Authors: Mariah Violet
Jessica Watkins Presents
A Man in Oman
Copyright © 2015 by Nature M Sargent
All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, distributed, or transmitted in any form or by any means, including photocopying, recording, or other electronic or mechanical methods, without the prior written permission of the publisher, except in the case of brief quotations embodied in critical reviews and certain other noncommercial uses permitted by copyright law.
To my beloved and much missed, Aunt Johnnie. You had a servant’s heart, a bright mind, and an enduring spirit. Thank you for pouring into me. Your National Geographic gift subscription remains one of my favorite gifts of all time. What a woman! Rest peacefully with Jesus.
for the helpful information.
Happy Reader, once again we go, down the rabbit hole. Follow the glitter.
Ma sha Allah (mah
sh Allah) – a phrase used to express joy, appreciation, thankfulness, or praise for an event or person recently mentioned.
Habbibti – sweetheart (feminine)
Framily – Friends who are family
Iftar – The meal eaten after evening prayer during Ramadan.
Kummah – round, embroidered cap worn by Omani men
Abood – affectionate nickname for someone named Abdulla
Visa Vulture – Someone looking to marry based upon gaining citizenship in another country
Kayfa Halak (kay’fuh holik) – How are you?
Fajr – First prayer of the day
Wadi – A valley with a river in the bottom that appears after rain
Isha – Last prayer of the day
Ummi – Mother
Shukkran – Thank you
Machboos – saffron rice cooked over spicy meat
Pinch graft – a quarter inch piece of skin is placed at donor site and grows to cover the damaged area
Pressure garment – an elastic bandage or garment used to prevent and control formation of hypertrophic scars, reduces deformities
Bollywood – Indian movie industry
Sharukh Khan – famous Indian actor
Abdulla sat looking out over the Gulf, shisha smoke swirling about his head, thinking about the sexy woman he had met while visiting with his cousin. He had gone to meet Mo’s fiancé and been introduced to her teacher friend. He chuckled to himself remembering their day at the pool. Neither lady had felt like getting their fresh from the salon hair wet, so they had spent the day under one large umbrella drinking champagne and playing card games while discussing their travels. Well, the ladies had spent the day drinking champagne. Abdulla drank beer.
He was interested in Shannon. She was smart and funny. She had an amazing rack and a lovely, round behind that was a bit surprising on her medium sized frame. Her skin was the color of cappuccino and she had lots of hair which she wore in a style she called locs. He wanted to touch her hair. He asked and was surprised when she told him no. He asked why and she said, “I’m not a dog. Don’t ask to pet me.” Which made all of them laugh.
He liked the thought of being able to touch her. He had been single since his wife died four years before and had only recently started seriously thinking about choosing a woman. His wife had been a sweet woman with a great sense of humor. For the short time they had together, there had been a lot of laughs and plans to see a bit of the world before they started having children. Before the car accident had stolen her, they had traveled to many countries, including a pilgrimage to Mecca.
He was ready and Shannon just might be what he needed. The only question was how to get her attention and keep it. She had been friendly, but he had been unable to get her to give him her number. When he asked her reply was, “Now, now we are practically related. Your cousin is marrying my good friend. I don’t pee in my pool.”
Mafi mushkala. No problem. It was summer time now, when she returned in August, he would be ready. Abdulla had plans to hop in Shannon’s pool.
Shan wandered through Target, half listening to her mother as she scanned the ethnic hair product lines available. She was packing for her return trip to Oman and needed to think about what all she needed for hair maintenance. Living in the Middle East was an adventure, most notably for someone such as herself with locs she was trying to maintain. They had been growing a lot, but definitely needed lots of protection and babying with all the sunshine and hot winds.
“…so I told her to mind her business. Shan will marry again if and when she chooses and I don’t care so much where he is from as much as how well he treats her,” her mother was saying.
“Wait. What? Who were you discussing my love life with, Mama?” asked Shan, just a bit exasperated she had apparently missed half a conversation all about her personal business.
wasn’t discussing your business with anybody.
was telling your Auntie to mind her business. She was saying she hoped you didn’t come back with some foreign husband like your friend, Lari did,” her mother replied.
“Um, Lari came back with a
foreign husband. I mean, that ought to give her a little bit of a pass. She isn’t marrying some visa vulture. Also, Mohammed treats her really well and I would be fortunate indeed to meet someone who cares for me as much. Nevertheless, no need to worry, I won’t be getting married again.
. That was a disaster I have no desire to repeat.”
“Oh, Shan, you can’t think every marriage is like that. You married really young and he made a lot of mistakes. He apologized and has a completely new life. Please tell me you aren’t still holding a grudge,” her mom said.
“No, Mother, I am
holding a grudge. How nice for Jack that he is a new man. Good for him. He needed to become a new man. After all, sleeping with your wife’s co-worker is pretty foul. I am glad he has a turned over a new leaf and I absolutely did accept his apology. He is forgiven. I, on the other hand, have not forgotten. I will be happy to find a partner lover friend that sticks around, but no more titles for me. Period.”
Wisely, her mother moved on to other topics. There was no arguing with Shan. One failed marriage a decade ago and she packed her life into one suitcase and changed continents. While infidelity happens all the time, every situation is unique to the people caught in the messy web.
Shan had felt not just betrayed by her husband, but humiliated at work. Even now, when she thought of the times she had chatted with that female in the lounge, worked with her on committees and sat at happy hours without the slightest clue she was talking, planning and drinking with the very woman screwing her husband, she could only shake her head at the gall. In the meantime, she had a lot of shopping to get done, so she shook the ugly memories from her head and set about finding the remaining items on her list.
“Come on Mama, let’s get focused so we can go home and pack for our spa weekend in Dallas.”
