by A. M. L.
A. M. L. likes the contents of one of TOTV’s first stories ‘Soccer‘ by Seatou. Because of its bad English he in this story starts with a rewritten version of Seatou’s ‘Soccer’ and then takes the storyline a long step further.
Renate Rocha felt that she had a tough life. She recently turned 18 and never had she lived in the same country more than a couple of years. Her nationality was Brazilian, the girl never been there much though. She often compared her existence to that of a refugee. Cause her father was a soccer trainer of international renown. If your team wasn’t doing well and you had the money you let Renate’s father Renato get them back into shape.
At the moment Renato was training a French team, so that’s where Renate, big brother Ricardo, little brother Ronald and her mother Roberta were living as well. They really like the letter R.
On one morning in France the entire family was eating breakfast when their father made an important announcement.
“Dear children, I have a new work opportunity” he spoke.
“That’s good dear” Roberta responded. “Where are we going this time?”
“It’s going to be something special I think” Renato said. “Not what we’re accustomed to.”
“Where is it then?” Ricardo asked. “I think we are all very curious.”
“We’re going to the United Arab Emirates” he announced. “Abu Dhabi to be exact.”
“Wow” Ricardo reacted.
“Dad, we can’t go there” Renate protested.
“Why not?” Renato asked his daughter.
“I don’t want to move yet again” she complained. “I’ll lose all my friends and what about my studies?”
“This is nothing new” her mother remarked. “We’ll handle it, you’ve adjusted before and you can again.”
“And I’m afraid to go to that place” the girl added. “Women are second class citizens over there.”
“Abu Dhabi isn’t Afghanistan, child” mother soothed. “It’s very open to Western expats. I’m a woman and confident I have nothing to fear over there.”
“You’re just being prejudiced sister” Ricardo said. “You can’t possibly know what it’s like there.”
“That’s why I am afraid” she defended herself.
“Stay calm please” dad interrupted. “I haven’t accepted yet. First I’ll find out what it’ll be like for Western women, okay?”
“I guess” Renate replied.
There was in fact no way Renato Rocha was going to decline this offer, his wage was just too good for that. They had deep pockets in Abu Dhabi, oil money. He did inform about his daughter’s misgivings. But was reassured that everything would be fine. There were a few things they would have to keep in mind, though nothing all that extreme Renato felt. You just had to be careful of how you behaved or presented yourself in public.
He gave Renate some brochures to educate herself about Emirate law. She never read them unfortunately. Instead she tried everything she could to stay behind in France. Her parents weren’t going to allow that though. Roberta told her daughter she wanted the family to stay together, they would miss Renate too much. The real reason though was that her parents didn’t think this young adult was mature enough to be left to her own devices.
Her mother did understand her misgivings though. Leaving your life behind every few years wasn’t easy. She was in fact often worried about how such a childhood had affected Renate. And to be honest Roberta was a bit nervous as well about the move to a strict Muslim country. Not that she said that out loud, Renate needed to be kept calm.
As the date of the move came closer, the sadder the girl became. Like someone awaiting execution. She had to say goodbye to her friends and favorite places in France. The girl would only be able to see any of it again years from now. And in the mean time she’d be stuck in what she feared to be an Islamist hell-hole.
Her brothers were fine with it though. Ronald and Ricardo were each others best friend. So they adapted well to every relocation. Just another adventure for them. They had no idea what their sister’s problem was.
Then came the day of the move. A long flight that ended in Abu Dhabi International Airport. Where their father’s new employer had a chauffeur waiting, that would bring them to their new home. A condominium in an affluent neighborhood outside the city.
Shortly after their arrival the family started to explore the area around their new home. There they soon found out what the United Arab Emirates are like once you get beyond the air-conditioning’s reach; incredibly hot! Considerably warmer than even their native Brazil at its worst. It didn’t take long until all five decided to go back inside.
The following days bad news came for Renate. There had been a bureaucratic problem between her university back in France and the Emirate one. Her transfer documents were lost. She wouldn’t be able to continue her schooling here. Not until another year had past. She would have to stay home with her mother, all day and every day. Renate was so disappointed. How would she survive?
Her brothers did get schooling. And when they were free often spent the entire day with their father while he was training the local football team. Renate had no interest in this sport or any other. But she’d gladly join them to break her boredom. Alas the girl wasn’t allowed to come. Having an unmarried young woman spending her time in a stadium, full of male players and an all male staff wouldn’t be proper, according to local standards.
Meanwhile Renate spent her days occupying herself with television and Internet. It turned out however that the limitless entertainment this supplied gets boring after a couple of weeks. The girl was lonely too, there was no human contact except her parents and siblings. She missed her friends so much, Facebook didn’t help.
In an attempt to at least lessen her boredom some, Renate decided to leave her air-conditioned prison and go out into the sweltering heat. Explore her new neighborhood a bit. She prepared by dressing as lightly as possible, short shorts and a tanktop.
The 41 year old Fatima had been out enjoying the sun in her condominium’s common garden. Sitting there in her bright blue hijab, under a tree. Just watching people pass by. Most of her days were quiet like this, for better or worse. Her late husband had left her enough to live comfortable till the end of her days. But unfortunately she had to do it all alone.
When sitting there she often remembered the good days, before a work accident two years ago robbed Fatima of her love. Her reminiscence was interrupted when the Muslimah saw a new face. And yet a face that was quite familiar. The girl looked so similar to Fatima’s daughter. She must be about the same age as when she last saw Hadija. She lived far away now, with her husband; a Qatar prince. The blond colored hair didn’t match though. And Hadija had never appeared anywhere dressed like that!
This girl was dressed incredibly inappropriate. Other people in the area had noticed as well. Most stares weren’t at all friendly. Fatima felt she had to intervene, the girl could get in big trouble if the authorities got involved.
“My child, you really should not dress like that out here.” Fatima correctly guessed that she was a foreigner and reprimanded the girl in excellent English.
“What do you mean lady?” Renate inquired.
“You are almost naked” the woman said.
“I thought this would be okay, at least on a warm day like this” Renate responded dumbfounded.
“Maybe in a beach area” Fatima continued. “Here however you are showing too much of yourself. Are you new here?”
“Yes” she answered. “We arrived only two weeks ago. I live right there with my family, number 205.
“We are almost neighbors then” Fatima said delighted. “Apartment 405 in the same building is my home. What is your name?”
“Well Renate, we welcome Westerners here” she started. “But it is expected that they have some respect for modesty. According to the law your knees and shoulders need to be covered.”
“Oh” Renate felt terribly uneasy about this revelation. “I’m so sorry, I didn’t know.”
She said a quick goodbye to Fatima and sped home to safety.
Better late than never. Renate started reading those brochures her father had supplied last month. She soon realized she owed Fatima a big thank you, next time they met. If someone would have called the police on her, there could have been serious consequences. Behaviors that were normal on Western streets could get you banished, jailed or whipped in this country.
Renate was determined not make any such mistakes again. She went through her entire wardrobe carefully. Making sure anything she wore in public from now, kept in mind the rules about knees, shoulders or cleavage showing. That didn’t leave all that much choice though.
It was only a day later when Renate dared to take another expedition outside. This time dressed in a t-shirt and loose pants that ended below her knees. Her own research had already shown that this should be covered enough and Fatima could confirm. After which she thanked the woman profusely for her warning the day before.
Their conversation didn’t end there. They were two lonely women who were happy to have found each other. Even with all the differences in age, culture and religion that existed between them. This in fact helped their conversations along, they were both equally curious about the other’s background.
Renate told of the West, of how a secular society was like. Of all the countries she visited because of her father’s job as a soccer trainer and the difficulties it caused for her. If Fatima judged any of this, she didn’t show it.
Instead she told of her own life. Growing up in a most strict household in the conservative Sharjah Emirate. A life steeped in religion and tradition. Until she married a mining engineer who had only past a few years ago. Since she hadn’t seen her daughter in some time either, Renate imagined the widow’s existence was so much more lonely than hers ever was. At least she still had her family. Even if their relationship had been quite tense lately. And it remained so.
The only speck of light in her life now was her friendship with Fatima. Renate resented her parents for dragging her all over the Earth, clearly showed it too. Roberta was happy her daughter spent so much time with Fatima. It made her home considerably more bearable. And prayed the other woman would have a positive influence.
A few weeks later it was the hottest Emirate day yet. It was weekend and the entire Rocha family was free, still the soaring temperatures meant none of Renate’s family was willing to leave the comfort of their home. Except Renate herself, who considered her family even more disagreeable than the heat. The last people on Earth she wanted to be cooped up with. As every day, Renate preferred Fatima’s company.
Together they sat under the tree where they first met. But today the shade wasn’t helping one bit. It made Renate wish she had dressed as skimpy as on their original meeting. Meanwhile Fatima was all covered up as always, only showing face and hands.
“Aren’t you hot?” Renate asked her friend.
“Of course I am” she answered. “Everyone is today.”
“But how do you tolerate it with so much clothing on?” Renate wondered.
“It’s a habit, you quickly get used to it” Fatima explained.
“I never could” the girl reacted.
“How would you know?” Fatima responded. “You’ve never even tried modest clothing.”
