Prove It All Night
Version for “Tales of the Veils” website.
Not for reproduction on other websites or in any other publishing format without author’s permission.
I’ve been working real hard, trying to get my hands clean,
Tonight we’ll drive that dusty road from Monroe to Angeline,
To buy you a gold ring and pretty dress of blue,
Baby just one kiss will get these things for you,
A kiss to seal our fate tonight,
A kiss to prove it all night.
Prove it all night,
Girl there’s nothing else that we can do,
So prove it all night, prove it all night,
And girl I’ll prove it all night for you.
Everybody’s got a hunger, a hunger they can’t resist,
There’s so much that you want, you deserve much more than this,
But if dreams came true, oh, wouldn’t that be nice,
But this ain’t no dream we’re living through tonight,
Girl, you want it, you take it, you pay the price.
Prove it all night, prove it all night girl and call the bluff,
prove it all night, prove it all night and girl,
I prove it all night for your love. Baby, tie your hair back in a long white bow,
Meet me in the fields out behind the dynamo,
You hear the voices telling you not to go,
They made their choices and they’ll never know,
What it means to steal, to cheat, to lie,
What it’s like to live and die.
To prove it all night…
© 1978 Bruce Springsteen
Aminah is standing in the kitchen door completely veiled. A plain grey skirt and matching khimar and forehead scarf covers everything except the face from the eye pupils down. A black veil hanging down on the chest covers the rest except two small triangles to see. Black gloved hands are only visible because they lift the hem of the khimar to hold the handle of a bag. Since Aminah started seeing Tariq regularly she has covered strictly in public. But to her parents and everybody else it is classmates and study of the Quran that have convinced her of her dress-code. It is seven in the evening and her father has just left for the cafe to watch soccer with his friends. Standing still the long skirt hides she is wearing sneakers and not slippers, as she would normally do for the thing she is about to say she will do. Holding the bag with both hands she can’t lift her veil a little to avoid it muffling her voice. This will annoy her mother, who finds her dressing too strict, but considers it a teenage rebellion which will pass. “Hi mum. May I go and see Malika, so we can help each other with maths, which must be ready for tomorrow?” Her mother faces her frowning at her voice and looks “You know young unmarried women shouldn’t go out at night unaccompanied. And if your values corresponded to your dress you wouldn’t go unaccompanied in public at all.” Aminah in a regretting voice says “I know, but as dad is out I have no male relatives to accompany me right now. And I have to go, I can’t do the maths on my own. Besides it’s not really out. It’s just three doors down the block. And my dress is modest and hides I’m a young beautiful woman.” Her mother gives in saying “Okay then. But you must be back before nine. If you’re not back, when your dad comes home, I’m sure he will get very angry.” Aminah humbly says “Thank you mum. I’ll be back in time. Disobeying parents is considered extremely wrong by the scholars.”
Aminah gets out of the apartment and down the staircase as fast as her skirt allows. But she walks slowly down the street head bowed close to the wall as all demure women. It isn’t so late that it’s unacceptable for a woman to walk out alone. Even another veiled woman passes her. Luckily she has only a short way to walk before she is with Tariq. She walks along the block and past the door leading to Malika’s apartment. Two hundred meters further down the road she crosses the street to walk down the small service road leading to the dynamo. At the gate she continues along the fence round to its back. On the bare piece of land Tariq is parked.
