Maskistan – Yasmin Visits Safina
Version for “Tales of the Veils” website.
Not for reproduction on other websites or in any other publishing format without author’s permission.
This story is inspired by and a sort of follow up to ‘Maskistan – Safina‘ by Querthe but having read his story is no prerequisite. It takes place in the same home as Querthe’s story but something like a year later where the brothers of Safina have left home. Ali is studying in another country to return and as the oldest take over the house and take care of the parents. Moustafa and Mohamed have married and have their own homes. For Mohamed, the youngest brother, his marriage is quite new and his wife Yasmin is the main character of this story.
The movements of the car and the low frequency engine noises stopping makes Yasmin become fully aware and straighten in her seat. She had been told the drive would be less than half an hour, but a car ride causes her to doze off easily like all Maskistan women. As are all women in this country she is covered in layers of rubber and latex protecting them against health hazards. These are topped by a thick black cotton abaya for modesty, the total always making her hot, and with the addition of the burqa hiding the last tempting features in public she is practically blind and almost deaf inside them. She manages to hear the back door of the car which is right next to her being opened and then she clearly senses the tightness on her shoulder and waist ease as Mohamed unbuckles the seat belt. Inside her abaya, which she wears under the burqa, she takes her right hand down to the side of the door just above the knee to sense the outer part of her breathing tube which during the drive is connected to a much better but larger air cleaner than the triple filter package always positioned over her thighs. With a little difficulty, due to her hands almost immobility because of the many gloves, she gets hold of the tube and pulls lightly to test if Mohamed has disconnected it from the car. Of course he has and she pulls it through the slits inside her abaya and down in the dress slit to let it hang in its normal position between her knees.
Then she turns in the seat to immediately feel the hands of Mohamed ready to help her out. With the ground sweeping burqa she can’t use her hands to pull herself out, and with the clothing and especially the air filter support strap around her thighs limiting her stride, it’s both difficult and dangerous to get from a car seat to standing on five inch heels. But with Mohamed’s help she stands easily and he stays at her side to support and guide her, because although she is now able to see dark blurred contours making her sight sufficiently good to walk on her own in places she often visits and knows the layout of but as this trip is her first visit to the home of Mohamed’s parents and his beloved sister Safina she requires assistance. It’s Sunday and the women are going to spend the day together while the men are at work, an occasion where mantles are removed.
“Hello father” Yasmin hears Mohamed say just after they have started walking away from the car. A white contour quickly approaches and then Yasmin is left to stand on her own for a short time while the two men greet with a light embrace. Being outside in the yard of the house Hassan, like Mohamed himself, wears a protective medical mask, and Yasmin is able to make out that he even wears a protective hood as well under his traditional ghutra so he is ready for work. In fact it doesn’t matter that much that she is not able to see him clearly because he is completely covered except for his eyes. Mohamed takes hold of her again and speaking to his father says “You know I’m sorry it took so long after our wedding before it could be arranged to have Yasmin come here to see the home of my childhood, and of course most important spend some time with Safina and mother in private where they can communicate. But finally here she is.” Mohamed has stepped between Yasmin and Hassan, his father, to end his words with an introduction gesture. With a light bow, which Yasmin reciprocates, Hassan says “Welcome Yasmin. You know I have the deepest respect for your family and I’m so happy to hear from Mohamed that you and he are so happy together, even though this was to be expected from the friendship between our two families. Mohamed has even told me that you are more beautiful than Safina but that’s probably just because it’s been so long since he has seen her face. I guess you’ll be able to compare one day. Please come and meet Aysha and Safina.” Not even girls before coming of age would let their voice be heard outdoors where anyone might hear but Yasmin, like most adult women, is permanently mute always wearing a gag moulded inside her mouth only to be dissolved and replaced monthly by the husband, and two light bows is her polite response to the words of Hassan. While they walk into the house Hassan asks the latest about Mohamed’s job, and he gets a quite detailed report as it takes them close to two minutes to cover the about twenty five metres to the kitchen door, even though Yasmin is mincing faster than she would normally do because Mohamed supports her.
Inside the kitchen with dining area the two black objects standing at the work top immediately approach Mohamed and Yasmin to each bow to let their veiled foreheads touch a guest over the heart and then change places to greet the other. They are of the same build and wear identical abayas and veils making them indistinguishable, but then the one to Yasmin’s left points from Mohamed to her own womb and Mohamed immediately turns to his left and says “Dear mother, I’m happy finally to be able to bring my beloved Yasmin to your house.” Then he faces right and says “Safina, my dear sister, I’m sure you and Yasmin are going to be just as close friends, possibly even closer as you are both women and of the same age, as we have always been.” Safina steps forward to once more touch the heart of Mohamed. Then Hassan says “I’ve told them at the office I’ll be in later than normal. As hard-working as I’ve just heard you have been I’m sure you can now take half an hour off for a cup of coffee. It’s not really possible for you to decline as Aysha has made fresh pastry, and I would be subject to all sorts of teasing if I took them to the office.”
Mohamed takes the seat gestured to him saying “At most half an hour then. I can’t resist your home baking mother. The smell right now really recalls all the wonderful years in this house.” Mohamed asks about his father’s job and then how Moustafa and Ali are doing. Aysha starts laying the table while Safina fronts Yasmin gesturing if she is going to help remove her burqa. Yasmin starts lifting it from the inside as while they walked from the car Mohamed had told her that his father is in favour of the wider family concept where in-laws are treated like brothers and sisters. Safina neatly folds Yasmin’s burqa and nods towards the door to indicate she is going to leave the kitchen for a moment to put it in the wardrobe.
Yasmin minces towards the work top to let her mother-in-law know she is available to assist. Aysha stops in her continuous mincing between the work top and the dining table and after a look around to discover there is only one more abaya in the room besides herself, which means the wearer has to be Yasmin so she shows her to the end of the work top where she is out of the way.
Now that Yasmin only has her eyes covered by tinted protective goggles and the only slightly darkening and blurring eye layer of her niqab she is able to see her father-in-law just as clearly as she sees Mohamed most of the time at home. Both the men have only unmasked, still wearing thin transparent protective latex gloves and showing faces framed by a protective hood under the obligatory ghutra, a sign that they are leaving for work in the not too distant future. Yasmin has to admit Hassan looks better than her own father, although being similarly aged in their mid-forties. She sees some of Muhamed’s features in his face which might be why she likes it.
Seeing Aysha bring the freshly made coffee and the large dish loaded with pastries to the men makes her for a moment long for the time before coming of age. Voice modesty and protection against airborne diseases and pollution only enable adult women to take liquid food, and their sense of smell is stifled by the tubes filling their nostrils, making fresh dishes like only seeing a picture of the delicacy. She could have the coffee but the tradition here is Turkish style strong concentrated coffee taken from small cups not really compatible with using straws, and thus women nearly always drink tea, which Safina has just prepared.
Soon three plastic cups are poured, the lids with a piece of tube as a spout screwed on and the cups distributed along the empty part of the work top ready for the winding path to the women’s lips, because just placing the cups on the less clean floor to simply be grabbed from inside the abaya is not a healthy way to do it. The three identical black objects line up with small spaces between them, next to each other facing the work top to drink while standing as women don’t drink facing males where they would risk showing a glimpse of something non-black while working with their clothes. During daytime no man is supposed to see an adult woman as anything but black fabric or a burqa in a subdued colour.
Yasmin, like the other two, takes her thick long black cotton gloved right hand out through the hand slit of her overhead abaya to lift the cup up under her niqab, where she grabs it with her left hand to take it inside the abaya. Her right hand is immediately pulled inside again, where it goes up under her mantle to her medical mask. This is the inner layer protecting the skin of her lower face and acts as a cover to the drinking tube between her lips. She takes hold of the upper edge of the mask and pulls it just below the tube. Then the left hand finally lifts the cup up under the mantle to the lips where its touch makes it easy to guide the cup tube into the gag tube. Almost always dressed like this the women are skilled at the procedure and it only takes fifteen to twenty seconds from reaching for the cup until liquid can be sucked.
Despite the mouth being filled the tongue is still there for tasting, just firmly held down, and Yasmin tilts her head downwards a little to enjoy the sugared strong black tea with a little lemon, although the liquid in itself is the most important to compensate that being encased in rubber and thick cotton she is always hot and sweaty. The mouth filling means all food has to be liquefied and some of it ends being more nutritious than tasty, but because the filling goes as far back in the mouth as is safe, the tube ends almost at the oesophagus, from where the food can either flow directly to the stomach by holding the head a little up, or its taste being enjoyed first by holding the head a little down to let it flow onto the tongue before sinking.