“That’s not true” she protested. “I dress modestly all the time now.”
“How you tend to dress is the bare legal minimum” the Muslimah said. “Which might be considered modest in the West, but not to us. Your attire is also quite masculine, never have I seen you in a dress or skirt.”
“I just prefer pants.”
“Which is unthinkable for women in this country, trousers are just for males” her friend said.
“That’s foolishness” Renate muttered.
“But wouldn’t you like to try some modest clothing?” Fatima ventured. “I have beautiful jilbab at home that would be just right.”
“I don’t know if I should…” Renate felt uneasy by this.
“Why not girl?” Fatima questioned. “We just go to my home and you can try something on.”
“It would feel weird” said the girl.
“It’s just clothes” her friend remarked.
“I guess you’re right” she admitted.
The two friends took a short walk back to Fatima’s home. Renate was glad to be within reach of air-conditioning again. How did Fatima ever leave this place during the day, dressed as she is? The knowledge that she would find out soon enough made Renate apprehensive. Fatima immediately went to fetch a few garments for her guest.
“We’ll start with your hijab” the Muslimah announced as she returned with the clothing. “Followed by this abaya.”
“That’ll be more than enough” the young woman remarked.
“Well actually those are just the basics” Fatima informed. “When we go outside I’d add a jilbab.”
“Muslim women wear all that, huh?” Renate asked.
“Yes, according to Islam women should cover themselves” Fatima explained.
“Even their faces?” Renate was curious.
“There’s some discussion if that is really necessary” she admitted. “Most feel that it is enough or at least a good first step to just cover their hair.”
“With a headscarf” the girl added.
“Yes, we call it the hijab.”
“I’m willing to try it just once.” Finding out what it felt like being dressed like her best friend was something Renate wanted to do.
Fatima was happy to oblige. She first made the girl’s hair vanish under the black hijab. And subsequently dressed her in the abaya, a long dress of the same color. The woman couldn’t believe how much Renate now resembled her own daughter. It was a struggle to hide her emotions from her young friend.
Renate had been led to a full length mirror. Seeing her reflection came with conflicting feelings. Renate didn’t see a Brazilian or any Westerner staring back. It was someone that belonged to this place, a young Emirate woman. The girl wasn’t sure if she liked what she saw or not. Renate wanted to change back into her own clothes.
Fatima stopped her, she insisted that Renate wore the outfit a little while longer. A jilbab, a black coat was put on her and they went outside. Fatima had soon steered their walk towards Renate’s own home.
To Renate’s relief it appeared that her father and the boys and gone out after all. Unfortunately that still left her mother.
“What do you think of your daughter now?” Fatima asked Roberta.
“Beautiful as always” she answered lovingly.
“Indeed” Fatima replied.
“Is this how you’ll be dressing from now on?” Roberta teased her daughter.
“Of course not” the girl retorted irritably. “Fatima just wanted me to try it.”
“And what do you think?” Roberta inquired.
“Meh” her mother’s questioning rubbed her the wrong way and impacted Renate’s attitude. “The abaya is fine I guess, it’s just a long loose dress. But it is just too hot for a headscarf, terrible idea in this climate.”
“You don’t know what you’re talking about child.” Fatima countered. “Women have been veiling in this part of the world for many centuries. And they’ve been doing just fine, even in clothing many times more restrictive than your current attire.”
“I’ve just been outside completely bundled up in that heat” Renate continued to argue. “It doesn’t get any worse!”
“Stop your nonsense child!” Fatima said a brisk goodbye to Roberta and with that she went out the door. She had witnessed a part of Renate that she didn’t know existed. It offended the woman, shocked her even.
Renate immediately understood her mistake. In acting up against her mother the young woman had alienated the only friend she had here. Fatima had every right to be angry, the way she had just disrespected Arab culture. Saddened by this realization Renate quickly disappeared to her room. There she cried for a very long time, mourning the loss of a recent yet deep friendship.
** Note: End of Seatou’s original storyline. **
The following morning Renate woke up with a new sense of determination. She was going to apologize and make things right with Fatima today. Begrudgingly Renate enlisted her mother. Knowing that she’d need all the help she could get. Roberta agreed to join her daughter for a visit to Fatima. But only on the condition that she donned the headscarf, dress and coat of the day before as a sign of repentance. It was so attired that Renate found herself alongside her mother on Fatima’s doorstep.
“Good afternoon, my daughter wanted to speak with you Fatima” Roberta started.
“I hope she will be more respectful than yesterday” the Muslimah responded.
“I’m so sorry Fatima” Renate excused herself. “I was totally out of line.”
“Oh Renate, all is forgiven” Fatima smiled warmly to her friend. “But I see that you are still wearing those clothes. They do not inconvenience you too much?”
“I’m not perfectly comfortable, no” the girl admitted. “However mom thought you’d like to see me give them another chance.”
“It’s true” Roberta confirmed. “I saw it as an appropriate addition to her apology.”
“Indeed” Fatima said. “That was very thoughtful of you both. Will you not come in for tea?”
A moment later the three women are drinking tea in Fatima’s living room. Enjoying smalltalk, the argument of the day before all but forgotten. When Renate suddenly realized how she was still dressed.
“I guess I should go change out of your clothes now.”
“Why the hurry dear?” Fatima wanted to know.
“Well…” Renate carefully started. “They are a bit hot still.”
“There you go again with that groundless complaint” their host reacted.
“It’s not exactly groundless I think” she defended herself.
“Careful now daughter, don’t start again!” Roberta warned.
“It is fine Roberta” the Muslimah remained pleasantly calm. “We can not blame the girl for having an honest opinion. I am tired of arguing this point though. That is why I would like to prove something to you Renate.”
“Prove what?” Renate asked.
“Yesterday I heard you say what you’re now wearing is unbearable and nothing could be worse. Correct?”
“Yes” the hot and covered girl admitted.
“Well I am proposing that I should get the chance to prove you wrong in this” Fatima declared. “Wearing modest clothing in a warm climate is perfectly doable, even with far more restrictive garments.”
“How?” Renate wondered out loud.
“I would like to introduce you to purdah. It is how women in the most traditional families live here, modest clothing plays an important part in it.”
“Why exactly would I want to do that?” Renate was very skeptical of this idea, although at the back of her mind a bit intrigued as well.
“Cause it would be a real shame if you wasted this year” said her friend. “I am giving you a chance to put it to good use.”
“You want me to dress like this for a year?” Renate was stunned.
“We can always make it two or more if you like to” Fatima teased. “But yes, lets put your year without schooling to good use. You have traveled all over the world, why not for the first time really immerse yourself in the local culture?”
“I don’t know…” She felt so conflicted. On the one hand she disliked being this hot and uncomfortable on the other this idea held a strange fascination to her.
“If you accept, I would like you come live with me during this period” her Muslim friend informed her.
“I’m not sure my family would be okay with that” the girl said.
“I don’t think that will be a problem” Roberta intervened. “We know Fatima can be trusted and you’d only be a few minutes away.”
“I’ll have to sleep on it” said Renate. “I’ll give you an answer tomorrow.”
Since their arrival in Abu Dhabi dinner had been the most tense time of the day for the Rocha’s. It put them all in one room with Renate’s biting discontent. A time of bitter arguments only alleviated by stretches of strained silence. There was also Roberta’s delicious cooking, only a shallow comfort for those present though.
But that night there was a different atmosphere. Fatima’s offer had upset Renate’s usual household demeanor and it was a great improvement. It was however still mostly quiet around the table.
“Renate, have you made a decision yet?” Renato finally broke the stillness.
“No dad” she answered. “I wanted your opinion first.”
“Good” her father was pleasantly surprised. This was the most trust he’d gotten from his daughter in a long time. “Your mother and I have already discussed it and decided we see no harm in you doing this. I do have some thoughts.”
“I’d like to hear them” his daughter said most sincerely.
“I agree with Fatima that you should not let this be a lost year, you need to do something with it. And I believe getting intimately familiar with the Islamic Arab way of life could be a valuable experience. However the first thing you need to know about this culture is that they take their agreements seriously. If you accept Fatima’s proposition you’ll be expected to see it all the way through. So please make sure what exactly will be expected of you. Know what you’re getting into before you say yes.”
“What a fuss” remarked young Ronald. “It’s just about wearing some clothes right?”
“I think it goes a bit further than that” his mother intervened. “Purdah is a way of life. She’ll be living like a local Muslim girl, not just dress like one.”
“That does sound quite extreme” Ronald admitted. “You wouldn’t really consider living like that, would you Renate? That would be crazy!”
“I don’t think I’m crazy” Renate replied. “I just want to experience something new.”
“So you will accept?” Roberta asked.
“Yes, I believe I will.”
Renate wasn’t so sure about her decision as she had sounded at dinner. That night sleep wouldn’t come, in her mind she kept going back and forth on what she’d tell Fatima the coming morning. Ronald was right, agreeing to live like a pious Muslimah for a year was crazy. On the other hand; what was else could she do? Renate needed to undertake something, needed to get out of the house. She had already let the relationship with her family deteriorate far enough. Taking some distance to live with a close friend seemed a good alternative. But did this Western life long pants and t-shirts girl really want to exchange that lifestyle for a year of dresses and veils? Perhaps.