Traditionally, Shan and her mother went to Dallas each summer for a spa weekend. It was Shan’s final weekend before she flew out of Dallas/Ft. Worth International Airport. A visit to Koffee Day Spa for manicures, pedicures, scrubs, wraps, and massages would start their Friday. Shan would get her scalp conditioned and locs twisted. They would listen to live music at Stone Trail and Shan would watch her mom tear the floor up with one suitor after another. Shan was more of The Wobble type of dancer. All that swinging out was for a more coordinated person.
Saturday passed with them relaxing by the pool at The Joule, sipping champagne cocktails and eating fruit while they read whatever was on their tablets. Dinner was at Pappadeaux on Oak Lawn and on Sunday morning it was time to head over to Pilgrim Rest and worship with their large extended family members.
Now, Shan and her mom loved the Lord, but they also loved a good champagne brunch and so did the rest of their family. So, they all scooted across the Trinity after church to Hattie’s in Oak Cliff. It never failed to be a great time and send off for Shan. A hundred hugs and kisses later, Shan and her mom, full of good food and drink wandered around the little shops and bought last minute accessories. Shan found some colorful scarves because you can never have too many and her mother grabbed a couple of sparkly necklaces and bracelets.
Early Monday morning, Shan made her way to DFW for her flight and her mom drove back to Longview, already looking forward to Christmas. This business of her baby girl being all grown up was just fine, but her being so far away was
Abdulla was at his desk, perusing documents he planned to review with his father when his cell phone chimed. He read the message and grinned.
Shan had landed. His cousin, who worked at the airport, messaged him when her passport was stamped. Abdulla mentioned to his cousin he met a woman he wanted to pursue and all of a sudden there were questions.
“Who is she? Where did you meet her? Where is she from? How old is she? Do you know her father?” all valid questions and expected, unfortunately Abdulla did not have all the answers. All he really knew was her name, profession and country of origin.
He knew she was funny and had beautiful brown eyes framed by thick, long eyelashes. He knew she was intelligent and curious, the tales she shared of her travels had proven that. She had beautiful tawny skin. She wasn’t very tall, but according to her, “Dynamite comes in small packages.”
He hoped she liked the small package he was having delivered to her flat. Figuring out where she lived was not a challenge, all this information was in the database. Oman was very organized. A few clicks and he had her address because a good government job had lots of perks. He wasn’t so rude as to show up at her home, but he could and would send gifts.
The first one being a phone, he had to be able to communicate with her some way. She wouldn’t give him her number; he bought her a brand new Samsung. Since he bought it, he had the number. He sure hoped she didn’t play too hard to get and change the SIM card.
Shan was feeling tired and jet lagged; dragging her luggage to her flat after being delivered by cab from the airport seemed to be taking more energy than she had to give in this heat. Out of nowhere, a man appeared in a brightly colored red and yellow DHL shirt asking if she needed help. Never one to look a gift horse in the mouth, she gratefully accepted. It turns out, he was looking for her. When he saw her flat number he asked if she was Shan Hicks. When she replied in the affirmative, he told her he was there to deliver a package. He offered her the small box and she signed his clipboard.
Upon entering her apartment, she took a deep breath of scented air. Home. It was always nice to return, especially when it is clean. She was in the mood for nothing more than a shower, a glass of red wine and long nap in a horizontal position. Even paying for the business class upgrade, a sixteen hour ride in the air, is still a sixteen hour ride in the air. It is basically a flying bus with excellent food service.
The only other item on her agenda was to message her mother and let her know she had safely arrived. Reaching for her phone on the counter, she moved too fast and knocked it on the floor. The sound of a cell phone falling face down from the counter to the floor was sickening. Shan reached for it with trepidation and sighed heavily when she saw the destroyed screen. Dang it! Bird shit licker! Hot crap on a sidewalk! Ugh.
Then, as she was bemoaning fate and cursing the cell phone gremlins, she heard chimes coming from the box on the counter. Glancing at it oddly, she opened it with a knife. The chiming continued and she realized it was a phone. Wondering when she ordered a cell phone and grateful for its very timely arrival; she answered it.
“Salaam Alaikum Shan, how was your summer?” asked a deep voice she did not recognize.
“I’m sorry, but I don’t recognize this number, please identify yourself,” was her measured response.
“You wound me. Am I so forgettable? This is Abdulla, your favorite Omani,” he answered.
Taking note of the little thrill she got when he identified himself, she responded with a laugh, “Wa-Alaikum-Salaam Abdulla! I had a great summer holiday. I saw all the important people, had the best food possible and got lots of hugs and kisses. Kayfa Halak?”
“Beautiful Arabic, Shan! I am very well. Thank you,” a smiling Abdulla answered.
“I think the more important question is why did you send me this phone, Abdulla?”
“You would not give me your number. How else can I call you? This is better, yes? We can talk and plan our evenings out and you didn’t have to give me your number. We both get what we want.”
“Abdulla, I can hear the smile in your voice. I have to say this is a unique response to the word no. I imagine it is not a word you are closely acquainted with. I would ordinarily
be pleased with this high handed move. However, I have just this moment knocked my phone from the counter top and destroyed the screen. So, your gesture is timely and much appreciated.”
“Ma sha Allah, we are destined. I am glad it is useful to you. See what a mistake it was to tell me no? You are recently home, yes?”
“Yes, I’ve just arrived, which you know because you scheduled the delivery for my return date. I am wondering how you knew when I would be back. I will have questions, later. For now, I am basking in gratefulness for your tenacity. Alas, I must speak with you later. I need to call my mother and have a nap.”
“Of course, Shan, I do hope to hear from you soon.”
“You will Abdulla, you brazen and beautiful man. Goodbye.”