My courage gives me a hardened resolve. Thinking back, I remember the face of a kind man who offered a little girl succulent dates. I have a wild idea. Without hesitating, I shout brave words over the din, "Take me to the king!"
The shouting stops. Incredulous, my father repeats my words, "The king?"
Ali makes an impatient tsking sound with his tongue. "The king will not meet with you!"
"Yes. He will! Take me to him. I wish to tell the king the reasons why the book came to be. To tell him of the tragic lives of the women he rules. I will confess, but only to the king."
My father looks askance at his son, Ali. Their eyes lock. It is as if I could read their minds. "One must be honorable, but not too much!"
"I insist upon confessing. To the king." I know this king well. He hates confrontation. Even so, he will punish me for what I have done. I think to myself that I will need someone from outside Saudi Arabia to keep my memory alive. I say, "But before I go to the king, I must speak with someone at a foreign newspaper to make my identity known. If I am to be punished, I refuse to be forgotten. Let the world know how our country deals with those who unveil the truth."
I walk toward the telephone that sits on a small table next to the hallway door, thinking that I must notify someone of my plight. I am desperate, trying to recall the telephone number of an international newspaper that I had memorized for just such an occasion.
My sisters begin to wail, crying out to our father that he must stop me.
Kareem jumps to his feet, rushing to beat me to the phone. My husband stands tall over me, blocking my path. With a stern face, he holds out his arm and points to my chair as if it were the executioner's block.
Despite the seriousness of the moment, something about Kareem's expression amuses me. I laugh aloud. My husband can be a foolish man and still has not learned that to silence me, he must bury me. That, I know, he can never do. My knowledge of Kareem's inability to commit violence has always given me strength.