9 years earlier to the day.
4 p.m. My mother’s house.
I got out of the shower and quickly dried my hair. The house was very quiet, everyone had gone to my grandmother’s house already. I hadn’t slept till well after Fajr prayer that morning but I felt completely refreshed. I was calm and excited all at once. I quickly dressed in a long, flowing black skirt and white fitted shirt and ran out of the house into the sweltering heat which made me think maybe it is best we didn’t stick to the original plan of outside seating.
5 p.m. My grandmother’s house
The main living room where my Grandmother normally sat was rearranged for the evening. I walked around the house a bit and found her in a smaller sitting room on her own watching television. It was getting to the time of the day that I love and the light spilling into the room was beautiful. I kissed her head and her hand and apologized for the inconvenience which she brushed off. She smiled and said a few prayers for me.
My mother and my sisters were in a flurry of activity that I seemed to have a force field against that day. I had switched on (or off) a switch in my head and nothing fazed me. When I look back on how it was and all the events that took place in the weeks leading to that day I am amazed at how calm and happy I was.
Time passed and things were late and things were misplaced and somethings were forgotten but I was still unfazed. There was a goal I was aiming for and nothing about how I got there was particularly important at that point just as long as I got there.
I was late, very late but there was somewhere I had to go before it all started. There were children outside when I left my grandmother’s house through the side entrance who looked confused by my leaving and what I was wearing and I could tell they were going to run straight to their mothers and say “the Arousa left!” (Bride).
I realized in the car on the way to my fathers that I didn’t have earrings on. My sister A gave me hers to wear. My father called and said “Hurry, you’re about to be married and you’re still not here. We might just start without you!”. I wore my dress without the veil and without the train because I was going to see the man I was about to marry at my father’s house for part 1. I would wear the veil and train the next time he sees me back at the reception (part 2).
The rest was a blur. I remember how utterly beautiful my mother and sisters looked. I remember my sister L had a red nose the whole time. I remember how young my sister S was. I remember getting down the stairs in one piece which was lucky as there were many stairs to get down. It was ok though because my sisters and I made a pact that if I fell they would all fall as well. I remember it being crowded but that might be just in my head.
I remember when he came and stood beside me. I remember my mother in law dancing and looking happy. I remember the horrible photographer who was rude and anal about everything being perfect. I remember the drive to our house which I had not seen it before. I remember walking in to a home that was ours.
We decided to skip the dinner at the reception because we both just wanted to go home and then we found out there was no dinner at home and had cold pizza instead. No, the wedding was not perfect but it was what it was. I was waiting for the day after. I was waiting for one particular moment.
The next day we woke and got ready and went to say good-bye to our families before we traveled on our honeymoon. I wore a long cream colored dress with orang lines around the neckline and down the front and the gift my husband gave me that morning. We saw my grandmother and his grandparents and my mother and got in the car and began our 3 hour trip to the eastern province of Saudi.
The stereo was playing Mohammed Abdu “Mihtaaj Laha” as we got on the highway and the streets lights faded behind us… and finally… we were done. This was it, this was what we had waited for and all the ups and downs of the past months leading up to the wedding were worth it… all for this. I was so happy. Happy to finally start this new life and to have finally finished with the chaos that was the pre wedding insanity.
9 years, 3 kids, 2 countries, 1 house renovation later and we’re still going strong.
ما ابغى شي ..
كافي علي كلمة .. احبك
(When I wrote this a few weeks ago in preparation for today I was healthy and not virus filled. So although not many people want to be near me today I know my anniversary will be just as special as the previous 8. albeit from a distance lol)