Roberta woke the girl early the next morning, shortly after sunrise. Renate’s short slumber hadn’t taken the night’s doubts away. Her mother sensed this uncertainty. But was going to do everything in her power to get her daughter over to Fatima and leave her there. Not because Roberta didn’t love Renate, because she did. Just something had to be done about her attitude. The girl was transforming into a spoiled brat that was impossible to live with. The previous generation would have shipped her off to attend a strict boarding school, let the nuns handle it. Purdah seemed like a good alternative, especially if she wanted to keep her daughter close by. So after a short breakfast Roberta had guided Renate back to Fatima’s door.
“Good morning” the woman greeted them. “Have you come to a decision?”
“Good morning to you” Roberta replied. “Renate accepts.”
“I would like to hear it from her mouth.”
“Yes, I do accept” Renate started. “But…”
“There can be no buts” Fatima corrected her. “We’ll start your training immediately.”
Fatima’s words echoed in the mind of Renate. As soon as Fatima uttered the fateful sentence Roberta couldn’t stop smiling. Finally after all the abuse she recently suffered someone would set the girl straight again. “I guess, I’ll take my leave then” she announced.
“Already?” Renate questioned. “Can’t you stay a while longer?”
“Why? Are you scared of something?” Roberta asked.
“No reason for drama now” Fatima spoke “The lifestyle you agreed to adopt are conditions I lived in for many years.”
“Besides, me and the rest of your family are only a short walk away” her mother consoled. “See you tomorrow.”
With that Roberta left, assured that Fatima would take excellent care of her daughter. The girl in question being visibly intimidated by her immediate future as the door shut behind her. What had she gotten herself into?
“Please relax” Fatima had noticed Renate’s worry. “Nothing bad is going to happen to you. I am just going to give you a type of training.”
“What exactly do you mean by that?” Curiosity was overcoming her fear.
“I will teach you to live in purdah, you are now my apprentice” said her friend. “From now on you will always address me as Mistress.”
“Silence” Fatima stopped her. “You may only speak when given permission or when asked a question.”
“Fatima!” Renate cried out in indignation.
“Follow my rules, I will not tell you again!” Her new Mistress berated the girl. It was a tone Renate had never heard from Fatima. Very convincing, she remained quiet.
“Renate, you must understand purdah will be more than just clothing. It is just as much about proper behavior. Behavior I will teach you and demand you live by, as I once did.”
“Did you want to live in purdah?” Renate asked, quickly adding: “Sorry for having spoken Mistress.”
“I will forgive you this time” Fatima smiled. “Traditional families like the one I was born into all expect this kind of commitment from their women. You are not asked if you want to submit. It is simply your obligation, your destiny. So I followed suit, living in purdah from the moment I became a woman until my marriage.”
“Did you stop later?”
“Indeed” she confirmed. “It was not what my late husband wanted in a wife. Hassam was a rare man in this country that wanted to live as complete equals with his wife. And we imparted the same values on our daughter.”
“As it should be” Renate pointed out.
“Yes, I see that now” Fatima agreed. “Still I think purdah has some positive aspects as well. I always wished my Hadija would have tried it” she sighed. “But enough about the past. I’ll show you to your room. Time to rid yourself of these immodest clothes. I left your new attire on the bed, along with a letter.”
Renate was led towards a part of Fatima’s home she hadn’t seen yet. They arrived in a large bedroom dominated by a huge four-poster bed. It also had an adjacent bathroom. All of it decorated in white and pink, especially feminine. After being shown the room Fatima left and locked the door behind her.
A fresh wave of distress came over Renate as she heard the key turn. She stayed composed though, quickly regained her inner calm too. She reminded herself of three facts: First, that Fatima was her friend meaning she was in good hands here. Second, her parents not only trusted her too, they would be quite close the entire time. And lastly, she had no other choice. She agreed to spending her year under Fatima’s tutelage, she would be held to that promise. While acceptance settled in again Renate picked up the letter and started reading:
My beloved daughter,
I know that very soon you will be a woman. This is a very special moment in every female’s life. Unlike in the West in our world this changes everything. Honor, tradition, chastity was always very important to our family. And women are most instrumental in upholding this. Therefore they should be protected of greedy and sinful eyes. Fortunately purdah exists to protect women from themselves and men who would be attracted by your loveliness and charm. A woman should at all times guard against this. Protect her modesty, her beauty, her voice. Don’t make any noise, you don’t want to attract unwanted attention. Decency is everything. I will help you discover the beauty of the purdah.
From your loving mother.
Renate was astonished what she read and a bit disturbed. Fatima was pretending Renate was her thirteen year old daughter or something, it made her uncomfortable. And always having to stay silent most of the time sounded unpleasant too. If the girl knew what she knew now, she would never have accepted Fatima’s proposal. Was there really no way to get out of this? Certainly not at the moment, not with that door locked.
At least the clothing she had to put on wasn’t anything horrendous. No veils this time, just a kind of oriental shirt and trousers. Both made from loose colorful fabric. After dressing Renate was in for a long wait.
When Fatima finally unlocked the bedroom it was almost noon. She was pleased to see Renate dressed in her shalwar kameez. Not particularly modest no, but she had to start somewhere. The Muslimah imagined her letter was already enough for now. She was anxious to start the young woman’s purdah training in earnest. She had to be careful though. Move too quick and Renate might rebel.
“Hello dear” Fatima greeted her “Will you come have lunch?”
“Why did you lock me in here?” Renate wanted to know.
“Just a precaution” she answered. “I am responsible for you, you are now my greatest treasure. Do you like your shalwar kameez?”
“I do” she admitted. “It’s very comfortable. Is this what I’ll be wearing from now on?”
“No dear” Fatima was amused she’d think that. “This is just for today, tomorrow we really begin.”
Finally the day had arrived. Fatima had gotten up early, she was eager to prepare her pupil. After washing and dressing herself she went to listen at Renate’s door. No sound, her guest was still asleep. She was about to open the door when she reminded herself the key was still in her own bedroom. As she went back to fetch it the doorbell rang. As she opened her front door Fatima was greeted by Roberta Rocha.
“Hi Fatima, where is Renate?”
“Still sleeps. You arrived very early.”
“I was anxious” Roberta admitted. “I hardly slept.”
“Your daughter appears to sleep like a rose though.”
“Strange” reacted Renate’s mother. “After how she reacted yesterday I’d think she’d be restless.”
“I think she is more at peace with this than it appears outwardly” Fatima assumed.
“Maybe. Can I see her?”
“No, I prefer not” said Fatima. “For now it is better she doesn’t see you.”
“Why is that?”Roberta wanted to know.
“Do you not want to tame your daughter?”
“I suppose I am hoping this year will have a humbling effect on her.”
“Well, this morning is a big first step towards that goal” Fatima informed. “It is better she doesn’t feel the support of her family now.”
“That sounds cruel.”
“You raised a fine young woman” Fatima began. “But something has gone askew with her lately. Not doing something about it, that would be cruel. Besides, I will bring her around later today. I just need her alone for a little while to prepare this critical phase.”
“I understand” the mother relented. “I’ll leave you to it.”
A moment later Fatima entered Renate’s room. Affectionately she looks down at her slumbering house guest. It takes her back to the time Hadija was occupying this very room. Before her husband died, before those years of loneliness had started. Fatima wasn’t alone anymore.
“Wake up Renate” she whispered into the girl’s ear while gently stroking her blond hair.
“Already?” Renate groaned with half open eyes. “It’s still so early.”
“It is morning” Fatima said. “You have a big day ahead. Lets get you into the shower.”
When they entered the bathroom Renate was surprised to learn her host wasn’t going to give her any privacy. Fatima insisted in helping her bathe. Renate didn’t feel like arguing the point, for all the good it would do. So Fatima helped her in the shower. And afterwards did a meticulous inspection of the young woman’s body. She had Renate wax her entire body, only leaving her eyebrows and beautiful long hair intact.
“Are we finished Mistress?” Renate asked while donning her underwear. “I would like to get dressed in my new clothes now.”
“I see we made some progress” said a pleased Fatima. “I was already losing hope. I thought you would never ask for this.”
“I just want to get it over with” she seemed nervous.
“Well…” Renate hesitated. “I am also curious to know how it will be for me.”
“You will know soon enough. Lets go back to the other room.”
Renate’s stomach was filled with butterflies as she followed her Mistress into her adjacent bedroom. There she pulls open a large wardrobe, brimming with clothing. Much of it black or other dark fabric, but some bright colors too.
“I mostly stocked this with clothing I wore in my youth” Fatima explained. “Much of it was still good as new and I was about your size then.”
“There’s some beautiful garments in here” Renate said as she inspected a dress.
“You really like colors girl” the woman remarked. “This is an Indian wedding gown. Actually it comes in several pieces: lengha, thob, yashmak and a ghunghat. Are they not beautiful?”
“Yes” the girl agreed. “The colors are pretty. This ghunghat scarf is sensational. Is this what I’ll be wearing?”
“No darling, this is an outfit for a very special occasion. Maybe on your wedding party one day.”
