the occasion of my wedding, the preparation room was
filled with gaiety. I was surrounded by women of my
family; no one person could be heard, for all were
speaking and laughing as a singular and grand celebration.
was in the palace of Nura and Ahmed, which had been
completed only a few weeks before my wedding date. Nura
was pleased with the outcome and was anxious for word of
her gilded mansion to leak throughout the city of Riyadh
and cause all to exclaim at the monies spent and the glory
myself hated Nura's new palace; for romantic reasons, I
had wanted to be wed in Jeddah, by the sea. But my father
had insisted upon a traditional wedding and I, for once,
made no outcry when my demands were not met. I had decided
months ago to hold back my passion except for matters of
paramount importance and to let little irritations slide
easily away. Doubtlessly, I was becoming exhausted with
the disabilities of my land.
Nura beamed happily, our female relatives were heaping
compliments upon the beauty of the palace. Sara and I
exchanged small smiles, for we had agreed some time ago
that the palace was in the worst possible taste.
marble palace was enormous. Hundreds of Filipino, Thai,
and Yemeni laborers, supervised by unsmiling German
contractors, had worked around the clock for months to
create the monstrosity. The painters, the
woodworkers, the metal- workers, and the architects did
not speak with one voice; as a result, the palace
conflicted within itself.