and wealthy families in the kingdom. Instead, I would remain in my parents’ home, still a schoolgirl, waiting for approval of my new status as a Saudi citizen, the wife of Osama bin Laden. My mother was much more pleased than I was about the delay. I was excited at the idea of living in a new country, and yearning to start my new life as a married woman. The next few months were terribly unsettled, as I tried in vain to concentrate on my studies, while eagerly waiting for letters from Osama. From the words he wrote, I believe that my young husband was as eager for me to join him as I was to be with him. Finally, just as I thought I could not abide the separation any longer, the day arrived when my father informed me that my Saudi Arabian residency and travel documents had been approved. Osama and his family would soon return to Syria to escort me to Jeddah, as it would not be proper for me, a Muslim woman, to travel without a guardian. Since I had packed long before, there was little for me to do but wait for my husband and his mother and stepfather. I was told that my father would be accompanying me as well, to stay in Jeddah with us until I was settled. The knock on the door could not come soon enough. Finally they arrived! Although we were still shy with each other, one of the happiest moments of my life was when I saw my husband’s face. We would be leaving for Jeddah in a day or two. On the morning of our departure, I was filled with energy, dashing about, rechecking my bags, and saying my goodbyes over and over. Although I knew that nothing would ever be the same, I simply could not restrain my happiness. At some point, I did notice the dejected looks on the faces of my family, and made an attempt to curb my enthusiasm at leaving. I did not want to wound my cherished family, most particularly my dear mother. Still, when the final moment came to say goodbye, I was in a bit of a rush to start our journey.
I was about to embark on my first aeroplane journey, yet I didn’t feel a spark of fear. Ever since I was very young, I have been convinced that my life is in God’s hands. This belief keeps my nerves steady. Although I had no fear of death, that day was a momentous one in my life, with everything changing in the blink of an eye. From that moment, my husband would be the head of our family. For the most part, his decisions would rule my life and the lives of any children we might have. From now on, I would lead a restricted life, leaving behind the possibility of driving a car or working in a job outside the home. Then there was the dreaded veil. This was also the day when I first draped the black veil over my face and body. Although I was modestly covered in a simple dress with long sleeves that reached midway between my knees and ankles, this was not conservative enough for Saudi Arabia, a country where no part of a woman’s flesh or hair should be seen by a man outside her immediate family.
You've reached the end of your free preview.
Want to read all 359 pages?
- Fall '14
- Ordinary People, Bin Laden family