After just a few minutes Yasmin notices Aysha doing the procedure in reverse order to put the cup back on the work top and turn around to stand observing the table of the men. She can’t serve them with a hand inside the abaya as to keep drinking while facing them is not considered good manners even if nothing is moved in or out through the black covering and just turning the head to see if her service is needed is not an option because one of the layers of adult female covering is a full catsuit with a reinforced neck area to substantially limit head movement. Thus only Yasmin and Safina keep drinking with their backs to the men.
Yasmin is simply looking out the window to where there is a lovely garden with a variety of fruit trees much larger than she has been used to from her own childhood home, and with Mohamed she lives on the third floor. She can easily imagine Mohamed and Safina playing together out there until becoming teenagers, and thus developing a very close relationship. The men have started talking politics implying Yasmin lets their words go in one ear and out the other. She imagines how wonderful it would be walking in this garden as a child able to closely feel where the ground is hard and soft, take hold of a fruit or the trunk of a tree and closely feel its form through thin gloves, see everything in true colour and full detail through clear goggles and smell the flowers through an odour free mask. But she has reached an age where her body is renewed much slower and thus has to be better protected. She has developed an attractive look with forms most pleasing to men that should only be revealed to her love for life, Mohamed, and she has to do her utmost to ensure that all the wrong men and dangerous germs stay away from her body, or even better don’t notice there is something to come for at all, to ensure her body is prepared for and incubate a healthy son to continue Mohamed’s family line.
Her thoughts are interrupted by Safina offering a refill but she declines although she has slowly sucked the cup empty while her mind has gone astray from staring out in the garden, assuming the men are soon leaving and then there will be offered something new to drink while they chat. Listening to the men again she hears Mohamed telling Hassan about his plans on the job today. This makes both Yasmin and Safina stop drinking, do the entire procedure in reverse order ending with pulling their masks up and then turn to await the men deciding to leave.
Of course Hassan understands that this a polite way to say that he thinks it’s time to leave and he says “It sounds to me as you soon deserve to get promoted with such good planning. I’m sure my salary will be well deserved as well when I leave office tonight, but even the smartest of ideas require some hours of manual work to be understandable to others. Let’s get going.” He cleans his mouth with a napkin and Aysha brings two sterilised masks in sealed plastic bags to replace those removed for eating, which have been thrown in the bin for the mask reusing machine.
Mohamed gets up to walk in front of his mother to say “What wonderful pastry. I’m sorry I couldn’t eat more but we had breakfast before coming here as I only expected to deliver Yasmin and leave a few minutes later. It shouldn’t be that long before we meet again. Every time father gives you my regards ask him if he has arranged a trip to visit us. Although our place is much smaller there is room for five, and being close to the city centre there is plenty of places to go for father and I to leave some time for you women to chat.” Aysha leans forward to touch Mohamed followed by Safina while Yasmin minces over to touch Hassan. Then they leave the kitchen Mohamed saying something to his father. Yasmin watches Safina and Aysha clear the table.
There is a knock on the kitchen door and surprisingly Mohamed and Hassan return, the latter saying “Mohamed is so keen for Yasmin and Safina to have a good close relationship that he has asked for my permission to let Yasmin see Safina if granted of course implying he allows Safina to see Yasmin. He further stresses if they are allowed to see each other it is the second best to seeing her himself, which he misses so much. It is not customary to see even family this close until after a couple of visits, but knowing Yasmin’s family I’m sure the women are going to do it in the appropriate manner, and especially wanting to keep the close bonds between Mohamed and Safina I have decided to permit it. But it has to stay between the two of them, Aysha has to wait. I suggest you do it shortly after lunch when a nap would do her good anyway after having been up early to make pastry. Now it really is goodbye.”
Both Safina and Yasmin step forward to touch the heart of the men again, this time changing places to thank them both. Meanwhile Aysha has minced out to see the men as they leave, and as she didn’t do this the first time Yasmin guesses the words have raised a question with her.
Aysha is soon back and gestures the front door is locked to indicate the house is now female-only space. She shows Yasmin into the living room with a coffee table, a three seat sofa and two easy chairs, but gestures Yasmin to take a look out of the windows, giving an even better look at the garden and showing a small terrace under a sun shade. It is clear she wants them to wait for Safina who is still clearing the table in the kitchen.
Less than three minutes later Safina enters making Aysha lift at her abaya. It’s a signal to remove it and they all take the same steps at about the same time. Inside the abaya they remove the thick black cotton gloves. Then a black rubber glove comes through the right hand slit holding the pair of cotton gloves to be put on the table. The hand is pulled inside again and both hands lift the abaya until it can be removed completely. Each folds their abaya and places it next to the gloves. The hands are then used to untie the niqab from behind the head, which is folded twice and placed with the other items. They now appear like women ordinarily do when no men are present, except the dresses showing at the legs are for socialising and not house chores.
Everything from the hips up is covered by the Maskistan mantle. It is sort of a loose sack with a tighter fitting top for the head made of medical quality cotton and only having two small openings over the goggles to see through. The mantle presents a large unbroken surface for taking the major part of air particles and droplets to be directly washed away when replaced. Adult women nearly always wear it in cobalt blue not to have something light to be seen through the niqab eye slit although it’s always worn with a semi-transparent eye cover.
Because this is an occasion for socialising the hands go inside the mantle and upwards to lift it off. They are all still completely covered by several layers in most places, but now three individuals are showing in full. Yasmin first has to observe Safina as she is the young and fashionable one. She wears a coral red dress in thin but opaque cotton from neck to a little above the ankles and her head and neck is covered in a large satin hijab printed mainly in green but with large golden brown flowers, an outer edge in black and a band inside speckled like a leopard. This is the highest fashion, too extreme to be accepted by most husbands, but for making an impact on possible mother-in-law’s perhaps a good move and Safina’s parents have to be looking for a husband for her. But does she dare top this outfit in front of a possible mother-in-law wearing a red medical mask matching the dress as she does now? The rest is black. The five inch heeled rubber boots, because they could peek out under the black clothing, and the elbow length rubber gloves because black matches everything; and both are only changed twice a week when the guardian uses the special solvent in his custody to open the glued flap that prevents access to the zipper of the boots or gloves. And inside the hijab face opening there is a black cotton forehead scarf covering what would be visible of the rubber cap underneath, reaching down to the goggles which are covering the eye area and dark enough to reveal no movement behind them.
Yasmin has to embrace Safina to immediately compliment her on her outfit, but of course with their heads as much apart as possible because now their lower faces are only protected by the single layer of the protective mask although it contains anti-bacterial agents.
Aysha wears a nice olive green dress with a plain moss green hijab and a white mask, forehead scarf and goggle frame. Maskistan is a conservative country where everybody dresses as custom dictates. There is almost no variation in the cut of dresses and the way the hijab is wound and tied. The dresses are always very plain with no fancy pockets, printed fabrics or decoration. All fashion variations are in the patterns and colours of the hijab and the colour of the dress.
Yasmin is a married woman and wears a shining but not sparkling saffron yellow dress topped by a hijab with a dominating white base and an ornate black print. She nearly always wears pale hijabs to contrast all the face covering being totally black. This faceless look many women in Maskistan use to express a desirable shy nature which for Yasmin is natural.
Aysha gestures Yasmin to take the centre seat on the sofa, seating herself to the left of Yasmin, and then Safina sits down to the right of Yasmin towards the windows. From a shelf below the coffee table top Aysha produces the tablet computer made for female communication, gets hold of the writing stick attached with a string and presses the on-key.
With thick rigid fingers from layers of gloves a pointed stick is necessary to ensure a single small contact point. The device is a smart writing pad suggesting words as they are typed. The list is reduced as more characters are entered and words and names previously used during the session appear at the top of the list. But its main feature is that all input is erased when it is turned off to ensure men don’t read what visiting women have expressed, and of course it turns off automatically after five minutes without any key entries. To compensate that it can’t learn from its input the head of the house using a password is able to customise its dictionary to add places, names or abbreviations frequently used in the household. Its front only contains a touch screen where the keypad appears graphically and two keys for on/off and read/write-mode.
Aysha simply writes ‘Welcome Yasmin – the men have said the rest about this subject. You are here to chat with the one of your own age, Mohamed’s sister who was his closest friend until he married you. I’m not going to participate in the conversation unless directly asked. Safina is adult, her mother is not entitled to know all about her, but I’m sure she’ll tell me much from your conversation when opportunity offers in the days to come. Would you like some orange juice from our own garden – of course pasteurised and aseptic stored?’
