Kareem looked at me in amazement. Not used to a woman interested in the greater scheme of things, he questioned me into the night to learn my thoughts on various matters. It was obvious that my husband was not accustomed to a woman with opinions of her own. He seemed in utter shock that I thought of political issues and the state of the world. Finally, he kissed me on the neck and said that I would continue my education once we returned to Riyadh.
Irritated at his tone of permission, I told him I was not aware that my education was up for discussion.
The planned eight-week honeymoon turned into ten weeks. Only after a call from Kareem's father did we reluctantly drag ourselves back to our families. We planned to live in the palace of Kareem's father and mother until our own palace was built.
I knew that Kareem's mother looked upon me with distaste; now it was in her power to make my life miserable. I thought of my foolish disregard for tradition, which had brought about her scorn, and cursed myself for thinking so little of my future by alienating my mother-in-law at our first meeting. I knew that Kareem, like all Arab men, would never side with his wife against his mother. It would be up to me to arrive with an olive branch extended in peace.
I had an unpleasant shock as the plane prepared to land in Riyadh. Kareem reminded me of my veil. I scrambled to cover myself in black and felt a fierce longing for the sweet scent of freedom that had begun to fade the moment we entered Saudi airspace.
With the tightness of dread in my throat, we entered his mother's palace to begin our married life. At that moment, I was unaware that Kareem's mother so disliked me that she had already begun plotting ways to bring our happy union to an end.