She first opens the back door to place her bag on the seat and then takes the front passenger seat. Quickly her hands unhook her khimar under the chin to enable her to remove her veil. With her mouth ready for a kiss her beautiful face approaches Tariq. His mouth halfway changes to let their lips meet before he suddenly leans away saying “We’re not married yet. Everything went fine?” Aminah disappointed sits straight in the seat and says “Yes, my mum won’t expect me home until a little before nine. We got almost two hours.” Tariq as compensation takes her gloved hands saying “And you got the documents and everything?” Aminah looking deep into his eyes and holding herself back not to lean a little more to kiss says “I’ve got my id-papers, my birth certificate and my passport. I guess it was lucky I had to attend my niece’s wedding in Morocco last spring. Besides I took some of my mum’s jewellery.” Tariq’s eyes widen as his expression changes to surprise and his voice is raised “You did what!” Aminah says “We can’t live from your small savings for long. And it might take a while before you find a job, even if you have got connections. Besides I would like to contribute to our life together as well. And I reckon it will cost a little to have the mullah work outside normal working hours?” Tariq squeezes her hands firmly, then saying “You’re such a considerate and resourceful woman. But if your parents accept what we do, we must use the first money we can save to pay them back. The mullah is a friend of Ali, who will settle with the mullah as a wedding present. But we better go now. I’ve agreed we should be at Ali’s house at half past seven.” Tariq starts the car and Aminah veils as they drive back into town.
Ten minutes later they are welcomed in Ali’s house. Aminah stays veiled inside the house matching Ali’s wife completely in black with niqab including a thin eye cover. The mullah greets Tariq and asks for their papers. Then he fills out the wedding documents and asks them to sign. While Ali and another friend of Tariq sign as witnesses the mullah says “Congratulations. You’re now lawfully husband and wife. I wish you a happy life together.” Ali says handing the pen back to the mullah “Won’t you two show that you’re married?” Tariq and Aminah are a little hesitating and shy. What they have wanted to do so much is now fully legal, but they are not alone. Ali should know intimate contact is only for couples in private. What has he in mind? Aminah has only showed her gloved hands to hold the pen and now keeps them folded under her khimar. Finally Tariq awkwardly leans towards her and lets his lips shortly touch her veil where her lips are hidden. Aminah’s lips are ready under the fabric and she is glad her veil hides her excited expression. The mullah approves their modesty and leaves. Then Tariq’s other friend hands a big bouquet of flowers to Tariq which he hands on to Aminah, who doesn’t take her hand out under the khimar before it will stay hidden under the flowers. The friend says goodbye saying “Have a safe trip. And I hope your parents will accept your decision. You look to me as the perfect couple. Ali you must call me as soon as there are any news.” Immediately following Ali produces a big bag, which seems to be filled with food, and says “You probably have a long night ahead of you, even if you find a place to sleep before midnight. Here are some delicious dishes which could have been leftovers from a wedding dinner. It might strengthen your story, if anyone gets suspicious. You better get along. To be on the safe side it’s best to be across the border, when you’re missed.” Now Ali’s wife steps out from the wall holding forward a thick long black niqab as wedding present for Aminah. Tariq takes Ali’s hand to thank him while Ali says towards his wife “I think you should tie it for her on top of her other coverings please. You can see her hands are occupied by holding the flowers.” Tariq nods to approve Ali’s suggestion and Aminah leans her head towards Ali’s wife to have the niqab fitted. The niqab has two eye covering layers making Aminah virtually blind in the indoor lightning. After tying the niqab Ali’s wife has taken a step back to admire Aminah’s face completely replaced by a featureless black cloth surface not even eyes showing. Tariq and Ali put up approvingly expressions while nodding. But as Ali’s wife steps forward again to flip the eye layers back Tariq says “Stop please! She looks beautiful. It’s a very fine and modest niqab, thank you. If Ali takes the bags I will guide my new and wonderfully covered wife out into the car. Ali grabs the bags and they go out in the dark evening street where Aminah still can’t see.
As soon as they start driving Tariq says “Aminah, my dear wife, kissing your veil was nice, but we both long for our lips to touch. But if we don’t get away from this town we might never be able to kiss anymore. Please be patient and stay completely veiled not to tempt me to foolishly stop too soon. Lean back and dream about our bright future and what will come soon.” To do as Tariq wishes Aminah answers without lifting her niqab and veil just saying “Okay my love.” She would have said something more, but what comes through the layers is so muffled and distorted the exact words are lost. They have to drive for an hour to reach the border. Aminah virtually blind and mute Tariq might as well be driving alone. He concentrates on driving on the curved road through the mountains, but every moment the driving allows it his mind changes between his love and longing for Aminah and doubts about if this was the right way to have her. They have both taken the biggest decision of their lives, and because of old traditions and family bonds they had to cheat, to steal and to lie.