Yasmin reads this on her own as more people reading the same screen at the same time is considered unhealthy with faces getting too close together. Then she takes the stick and writes, Safina having to wait.
Shortly after Aysha is handed the pad to read ‘It’s a wonderful home you have. I would of course have liked to get to know you better as well but putting yourself aside to help Mohamed maintain his friendship with Safina through me shows true motherhood and generosity that I wholeheartedly admire and have to respect. But before I leave I have to have the recipe for the pastry, and then it couldn’t be better with home grown orange juice now, thank you.’
After reading Aysha gets up from her seat and walks around the table to hand Safina the pad. Then she visibly shows that she withdraws from the conversation by putting her mantle on and then leaves the room.
While Safina reads it all Yasmin takes a new look at the garden taking special interest in the orange trees. Seeing many fruits ready to pick reminds her of a day when she was eight or nine and she was alone with her father who is very proud of his gardening skills. She was allowed to point out what she thought was the best orange in the garden and after her father had inspected it thoroughly she was allowed to pick it and carry it to the kitchen where her father peeled and sectioned it to let her eat all the pieces except one for himself without anything done to ensure safety. She has never tasted anything that fresh, and for a long time it was very hard to keep the promise her father required of her not telling it to anyone, especially not her mother, but she did.
Yasmin is handed the pad and of course Safina has written something to open their mutual communication. ‘Mother is becoming reserved and never chats unnecessarily or much at all. Full days where she doesn’t write a word are not unusual, but in the days to come I’m sure that during the breaks in our housework she is going to hand me the pad at least for her to read something. But you being married and me single there are some subjects that I’m not too keen on asking her about that you might touch a little later when we have become more intimate. First I have to compliment you on your attire, a classic Maskistan look. Is your mask a MaskiMedics M24?’
Yasmin lifts her head while considering what to answer to notice that Aysha has silently returned with a tray with a two litre transparent plastic jug of juice, three glasses and straws. Seeing Yasmin has stopped reading Aysha unscrews the airtight lid of the jug, pours the first glass and places it in front of Yasmin. Without the abaya and niqab they are able to drink almost normally, but without the mantle it requires a special straw, which has a ninety degree bend near the top end and an opposite soft bend five centimetres lower. Yasmin pulls at the lower edge of her mask just enough to get the straw into her mouth tube, where the bends make it fit under the mask while it is still in its normal position, enabling her to lift the glass up to get the straw into it.
After a large sip she writes ‘It is, and the hood with the goggles and the catsuit is MaskiMedics as well, which means I’m a hundred percent covered by their products. I have to admit I’m more than a little envious about your looks, but I think both my mother and other women I associate with would say that such a look expresses a personality which isn’t as modest as it should be. Has your mother approved of this outfit or are you able to persuade your father to get what you want despite her?’
Two minutes later Yasmin reads ‘I guess I would be able to get something that my mother doesn’t approve of because she communicates even less when my father is present than when we are alone, so very likely she wouldn’t even read what I ask my father. But actually it’s him who told me to look in the catalogues for something like this. Not the actual outfit, which I have chosen myself, but the latest fashion and beyond the ordinary. My parents have started looking for a husband for me and I’ve been told, perhaps you have experienced it yourself, that often when possible parents-in-law come to visit, then most of the time the women have to stay in black without communicating because the men are present, and they may only leave for as little as five minutes for the women to exchange a few lines and the possible mother-in-law see the daughter in dress and hijab, making it necessary with an outfit that immediately makes a strong impression. It’s daring but it’s not immodest, and unmarried women are allowed a little more colour to outshine subjects better suited for married women my mother has told me. And I’m not immodest, my father only sees me in black and has not seen this and is never going to see it unless it’s going to be part of my wedding dress as well. But my parents have just started looking, there haven’t been any women with marriageable sons visiting yet, and except mother you are the first to see me like this. Do you think it’s going to work? It’s a Masace dress and the hijab is from Mashmere. Both have something a little more subdued for married women if you need to relieve your envy.’
Yasmin writes ‘I can only say that I’m enchanted but if you are told that you are having visitors with marriage in mind and that they are conservative, perhaps you should consider a mask in black or perhaps a subdued green matching the hijab. I have no experience with possible parents-in-law visiting. My parents only took your parents home to make the final agreement, and while my mother served the men your mother and I were seated opposite each other in the kitchen having tea, but both in black we only said hello and goodbye. There was not even five minutes without abaya and niqab. I don’t have any Masace dresses or any other brand that exclusive. Mine is the best of Mask & Sezer, but like a lot of my clothing I got it from my mother. She thinks she has become too old for this style, so the clothes being more than twenty years old it is truly classic and shows that Maskistan fashion changes very little.’
In thirty seconds Yasmin gets the pad back. ‘Next time you see something in a catalogue that you like, even if it’s expensive like Masace or Mashmere, tell Mohamed I have something just like it, then I think it will be very hard for him to say no.’
Yasmin quickly writes ‘I think you are right, and I would love to have some more clothes I have selected myself. But I won’t lie to Mohamed, and if I can only refer to the outfits you are wearing each time we meet, even if it’s going to be much more frequent, then it may take some time before I see you in something close enough for my conscience to be clear. Seeing your wardrobe perhaps would solve the problem.’
The answer reads ‘You are welcome. Just remember that a married woman like you may have to dress more conservatively.’
Yasmin faces Safina with a nod, and when Safina nods back while getting up from her seat Yasmin turns off the pad and puts it on the shelf under the table getting up as well. Aysha stays seated in the easy chair. She has only really moved once during their conversation to refill the glasses, but it clearly shows that she isn’t sleeping. From her position Yasmin guesses her centre of view is right between the seats. This means she is following their conversation by watching the pad being handed over. They both put on their mantles as when moving around the air is stirred causing more particles to move around and then the face can’t be covered by just one layer.
In Safina’s small room the bed almost takes up the long wall on the right and the left wall is completely filled by a full-height cupboard. Safina gestures she is only going to open the section containing her dresses, and when Yasmin nods she pulls down the handle of the leftmost of four doors. This doesn’t open the door but makes machinery sound along with air being sucked and a red light in the handle starts blinking. The cupboards are airtight and while closed filled with a gas that ensures bugs and even smaller creatures that like dark spaces with cloth don’t live in there. After ten seconds the sounds stop and a few seconds later the light turns green enabling Safina to pull the handle fully down and open the door.
Yasmin is both a little disappointed but also relieved. The contents are typical for a young adult woman not yet married. It is a little more colourful and daring than Yasmin’s own wardrobe, but that is just as much because she has far too much of her mother’s clothes. In fact Yasmin can’t see any other items of exclusive brands like Masace or Mashmere than what Safina is wearing, but much of it is nice and close to her own taste nonetheless, and without touching Yasmin points here and there making approving nods and gestures. Despite the selection isn’t large but they have spent more than fifteen minutes looking through the outfits with Safina following what interests Yasmin most when a green lamp above the door starts flashing. Yasmin immediately steps back to let Safina close the door and faster than normal they mince back to the living room.
The light has been turned on because the curtains have been drawn and facing the curtained windows Aysha is now standing in abaya and niqab again. On top of the black clothing of Yasmin and Safina a single package for each with a moist anti-bacterial tissue has been placed. They take the tissue up under their mantle to push the palm with the unfolded tissue under the mask and sweep the touchable part of the lower face. Then both sides of both gloved hands are swept, and finally they bend down to let the tissue touch both boots. Now Yasmin and Safina cover themselves in black as well, and Yasmin lines up behind Aysha while Safina goes to turn the lights off. Almost all single homes in Maskistan are built with the windows of the living room facing Mecca, making some of the wonders of Allah in the form of a garden being the visual impressions that directly precede and follow prayers for women who never go to the mosque. Piously covered, not even showing hands which are pulled inside the abaya, they wait without light and what it reveals that could disturb the mind. Being delayed by coming from Safina’s room they don’t have to wait long for the prayer call to sound from a nearby minaret. It stops after a couple of minutes but the women keep on praying individually until the light automatically turns on after a quarter of an hour.
When Yasmin removes her niqab she assumes it is Aysha right in front of her gesturing lunch is going to be served right away and thus the mantle is not to be removed. As soon as Safina has just drawn the curtains back Yasmin takes the opportunity to point into the garden and from there to the coffee table and her own mouth nodding vigorously to indicate she liked the orange juice and she could taste where it came from. Aysha bows before heading for the kitchen. Safina and Yasmin immediately follow, Safina pointing at a chair for Yasmin with herself taking the one opposite.