“I’m never going to get married.” The truth was that although Renate liked boys, she hadn’t shown much interest in romance so far. Perhaps protecting herself from a painful separation once her family moved on again.
“Do not be silly” said Fatima as she handed over a black abaya. “Of course you are, it is only natural.”
Renate again didn’t feel like arguing any further as she pulled the dress over her head.
“We start with your hijab” Fatima put the blond’s hair up in a bun. After which she covered it with a satin headscarf, also black. Renate was now just as covered up as she always saw her friend.
“Are we done?” Renate wondered out loud, knowing in her heart that they weren’t.
“Of course not” Fatima shattered her illusion. “Put on these gloves. And place these soft slippers on your feet. They will keep you from making noise as you walk.”
“That’s it?” Renate wasn’t sure if she relieved or disappointed to learn it was just accessories and footwear that completed her outfit.
“Now we place your niqab over your hijab” the Muslimah had produced another veil. It fell over Renate’s face and was tied at the back of her head.
“This is a bit much” the veiled girl thought out loud.
“You have seen nothing yet” Fatima wanted to go so much further. One day even Renate’s own shadow wouldn’t be able to recognize her.
“Oh” that struck Renate as odd. She was pondering how much further this could really go. Now already only her eyes were visible.
“Now put on this jilbab” she handed over the new niqabi’s coat. “So your inside clothing can not be seen.”
“We’re finished now, right?”
“Do not make that sad face Renate” her eyes showed Fatima plenty of emotion. “That is not the end of it.”
“But…” Renate tried to intervene. Get some control over this surreal experience.
“Do not start with your buts!” Fatima stopped her protest before it began. “Lets quickly continue, next is your bushiyya.”
It was another veil, this one not unlike a Western wedding veil, black instead of white. Fatima attached it to the top of Renate’s head letting it fall all around her. Now her eyes were finally covered as well. It put a filter over the world, Renate was seeing everything through a black haze.
“Here is the last piece, your chador.”
To Renate’s dismay she was handed over another all-covering robe. The garment went over her head and covered everything in another layer. Except fortunately her already double shrouded face, it had an opening there.
“That finished our entire project this morning” her tormentor announced. “What do you think?”
“It is claustrophobic to say the least” answered the black pillar of cloth. “Is all this necessary?”
“I can imagine how it feels” Fatima admitted. Knowing it was only the beginning, but she didn’t want to scare her young friend too much.
“I don’t think you can” the covered Renate said. Already feeling heat build up after just a couple of minutes like this, even in an air-conditioned home.
“This is really nothing” said the woman. “Just to help you get used to it so we can add more.”
“You have to be kidding!” Renate really couldn’t imagine any possible additions now. She was already as covered as can be, right?
“I would not kid about this” Fatima responded. “You will learn much this year, I promise.”
“Ok” was all Renate could say. This was all so strange.
“Please come with me” her Mistress ordered.
“Where are we going?” Renate demanded to know.
“Do not be impertinent and just obey girl!”
After this reprimand, that mass of black clothing accompanies her torturer outside the condominium, into the scalding desert sun.
Haste, anguish, fear, pleasure are but a few words to describe the sensations that Renate was feeling during that unexpected walk that Fatima had insisted on. They soon ended up in a nearby shopping street. Not that Renate could see much of the passing store windows. It was a weird experience to see everything in the world through the diminished sight of her veils. And the heat she felt was truly infernal.
Fatima was hoping she’d adjust to all this quickly. Meanwhile also reveling in the control and power she had over the girl.
After what was a most tiresome walk for Renate and a gentle stroll for Fatima they eventually ended up back at the Rocha home. As was often the case during the day, only Roberta was home. She had quite a shock seeing (or not seeing) her daughter so covered up in Muslim apparel. Knowing what this could do for Renate and the family as a whole she approved though.
“You are beautiful Renate” Roberta said in support.
“How can I be, you can’t even see me” her daughter retorted. “This is horrible!”
“That is not how you talk to your mother” Fatima scolded her. “Unless you want to take another walk now I suggest you apologize.”
“I’m very sorry mom” a small price to pay to avoid another hike through Hell.
Something she couldn’t avoid entirely though. Too soon Fatima said her goodbyes to Roberta and they left for Renate’s newest home. The rest and drink she so sorely craved would have to wait another agonizing few minutes. Or however long it now took to traverse the short distance hindered by her attire as Renate was.
When they had finally reached their destination the veiled girl collapsed exhausted in the couch. Fatima returned to her from the kitchen with a cool bottle of water. A straw was already inserted. She was explained that this way it could be easily lifted under veils to drink.
“Can’t I please just remove my veils now Mistress?” Renate pleaded.
“I do not see why” Fatima replied coldly. “I have dressed you for the day and the day is far from over.”
“What’s the point in me being veiled inside?” Renate whined on. “There’s no strange men that are going to see me here.”
“Modesty has to be kept regardless when you are living in purdah. That way you are always prepared for unexpected visitors and it is good at keeping young women out of trouble.”
“But I’m just so hot!” Renate kept complaining.
“I know you are” her friend acknowledged. “Every girl that just starts with purdah is. You must realize however that you are going through an adjustment period. You will get used to heavy veiling. The heat you feel now will one day be perceived as just a comforting warmth.”
Renate was skeptical of this notion to say the least. She hadn’t felt herself adjust the slightest bit to Arabian temperatures in the weeks before. Never mind the situation she was in now. But there was something Renate was starting to learn; don’t argue with Fatima. You can never win. So that’s where that discussion ended.
Fatima did take good care of her though. Her Mistress was acting more like the girl’s maid now. Replacing her cool drink as soon as it was empty. Providing Renate with an excellent meal at noon and plenty of sweets before and after. She was kept entertained by conversation and Fatima even read a few chapters from a novel to her. If it hadn’t been for the pouring sweat, Renate Rocha would have had a most pleasant day under her veils.
Renates second day under her friend’s tutelage started out the same as the first. She was woken up early and cleaned after which the women returned to her bedroom’s sizable wardrobe. Renate quickly put on the dark blue abaya Fatima had selected. The first of many garments, Renate realized. Her body was about to vanish again.
“You do understand I’ll be dressing you again like the day before?” Fatima started.
“Yes Mistress” she hadn’t dared think otherwise.
“Do you mind this?” Her Mistress wanted to know.
“It’s difficult” the girl admitted. “We’ve made an agreement.” Something she had often regretted the past 36 hours.
“And I am proud you intend to honor it” the hijabi smiled. “However today might be many times more difficult. You know I prefer to spend much of my days in the garden outside. So we will not be hanging around the house today.”
“Please no!” Renate cried out. “Please just leave me here then.”
“No, you can not just abandon a girl in purdah” Fatima burst Renate’s bubble. “I intend to keep you close at all times, take care of you. However I do understand you are still getting used to your new clothes. So if you want to go outside a bit less covered, maybe we can make a deal.”
“We can! I’ll do anything.”
“I am glad to hear that girl. What I do not want to hear however is you addressing me in an incorrect manner or simply speaking when you are not given permission. You have been doing this constantly. So I want to suggest that today we work on your voice modesty. If you agree we will replace the bushiyya with a three-layer niqab and you do not have to wear your chador either.”
“Yes Mistress” Renate remembered to address her properly this time. “You won’t hear a peep out of me today.” Anything to keep that second coat from engulfing her again. What use did it have anyway when she would already be wearing a jilbab?
“No, indeed you w ill not” her Mistress flashed a mischievous smile. “We will make sure of that. Cause I would like to gag you today.”
“Are you kidding me?” Renate couldn’t believe this.
“Again you demonstrate why this is necessary” her Mistress pointed out. “Voice modesty, remaining silent is an important part of purdah. And it is commonly enforced by gagging.”
“No, you can’t force me” she spoke out defiantly. This was going way too far.
“I am not going to force you” the Muslimah tried to console her. “I am giving you a choice. If you want to be less covered than yesterday I am willing to grant your request if you wear a gag instead. Like many young women in purdah have done, myself included.”
“Gag me with what Mistress?” Renate started to consider this strange offer. Remembering how harsh it had been outside fully veiled.
“Back in my day we used a wooden peg or my mother simply stuffed my mouth full with cloth. Fortunately a new line of gags has been developed for pious women. They fit the shape of the mouth perfectly, remain comfortable even with extended wear.”
“Fine, I’ll give it a try” the girl relented. “Mistress.”
Fatima rummaged in a drawer and handed the gag over to her pupil. “I am sure you will manage.”
Renate looked it over. It was a large silicone protrusion with a couple of holes running through it. Attached were two firm elastic straps that ended in catches. Part of her screamed; don’t do this, this is too insane! Just run home. However another part of Renate was quite curious about this thing. Wearing this for a couple of hours could be interesting. Especially if the alternative was melting away. She brought the appliance to her mouth and inserted it. A tight fit, but indeed it followed the shape inside the mouth perfectly. With grooves where her teeth could settle into. Then came the straps. The girl had to pull hard until the catches met in the back and they locked together. Renate immediately tested the gag and couldn’t make any sort of sound, not even humming. She had sealed her voice away.
“Well done” her friend congratulated her. And handed todays hijab.