Aminah remembers when Tariq asked her to marry him. She was of course extremely happy. She loves him with all her heart and has never loved anyone else. But her parents have long ago promised a distant uncle that she would marry their son, and she has of course heard what happens to some daughters, who marry against their father’s wishes. She does not believe her parents will harm her, but as she hasn’t finished school they haven’t really discussed her future. But they have to do it this way. The reason Tariq had asked her just then was that Tariq’s parents had arranged a marriage for him and the date has been set in three months. Tariq had told his parents he loved someone else, but his father would not give in. To him marriage has nothing to do with love and besides his honour would take a big loss, if he couldn’t keep his promise to the other family. But Tariq does not fear for his life. Boys are never punished as hard as girls. But to avoid a public search, they have decided to start their new life in the neighbouring country, which is so close. They had decided to run away as soon as possible. It would be the best for the girl, who had been promised to Tariq.
After driving for what must be close to an hour Aminah thinks they are at the border when Tariq slows down. But he turns into a small dirt road, where he drives a hundred metres before stopping. When feeling the car bumping down the road Aminah realizes they aren’t at the border and gets a little worried. But then her niqab and veil are lifted to uncover her mouth and she feels the lips she has been longing for. After a minute, which seems like seconds to Aminah, Tariq pulls away saying “That was the second most important act to prove our marriage. I love you. But I didn’t stop just to kiss. Wait some seconds and stay veiled for a nice surprise.” Then he turns to take his bag from the back seat while saying “We are close to the border and even if our papers are real no one will believe we are married, if we don’t wear rings.” Saying that he flips back the eye layers of Aminah’s niqab to let her see he holds a small box which he then opens. “Oh they’re lovely!” he can understand is the meaning of the sounds coming through her layers of fabric. Then Aminah takes a hand up to hold her veil and niqab a little out from her mouth to be able to continue understandable “I had prepared myself for we had to live without rings in the beginning, considering this is as much an escape as a wedding trip. They look so expensive. Do we have any money left then?” The veil and niqab falls back as Aminah takes her right glove off to let Tariq put her ring on. And she puts his on while he says “Well, we still have nearly all the money I’ve saved, because to tell you the truth, I stole them in a shop.” Aminah’s gloved left hand rushes to her veils to let her say in a surprised voice “One hour ago you scolded me for having taken my mum’s jewellery. Isn’t this just as bad?” Tariq says “No not as bad. The shop probably has insurance. But there’s more to come. The rings now is to make it evident we are a married couple. But the papers say we are married today. This is our honeymoon. And would anyone believe you have been married wearing the old sneakers visible below your skirt now and then, even though it’s the truth. Wait, I’ll come to your door.” Tariq steps out and goes to the trunk. Shortly after he opens Aminah’s door handing her a pair of fashionable black pointed leather boots with a low stiletto heel. Using both her hands to hold and turn the boots Aminah can’t really speak, but her shining eyes and a little nodding shows Tariq she likes them. When she bows down to unlace her sneakers Tariq stops her by saying “The boots nearly reaching the knees will ensure your old cotton trousers remain unseen even if the skirt lifts a little. I’ve taken into account that the khimar may lift as well revealing the plain old blouse sleeves. Here are some elbow long black satin gloves to match the boots and appropriate for a wedding. They are a little stretchy and will easily go on top of the gloves you’re wearing. If you put on the gloves I’ll change your footwear.” Slowly pulling on the gloves while admiring them, Aminah as well enjoys Tariq’s gallantry putting on her boots. It takes a little while for Tariq to lace the boots and Aminah can’t see what is going on at her feet because her skirt blocks the view. But suddenly Tariq straightens saying “Now you’re booted as a modest honourable wife must be. May I see how the gloves look?” Aminah thankfully holds her hands forward making the khimar slide down her forearms to reveal the gloves in full. Then she is highly surprised as Tariq produces a piece of string which he quickly threads through a small strap, unnoticed by Aminah, on each wrist. While tightening the string forcing Aminah’s wrists close Tariq says “A husband is responsible his wife behaves properly in public. Tying your