With most food for women, both blended and pasteurised, it is nearly always prepared in advance or bought ready to serve and there is no laying table. Aysha just takes three glasses out of the fridge, removes the lids, enters a straw in each and places one in front of Yasmin and Safina respectively before sitting down next to Safina with the third.
They all take their glasses, lean back to get clear of the edge of the table and take both hands up under the mantle. The left is taken down again after having pulled the mask below the lips and then they sit like this almost unmoving until the glass is empty. They have cold vegetable soup made as thick as feasible with a high content of potatoes. It is very good and to Yasmin there is no doubt that it is homemade. With only the mantles to be seen above the table top the ones they are dining with could be any Maskistan women. Yasmin nods a couple of times to praise the food, but as the free left hand can’t express much alone and besides then would lift and fold the mantle unbecomingly, meals among Maskistan women are simply almost identical periods of silent rest where the body in addition gets nutrition.
But today the surroundings are new to Yasmin and she doesn’t close her eyes while sucking. After about ten minutes she takes her right hand out from the mantle to place an empty glass on the table. Within a minute Safina and Aysha almost simultaneously copy her actions, Aysha very likely having emptied her glass faster but waited to let the guest drink at her own pace.
Then Aysha and Safina both get up, Safina to take the empty glasses to the sink and Aysha to get the dessert from the fridge. Soon, almost unmoving, they all sit sucking again. This time it’s a smoothie with a mix of fruits probably all originating from the garden. Again Yasmin first puts her empty glass on the table and then the other two follow. As only Safina gets up Yasmin’s gesturing, pointing from where her glass has just stood and out the window indicates that it was very delicious. Aysha nods in a way that Yasmin takes as confirmation that everything is home grown. Meanwhile Safina has put the glasses in the dishwasher, and after having washed the table top the kitchen is cleared. Safina then gestures Yasmin to go back to the living room with her.
They sit down on the sofa as before and Safina hands the pad to Yasmin for her to start the conversation. Yasmin turns on the pad and writes ‘It was a wonderful lunch. I understood from Aysha that all the ingredients are home grown. Please remember to thank your father who has to be an excellent gardener. But preparing the food is just as important to get such fine results. Is it you or Aysha?’
In a minute Yasmin is able to read ‘I’m really happy you liked it because it is of course me who since becoming of age has done almost all housework to prepare for marriage, although of course with mother closely supervising, but with exactly what we have just had she hasn’t tasted it for approval. I take your words as she won’t complain and reduce her supervision further.’
Yasmin answers ‘I couldn’t have made it better even with ingredients from my father’s garden which he is very proud of. Tell me, what are Mohamed’s favourite dishes? He is just so sweet that he says everything I make is wonderful.’
But as Yasmin is about to hand the pad to Safina her hand is stopped by a black cotton glove holding a small grey metal cylinder. As both Yasmin and Safina lift their heads the other hand of Aysha reaches for the upper edge of the mask of Safina without touching it motions as if pulling it down. Clearly Aysha thinks it’s time for them to unmask to each other, and as this very likely is going to make the conversation more intimate the sooner the better. Her action sees Yasmin and Safina face each other for both to nod several times. Seeing their response Aysha seats herself in the easy chair with the cylinder in her lap. She takes her right hand inside her abaya and shortly after the end of her breathing tube appears through its slit in the abaya not far below the cylinder. Safina has been waiting for this and immediately connects it to the valve at the top of the cylinder. Her hands stay on the valve while Aysha places her hands, still inside the abaya, on the armrests and straightens so she is not touching the back of the chair to have Safina only waiting for a final nod of mental readiness. But it’s a hand and not the head of Aysha which moves. Checking to be ready her eyes have instinctively noticed the looks of Safina and Yasmin, and her right hand appears through the hand slit to point from the top of Safina’s head down towards her waist. Safina and Yasmin immediately turn to the table. Even if they are going to uncover even more in a short while it’s not going to take place in here, and just having left the sofa should have them put their mantles on. When Aysha sees two mantles right in front of her she makes a clear nod and Safina turns the knob of the valve. Aysha now has a sleeping gas added to her intake of normal air, but as the air goes straight to her lungs she can neither smell or taste anything. Yasmin watches her closely as she has never herself seen this method used to guarantee a woman doesn’t cheat. Except for her straight back Aysha sits very still, just like when observing Yasmin and Safina communicate before lunch. But after close to twenty seconds it looks like all her muscles relax at the same time and she falls back against the back of the chair. Her head leans a little to the right and would have dropped to her shoulder were it not for the tight collaring of her neck. Safina pushes at the right shoulder of her mother and moves her head to have her rest in a completely vertical position without any strain on either side. When it feels and looks right she gestures for Yasmin to follow her.
At the bathroom door Safina pulls the handle down and then, keeping her hand on the handle, waits. Like the clothes cupboards the bathroom is filled with a gas when not in use to keep all surfaces clean and disinfected. When the noise of the air pump stops, Safina points to herself with her left hand to receive an affirmative nod from Yasmin who has already placed herself closer to the opposite wall. The light in the door handle turns green and Safina enters the bathroom and a few seconds later the light starts flashing green.
Yasmin looks around but there is absolutely nothing in the corridor to catch interest while waiting. The smooth white walls connect with the white ceiling and a smooth but not slippery stone floor. Having been into Yasmin’s room is being treated as a much closer friend than can be accounted for just because of family and undoubtedly only took place because what they have been allowed to do now is even more intimate, but seeing the other rooms in this corridor or elsewhere in the house most likely is never going to happen.
Yasmin faces the bathroom door and instead thinks about what she is going to see. Hassan has said Safina is very beautiful, but hasn’t seen Yasmin and only has his wife, perhaps a few other women of his own family seen as girls and pictures of foreign women to compare with. Mohamed prefers herself, but as Hassan stated, she is what is available to him right now and he hasn’t seen Safina since she came of age. In the eyes of a Maskistani, no photo of an international model or movie star can compare to a Maskistan woman, although no one has or would dream of testing this.
After five minutes the square but covered window panel of the bathroom door becomes transparent as Safina lifts the cover on the inside.
Yasmin immediately becomes all eyes, her brain used to compensate for the tinting of her goggles. It is a stunningly beautiful face that she sees. Smooth dark brown skin, almond shaped slightly green eyes, slanting pitch black eyebrows, a long narrow nose and well-formed red lips. All this beauty framed, contrasted by and protruding from a white latex hood. There is of course no makeup but the skin has got protective preserving oil and the lips are applied with a protecting and colour enhancing balm. No matter the beauty it’s always something special to look at a living female face in Maskistan with moving and blinking eyes and lips that change from upturned happy to down turned sad, the latter for Safina right now only to make funny faces – but the lips of adult Maskistan women never part into a wide smile or a sexy O-shape because the gagging compound reaches beyond the teeth to glue the lips shut around the drinking tube. And of course Yasmin is able to ignore the tubes coming out of the nostrils, bending sharply to go around the lips on either side to meet again under the chin from where they go down through the cleavage between the catsuit and the dress. Safina seems to Yasmin so good at making faces that she perhaps has rehearsed her performance in front of the mirror, because the completely transparent window doesn’t give any feedback and to Safina, Yasmin is just an expressionless cloth surface with two tinted plastic circles. After something like two minutes the exaggerated movements stop and Safina steps back from the door to let her hand appear in front of the window showing it is about to reach for the cover. Yasmin nods and a few seconds later she is staring at the opaque door in the dull corridor.
While waiting for Safina to cover Yasmin is only able to conclude that Safina is an individual of her own with a look different from herself and thus a beauty of her own. It is a beauty that very much appeals to her, perhaps because the resemblance with Mohamed from their common descent is quite clear. But in a beauty contest, something that can only be imagined in Maskistan, would she prefer Safina or herself if she was an impartial judge? In a few minutes she is able to make a fresh comparison in the bathroom mirror. Safina having washed and treated her face it takes less than two minutes before the bathroom door opens and one mantle walks out and another in.
Yasmin immediately removes her mantle and hangs it on a hook by an eye opening. Then she unties and removes her hijab and forehead scarf, hanging them over the same hook, to show a head in medical protective rubber and cloth. Next she unties the mask to show her face below the eyes, and reties two straps to hang the mask on top of the mantle with the inside out. Finally she unbuckles the wide strap going under her chin that secures the rubber cap with integrated goggles that covers the top of her head including the ears to fully reveal her face and a head that is otherwise now covered by the cream yellow hood of her catsuit. With the cap placed on a separate hook Yamin walks to the sink and the mirror. Small droplets appear on her forehead now that it is no longer encased in rubber, but even her lower face is a little moist and red from the covering and her generally hot body. Safina has left everything she needs ready for her next to the sink. First she rolls up her dress sleeves and fastens them at the elbows with a rubber band. Then she is able to wash her face. With her rubber glove covered forearms and with her latex framed face she doesn’t have to be careful when applying the water. After towelling her face looks fresh but of course she then carefully oils it to protect the skin and make it shine, and finally the stick with lip balm do the same to her mouth and in addition enhances its colour.