Renate was a quick learner and applied the headscarf herself. The same with her layered face-veil. The first layer covering most of the niqabi’s face, including the black oval between her lips. The second also veiling her eyes, the third layer nearly blinding her. Not that she could protest this new veiling feature. Her black jilbab was the end of it though. As promised another coat did not follow.
Odd enough the women had breakfast first. Renate had a choice between yogurt or a smoothie. The holes in her gag weren’t just another source of air. With the help of a straw she could use them to drink and eat liquid foods. It didn’t the diminish the taste either. So far so good, thought Renate.
After this meal they went outside to spend some time under Fatima’s favorite tree. Renate wasn’t exactly comfortable, sitting there covered, blinded and mute in the desert heat. But it was definitely a noticeable improvement compared to last time, it was bearable. And again Fatima took good care of Renate, with cool drinks and reading to her. It made her imagine what her days would look like here if she hadn’t had this friend. Even with everything she’d been put through, her current lifestyle was weirdly enough the more pleasant one. Renate did reconsider that thought later that day however. When it turned out Fatima had every intention to keep her gagged until bedtime. Nothing she could about it either. Not only was the catch at the back of her head covered by layers of fabric, it turned out it couldn’t been undone without a key her Mistress held.
The following morning Renate was again given the choice; gagging or baking. Not being able to make a sound for another day, never mind speaking was a difficult thing to accept. However Renate was pragmatic enough to realize it really was the better of two evils. Her second day in purdah really hadn’t been so bad. Renate chose another day of enforced voice modesty, again locking her mouth herself.
Each following day the fledgling niqabi made the same choice. Until after a week Fatima stopped asking and simply handed over the gag as soon as the girl had put on her underwear. Renate thought nothing of it. She’d gotten quite used to this. Silence was easy when a friend took such good care of you. And each day the heat of her veils grew a little bit more bearable. That night when Fatima was preparing the girl for bed and had her voice back she did have a question though:
“Mistress, when do we take the next step in my purdah training?” Cause as Renate’s comfort grew, so did her boredom. This couldn’t be everything the coming 11 months had to offer. She was both anxious and eager for new experiences under her friend’s tutelage.
“We can try something new tomorrow” Fatima was pleasantly surprised by Renate’s inquiry. She had been impatient to apply further restrictions to the girl, but not sure how to go about it. “Are you sure you are ready dear?”
“I don’t know Mistress” the girl had to admit. “But I don’t think waiting any longer is going to make a difference.”
The young Brazilian soon feared she’d regret the eagerness she had shown. As she heard Fatima lock Renate into her darkened bedroom she started contemplating what lay ahead. It had also been curiosity that made her ask about furthering the training. She just couldn’t fathom what else it would entail, needed to find out. Besides simple boredom and inquisitiveness there was another feeling that had spurred her on. Something not easily put into words, an unconscious drive within her.
It came to Renate in the dreams of that night, images that quickly faded from her memory once Fatima woke her again. Her questioning the evening before was about to bear fruit. First the standard morning ritual though.
While the anxious Renate was toweled dry her caregiver made a shocking remark: “Girl I am contemplating if I will have to put you in diapers from now on.”
“No! Why?” She reacted forcefully. “I haven’t had any accidents since I was a toddler and I won’t have any in the future.”
“Are you sure?” Fatima challenged her. “From now on it will be impractical to let you go to the toilet whenever you need to. Do you have enough control over your bodily functions to make do with three set times a day?”
“I do, I guarantee it Mistress!” The girl was adamant enough about this to neither fear nor wonder what was leading to this new lavatory rule.
“Fine” her friend relinquished. “We will try it without. Go on ahead, put on your underwear and lock in your gag. I need to go get something first.”
A few minutes later the purdah apprentice was sitting on her bed. Clad only in panties, a bra and the mouth apparel that would keep her forcibly mute until unlocked again. Her Mistress came in carrying a brown belt. Leather on the outside, soft padding on the inside. Fatima wasted no time with it. As it was put around the girl’s waist she noticed it had a similar buckle as her gag.
CLICK! The two catches met and wouldn’t open again without a key. Next Mistress grabbed her right hand. CLICK! What Renate had failed to notice is that attached to the belt were two cuffs, miniature versions of the larger garment meant for her wrists. A wave of panic erupted in the girl. She started struggling. Trying to get the one hand free and avoid Fatima’s grasp with the other one. She failed on both counts. CLICK! Both hands were trapped at her sides.
“Relax dear” the woman soothed. “You wanted to try something new, this is it. Arm modesty, all about keeping a young woman’s hands out of trouble.”
Renate just glared at her captor. Not for long though. Fatima had soon administered all the usual clothing and accessories, including blinding veils. Her abaya and jilbab were now of the armless variety though, for obvious reasons. Over which was draped a floor-length khimar.
A day of arm modesty meant quite an adjustment for Renate. This new restriction made her completely helpless, dependent on Fatima for everything. Even just signaling her wants and needs was now as good as impossible. The most she could do was wriggle a little. Maybe swing her legs a bit, however this was severely hampered by how narrow her abaya got around her lower legs. No, it was Mistress who decided when she drank, ate or went to the toilet. She could just sit there in Fatima’s home or the garden outside, a silent black figure more passive than ever.
Each hand was kept tightly at the opposite sides of her waist. Where they were completely useless. Even an itch slightly above or below the belt couldn’t be scratched. And one got plenty of itches once taking care of them was made impossible. Especially in the sweaty conditions Renate was suffering through. No more secretly pleasuring herself under the folds of her pious outfit either. It hadn’t been so well hidden as the girl had hoped and Fatima had put a stop to it.
Renate was so relieved when evening finally came, such a frustrating day. She had a clear message for Fatima: This was too much! No more arm modesty or gagging for that matter. Their agreement had been about veiling, not this weird shit.
A reaction the Muslimah had foreseen. And knew how to deal with. As she undressed her charge she paused when she came to Renate’s restraints. At least the girl assumed it was a pause. It wasn’t, Fatima next pulled a sleeveless nightgown over the bedazzled young woman’s head. It was just a satin bag really, only her head peeping out at the top.
Renate attempted to grunt in protest. No sound could be heard, the gag was that good. Another thing that made it top of the line is that it was suitable for long-term wear. Even if it was worn months on end, the health and mouth hygiene of the silent wearer could be assured. The same company in purdah supplies also created the arm modesty belt, also designed to stay on a very long time. It was with this feature in mind Fatima had purchased both items for her house guest.
Next Fatima wanted to tuck the girl in. But Renate would have none of it. She stood there defiantly besides the bed, eyes shooting fire. Sending a clear message that this was not okay. A message her headscarfed tormentor chose to ignore. “Suit yourself, I am sure you will manage with the sheet eventually.” The woman left, locking the door as always. Not that she needed to. It seemed unlikely Renate could reach let alone operate the knob as she was now. Even drawing the sheet over her would indeed prove challenging.
The day after was exactly like the one that preceded it. No freedom in any form for Renate and Fatima had to do absolutely everything for her. It was like being an infant again. She had high hopes to be liberated the coming night though. These restraints couldn’t possibly stay any longer than that, could they? Nothing that Fatima said neither confirmed nor denied the possibility of being released soon. Just the same caring statements the silenced girl was used to getting.
Her hopes were dashed come bedtime. The gag and the belt would stay locked on another night. That same disappointment followed each eve that followed. Until after a week the purdah trainee simply stopped hoping. Not actually accepting that this was really how she be living the rest of year, but surrendering to this fact. Nothing she could do. Restrained as she was, there was nobody Renate could communicate her predicament to. She saw her family plenty, however they had quickly gotten used to the idea she never talked. The proper behavior for a veiled Emirate girl. But underneath all those layers was a willful young woman that feared she’d go slowly crazy from boredom and frustration.
Somehow Renate did achieve some sort acceptance eventually. As the months went by her boredom gave way to a form of inner peace. Her heavy veils and bondage ceased to be a source of discomfort. Much of this could be explained by Fatima’s unrelenting motherly care. However there was something more than that, something Renate couldn’t quite put her finger on.
She did keep counting the days until this purdah year would be over though. When her life would go back to normal, free to live how she wanted. The day she would no longer be a niqabi and the world would see her face again.
The time had come, the girl had lived one year of the most restrictive lifestyle on the planet. Renate had woken up early, waiting for her former Mistress to do the same and release her. Meanwhile an alternative scenario formed in her head. What if Fatima wasn’t going to let her go? She remembered how last year her friend had joked about Renate submitting for two years or more instead. What if she hadn’t been joking? There was no way to protest if this was her plan. The Muslimah could tell the Rocha family whatever she wanted. Renate’s hart raced as she considered all the possibilities.
But no, when Fatima did finally enter the bedroom unlocking her gag was the first thing she did, the belt soon followed. It felt strange to the girl. She couldn’t help stay silent and keep her hands by her waist. Fatima expected her to perform the entire bathroom routine by herself now. Renate did, how odd it all felt. When the girl was finished she found a pile of clothing on her bed. Although she hadn’t seen these in a very long time she knew each of these garments quite well. It was the contents of her wardrobe back at the Rocha condominium.
“Hurry up and get dressed dear” Renate heard Fatima beyond the half open door. “We need to meet up with your family at the stadium. There is a going away party for your father there, followed by what I heard is a most important soccer game.”