wrists to your belt and your boots connected by a short chain you can’t make any unintentional indecent movements or gestures. The female mind is weak, especially when young and just married. I think we agree on that or I can show you some writings to support that you will benefit from these measures.” During the last of Tariq’s words Aminah has moved her feet to sense her stride has been reduced to about one foot. Of course Aminah has to react and a series of mumbling sounds is produced. Tariq kindly lifts her veils a little with one hand to let her speak, while with the other flipping the eye layers down removing her sight. Aminah doesn’t let the blinding stop her from saying “Does this mean I have to walk like this in public from now on? Are all married pious women restricted like this? Does the wives of Ali and your other friend, if he is married, go out like this as well?” After some seconds Tariq says “I’ve never been with Ali’s wife in public.” Actually Tariq remembers walking with a friend from mosque one day having to walk very slowly because of the heavily covered wife, but he isn’t sure it was Ali. But from what he has been discussing with Ali and some other friends, he would be highly surprised if they treat their wives differently from how he will treat Aminah. He continues “When we walk in public together I think you have to be restricted at least like this to guarantee honourable behaviour. But perhaps if we find a respectable neighbourhood you can be allowed to do local shopping and visit neighbouring women of respectable families on your own. Of course it may take some time before I know our coming neighbourhood this well.” Aminah nods submissively. She has from the beginning accepted Tariq is strict and that loving him requires sacrifices. Tariq getting impatient goes on “Now let’s take the final step and cross the border. Do you have more to say?” Aminah hesitatingly nods and Tariq lifts her veils a little again making her say “I have no doubt that what you’ve done is well documented and to my best, but perhaps discussing these measures earlier would have made it less surprising and frightening to me. But a kiss to prove your sincere intentions could make up for this. I’m ready.” But to Aminah’s disappointment Tariq lets her veils go instead of lifting them further to kiss her. He closes her door, and starts the engine before he says “I apologise for scaring you, but although it’s dark and we are in a deserted place we are out in public where it’s wrong to kiss. We committed a sin previously, but everybody got a hunger they can’t resist. I am only human and could not stay away from my new beautiful wife the first time I could kiss, when only God watched us. From now on until we are alone in a room for the night we strictly follow the teachings.”
A quarter later they cross the border without Tariq even having to leave the car. Ten minutes later he stops again. He says “We are in a corner of a gas station brightly lit but apparently closed. We call our parents now, the sooner we do it, the less worried they have been and the less angry they will be. I’ll bring the food immediately following, as it might take some hours before we can find a room for the night. Are you ready to speak to your parents?” Aminah nods having thought about what to say for days. Tariq finds her number in his cell phone and holds it to her head while lifting her veils. Fortunately it’s her mother who answers. They have been worried for less than half an hour and deeply worried for much less after calling her schoolmate. Tariq’s family is not totally unknown and unacceptable to them although they are not acquainted. Her father takes over and yells for a minute about the family honour lost and that he has to cancel the promised marriage. Aminah calms him down saying Tariq is willing to inform the cousin, knowing her father when able to think clear again will never allow that. A minute later Aminah ends it with her father by saying the phone is nearly out of battery and she just have to assure her mother once more that everything is just as she likes it to be. When her mother takes over Aminah says she has borrowed a little of her jewellery, which will ensure they won’t starve and don’t have to live in the street. The noble purpose of the theft calms her mother down as expected and Aminah turns her head away from the phone which makes Tariq hang up. Her parents now know she is well and no immediate search will be initiated. Tariq then calls his parents with about the same reactions, but of course it’s more acceptable that a man do differently from what his parents want. They will call again tomorrow night and hope soon to find a permanent residence where their parents can come for a visit, if they accept their marriage. Then Tariq calls Ali to say they have left the country without problems and informed their parents, who will probably accept what they have done shortly.
