Version for “Tales of the Veils” website.
Not for reproduction on other websites or in any other publishing format without author’s permission.
I’m driving in my car, I turn on the radio
I’m pulling you close, you just say no
You say you don’t like it, but girl I know you’re a liar
‘Cause when we kiss, fire
Late at night, I’m takin’ you home
Well I say I wanna stay, you say you wanna be alone
You say you don’t love me, but you can’t hide your desire
‘Cause when we kiss, fire
You had a hold on me, right from the start
A grip so tight I couldn’t tear it apart
My nerves all jumpin’ actin’ like a fool
Your kisses they burn but your heart stays cool
Romeo and Juliet, Samson and Delilah
You can bet their love, they couldn’t deny
Your words say split, but your words they lie
When we kiss, fire
© 1978 Bruce Springsteen
It’s the fourth time I’m driving with Shada. Her younger brother Hakim is on the back seat acting as chaperone. However since I the first time gave him a game for his console that their father wouldn’t give him he has been totally preoccupied with killing monsters. And as the game has sound as well he is wearing headphones so Shada and I are pretty undisturbed.
Our parents want us to get to know each other better so we will both consent to and voluntarily want the marriage they have agreed upon years ago. I have never objected. I was immediately positive when it was brought forward at a family meeting two months ago, because I still remember seeing Shada having fun with Amina, my sister, three years ago, at a time before she was required to veil. She was relaxed, open-hearted, bubbling and very pretty, even with some features of a child not totally gone. From what I have now been allowed to see and sense she is fully mature and even prettier.
Despite some meetings at both homes where we had, what in my view were some good talks, face to face – hers veiled of course – about both light and serious subjects, children and our other future aspirations for life, Shada wouldn’t say yes or really explain why – not even to her parents. So from the first meeting where we sat next to each other on the sofa with our mothers on the other side of the coffee table, it has progressed to sitting alone in my room, but probably with one or more parents listening at the door, to these car trips with Hakim, starting with permission for a one hour drive, to tonight where I picked her up at half past eight with unclear instructions to be back at midnight.
As every time I’ve seen her during these two months she is covered in black as custom dictates, but she is wearing fashionable abayas with a little embroidery, high-heeled shoes over sheer stockings, bright red painted nails and has her face made up with enhanced eyes and black lined eyebrows. The eyes are all that she shows of her face, but the scarves covering the head are always carefully arranged to show a rectangle around the eyes as large as current morals permit. Her lips are painted as well, but I only knows the colour from wiping my own face looking in the rear view mirror after we have kissed, because we are allowed to kiss but I’m not allowed to see her face in full, and it would be wrong for her to unveil in a public place anyway, so only when our faces are so close that we can only see the eyes of each other she lifts her veil just sufficiently to reveal her mouth. But it is at these moments that I know we are meant to be together as her lips start a fire in my soul. She says that she doesn’t like it and only does it because our parents, having allowed us to kiss, means she has to kiss. But her body betrays her. She likes it. I can see the same fire in my soul sparkling from her eyes.
Our trips have always started around half past eight to go down to the Corniche and out along the coast until we reach a place where we can turn off the main road and have the world to ourselves almost immediately. While driving in the city, Shada sits rather uncomfortably correct in her seat, I feel not looking at me because she likes me, but rather of fear of being recognised by some passers-by, although the sky is pitch black and the street light isn’t strong. To make her feel better I turn on the radio as soon as we leave her home, tuned into what I’ve learned during our first talks, is her favourite station, but I haven’t found out if it’s because they play one of her favourite songs or it’s because we drive out of town that her mood improves after fifteen to twenty minutes. It could also be because deep inside she is looking forward to when we park. We hardly talk during these trips. It is as if we have learned all that can be said with words of each other while talking in our homes. But I enjoy them from beginning to end. Just having Shada sitting right next to me feels wonderful, and on the drive out of the city it’s in anticipation of the sensations when our lips meet, and on the trip back I still feel the fire that fortunately only slowly recedes after the last kiss of the night.
We have spend more than ninety minutes parked in a dark secluded spot on this fourth night out. It started out with some twenty minutes of kissing, and as it couldn’t continue any longer just doing that, I climbed over to the passenger seat for us to sit as close as possible, without Shada objecting in any way. She didn’t approve verbally either as neither of us spoke, but her body responded to my touches and her arms held me just as close as I held her while we did everything possible without undressing the slightest. Holding hands and kissing was more than enough skin to skin contact for me, this being yet another step in the right direction. And I have already prepared for the next step.
Stopping in the yard of her home instead of just saying ‘goodnight and see you again soon’, I produce a cardboard box wrapped in gift paper from under my seat, hand it to her and for the first time tonight say more than one word in a row:
“I wanna stay with you a little longer tonight. I don’t think your parents will mind if we enjoy the company of each other in your room. I know your father often stays up late. It’s completely up to you if you want to talk and you may stay covered as you are now.”
