This is the second of a two part series telling a little bit about how we ended up here in Yemen, It won first place in the Storycircle Network’s Lifewriting Competition last year, alhamdulillaah.
One day, after we had lived there for about two years, my husband and I were walking together- something we have tried to do at least once a day since the beginning of our marriage. We walk, and connect, or reconnect, or try to figure out why we are on some sort of disconnect, and we always return recharged and recommitted to each other and our family. This was a beautiful spring day, the trees newly dressed in their green tops, waving happily to each other across the valley. When we reached the top of the hill overlooking the high school, Khalil told me that he had figured out a way that we could finally realize our dream of going to Yemen. If we sold the house, we could afford tuition to a language institute, and to live there for at least a year; then we could see if we could stay longer.
If we sold the house…
hands hold tight
the smell of sweet soil
and life fills my senses
then the pull
I feel your fingers
slip from mine
Once Khalil had made the decision, it was only a matter of time. He worked to finalize things with the buyer, and we began to sort through the accumulated artifacts of nine years together. The idea of throwing away little bits of our lives, or giving them to strangers, made my heart hurt, but he only wanted us to keep a little bit in storage, those things which we just couldn’t part with. Being pregnant with our sixth baby made it even harder. What bit of ourselves would this child never know? The quilts made by my mother, my grandmother’s afghans, the gifts of my sister and parents, given to make our house a home, the favorite book of five children? I almost couldn’t bear the decisions…how do you choose between all that is beloved to you?
Finally came the day of the sale closing. I thought it should be raining, angry, dark- but it was a clear summer day, a betrayal of the pain in my heart. I hated the people who were buying it- they were going to renovate it and rent it out- my soap room, my enclosed porch, my garden to be destroyed- I hated them, and I hated my husband, just a little, for doing this to me, for pulling up the roots I had finally been able to start sending down in this little community. I cried behind my veil, and began to say my goodbyes.
Afterwards, sitting in the car behind the building, my husband held me as I wept for our lost home, for our lost community, for a path swept away that had seemed so right to follow. When finally the tears were spent, my husband held my hand, his fingers entwined in mine. I realized then, that by letting go of this house, I was finally and irrevocably saying to him, “You are my home.” I wiped my eyes, sat up a little straighter, and looked ahead, to the new path we were going to forge, to the new future we were going to write- together.
path stretches ahead
we have found
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