Honey, I’m Home
The buzzer sounds for about ten seconds until the maid turns it off. Naima looks at the clock: four minutes past six. Malik leaves work at the usual time. The buzzer sounding means he has just entered his car where opening the door around this time of the day makes the car activate the buzzer over the net. Now it takes about twenty minutes until he is home. Naima is in no hurry but she can’t stay in the sofa for several minutes. She gets up from her laid back position, puts the Harayer fashion magazine on the table and dresses for an entire day on the beech on a day where the sun is shining from a clear sky. No, she is first dressing for her maid not to see her more than necessary and then for Malik, but when alone she really enjoys walking around at home, watching something on television or internet, or as today reading, wearing only this very comfortable to wear suit originally made for beech or other outdoors use. It’s original purpose of sun protection means matching accessories for complete protection are available and Naima puts these on but to be fully covered for modesty. Socks, gloves and a three hole balaclava added to the suit hides all of her skin except what shows in the three openings for the eyes and mouth respectively.
She meets Sadia, one of the maids, at the door to the walk-in wardrobe. Her uniform consists a simple black abaya, white socks, white gloves, a white apron, a black hijab and a white half niqab.
Inside the wardrobe Naima directs her eyes towards a section of the shelves and says ‘turquoise’ for Sadia quickly to hand her the first item to put on. It’s the loose trousers of a salwar kameez, these have attached socks of the same fabric. The matching kameez following reaches mid thigh and has wrist long sleeves, but the gloves to match, which Sadia next puts on, are separate. Then comes a short turquoise niqab with a thin eye cover, and last for this layer of clothing a large headscarf to cover both the kameez neck opening and all of the head except the face. Naima now wears two full layers, but she is still comfortable except for her sight having got a significant turquoise blur. Like this she can associate with female family and friends in the right modest but still fashionable way, and it is not unlikely Malik likes to be with her when she is dressed like this as well.
She begins the next layer with putting on very wide trousers in black satin which are loose to the ankles and have the legs sewn together down to mid calf. On the feet and on top of the trousers follows then black short soft leather boots to mid calf. A black satin abaya has cuffs to be laced tight to ease pulling black almost elbow long soft leather gloves over them. The leather covering of the extremities is completed with a leather mask reaching from the crown of the head to just below the chin. It has half domes covering the eyes to only allow downwards vision, and extra leather over the mouth reduces any speech to mumbling. Last for this layer is a black waist long satin khimar. Naima only able to see the floor three feet in front of her now has to be guided around and the combination of her quite narrow abaya and the trousers sewn together only permits steps of half a foot. She is no longer free and comfortable, the layers together also makes her too warm, but just showing black is really modest, and like this she can meet strange women pious female family and be in a room with close male relatives. Naima thinks Malik likes her like this the most.
The final layer consists of a bushiya, a large piece of semi-transparent clothing, draped over the head to cover down to the shoulders, and a heavy chador of thick black cotton fitted with a string of hooks down the front to hold it closed without using a hand. Naima is now dressed to show in public, but, although it takes about half a minute with her tiny steps, Sadia only leads her the fifty feet to the centre of the hall connecting most of the rooms of the female section of the house. From her position there is a dozen feet to the door leading to the corridor connecting the male and the female sections.
For some three minutes Naima stands waiting knowing she is facing this door which she can’t see.
She hears the door being opened and at the same time the usual happy voice of Malik saying so loud it can be heard all over the female section
“Honey, I’m home!”
With her tiny steps Naima steps forward until bumping into Malik who then puts an arm around her back and starts guiding her. As usual he guides her to the bedroom and to lie down on her back on the bed. Then she just senses all the layers covering her face gets moist as he as usual presses a gas mask against her face and fires a can of knock out gas into its air intake.
Naima wakes as usual with her legs hanging over the edge of the bed. The clothing of all her layers is brought to order as before she entered the bedroom, but as usual she can feel Malik has used his right as husband. She has never experienced him differently. He is stricter than any other man she has heard of, and she has never found out if just the clothing below her waist have been pulled up or down as appropriate, or one, more or all of the layers of her clothing have been removed. She has been out long enough to have time for any of this.
Anyway wearing the beech suit layer, the salwar kameez layer, the abaya layer with the leather boots, gloves and mask and the bushiya and chador Sadia guides Naima to the dining table. She can sense Malik is already seated opposite her. She is always has to be fully dressed for public like this in his presence.
Now he says grace. At any time while they are together he can at odd intervals think of saying something to her about anything from the most important to trifles, the only thing consistent is that when he returns from work he always says the exact words ‘Honey, I’m home.’ She has to remain silent no matter what.
By opening the top hook of her chador her mouth can be reached and Sadia can feed her. Naima eats automatically. Her mind looks forward to when she can read the rest of the Harayer magazine.
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