reminded of the Egyptian puppet show I had attended the
previous week at my sister Sara's palace, a hilarious event
featuring puppets in full Saudi dress. The closer I look, the
more Kareem resembles Goha, a lovable but eccentric imaginary
figure in the Arab world. Goha the puppet had been his usual
foolish self in the play, prancing across the stage,
disentangling himself from complex situations.
lips quiver with the urge to laugh. At any moment now, I
expect my husband to fall to the floor and throw a childish
swore, he blushed with shame; I thought perhaps he was angered
by his inability to control his wife."
glares hatefully at me. "Sultana! Do not dare smile! I am
battling conflicting emotions, I shrug. "Do you deny that
what you are reading is the truth?"
my words, Kareem foolishly continues to seek out the most
damning passages concerning his character, reminding his wife
of the particular traits of her husband's temperament that had
led her to leave him years ago.
shrieking, he reads aloud, "How I yearned to be wed to
a warrior, a man with the hot flame of righteousness to guide
rage growing with every word, Kareem holds the book under my
nose and points with a finger to the words that he deems most
insulting, "Six years ago, Sultana was stricken with a
venereal disease; after much distress, Kareem admitted that he
participated in a weekly adventure of sex with strangers...
After the scare of the disease, Kareem promised he would avoid
the weekly tryst, but Sultana says she knows that he is weak
in the face of such a feast, and that he continues to indulge
himself without shame. Their wonderful love has vanished
except in memory; Sultana says she will stand with her husband
and continue her struggle for the sake of her daughters."
is so angry at that particular revelation that I fear he will
start weeping. My husband accuses me of "poisoning
paradise," claiming that "our lives are