The sight that now appears in the mirror is certainly beauty to any Maskistan adult, but if it is more or less beautiful than Safina is not what comes to Yasmin’s mind when seeing herself. She is reminded of the one, who when seeing that face uses the finest most enchanting words a woman can hear to describe and praise what he sees, namely Mohamed. The longing smile that appears on her face and the sensation that goes through her body makes her decide to demonstrate to Safina that when getting married having fun is very different from making funny faces. She removes the rubber bands and unrolls her dress sleeves and goes to the door. The window cover is hinged with a spring load that either holds it in the closed or open position. Yasmin grabs its handle, directly faces the window, closes her eyes and pulls the cover open.
She waits for ten seconds with her eyes closed before slowly opening them to blink seductively as if just having woken to see the man she has been sleeping with smiling at her. Then she starts imagining Mohamed in front of her instead of an impersonal female mantle and she is sure the look she just saw in the mirror shows on her face. She actually succeeds in recalling her last love making with Mohamed truncating it to a ninety seconds play of facial expressions for Safina. And she is so much in control that just when she is about to mentally experience the climax again her hand finds the cover handle and pulls down.
She has never done anything like this before and suddenly feels very hot and out of breath in much the same way as when it really happened. Yasmin, instead of beginning to cover herself again, while regaining her senses, walks over to the sink and, partly breathing through her mouth tube, to refresh her face. She spends close to a minute washing, towelling and oiling again, after which she feels calm enough for changing her looks to that of a protected and decent Maskistan women. She walks to the hooks to quickly put on the hood with goggles and the mask. Still there she winds the forehead scarf around the top of her head and ties it, and then the hijab where she ends arranging the snip to go into and cover the neck opening of her dress. Only then does she turn to take a look in the mirror to concentrate if the hijab is fitted correctly. She turns again to reach for the mantle, and only when she vaguely senses it around her head and upper body and physically sees the reduction in her field of vision due to its eye openings she is ready to really look in the mirror again.
The large featureless cobalt blue surface with the two dark tinted circles is as far as one can get from the lively smiling seductively eye blinking face that Yasmin is able to get sex and Mohamed out of her mind and mince across the bathroom floor as a sensible modest Maskistan woman to chat fashion and cooking with her female friend. Safina, leaning casually against the opposite wall, is waiting outside. She doesn’t seem to mind the extra time used by Yasmin because only when Yasmin walks up right in front of her, perhaps even helped by the air pumps of the bathroom starting, Safina reacts by straightening, nodding towards the end of the corridor and beginning to mince away.
They enter the living room making Yasmin recall that the reason Aysha appears to be sitting exactly as when they left is that she is sitting in exactly the same position, because she is still unconscious from breathing sleeping gas. Although the last thing Aysha did was pointing out mantles are only removed while sitting at the coffee table Safina immediately removes her mantle and Yasmin follows suit, but as soon as it is free of her head, while Safina folds hers, Yasmin holds her hand pointing at Aysha in front of Safina’s face. But Safina just points at the sofa and soon after seats herself.
Then Yasmin sits down as well and not long after she is handed the pad to read ‘Even though mother doesn’t read our conversation I would feel more comfortable with her as she is for the subjects I would now like to discuss. You are indeed very beautiful and the way you presented yourself made me understand that with marriage you can use that to experience pleasures unknown to me. At the first opportunity I have to ask my parents how finding me a husband progresses to make it go faster if possible. First, please just refuse if it is too personal or embarrassing, would you describe how it is to go to bed with a man? Second, how long do you think I can safely wait before waking mother?’
Yasmin quickly writes ‘I’ve never been present when someone has been put to sleep before. But I guess the first thing Aysha will do on waking is to look at the clock, and as we were only supposed to show ourselves to each other for a maximum of five minutes each and allowing for a little more for each of us to uncover, wash and cover ourselves again she wouldn’t expect to have slept for much more than half an hour. How much time has passed? Twenty-five minutes? Pass it back right after reading for me to answer your first question.’
As Yasmin is handed the pad Safina gets up, puts on her mantle and leaves the room. Yasmin starts to write a long message ‘As I guess even after coming of age you are the first to use the bathroom when it’s time to go to bed and then are supposed to stay in your own room no matter when you lay down to sleep I’ll be rather detailed about what I do. First I go to the bedroom to fetch a love hood and a nightgown which I take with me to the bathroom. Here I undress the little I can, wash my uncovered face, and do what else is needed before sleeping. Then I put the love hood, which is made of the same material as medical latex gloves, being thin very elastic and quite transparent although never clear, on. It actually fits like a glove over the head following my facial features with such detail that only my eyelashes are obscured, but everything is seen through a coloured haze, available in the same colours as gloves but usually white is preferred, not at least because looking out through a white haze is better than a darker one. The hood has no other openings than for the neck, the nostril tubes go inside to come out of the neck opening and to be able to drink or breathe that way a small hollow plastic socket puncturing the hood is punched into the mouth tube. Finally I put on the nightgown, which as you perhaps know, is very different from your own nightgowns, allowing me to put it on in the bathroom. To be sure you know what I am able to do in bed I’ll make clear the differences. Yours is essentially just a head to toe bag made of strong medical cotton in the usual colours and entered through a front zipper which you close from the inside down to the waist. A married woman’s sleeping suit is made of the same material but has very loose legs and arms covering feet and hands respectively. It is entered through a zipper from the waist up the front which continues up the front of the hood to close completely at the forehead. Then there are zippers at the crotch, to connect the lower legs and to hold the forearms to the body for the husband to decide how he likes to enjoy his wife. When the suit is on I pull the zipper up to just below the eyes, keep holding at the slider to pull the remaining small opening right to be able to see. Then I go to the bedroom and lie down on the disposable medical sheet on my half of the bed, and if Mohamed has not said otherwise close the zipper to connect the lower legs, the one holding the forearm to the side at the bedside and the last few inches of the front zipper to let me rest in darkness until he arrives.
Usually I’m made aware of his arrival by hearing nice words about my cooking, housework or even better my looks or certain parts of my body, but now and then he surprises me by not making a sound and suddenly he touches somewhere or is all over my body. From this point there are many possibilities from just a little cuddling to playing with each other for long periods, squeezing each other everywhere with arms, hands, legs, feet and face, with or without any of my zippers open or closed, going from the nightgown being almost removed to me being totally confined inside the gown just passively receiving Mohamed’s caresses. But his preferred way of lovemaking that we do something like five days a week is him unzipping my arm and the front down to the neck, and then we look at each other’s faces while he kisses everywhere on my face, but especially my lips, with only the thin latex membrane of my love hood separating our skins, and I have my arms around him to pull our upper bodies close with my breasts caressing his chest. While this goes on he moves to get on top of me and when he feels like it he unzips my crotch, both the nightgown and the catsuit, to put the thing men pee with into me. We both wear underpants with a front of thin medical glove latex, but these membranes are hardly felt as it’s him filling me and moving inside me that creates sensations much stronger than any form of non-physical love and makes you long for your husband day after day. At some point your mind gets overloaded with pleasurable sensations and you mentally explode and occasionally physically pass out while the man experiences something similar, but not as exhausting, making his thing eject a cream and then diminish thus ending the act. Then we both relax flat on our backs for some minutes holding hands and finally Mohamed leans over to close all my zippers ending with a quick kiss on my love hooded lips before closing my gown hood.’
When Safina is handed the pad she has been back for a while bringing more orange juice. While waiting for Yasmin to finish her long message Safina has slowly turned and leaned towards Yasmin as she gets more and more excited the longer she has to wait for what has to be, for her, an unprecedented look into the life of a married woman like she has never got from her mother.
It takes Safina some time to read the message and while she does Yasmin drinks some of the orange juice. She can tell when Safina gets to where Yasmin enters the bed by the pad being lifted closer to Safina’s face. Finally Safina stops reading but she just lets her hands with the pad sink to her lap and leans back in the sofa. After a minute Safina lifts the pad again but she doesn’t start typing, instead she reads the account once more. Yasmin just waits. What she has told Safina she was never told by her own mother, because mother’s never think of their own children as adults being old enough to learn what goes on between the sexes after marriage. This makes Yasmin aware that Aysha is still sitting motionless opposite breathing sleeping gas.