Renate immediately started poring through her old clothes, looking for something to wear. It was difficult, she just wasn’t accustomed to attire like this anymore. Still she couldn’t keep hesitating over what to wear. In what would she feel most comfortable facing the world? They needed to go soon. So eventually the young woman did make a decision and got dressed.
Renate stepped out the room full of apprehension about what she was now wearing. Fortunately Fatima was still out in the hallway and quick to put her mind at ease. “You look beautiful dear” she complimented. And Renate felt truly beautiful, even though no part of her physical body could be seen. Wearing exactly what she’d been wearing every day for many months now.
“But our year is over you know” Fatima reminded her friend, filling the veiled girl with anguish. “However…” the Muslimah continued hesitantly. “I’ve considered the possibility of adding another year. As far as your parents know we have been making plans together to that effect for a while now. They will not stand in your way if that was to be your choice.”
Renate was relieved, overjoyed. She wanted to stay here with her best friend. Not be dragged halfway across the world again, where she would know no one. In truth she didn’t want any part of the life of the old Renate, who was miserable most of the time anyway. Purdah had freed her of this, given her a quiet peaceful life without worries. Without constantly being judged for her physical appearance. Under her veils she would always be a true beauty. That is certainly how Fatima’s motherly love made her feel.
“You would have to agree to some new conditions” her friend interrupted Renate’s train of thought. “Back when I was a girl the way you are living now was the fullest purdah imaginable. There was no stricter regime possible. Times change however and now there are methods that go far beyond anything I could ever have imagined. Today women in the most conservative families spend their lives in so called purdah suits. It is an existence so rigid that it compares to your purdah as your purdah compares to life in the West. It is how you will live for at least one year, if you are to remain in my care.”
Renate swallowed hard. Could she do it, did she dare?
“Nod if you agree. What do you want to do now? Purdah suit or soccer?”
Part II – The Purdah Suit
Purdah suit, that would be my choice. A daunting prospect yes, but I just couldn’t go back to Renate Rocha’s former existence. A life lacking the deepest friendship I had ever felt.
“Will it be soccer?” Fatima asked me.
I shook my head in response.
“So you wish to wear the purdah suit?” My Mistress clarified.
I nodded my agreement.
“Are you absolutely sure?” She wanted to know.
Again I nodded.
“I am glad” she smiled broadly. “I did not want to let you go. I would have missed you so dear.”
Those words warmed my heart. They made me confident I made the right choice. In such a loving presence I could endure almost anything.
I was led back into what would continue to be my bedroom. There Fatima started to undress me, also unlocking my gag and belt for the second time that morning. Once I was completely nude we proceeded to the adjoining bathroom. Under the hot stream of the shower I was shaved all over, really all over.
“I do not like it” Fatima started. “But wearing the purdah suit requires I shave off your beautiful hair as well. Do you understand?”
I simply nodded my agreement. For this extra year I was willing to give up my hair, now no longer blond over a year after its last coloring. It’s not as anyone except my friend would ever know it to be missing. My bald head would always be hidden under multiple layers.
So I did not flinch when she first applied scissors to my locks and then reduced the resultant stubble to nothing with a razor. It did feel quite strange to have a bare scalp as I stroked the smooth surface. I’d be happy have it covered up again soon.
Once dried off we returned to my bedroom, my Mistress dragged in a trunk from the hallway. A large wooden thing, the size of a coffin.
“This holds your new purdah suit and all its accessories” she informed me.
I was both nervous and excited to find out what this big box had in store for me. A new adventure awaited me, diving even deeper into the purdah way of life.
Mistress took out a white shiny garment first. A smell I knew very well from my childhood filled my nostrils, I smelled party balloons. The smell of rubber, this was a latex outfit. Latex in a desert climate? This would be harsh indeed!
“You can start by putting this on” she handed the garment over to me.
The rubber was thick and smooth. As I unfolded it I saw it was a catsuit, which would cover me from neck to toe. It only had one apparent opening, the one meant for my now shaved head. I quickly realized I would need to stretch it open for my body to enter the sturdy latex suit. As my legs sled in I felt the inside was coated with lubricant. The cold goo gave me goosebumps, but was welcome to help me enter the ultra-tight latex. The legs of the catsuit ended in attached high-heeled shoes. As I inserted my feet I discovered these were higher than any other heels I’d even seen before. I would be walking on my tiptoes in these, unfortunately I never had much talent for ballet. In the face of this I had trouble to keep my months long silence. I had to remind myself that just moments ago I agreed to this, fully knowing that what lay ahead would be quite a challenge. I had no right to complain now. Walk like a ballerina I would.
While precariously balancing on my new footwear I pulled the catsuit up towards my mid-section. It had some small openings in that region, not at the crotch though. That specific area instead featured some small silicone bumps. As I constantly had to shift my weight from one ballet heel to the other, these bumps rubbed me most intimately. Providing a sensation somewhere between discomfort and pleasure. As the latex engulfed my breasts, the nipples were soon given a similar treatment.
Ignoring the suit’s teasing the best I could, I continued applying it to myself under Fatima’s approving stare. My hands slithered through the lubricated rubber as I inserted my arms. Inside I found a glove in which my hands would rest, which outwardly only appeared as a mitten. All my fingers packaged separately yet together, making it impossible for me to grasp anything. My Mistress would have to continue my dressing. Fatima helped me by tugging the catsuit all the way up where it snapped tightly around my neck. Even though we were in a well air-conditioned room, my body was already starting to heat up. And in more than one way too.
“You understand this is only the start?” She asked me. “That you have seen nothing yet?”
I nodded, I wasn’t the naive girl of a year before. I knew my friend not to oversell when hinting at the strictness of my purdah regime. This time I would not be surprised by anything.
“Good” she appeared pleased. “This is after all only the base layer of your new attire. Much needs to be added before I am finished with you.”
Next she fished from the trunk a couple of clear plastic bags with straps and tubes hanging from them. When she proceeded to use the straps to secure the bags between my legs, I got a pretty good idea what they were for. Still I was ill-prepared when I felt the tubes enter my urethra and anus. Shaken, Fatima had to steady me as I tottered on my impossible heels.
Once I had regained my delicate balance my Mistress returned to the trunk. From where she got another item of white latex, a sheath with some belts around it. Fatima wasted no time in putting it to use. She took my latex-wrapped arms and placed them behind my back. The latex accessory was drawn over, firmly enclosing them. And it grew more rigid still as she tightened the belts, as far as they would go. My arms had been so constricted that they were squashed together. I was in agony!
“It…” my first word in many months. “Hurts!”
“It is good to hear your voice again dear” Fatima said most cheerfully. “And yet also a bit disappointing you could not keep your voice modesty. But completely understandable nonetheless, it is why proper purdah is never complete without a gag. We will get to that soon.”
“What have you done to my arms!” I cried out.
“I have put them in an arm-binder” she informed me.
“Take it off Mistress” I pleaded. “It hurts so much. Take it off. Please Mistress, please. Please!”
“You will get used to it soon” Fatima stated. “It is an important part of your purdah suit.”
“In that case I don’t want to wear a purdah suit” perhaps the sanest thing I’ve said in over a year. “I don’t want to live in purdah anymore, I want to go back to my family.” I’d even given up my hair with ease, however this was a bridge too far. The pain cut right through Fatima’s increasing influence on me, I finally had enough.
“No” she was most firm. “We have an agreement, you will again fulfill it. And again you’ll see it is only a matter of growing accustomed to your new life. You are going through purdah training, you are being trained.”
“But this is unhealthy” I told her.
“You will be fine” she tried to assure me. “Lets add the next item.”
The trunk had provided my captor with another part of my torture suit. A white rubber corset that looked most menacing. The fearsome thing would go from my waist all the way up to my strained shoulders. And would even cover my arms. Fatima soon had it wrapped around me and pulling its lacing shut. Even after the first horrible contraption pinning my arms together helplessly, my misery was increased manifold. As it constricted me further all I could do was groan. The air being pushed swiftly from my lungs didn’t allow for much more sound. It took ages before the compression finally stopped increasing and my tormentor tied the laces of. Still my entire upper-body felt like it was being crushed. I managed to look behind my back and I saw no sign of my arms. They were still there though, I felt them screaming in pain.
“You…” I started after gathering a minimum of breath again. “You need to… let me out! My arms need to move. Need their circulation. Or I’ll get very sick.”
“Do not be misled about how your purdah suit appears dear” the Muslimah spoke. “It is not just a rubber garment. The suit is so much more. Woven invisibly into it is cutting edge medical technology. Your circulation is assured. As is your health in general; without the need to move. Your arms will be fine, even if you keep the arm-binder and corset on for the rest of your life.”
“Will I?” The thought chilled me to the bone, I had to ask. What was her long term goal with me? Keep me in strictest purdah forever.
“I could not say” she said. “That will be your choice. But yes, I do think you will remain in some form of purdah for the rest of your earthly existence.”
“No way!” I cried out.
“Only an hour ago you freely chose to commit to an entire second year of even stricter purdah” Fatima pointed out.
“A year is not a lifetime” I opposed.
