have a short moment of elation followed by sheer terror. I
feel the blood rush to my face. I am numb and can barely
hear my father's voice. He explains that Ali had been
curious when he saw the book in the Frankfurt airport and
had gone to a great deal of trouble and expense to have the
book translated because he saw that our family name was
written on the cover.
the time, Ali had an irritating thought that some obscure,
disgruntled princess within the Al Sa'ud family had divulged
the gossipy secrets of her life. Once Ali had read the book
and clearly recognized himself from our childhood dramas,
the truth was revealed. He canceled the remainder of his
holiday and hastily returned to Riyadh in a fury.
has had copies of the translated version made for the
nods at Ali, giving a small signal with his hand. My brother
grapples with a bulky pile of paper at his side and proceeds
to hand each person a bundle secured with a large rubber
Kareem nudges me, raising his eyebrows and rolling his eyes.
the last possible second, I express my denial, returning an
expression of bewilderment. Shrugging my shoulders, I stare,
unblinking and unseeing, at the papers in my hand.
a soaring voice Father shouts out my name,
feel my body jump into the air.
begins to speak rapidly, spitting out words as I imagine a
machine gun expels bullets. "Sultana, do you recall the
marriage and divorce of your sister Sara? The wickedness of
your childhood friends? The death of your mother? Your trip
to Egypt? Your marriage to Kareem? The birth of your son?
have stopped breathing.
my father continues to accuse. "Sultana, if you have
difficulty in recalling these momentous events, then I
suggest that you read this book!"
throws the book at my feet.
to move, I stare, mute, at the book on the floor.