A couple of minutes later Safina finally starts typing immediately making Yasmin touch her hand and point to mother. Shortly after Yasmin is handed the pad and reads ‘While I was in the bathroom to show you my face I clumsily knocked the oil bottle over and had to clean the vanity and the floor and get a new bottle. Can’t I just wait five minutes more? I don’t think I’ll be able to read as I’ve just done with mother watching and what you just wrote was amazing. But I have been told that children originate from the man having his thing in skin contact with his wife and that doesn’t happen in your account. Don’t you want children?’
Yasmin immediately replies ‘I think you have to wake your mother right now. We can avoid your mother learning that you read something very intimate and private by handing the pad over every other minute even if the writing or reading isn’t finished. I’ll just make a pause as if I was reading and you can type a line of nonsense to write. If you wake Aysha I’ll start writing about how children are conceived.’
Quickly Safina gets up and walks to Aysha to close the valve of the gas cylinder, disconnect the cylinder from the breathing tube and put it on the table. Yasmin keeps watching Aysha, but she doesn’t move in the slightest. Yasmin gets a little worried the gas may be harmful by this long exposure and sips juice instead of writing while still watching Aysha.
The pad is held in front of her to read ‘Why don’t you write? It takes close to ten minutes to wake from the gas. Please use the time we have in complete privacy.’
Yasmin starts typing ‘You first asked about going to bed. There is no need to go to bed to have children, although many couples do what is necessary in bed. I am allowed to change my catsuit and what is beneath once a week until now because Mohamed is so in love with me that he has to see and feel me naked this frequently. Many husbands just dissolve the glue of their wives boots and gloves when they find it appropriate and then let the wife bathe and change alone in the bathroom. Mohamed however joins me in the bathroom, undresses himself and bathes with me. When we are both naked and touching each other the sensations and the urge for him to put his thing into me and me to receive it is even stronger than when playing in bed, so this has happened almost every time. He has consulted a doctor to be assured that this works just as if doing it in bed with both pushing their underpants down. He usually starts by kissing my lips skin to skin which sends such strong sensations through my body and mind that I’m unable to explain to you in detail what goes on after that except that it’s so wonderful you want it to go on forever. After we have finished and Mohamed has pulled away from me I then wash and towel dry while my body and mind slowly returns to normal. He then tells me he loves me and it was wonderful and he puts on a pair of disposable latex gloves to help me get dressed, locked up with glue and he keeps on until I’m wearing my mantle again.’
Yasmin stops typing but doesn’t move her hands away from the pad although Safina is ready to reach for it as soon as it is moved towards her. After a glance at the still motionless Aysha and a deep breath Yasmin adds ‘Please let this be enough about lovemaking for today. Just writing about it makes my mind recall many of the feelings, although weaker, but strong enough to make me feel hot and exhausted and think about Mohamed, which now feels bad because he isn’t here.’
Yasmin lets the pad go and takes some large sips of the juice to relax and balance the sweat that wets her catsuit. After a couple of minutes the black head opposite in the easy chair suddenly lifts from the back to start a movement through the black body that results in it straightening in the chair and looking around. The eyes under the niqab must have caught the clock while the head was turning because Aysha gets up and walks around the table without removing her black covering to interrupt Safina’s reading with her hand pointing to the clock. Safina was probably close to having read Yasmin’s last message twice, but immediately she pushes the pads on/off button twice loosing the wonderful account which she would probably have read once more if Aysha was still knocked out, and starts writing.
Yasmin doesn’t like what Safina has done and after less than ten seconds she suddenly leans over to grab the pad from between Safina’s hands. Reading the unfinished message confirms that she doesn’t like what Safina is about to do either. She erases what she has written and simply writes ‘Safina wanted to know about my love life with Mohamed but didn’t like to read about it with you watching her so she kept you sleeping twice as long as necessary for us to see each other,’ She then hands the pad to Aysha.
After reading Aysha turns the pad off and puts it down on the shelf gesturing prayer time. It is more than ten minutes away but Yasmin and Safina get up and put on their mantles, Aysha then hands them a tissue package each and after washing they put on their abayas and niqabs, and Aysha gestures that they should don the thick black gloves as well. Meanwhile she has pulled at the curtains but not closed them entirely. She waves Yasmin to come and points out into the garden gesturing walking out there. Yasmin nods but is not quite sure what Aysha means as adult women very rarely walk where nature is dominating with all its hidden dangers and good environment for microbes and bacteria. Aysha pulls the curtains fully closed and they take their positions for prayer with Safina waiting at the light switch she has just turned on, to turn it off. Before starting her prayers Yasmin wonders if Aysha is going to punish them more or Safina alone, than denying them ten minutes of conversation, but she would rather be punished than having accepted lying to her mother-in-law, which makes her start praying with clean conscience.
When the prayers are over Aysha gestures them to follow her without removing their black items. They go to the kitchen where Aysha holds down the handle of a door. Containing disinfection gas when closed it’s not surprising when opened Yasmin looks into a store room. It’s not much larger than a walk-in closet with doors along both sides two thirds of the length of the room and open shelves at the back. Aysha gestures to Safina and Yasmin to stay outside, goes to the back and kneels down to pull out something from the floor in the left corner. It’s a large roll and the outer surface is heavy black neoprene. She lifts it with both hands and comes forward to place it in the outstretched arms of Safina. Aysha goes to the back again and returns with an identical item which she hands to Yasmin. Receiving it Yasmin is surprised at its weight being close to ten kilos explaining why it’s best carried in two arms.
Aysha minces back to the living room and Safina and Yasmin follow a little slower due to their load. Aysha points to the empty area of the floor, where they have been standing while praying and Safina and Yasmin carefully put their loads down. Aysha hands Safina the pad gesturing she would like her to explain to Yasmin what they have given. Safina and Yasmin sit down on the sofa and while Safina writes Yasmin notices that Aysha doesn’t unpack the items but just stands facing the windows.
Soon Yasmin is handed the pad to read ‘Mother is right, for a few months we have been able to walk in the garden. My father knows a man who has solved the problem of how adult women can safely enjoy land not cleaned to Maskistan standards such as nature, farmland and gardens. These are two samples of a prototype series suit, approved for production, which is airtight and waterproof and thus keeps the wearer completely isolated from the environment around her. The wearer breathes clean compressed air from a cylinder, which explains why the roll is so heavy. This version is just for enjoying being in the open among plants. It is not for working as it has no arms, but it’s flexible enough for pointing out what is special to our garden such as my favourite flowers, which I’m looking forward to showing you.’
Yasmin has no immediate questions or reasons to answer in writing so she just nods several times to Safina to say she is ready to be shown the garden while holding the pad towards Aysha, who is now facing them. Aysha shakes her head indicating she does not want read the message and points to the suits. Yasmin puts the pad down on the shelf and gets up like Safina. Safina bows down over the roll closest to the windows and gestures Yasmin to copy her at the other roll. They unbuckle a strap holding the roll and unroll it to find that there is one piece of neoprene material rolled around the air cylinder which is entangled in nylon straps. Safina comes to Yasmin, picks up her cylinder and checks the valves and the meter before starting to untangle the straps and gestures to Yasmin to lift her abaya high. She lifts the cylinder to Yasmin’s waist and holds out one strap for Yasmin to place her arm through. Moments later Yasmin is carrying the cylinder horizontally across the front of her waist like a baby carrier. Safina gestures for Yasmin to reach down in her dress slit for her air tube and when it emerges Safina connects it to the cylinder and turns on the valve. Her gestures indicate she wants to know if Yasmin can breathe okay and faces her for ten seconds while Yasmin continuously nods because she is unable to detect she is no longer breathing the surrounding air. Safina then locates the slit in Yasmin’s abaya to push out the exhaust tube of the breathing system and lets the abaya fall to the floor.