Following it is relaxing and a little erotic to eat the delicious food from Ali and his wife. Tariq doesn’t untie Aminah or lift her eye covers. He just tells what is available and then lifts her veils enough to feed her what she asks for. Tariq won’t kiss, but Aminah can lick his fingers from time to time. At the end of the meal Aminah just wants one more bite of the most delicious leftover. Tariq doesn’t feel like listing all what’s left and instead lifts the eye covers shortly to let Aminah have a look in the bag. When he then lifts the veils again to hear what she wants she says “What is in that cylindrical box with the long strap? I’ve never seen such a food container.” Tariq letting her veils go again says “It’s not food and not a box. It’s a more long lasting present from Ali not totally unexpected. Although your veiling make your voice unintelligible, a lot of sound is produced and it easily lifts. It’s better you wear something made to avoid unintentional sounds. The voice is just as tempting as the body you know. The cylindrical item is a gag, which Ali has placed at the bottom of the bag knowing it’s bothersome to take it on and off. He knew we would be alone until consuming the food, and when start wearing it when completely filled allows for long uninterrupted wear. Are you sure you won’t have anymore to eat or drink?” Aminah nods accepting the gag. She couldn’t speak freely anyway. Tariq then opens her khimar to fit the gag under it. While his hands lift Aminah’s veils she takes the opportunity to say “I realise this means I can’t speak just by you lifting my veils, which means I won’t be able to say how much I love you. Save these lines in your memory to remember each time you need my love proved. I love you. I love you. I love you.” Aminah opens her mouth wide to accept the cylinder. Tariq overwhelmed by a declaration of love where he had expected resistance and seeing the lovely mouth, which could just as well be ready for a kiss, hesitates entering the gag and is just about to give in and kiss her passionately. But then he comes up with something which can’t be a sin as it probably haven’t been described anywhere. He lifts Aminah’s eye covers high to let her see him put the gag deeply into his own mouth, and then quickly pulls it out and places it in hers, transferring saliva for her to enjoy. Happily surprised and trying to determine if she can taste Tariq, Aminah doesn’t immediately sense that her tongue is held tightly down, her lips are sealed by the gag end plate and shortly following tight straps are squeezing her cheeks. While closing the khimar again Tariq says “I have succeeded in multiplying your ‘I love you’ lines in my brain having enough until it’s fitting to ungag you again I hope. And if you like I can do like before each time I gag you. But of course you’ll normally dress as much as possible including the restraints yourself. I’ll only tie the hands and put the shroud on.” At the last word Aminah jumps making Tariq say “Your covering was been fine for going to school and considering your parents reluctance. And for house work, women only chatting and where your senses are needed in public a khimar with niqab allows precisely the needed functions to be uncovered quickly for the time needed. Remember when we’ve seen the rare sight of a woman ultimately covered in a thick black shroud with only an opening at the feet, we agreed that this is how a woman should be dressed if having to venture in public. We were both dreaming that it was you covered like that. It’s no longer a dream because I have one more present for you, and I’ve paid for it. Just a moment.” After shortly opening the trunk Tariq opens Aminah’s door and flips back her eye layers to let her see he carries a folded piece of black cloth. He says “You can’t feel the quality of the fabric, but the light out here is quite good and you can have a close look before I put it on you. I think it’s much easier fitted when standing, so step out and get your muscles exercised a little as well. But careful, remember the ankle chain! And perhaps the stilettos are unusual to you as well.” With the chain Aminah has to put both legs outside simultaneously and then lean forward until her weight is on her feet. While carefully taking some small steps to stretch her legs and try walking in the chained boots she takes a quick look around to see a deserted gas station at the side of a main road with only occasional traffic passing. After a minute letting Aminah get used to the new way of walking Tariq unfolds the black shroud and turns it until he holds it something like if it was a dress for himself. Aminah looks just seeing a piece of black thick cotton-like opaque