I was only sixteen, still a child, but my husband understood the implications of my youth, and he eased my introduction into the world of adults with a unique solution. He, as I, disagreed with the manner of marriage in our land. He said that strangers should not be intimate, even if those strangers were husband and wife. In his opinion, men and women should have time to understand the secrets of the other that make desire grow. Kareem told me that he had decided weeks before that he and I would have our courtship after our marriage. And, when I was ready for him, I would be the one to say, "I want to know all of you."
We spent our days and nights playing. We dined, rode horses around the pyramids, browsed through the crowded bazaars of Cairo, read books, and talked. The servants were puzzled at such a joyous couple who chastely kissed good night and went into separate bedrooms.
On the fourth night, I pulled my husband into my bed. Afterward, with my drowsy head on Kareem's shoulder, I whispered that I would be one of the scandalous young wives of Riyadh who cheerfully admitted I enjoyed sex with my husband.
I had never been to America and was anxious to form an opinion of the people who spread their culture worldwide, yet seemed to know so little of the world themselves. New Yorkers, with their pushy, rude manners, frightened me. I was happy when we arrived in Los Angeles, with its pleasant, laid-back ambience, which feels more familiar to Arabs.
In California, after weeks of meeting transported Americans from practically every state in the union, I announced to Kareem that I liked these strange, loud people, the Americans. When he asked me why, I had difficulty in voicing what I felt in my heart. I finally said, "I believe this marvelous mixture of cultures has brought civilization closer to reality than in any other culture in history." I was certain Kareem did not understand what I meant and I tried to explain. "So few countries manage complete freedom for all their citizens without chaos; this has been accomplished in this huge land. It appears impossible for large numbers of people to stay on a course of freedom for all when so many options are available. Just imagine what would happen in the Arab world; a country the size of America would have a war a minute, with each man certain he had the only correct answer for the good of all! In our lands, men look no farther than their own noses for a solution. Here, it is different."