They turn to the neoprene suit, which looks very much like a burqa covering everything, but with the mesh of a burqa replaced by two tinted clear covers matching the goggles they wear but appearing darker but because the suit has a closed bottom with two slightly protruding circular pads with a deep grooved and slip resistant pattern it is actually made of a top and a bottom half attached to each other at a quarter of the circumference at the front and with a long zipper to close the rest. Safina gets the suit ‘standing’ and open with the top part folded down to touch the floor and shows Yasmin that there are toe clamps for her boots connected with a hard surface to ankle supports, which she has to adjust in height and then buckle their cuffs tightly around the legs of her boots. Yasmin now seats herself on the edge of an easy chair and Safina slides the bottom half of the suit under her lifted feet enabling Yasmin to stand up with her toes inside the clamps and buckles her boots to the suit. Safina puts a hand down along Yasmin’s thigh to get hold of the exhaust tube and connect it to a socket at the side of the suit that sends the exhaust out in the atmosphere. With a gesture from Safina Yasmin bows very deeply to get her head inside the top part and then with the aid of her hands makes it follow her up as she straightens again. The top now rests loosely on top of her head and she can turn her head and body inside the suit but she is only able to see if her head is facing straight forward, and even then her field of vision has become a little smaller and somewhat darker. Meanwhile Safina has closed the zipper and Yasmin is now sealed inside an airtight sack, unable to get out on her own and without knowing how long her air supply will last, but feels assured Safina knows the suit well.
Yasmin lifts a leg to try to move and finds that the bottom is more flexible than it looks. Despite that her stride is reduced from the normal almost a foot to about six inches and moving is no longer mincing but a matter of wriggling the bottom of the suit to propel herself forward.
Being suited first gives Yasmin the chance to practice a little inside the living room while Safina gets ready with the aid of Aysha, but when moving so she faces them she is a little shocked to see that when Safina is about to lift the cylinder to her waist Aysha right next to lifts her own abaya to make it clear that she is the one to be suited. Yasmin is so disbelieving that she stays watching them instead of practicing. Like herself Aysha is fitted with the cylinder, starting to breathe from it and then seats herself for Safina to push the bottom of the suit under her feet. But when Aysha is standing again ready to bow into the top Yasmin is baffled again as Aysha points to the small sleeping gas cylinder and from there to the easy chair making it clear what she wants Safina to do. She obediently takes the cylinder, gets her breathing tube out through the abaya and connects it. Then Aysha gets into the top of the suit and moves a little to get right next to the easy chair for Safina to reach up and zip her. As Safina takes her hands away the black neoprene body of Aysha bows down over her to have the best possible view of the cylinder, and when Safina holds the hand to the valve that will put her to sleep Aysha rocks a little up and down for yes making Safina turn the knob. Safina seats herself comfortably and then directly faces Yasmin while her hands, now of of course both inside the abaya, strangely shows making the front of the abaya bulge on each side. It could be a ‘goodbye’ or ‘have a nice walk’ hug or waving a hidden ‘see you later’. The hands inside the abaya remain the same until the moment all the muscles of the body relax. Once Safina is asleep Aysha wriggles to the chair at the side where Safina has dropped back and bows down and uses her head to push Safina’s upper body and head straight.
After this she moves towards the corner where the garden door is with Yasmin trailing her while learning that wriggling the suit is not that difficult although about half as slow as the already slow normal mincing. Although their hands are trapped inside Yasmin sees that the neoprene is flexible enough for Aysha to make a bulge with which she can move the bolt to unlock the door and a second bulge to press the handle down while leaning against the door to make it open.
They both wriggle out onto the terrace and Aysha again pushes against the door until it closes. Despite there is a sunshade Yasmin is immediately reminded of another reason other than catching diseases why women spend so little time out in the open. The afternoon sun burns from a clear sky and they are completely enclosed in the colour that absorbs heat the most, namely black. It is not unlikely that the temperature inside the suit will double within ten minutes and Yasmin realises that this ensures that they are going to head for the house long before the air supply runs out even if the garden is so enchanting that they forget about time. Perhaps they can only endure ten minutes Yasmin corrects herself as she follows Aysha away from the terrace and the sunshade.
They cross a small piece of lawn between the house and the fruit trees and although the ground is rather hard it is uneven and much softer than the floors and pavements that are the only surfaces Yasmin has put her feet on since becoming of age, and standing on and moving across a non-hard surface now is only possible because the suit converts her small high-heel footprint to a larger non-skid surface.
There are a variety of flowers around the lawn but Yasmin only passes close by some red and yellow tulips as she wriggles to follow Aysha. Most of the fruit trees are from man-height up to twice as high and as they walk in between them there are areas of shadow that makes Yasmin adjust the time they can stay out upwards again although she can now feel the heat inside her catsuit directly on her body which is already sweating like after half an hour of the hardest housework.
After wriggling for several minutes they have covered about one hundred metres and reached the centre of the garden. In the shadow under one of the largest trees Aysha stops. After no movement for close to half a minute Yasmin wriggles in front of her and faces her making Aysha toss her upper body forward to indicate Yasmin is free to continue on her own. Yasmin wriggles some ten metres further and then turns to see that Aysha has not moved and that Aysha makes another toss when seeing Yasmin face her.
Then she slowly wriggles further down the garden constantly turning to look to both sides. In addition to oranges there are lemons, apricots and plums. Yasmin enjoys being able to observe green leaves and fruits in a number of colours up close to her face. The dark tint of the suits eye covers doesn’t affect her sight as much out here in the sunlight as in the living room but it’s like with the pastry in the morning: she can only look and neither smell nor taste nor feel. She can hear but the suit and her other coverings attenuate her hearing so much that the birds, the breeze in the leaves, grasshoppers and insects are below her hearing threshold. To her the garden is silent. Yasmin would have preferred the suit to have had sleeves or just integrated gloves, but she realises that hands which can’t be hidden on a suit that may be used in public is immodest, and further being able to grab or reach for something could lead to dangerous situations damaging the suit.
Meanwhile she has decided to take a close look at the back right corner where there are herbs and vegetables, but first she turns to see if Aysha is still at the same spot. She is but now she has turned a quarter to face left. The area Yasmin now walks into is very different, mostly consisting of small rectangles each containing one specific vegetable and in between narrow gravel paths. The plants are well cared for by an irrigation system but Yasmin can’t spend much time here because the low plants offer absolutely no shade to her. On her quick tour of the paths she recognises several of the vegetables from the soup at lunch though, and passes some large clay pots containing herbs she would have loved to smell.
Close to the corner along the high white-washed garden wall stands a shed with no windows and a padlocked door which Yasmin guesses contains the garden tools. When she turns away from the shed to take a look at the vegetables from this angle she sees them through a haze. It has become so hot inside her suit that both her goggles and the suit glass have started to mist up making Yasmin realise the garden walk can be no longer than the straight way back to the house. Her thick black cotton gloves probably are even damper than her abaya but taking a hand to her face Yasmin is still able to get a more clear sight by wiping the eye covers of the suit to only have misted goggles for a while. She approaches Aysha, who is still at the same spot but has turned half a circle. Two metres before reaching her Yasmin senses the cooler shadow of the area where Aysha has remained. She would like to enjoy the garden from this spot for a couple of minutes, but as soon as she gets into Aysha’s field of vision she starts moving and although Yasmin would have loved to get a good look at the garden up to the house from this opposite direction she has to play safe and follow closely behind Aysha, which she can do even if her sight gets totally blurred as she can’t lose a moving black object in clear surroundings.
Aysha wriggles faster than when entering the garden. Is it because she knows that Yasmin has to be hot, soaked and partly blind, or have they spent so much time that the air supply may be short. Yasmin suddenly worries about this possibility but she certainly has enjoyed walking outdoors, although only seeing and sensing new ground beneath her feet, and despite a hazy view she enjoys this last lap as well.
When they reach the terrace Yasmin gets a little surprised as Aysha turns away from the direct line to the door. They approach the kitchen windows but just before reaching them Aysha steps into a large plastic saucer placed on the terrace floor up against the wall, and the bottom of the saucer is nearly all a grating. Yasmin looks up and sees a shower which starts spraying water as Aysha pushes her buttocks against a large button on the wall. The water continues as Aysha slowly turns to get wet all over. She has made three full slow turns before the water stops and she wriggles out to make room for Yasmin.
She pushes her buttocks backwards and immediately feels that the water is cool. No more heat is absorbed by the suit, but all the sweat that her body has produced has nowhere to go and she won’t start drying before the suit is off. While slowly turning she imagines that she is showering naked with Mohamed, which makes her partly forget her soaked clothing, but in reality having this water pouring down her naked skin would probably be very bad as it most likely contains a very strong harmful cleaning agent designed to destroy everything but neoprene and what the plumbing is made of.
When the shower stops they wriggle towards the door but Aysha passes it to continue along the living room windows. Inside it looks like a woman in full black outfit is sitting in an easy chair watching them, but looking closer reveals that she is totally unmoving. Safina is still breathing sleeping gas not even being able to enjoy watching Yasmin and Aysha’s garden walk. At the end of the windows Aysha turns 180 degrees, not only to get back to the door but also to get equally heated by the sun on all sides, because now they walk to get the outside of the suit dry before entering the house, and this may take some minutes because they have to stay under the sunshade as they would get the bottom of the suit dirty again if they left the terrace. But Yasmin is not getting hot anymore and with only her goggles a little moist doesn’t mind spending a few more minutes outside where she can still get a better look at the garden than from inside the house.