Shada looks at the present and not at me while also saying her first line tonight:
“Thank you. I wanna be alone, thank you.”
Then she opens the car door, steps out and closes it, walking directly towards the front door of her house. Hakim had left the moment we stopped. I’m not disappointed. After all allowing me into her room at this point in our relationship would be the same as saying Yes to our marriage.
To my surprise a little before noon the next day I receive a text message from Shada:
‘Can we have our next trip at 2pm today? Hakim has been persuaded’
Although it’s in only two hours and I have to quit a lecture at the university I immediately text back:
‘I’ll be there sharp’
There has been about a week between our previous trips, and if I’m right about her fear of being seen with me, driving in the afternoon is worse, but I have a hunch that she wants to show me herself wearing my present but doesn’t want her parents to see it yet.
At two minutes past two I stop in the yard of Shada’s home, which as expected is empty. While I consider if I should honk as usual the front door opens and a black form appears and steps just outside. Hakim follows locking the door. I immediately recognise the ankle long, overhead abaya that was part of my present. Covering its face opening is another of the items in my present, a long three layer niqab. Shada wears it with all layers down, which I guess is why she just passed the doorway on her own and is guided to the car by Hakim. When she has been guided to sit, Hakim notices his sister’s hands are not showing so buckles her seat belt before closing her door and entering the back seat. The abaya is like a cloak with slits that allows the hands to be hidden when not being used. Shada doesn’t as usual turn to look at me but looks at her lap, making me momentarily look in that direction to see that today she’s wearing plain black lace shoes on top of a pair of opaque black stockings, that was also in my present. The radio is already tuned to her favourite station but just before the motor is about to make the cabin even more noisy, Hakim surprisingly speaks, and I become aware of that he hasn’t brought his console:
“Shada has promised me you would drop me at the arcade with enough for playing the machines, a coke and something to eat for the time until you pick me up again.”
“Next stop the arcade,” I say turning the key. If she had got permission to drive with me unchaperoned Hakim wouldn’t have entered the car at all, so now it’s progressing very well, just as I had hoped for with my present, with Shada taking a step that she hasn’t been persuaded to by her parents, and that they might not even approve of. I’m gladly going to give Hakim enough to ensure that what he has been promised by Shada is fulfilled and that he won’t tell their parents. Well, I don’t think he would anyway considering his part in the contents of the present.
As we stop at the arcade Shada is still sitting looking at her lap, and not surprisingly has not uttered a word either. Neither has Hakim or me, giving me time to consider when we have to be back. Although it’ll give us less than half an hour parked, I’m fearing that their mother might be home early to oversee the dinner preparations, so while handing over some notes I say:
“Hakim, you have to be on this spot again in exactly an hour. You know we”ll all be in trouble if you’re late.”
But as I turn forward I clearly see Shada lift her head and when my eyes meet her black faceless niqab she shakes her head. I say “Longer?” She nods and I say “An hour and a half?” Shada nods and Hakim leaves the car.
Before I have left the curb Shada again is staring at her lap, but without Hakim we have a new situation and as our time today is more limited than yesterday I feel I might as well use the time while driving to learn why she has organised this trip now and dismissed Hakim, and what she thinks of my present. I’m just a little in doubt if she is wearing it because she likes it or to have something to emphasise her words when ending our dating. I start by saying:
“I don’t mind that you are fully covered if that’s what you like. I just hope that I have interpreted Amina’s words correctly. At least if someone recognises the car and me on this trip they’ll think you are one of my grannies or an aunt from a conservative town. But it has to be hot if you are wearing a normal abaya underneath and the gloves as well. Should I set the air-condition a few degrees cooler?”
My attempt at conversation makes Shada lift her head but she just faces forward neither speaking nor gesturing. Soon, after we stop at a red light, she takes hold of my wrist and I learn that she is also wearing the gloves of my present. She takes my hand to her face and holds it against her niqab at her mouth to make me say “Wow!” as I sense a part of a sphere behind the black fabric.
“This you shouldn’t wear now just because I gave it to you. It was just hoping that it would make you say Yes by you knowing I wouldn’t stop our sex life with kissing and what married couples ordinarily do, but also liked to go on with some more kinky sex that apparently interests you. Of course I fully understand that you wouldn’t tell me it until after being married. Now that you have revealed you’re wearing it, you could just as well take it out, as speaking now while driving would leave us more time to enjoy each other physically while parked.”
There is no answer, and next time I can take my eyes of the traffic for a couple of seconds she again faces her lap without any signs that she is unbuckling the gag.
