Hamza Khaled in Narratively:
I was in fourth grade. It was the second week of school. My father picked me up with a look on his face — I thought it was because of his job as a fraud detective. Then when I got home I went to kiss my mom as usual, but she was crying. I had never seen her cry before. Not once. I asked her why she was crying. She didn’t answer. I thought someone had died, so I started crying too. Then my father pulled me back and said, “We need to talk.”
He sat me down on the ground and said, “Shut up, be a man. Men don’t cry. Are you a woman? Only women cry.” Then my mother came out and said it: “Your father divorced me.”
In Saudi Arabia men can initiate a divorce simply by saying “I divorce you” and just like that you are divorced. If he says it three times they are divorced forever; if it’s just once they are officially divorced, but have the option of reuniting.
I looked at my father shocked, and he said, “That’s right, now go pack your clothes. You’re going to live with your mother’s family.”
I was still so shocked I couldn’t move. He grabbed me by my collar and said, “Stop wasting my time.”