“True” the woman admitted. “But your choice this morning does prove you enjoy living in full modesty.”
“No! I…” what could I say? I had not enjoyed my restraints and heavy veils, merely learned to tolerate them. But why hadn’t I been able to go back to my old life today? Had not dared to show my face to the world again? I suppose my attachment to Fatima was part of the explanation. No one would go to such extremes just for a friend’s companionship though. Why did I?
“I don’t know” I had to admit.
“Well then dear” my friend started. “If I assure you that the pain will fade, do you believe I am telling the truth?”
“I do” she had always been truthful to me.
“Although the coming year will be much more challenging than the previous, do you believe me when I say that you have the strength to adapt and make it through?”
“I suppose I could.” It wasn’t out of the question certainly. My purdah training so far hadn’t been the horrible experience it appeared to be early on. It did seem possible I could grow accustomed to a much stricter way of life yet again.
“You will, you have already made that decision earlier” Fatima reminded me. In mere moments I’ll add the last part of your purdah suit. A minute from now you’ll be entirely unable to communicate for 366 days. Nothing can change this now. However before we continue I would like your acceptance. Do I have it Renate?”
“Yes” I had no other option but to honor my word. “It has to finally end a year from now though. Promise me that when the times comes you won’t offer any sort of extension of my purdah. It has to be over Fatima, it has to be final.”
“That might not be in your best interests” she warned. “I know you better than you know yourself at times. I believe a life of strict modesty is what you truly desire. I do not want to take that away from you.”
“And I’m telling you I don’t desire that at all” I told her. “I accept that I chose another year of this earlier today. But the real reason for that is that going back from full purdah to my old life is a huge adjustment, it’s an extremely difficult thing to do. So you just caught me in a moment of weakness. And I will not let that happen again!”
“Will it not be even more difficult for you a second year?” Fatima pointed out.
“I have the strength to adapt and make it through” I repeated her earlier statement.
“I know a way of helping you” she said. “A year from now the purdah suit comes off, no matter what. I will promise you that. However I wish you would stay another month with me beyond that. This will be your adjustment period. Still veiled but without any extra restraints. And the severity of veiling decreasing as times passes. This will let you go back to you former existence one step at the time. What do you think dear?”
“I accept” it sounded like a good plan. My best chance to finally let things go back to normal.
“Good, let those be your final words” she walked over to me with the final piece of white latex. It was a fearsome looking hood full of tightening straps. No doubt a close fit, now I saw why the head shave had been necessary.
I felt deadly afraid of the vessel as Fatima brought it closer to my face. It opened in the back and would be engulfing my face in mere seconds. It was moist with lubricant on the inside. I saw a large gag sticking out as well as small tubes that would go up my nostrils. It was only in the very last moment that I realized that there were no openings at all to see through. Then it went dark. My final protest cut off by the gag filling my mouth. The tubes meanwhile working themselves up my nose. I wriggled all I could in defiance. It not achieving anything but heightening the frustration the suit was inducing in my private parts and nipples with every movement.
As I started settling down again my cruel Mistress started the process of closing the hood. Pulling and tugging all she could at the many belts and straps. I felt a pair of internal plugs being driven deep into my ears. Making me besides mute, hardly able to move and blind also deaf. Meanwhile the lower part of the hood served as a neck corset that was nearly strangling me. The bare head itself getting so compressed I felt that straps digging into my flesh, even through the thick rubber.
I was completely cut off, my only link to the outside world being the holes in my gag and some tubing. Trying to get enough air in my lungs through them and both my corsets in short shallow breaths. I tasted only silicone, I smelt and felt only agonizingly hot tight latex, I saw only darkness. And I heard only silence, although I imagined I vaguely made out my heartbeat in the distance. The suit continued to tease my most sensitive parts. I could focus on little else in this most confining of prisons. Until I was startled by sensations beyond its rubber walls.
Fatima wasn’t quite done with me. I felt weight being put upon me. Those would have to be my veils, the addition of another few layers. I imagined the standard combination of full niqab with abaya and finally jilbab. Hopefully this time in matching white in case we would go outside.
I jumped as the silence was suddenly broken by a click and a crackle, followed by Fatima’s voice: “Do not worry dear, you have not lost your hearing for a year. There are small speakers in your earplugs, that pick up nearby sounds. Most of the time they will be turned off though. A girl in fullest purdah should not concern herself with the world. Let all your worries go and focus on inner peace.”
Then it went quiet again. I was just left standing there for who knows how long. And inner peace did not come. Instead I got sexual frustration, the suit kept stimulating me. Using my own movement to stroke me, keeping me on the edge. I tried to keep still, I couldn’t. Being heavily restrained and balancing on the highest of heels, I could not help shift my weight every few seconds. Meaning my pussy and nipples would again get a nudge.
I later learned how this was all deliberate. A purdah suit for married women was black. Mine being white indicated it was instead meant to prepare girls for marriage. So it didn’t have an opening at the privates. And would instead keep the occupant horny as hell until their wedding night, making them most pliable when that time came.
So that stimulation was guaranteed to be my constant companion. My only companion for the rest of that day, I didn’t hear Fatima again. A few times she led me around. Still all inside her condominium I assumed, since the heat didn’t go from extreme to truly infernal. She’d feed me or take care of the bags between my legs. I never got to sit down though. It turns out sitting was impossible in the suit. I would have to unsteadily stand the entire day until I would finally be laid down for the night. Not laid down in a bed mind you. She put me in a box that night. I could feel its narrow edges through my second skin. Obviously the big trunk that had provided the purdah suit that morning. I didn’t really care, as far as I was concerned she could have buried the thing in the ground outside. I was just so relieved to finally rest my feet. Even if my body remained in the same strenuous position as before. It had all been so exhausting, sleep came almost instantly.
Being woken the next morning was most disorienting at first. My sleep addled brain didn’t understand why my body felt like it did, why it was so dark. Then it dawned on me, I had royally screwed myself 24 hours or so ago. And would pay the hefty price for the entire year to come, 365 days to go.
There was some good news though. As soon as she helped me to my feet I noticed the constant agony of the arm-binder, corset and hood was now only a dull ache. I was indeed adjusting again, much sooner than expected even. This did also scare me. It made it much more likely I’d again make an incredibly stupid decision when the time came. Fatima better honor her promise to help me get used to a normal life after this.
As far as I was aware there was no shower or anything like that for me that morning. I supposed the suit took care of everything. My caretaker just needed to feed me and change the bags. As soon I was tottering on my tiptoes again I sensed the modest finery descending on my latex form.
After sucking down my breakfast I got a minute of hearing. Fatima informed me that today my family would be leaving. Father had a new team to train in Portugal. We were going to meet them at the airport to say goodbye.
A few hours later I felt myself getting laid down in what I assumed was the backseat of a taxi. After the ride came a dreaded long walk, probably through the airport. Slowly being led through a familiar home was one thing. Making my way through a big public place like this was quite a different animal. Blinded and balancing most precariously I was so scared to take a bad fall. But Fatima apparently knew what she was doing and got me through this imperceptible chaos intact. To where I’d meet my parents for the last time in a long while.
The sound came back on and I heard my mother’s voice: “Renate I just want to say we’ll miss you a lot. And we’re very proud of you. You’ve shown such determination and perseverance in the face of a way of life that is so different for us.”
“Indeed” it was my father. “I don’t understand your choice, but I do respect it. You are clearly no longer just a girl, you’re a woman now.”
“If this how you wish to live, we’ll stand by that decision” my mother again. Tears had started stinging my unseeing eyes.
“It’s still so weird to me” my little brother Ronald. “That this silent black ghost is really my sister. But I love you sis, no matter how you dress.”
“We all do” said my older brother Ricardo. “To me the way you choose to live only proves that you’re really tough.”
Moments later they gave their final goodbyes and went to catch their flight. Never has living in purdah hurt me so much as then. I didn’t want them to leave me behind here. And I wanted to be able to tell them I loved them too, to hug them. Trapped as I was none of this had been possible. I remained extremely depressed the rest of the day, until finally exhaustion could claim me in my sleeping box.
Not as bad as that day, but sadness kept lingering on a while after that. My existence had become a cheerless one, lonely and boring. I only heard from Fatima a minute a day, if even that. The rest of the time my constant companions were darkness, heat, discomfort and sexual frustration. All of it with me every waking moment.
My mind was mostly occupied with what a stupid girl I’d been. I had been spoiled rotten, unable to value the life I had and the love of my family. Which led me to get manipulated into this mess. I kept thinking about how I’d go on once the veils would be gone for good, counting down the days.
I don’t know how it’s possible, but eventually I lost count. It’s hard to stay focused on anything with so little outside stimuli, the sunless days just bleed into each other. And Fatima wasn’t helping me either. Her brief messages to me were uninformative as they were short. And then there came a time she simply stopped doing even that, no more sound for me at all anymore.
Once I had lost any sense of how many days had past an even more difficult period in my purdah began. My sadness gave way to a crippling uncertainty. Every morning truly expecting that this would be the day I would finally be released, only to have my hopes dashed. This went on for who knows how long, until I realized the agreed upon time had already past.