I think to myself that I have to do with some minutes less kissing or wait until we’re on the way back for an explanation. Fortunately we are soon at our usual place, and as we turn away from the road I say:
“Being daylight I’ll drive for another minute along this old gravel track to be sure we’re out of sight from the road. Won’t you unbuckle that ball now? I’m longing for your lips and I think kissing is going to be a bit monotonous with that in your mouth.”
I stop the engine, unbuckle my seat belt and lean towards Shada, who at the same time turns towards me, and sounding very loud on the backdrop of just the hiss from the air-condition it comes from behind the black fabric of the niqab
“I’m on fire! It’s burning in my soul. I’m out of control!”
Although I always let her do the unveiling of her mouth, I now take hold of her niqab approximately at the right place and fold it so as to uncover her mouth and give her a passionate kiss that light’s my fire as well. But as I pull my head away, letting the black fabric fall as well she says
“Aaah! That was good, making the fire spread. But the real fire is between my loins.”
Shocked I say “You mean you are wearing the love rod as well?”
Shada answers “Wearing these tools and being fully covered was meant to make me the perfect wife who doesn’t show herself, always thinks of her husband by having a substitution for him between the loins and never lets her voice be heard by others than him. But I wasn’t aware of that these tools, especially the rod, also is filling my mind with the same feelings as your kissing and hugging but only ten fold stronger. I know they are sold as sex toys, but they are recommended by many pious sisters for the just said purposes. I know I have talked about studying to be a laboratory technician or teaching, but what I would really like to do study is religion, Islam. I know my parents, perhaps yours as well, think it’s backwards, contributing negatively to the development of society and oppressive to women, but I’ve found out from studying on the internet myself that Islam is just about the opposite. It’s the best present I’ve ever got. It’s just the right outfit for religious classes, and if you’ll promise to allow me to attend an Islamic university and support me against our parents I’ll accept the marriage they and you want of course. At the moment I think you’re the most clever man in the world having figured all this out as I’m quite sure I haven’t told anyone about my true aspirations.”
I say honestly “I wasn’t especially religious, but this may prove that Allah exists and helps his true believers, because desperate to find out how to convince you to marry me I offered Amina a pair of shoes, when our parents told her she had more than enough, if she told me everything about you, even what she had promised to keep secret. She said you didn’t like the way your mother rigged you out for meeting me or going out in general. Also you were very close to asking your parents for a long break to think about your future by staying far away from here for several months with one of your uncles and aunts, preferably at one of the most conservative places where modern life was basically ignored and you would soon learn the old jog-trot to have plenty of time to think. So I was willing to wait for you some months more and hoping this outfit, worn in conservative towns, would make you think of me every day in your exile, and coming back with a Yes or inviting me to you. The sex toys, or accessories for being the perfect wife in your words, are due to Hakim without even asking him, but now it seems he deserves more than just ninety minutes free at the arcade. Apparently he hasn’t been totally consumed by killing monsters on the back seat watching some of our action as well, because during our third ride I was handed a list of websites that you have each visited several times, which he had titled ‘Shada is yearning to be married.’ Now you know that a local family network is like an open book to boys his age, but perhaps these pages have caught his curiosity so much themselves that he has missed that you came to them from blogs or discussion groups of Muslim sisters and not by googling dirty words. They were bought as something to make you think of me just before going to sleep, and perhaps pass the long days in your exile with me on your mind as well. I know our parents are very liberal but I would have thought that your mother had told you over and over never to put anything into your love channel before marriage. Now you can just as well let me enter, as few men here are going to accept a girl without an untouched love channel.”
Shada has listened with her completely black head leaned against my shoulder. Now she jumps to a straight position shouting in a shocked voice
“What do you say? Am I no longer a virgin? I have been told over and over never to let any man see and much less touch me between my legs. But this little rod I wear is not a man, although it did hurt a little before the pleasurable fire started just like I’ve been told the first encounter with ones husband might do. Something reminds me of Romeo and Juliet or Samson and Delilah, but we’re not gonna die because of this, are we?”
I say smiling “No, I think it was inevitable that it would end like this when our parents sent us out together time after time, and then they have to explain to the older generation or help us fake it. But I won’t lie to them, we have to do it for real for me to save you from the same fate as the classical tragical love couples. Are you willing to go to the back seat and spread your legs for me? You can stay veiled as you are above the waist if you like.”
Sounding deeply serious Shada says “I am Fouad. I think no non-mahram man is ever going to see any of my skin from now on. This means I’ll only lift my clothes after we are lying close together, for you to only sense me down there, as you have only sensed my lips when we kiss. And before I lie down I’m going to buckle the ball in my mouth again and not speak to you again until we’re lawfully married. Now my heart is on fire as well.”
Copyright © 2011, Bo_Emp ; bo_emp ‘at’ yahoo ‘dot’ com
Thanks to Nye North for proof reading