the dentist. He was of course the best provider and always thought of his family first. I nodded my head in agreement, handing him the pliers and a tissue. He placed his hand firmly on my head and gripped the jagged piece of tooth ripping it loose.

117 thoughts on “And so I smile

  1. My body is just tingling with something – fear for you? Cringing? I don’t know what it is, but this was just so moving and vivid. It’s going to stick with me for a while.

    (Also, thank you for all the smiling pictures. That you can smile after going through all that shows how strong you are.)

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Just when I think I have read the worst you throw me into the fire again. This is quite barbarous but your writing of it is really well crafted. Your voice grows and matures with each snippet you share. Thank you for sugaring the pill with the wonderful family album … it does not take away the feeling of agony but it brings a warm smile nonetheless xx

    Liked by 3 people

  3. Wow! I loved browsing the photos. They show love and resilience. So glad you can tell your story and put it on paper. It gives you a voice and it needs to be heard. The pain and anguish come through. It is good to know that you now have a bridge and have so many loved ones cheering you today. Love and hugs xoxox

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Holy Jesus, Lynn. Like someone else mentioned, it’s as if your photos are testimony to the sacrifices you’ve made in life. The feel-good juxtaposed with the not-so-good I have to tell you, I’d like to get one of his teeth on the end of my pliers. . . 🙂

    You just go, girl!! Xoxoxo

    Liked by 2 people

  5. Like so many others have commented here, I am so relieved that you and your family are safe now!! I have only read snippets here and there and that is enough to know you have been saved from an awful life. But you do have a beautiful family!!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Oh Lynn! When I think I have heard the worst – there is more. I am so glad it is in your past, and you can smile now. I know the pain will never be completely gone, but you are helping others with your story. Thank you.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Lynn, I felt physically sick reading the horror of the home-dentistry – I wished it had been fiction. Luckily the wonderful photo array of you and your smiling family at the start was still in my heart and mind … such a contrast to your earlier life. May you forever smile with impunity. hugs, my friend. xxxxxx

    Liked by 2 people

  8. If only……I cannot even finish this sentence as it would put me into a rant that probably would go on way to long….I am so happy your free, your in charge of you, no one else, you have such a wonderful support group around you….Lynn you really are my strength…no matter what I endured with the asshat I was married to, is nothing compared to what you endured. Sister keep your head held high and keep that beautiful smile bright and full of love……keep writing…..let it all out….its what was never to be again…..!!! love ya Lynn

    Liked by 2 people

  9. Had to back track after reading the other post about abuse because I usually see your poetry and other posts. I applaud you for being open about this because that’s a very hard thing to do. You are showing how strong you are. Your story will help heal another person with similar story because when they see your words they will know they aren’t alone. Let there be only love and kindness in your life now 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

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