I had been wearing this purdah suit over a year now. She had broken her promise, there would be no end to my captivity. I’d be kept like this for the rest of my life.
I tried to deny desperate predicament at first. My sense of time had just been warped by the monotonous existence and extreme sensory deprivation. I however soon realized that I was only kidding myself. The year truly had come and gone. With my parents on another continent Fatima had finally seen the chance to do with me as she wished without restriction.
What a monster she was, I was furious at my captor. I had no way to ventilate this though. I could hardly move, totally helpless. Kicking the woman was a thought, those wicked heels should be able to draw blood. Alas my legs weren’t good for much more than mincing around. The thick rubber and narrow hem of my abaya and jilbab saw to that.
Panic soon set in. I tried to make plans to escape my imprisonment. Somehow draw other people’s attention when we ventured outside. However I had no idea how to do so under all these restricting layers. Especially with Fatima carefully leading me on in public. I wouldn’t even be able to let myself fall to the ground if I wanted to. And even if I did manage something like that, no one around here was likely to investigate further. I was simply a most pious girl to society here. Living in a most admirable way, not something to be saved from.
So what could I do? Nothing, absolutely nothing. This was who Renate Rocha would be from now on. Not the cute brown skinned girl of old. But a mass of black satin covering a bundle of shining white rubber. Until the day I left this world.
Who’d thought this would ever happen, I promised myself I wouldn’t let it. I was actually accepting the extension of my purdah beyond my second year with Fatima. Embracing the fact that this would last until I left this world.
How could I not, when acceptance brought so many rewards. It was like pushing a button in my mind that completely changed the entire experience for me. The monotony felt like peace, I enjoyed the silence and darkness now. My former discomfort was but a loving hug. The heat only a comfortable warmth. I had even learned to revel in the suit’s sexual stimulation. Imperceptibly under all my layers I was moving in rhythm against it. Never cumming, enjoying myself immensely nonetheless. I suppose in that I discovered the suit’s only design flaw. I desired no man in me, everything I’d ever need I could find within my latex shell. I was perfectly happy and expecting to remain so forever.
And then there was light. I just woke up and before I knew what happened, my hood was being peeled off. A most painful process, it stuck to me like a second skin should. It was a horrible moment. My skin burning, my eyes stinging. And it only got worse as the rest of the suit got removed too. Being ripped from my peaceful womb into a harsh cold world of unfamiliar senses.
“I always keep my promises girl” said my friend. “It has been a year, the suit comes off.”
No, it couldn’t be! I had been in there for years, right? What tricks had my own mind played on me? Could it only have been a year? My hair certainly didn’t give a clue, it had in fact not grown at all. Every part as clean shaven as if it happened yesterday. It all left me so disoriented.
It wasn’t important, I just wanted to have it back on me as soon as possible. I picked up the catsuit from the floor, looking to crawl back inside its perfect comfort. But before I could even locate the entry Fatima pulled it from my weak grasp.
“No dear” she softly reprimanded me. “Remember what you made me promise? You need to learn to live without this suit. You are in no state to make important decisions about your future now.”
Fuck the damn wuss I was a year ago! It was exactly then that I wasn’t capable of the making the right call. I had been confused back then. Now everything was crystal clear. I wanted nothing from my future but the strictest purdah imaginable. It was nothing less than the perfect way of life for me.
Not that I told her this. I didn’t talk, Fatima couldn’t force me to abandon my voice modesty too. But I’m sure my eyes told the tale, I was not in agreement at all.
“Your theory back then was that you could not think clear about purdah cause you had adjusted too well to it. Now we will take a month to put this notion to the test. Another agreement you will need to honor.”
Once again I fell victim to my own promises. Knowing that once more I would have no choice but to uphold the deal I’ve made. It’s not like I could force Fatima to keep me in purdah. It was impossible without someone willing to take care of you.
“Do not worry, it will not be so bad” she assured me. “You only need to take small steps at first, in a few minutes you will be fully veiled again.”
That first day my friend dressed me in an appropriately familiar outfit. The combination of modest clothing my purdah training had started with the morning two years past. First an abaya and hijab combined with gloves and slippers. Then a niqab over my face and a jilbab covering more of my body. When she finally added the bushiyya veil to hide my eyes and the chador I was covered in at least three layers of fabric all over. I felt good to be hidden away. It however did little to replace the feel and restriction of the purdah suit.
As soon as I had a moment alone I rummaged through every closet in the condominium. Looking for some additional restraints. I found none, so instead decided to gag myself with a few scarves. One pushed inside my mouth, another tied around my head to secure it. At least my silence was enforced in this way. And Fatima would never find out since I was from now on required to dress and undress myself.
It was a strange time. My life was no longer run for me. I had to do everything myself and had trouble adjusting to it. I hadn’t even chewed solid food in such a long time, never mind made my own breakfast.
I wasn’t Fatima’s constant companion either anymore. In theory free to go wherever I wanted, I didn’t. I didn’t even dare join my friend in the communal garden, insufficiently covered as I was. My favorite activity was in fact sitting in a dark, silent room. Eyes closed and with the air condition turned off. Just pretending I was in a better place.
A little over a week later Fatima started heightening my discomfort. I wasn’t allowed to wear my bushiyya anymore or any other type of eye-cover. Wearing a chador had been prohibited as well. I tried my best to manage, keeping my eyes to the ground. Away from the awful light. During my dark room sessions blindfolding myself and pulling the bed sheets over my head. A silly thing to do, but it made me feel less naked and more protected. Although still a pale comparison to the perfection of the purdah suit obviously.
What was I to do? Make a run for it? Find a fundamentalist man that would want me for his bride and keep me like I wanted to be kept. No, I couldn’t do that without breaking my purdah even more. Besides I doubt I would find anyone that could give me exactly what I wanted. A husband would use me for sex, have him bare children. I wanted none of that, I needed only the purdah suit. A white one, for I wanted to keep my virginity forever.
No, I was stuck here until that damn month ended. Hopefully then Fatima would start making sense again, let me continue my purdah. Take care of me while I lived out my days in a paradise.
However in the mean time things only got worse for me. Twenty days into this punishing month Fatima finally took away my face veils. My modesty down to just a long dress and a headscarf. Not plain black satin either, in bold colorful patterns that would draw attention. All the time she started keeping a close eye on me, making sure I didn’t cover my face with anything. No more sitting in a dark room either. If I hadn’t physically resisted the woman would even have dragged me outside.
It was horrible, I was so close though. I had proven modesty had a permanent hold on me now. The old Renate had vanished in the course of last year, never to return again. I required an invisible life, restricted in total peace. That was the choice I was going to make, just a few days left.
“It seems I was right and you were wrong” Fatima pointed out at the breakfast table. “Even after a period of adjustment you still are not capable to leave purdah behind. I have not even been able to get you out of the house without the purdah suit on.”
Finally the day was here, I was ready to feel its confining latex embrace again.
“And I suppose that is exactly what I wanted from the moment I first laid eyes on you. A new chance with a new daughter. Helpless and completely covered like I was until marriage. But one that would not leave her mother, a girl that would continue to need me forever. Intuition told me you were exactly the kind of young woman that needed such a life.”
She was right, I could never have found such happiness in my old life. Something inside me craved the modesty, restriction and peace of an existence in fullest purdah.
“There is a problem however” Fatima admitted. “The last year was hard for me, it seems I am getting old. My health is not what it used to be. I managed, but taking constant care of you took its toll on me. So I was actually really hoping you would have been able to pick up some semblance of your former life after this month. In veils obviously, but capable of living independently. Cause me taking full time care of you will soon become irresponsible, if not impossible.”
Words that dashed my spirits into oblivion. My uncovered face had a look of anguish on it, tears streaming down it. What would happen to me if my dear friend was no longer capable of watching over me? I was so afraid.
“Do not cry dear” she tried to comfort me. “I have thought of a few solutions. The simplest being arranging a marriage into an extremely traditional family. Many men would be eager to have a young woman that appeared as pious as you among their wives.”
I wildly shook my head no. This was something I had thought over carefully and did not want. Unless of course it was my only chance. I dearly hoped it wasn’t.
“Calm down dear” she gently touched my shoulder. “There are still other options. I could simply get some help. Hire a woman to tend to you on a daily basis. Quite expensive, I could afford it though.”
That was a relief. In the end I did not care who exactly would be guiding my steps or feeding me. A helper would be just as good.
“Then there is the final option” my friend continued. “Sometimes a girl appears too willful, rebellious even to ever make a good wife. Such young women bring shame over the reputation of prominent families. So they are dealt with quite firmly. For them permanent purdah was developed.”
A term I found both frightening and intriguing, I got goosebumps.
“The same company that developed your purdah suit and the restraints you wore before has a storage facility in the desert. Unruly teenage girls are taken there to live out there lives. Packaged in rubber shells that keep them in the same circumstances you know from your own purdah suit. Except they can not move an inch. And it is impossible to ever get them out until they die at a most advanced age.”
My heart raced as I tried to wrap my head around such a severe existence.
“No girl goes there voluntarily though, neither will you. I put a sleeping drug in your orange juice. It will take effect soon. When you wake up again you will be in permanent purdah. You will be at peace.”
My eyes slowly fell shut, never to see again.