material everywhere. No embroidery, ornaments or cut-outs. Then Tariq turns it to have the side against his body out, but it looks exactly the same. It’s two pieces of fabric cut identically to a size a little larger than a human form, and then sewn together along the entire edge except the bottom to form a sack. But Tariq pointing to his chest where the top rests says “I can’t find it right now, and it doesn’t matter when your eyes are covered by the niqab, but it has a front where the area over the eyes is thinner allowing a little sight and sufficiently breathing, I was told at the store. Are you ready to get it on? We walk a little around afterwards for you to get a little experience in walking blind and me a little in guiding you. Ready?” Aminah has to nod. Although actually to be confined in a black shroud is scary, she has agreed with Tariq it’s the perfect veil, which she then must wear to be his perfect wife. Tariq flips the niqab eye layers down just before dropping the shroud over her head. She has got used to being blind since the niqab was put on. Now she has to get used to breathe from air inside the shroud mostly. At least it doesn’t feel like any air is coming through the fabric, perhaps it only enters at her feet. Possibly Tariq has put it on backwards forgetting that having a thin area over her face is not just for seeing a little but for making breathing easier as well. It’s night and cool air is not mandatory, but what happens when wearing it in the sun? She will get extremely hot, perhaps suffocate and faint, Aminah thinks. She has to pay for wanting to be perfectly covered. And the reason shrouded women are rarely seen is of course that they can’t walk around for long like this. Walking where clearly visible and in the sun is only done if it can’t be avoided. Just being guided from a car into a house or back will be her life in public from now on. No strolling the souks just looking for fancy clothes or shoes. But apart from being in a restricted air volume the shroud isn’t restricting. Her head can turn freely, it rest loosely on her shoulders and her arms aren’t squeezed against her body. And with her chained legs her feet are unable to reach the hem of the shroud, which both makes tripping unlikely and hides her boots. When Aminah starts moving a little she immediately feels a hand on her back making her move further. While cautiously with tiny steps walking around the gas station ground trying to follow Tariq’s guiding hands Aminah realizes that this deserted ground may be the only part of her new country she will ever see. Tariq seems very happy having her wearing this shroud and the restrictions. And she is in love with him, dressed as required not to tempt and attract attention, and being protected from male staring and other evils of the public space.
Back in the car Aminah just leans back dozing knowing she will have no part in finding a place to stay for the night. She is unaware if they have stopped more than once and what time it is when shaken and Tariq says “The old mosque of this town has some rooms for pilgrims where we are now. When I told the mullah the name of his colleague, who married us, and some of the other mullahs I’ve listened to back home, he happily handed me a key and said we can stay for some days, as there are few pilgrims at this time of the year. Let me guide you to the bridal suite.” They walk for a minute, to Aminah the last half feels like indoors. Then Tariq stops her saying “Here we are. It’s simple, but we’re together and alone. But it’s nearly only men, who use these rooms. The walls are thin and I’m afraid the key is not unique. To avoid being indecently surprised we have to sleep fully dressed. Now I lift your shroud to the waist and untie your hands. Then I guide you to a bathroom and wait outside. When you’ve finished in there you have to cover fully again including the shroud and then knock the door.” A quarter later Aminah is back in the ‘wedding suite’ shrouded, blind, mute and being tied again. Judged from the bathroom it doesn’t matter she can’t see their room. Then being guided down she can sense the small size of the bed and that it’s quality matches the bathroom. A few minutes later Tariq comes down at her side to say “I love you. I love you. I love you. Now you have some lines for your memory as well. All we can do to prove our love tonight is to repeat these lines in our minds. Your words at the gas station prove it all night for me, and mine now prove it all night for you. Goodnight.” But Aminah senses Tariq being very close as well and happily drifts off to sleep.
Copyright © 2007, Bo_Emp ; bo_emp ‘at’ yahoo ‘dot’ com
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