Talk was desultory as the book club broke up, several women had already left when Hannah hit us with this bombshell. It was a most puzzling statement. We had all passed Hamad in the hallway on our way to bookclub. He would greet us gruffly, but not really look at us as we buzzed into the women’s diwaniyya.
“What are you talking about?” popped up Lena, never at a loss for words. “How can you miss Hamad? He’s right here!”
Hannah exchanged glances with Diana, also married to a Kuwaiti. They grinned, ruefully.
“You’ve only been back a week,” Diana said.
“Yes, but I MISS that sweet, loving husband. When we are away, he turns back into the delightful, charming man I married! He holds my hand, he takes me out for dinner, it’s like when we first met! He’s a different man! Oh, how I miss him! And we’ve only been back a week.” She echoed Diana.
“And is he playing the ‘ayb’ card?” she asked? “‘Ayb’ how you walk around the house, ‘ayb’ how you smile too much, ‘ayb’ here, ‘ayb’ there, ‘ayb ayb’ everywhere?”
They started giggling. Others joined in, their giggles were so infectious. Soon, the seven women remaining from the book club meeting were gasping for air, they were laughing so hard.
“I’ve stopped changing!” Hannah hooted! “Every time I changed what he asked, he found something new!”
And the laughter started again – it’s an international group, and the critical husband thing is something that is easily understood by women of all nations.
“I want him back!” Hannah moaned, weak from laughter. “I want my Hamad back!”