They have walked the terrace for more than five minutes when Aysha wriggles towards the door. First Yasmin wonders when Aysha doesn’t let her suit bulge at the handle, but instead bows a little to pull down on a plastic ring attached to the lower corner of the door below the handle. The ring releases at its top support and falls to the ground still attached to the door at the bottom. As Aysha lifts one of her walking pads inside the ring and then pushes down with her foot on the door handle Yasmin understands. The entire suit is too smooth and too inflexible to be folded into something that can apply an outward force strong enough to open the door, but getting something around the suit or just a pad the necessary force can be applied. As the door is pulled fully open against the wall the ring slides up the wall allowing the person wearing the suit to press it into its top support again. Inside the door still is difficult to handle. A weak force makes the door go towards closing but Aysha loses her grip of the handle three times, one time about to stumble backwards, before being able to pull the door completely shut and bolt it.
They wriggle to the easy chair where Aysha bows to look closely at the gas cylinder in the sleeping Safina’s lap. After a few seconds she abruptly straightens, looks around, bows again, straightens again, turns to rock her upper body towards the clock and finally meets with Yasmin to put her head to her shoulder. Yasmin has understood her panic: Only Safina is able to unzip their suits, Safina is unconscious by the sleeping gas and the valve of the sleeping gas cylinder is to be closed with a knob made for the grip of a hand. And it seems that Aysha doesn’t think their air supplies are going to last until her husband returns, or that they are able to open the front door or the gate to the street, and the garden is walled.
Yasmin bows over Safina to conclude that even if she can put enough pressure and friction on the knob to make it move, it probably only is going to displace the small cylinder instead of closing the valve. Disconnecting Safina’s breathing tube requires even finer hand movements, and in addition requires that they are able to push and drag her out onto the terrace or the gas may flow out in the room in so high a concentration that Safina might remain asleep. But getting Safina down on the floor may work. Yasmin wriggles behind the chair and starts pushing it as high on its back as possible. Aysha understands that she might have a solution and comes to push as well. The chair tilts forward and Safina’s upper body rolls forward for her head to end in an uncomfortable looking position on her right knee. They both understand that Safina could be hurt if she rolls out of the chair and hits her head on the floor, so Yasmin bows towards the other easy chair. They wriggle over behind it and push until it overturns with a loud bang. But it works, the seat cushion lies on the floor and Aysha pushes it over up against Safina’s right leg. With Safina tilted forward Yasmin alone is sufficient to tilt the chair and soon Safina, with a low bump, more slides than rolls to the floor, her shoulder hitting the cushion and her head stopped by Aysha’s suit. Then Yasmin comes to push the cushion under Safina’s head while Aysha slowly and carefully backs away. Then Yasmin wriggles around Safina to try out her idea.
The cylinder of course has dropped to the floor and she tries to hold it with one of her pads, which is possible with its slip resistant grooves, but then she is unable to get the other pad on the edge of the knob. But luckily they are two. Yasmin drops to her knees and from there down onto her back to push herself around until her feet are positioned at the cylinder which she is now able to hold firmly to the floor by pressing her two pads down on it angled at each other. Aysha has of course watched her and when Yasmin has got hold of the cylinder she knows what to do. She puts a pad on the edge of the knob and moves it forward, and when her upper body rocks towards Yasmin she knows the knob is turning. But Yasmin has to hold at full strength for another minute before Aysha thinks she has made it, has stepped back and bowed deep down to check the knob marking shows closed. Then she rocks violently just above Yasmin’s face and Yasmin rolls over to get her face to the valve and check herself. Although she is facing down she is sure Aysha watches and understands that the rocking she makes means she agrees. Using Aysha as support Yasmin gets back on her feet to have Aysha leaning against her rubbing their neoprene faces against each other for some time.
Yasmin lets her keep on for as long as she wants because they can do nothing but wait anyway. They have to wait either for Safina to wake in about ten minutes or wait for their air supplies to run out at some point. If the latter they have some air of dubious quality trapped inside the suit to breathe through the mouth, but if Safina isn’t awake in a quarter of an hour they’d better go to the kitchen or elsewhere to find something sharp they can lean over and tear the suits. After a few minutes they still stand close but both constantly turning from the clock to Safina. Yasmin has counted eight minutes when Safina moves.
Yasmin and Aysha rock against each other until a probably highly surprised Safina about ten seconds later lifts her head. As she gets on her feet she reaches for the suit closest and gets under the neoprene flap covering the zipper to pull it around the side. She probably has understood why she woke up on the floor because immediately she moves to the other suit which she then pulls fully open. It is Aysha and she immediately is ready with her hands inside the suit to push as she leans deeply forward to get the top of her head and upper body. Then her hands reach down in the bottom to pull the abaya above her waist and Safina is ready to disconnect her from the air cylinder.
Soon Yasmin is breathing the room air normally through her filters as well. Safina helps them get out of the bottom of the suit, and Yasmin is able to see that her abaya is, as expected, quite moist. Aysha immediately makes her take it off, and the just as moist mantle as well, but the black coverings have to stay within the room in case a male arrives. Aysha gestures for Safina to fetch fresh mantles and takes Yasmin’s abaya to hang from the curtain rail and the niqab and gloves are placed on the window sill where the air-condition is strongest. Then she gestures for tea and leaves.
When Safina returns she and Yasmin seat themselves in the sofa like before showing their dresses. Yasmin takes the pad and writes ‘It was wonderful to be able to see close up the miracles of Allah turning sun, soil and water into beautiful and nutritious plants again. I may very well have seen your favourites and I would have loved to have each of them pointed out, but that has to be some other time. The suit is not that much different from wearing a burqa except that it gets much hotter and then it can only be worn for a limited period even in cooler places. I, and I think Aysha as well, got quite worried that we would run out of air, and being unable to open the suit we might suffocate. Shouldn’t you have insisted on another punishment?’
While Safina reads and writes Aysha brings tea. She places a filled glass in front of Safina and one at her easy chair but then she walks around the table to hand the glass to Yasmin to again show her appreciation for having saved them. Although the mask, the only part of her outer clothing that Yasmin can feel, is now about dry in the air-conditioned room, being heated that much of course has made her very thirsty and she eagerly takes some very large sips of tea before putting the glass down to read Safina’s answer.
‘Perhaps I deserve a new punishment because it is always possible something goes wrong with man-made equipment, and because of that one should never wear such suits without someone able to help them available, but with air for at least three hours I didn’t worry, and then I didn’t connect being put to sleep with you loosing the hands to unzip yourselves – besides mother knows she would be able to tear the suit with the electric can opener. – Please, just a few words more about you and Mohamed. The seconds I was breathing sleeping gas, before it took me out, felt like much longer. I was in bed with a husband, we held each other tight bringing me wonderful sensations, and finally he came into me to create such strong sensations I passed out, just like you described. Now I have flickering images filling my mind of entering the bathroom for a bath with a man at my side.’
While Yasmin gradually gets her thirst quenched her refreshed mind goes from thinking about the garden experience to considering Safina’s words. Should she tell her more? Aysha refilling her glass makes her look up to see that Safina simply leans back in her seat engulfed in her own thoughts instead of awaiting Yasmin taking up the conversation with her.
It makes her take the pad and after writing handing it to Aysha for her to read ‘I’m afraid that what I have told Safina about what Mohamed and I do together has filled her mind with thoughts about what lovemaking is and how it feels for her to be unable to concentrate on much else. May I suggest that you take some of the mystery out of it for her by letting her watch you and your husband being intimate, like I think most young women ready to marry are allowed, although Safina is not even engaged yet. Mohamed quite often wants me right after work. If it is the same with your husband I think it would be good for Safina to as soon as possible see some real lovemaking. May I suggest we go to the kitchen for me to assist Safina and you with dinner as there is no point in starting a conversation with Safina now.’
Aysha halfway through her reading starts nodding and when finished immediately starts typing an answer for Yasmin to read ‘What wise words. Being married has made you a mature adult woman much faster than I remember from myself. This makes me aware of that I have to realise that Safina in many aspects is no longer a child and is of the same age as you, and as such it is not too early to start letting her learn about the pleasures of marriage. I enjoy having sex at any time of the day with Hassan, because it strengthen our love, even if the actual sensations are much reduced due to the many more layers of fabric between us than at night.’
There are no reactions from Safina when Yasmin turns off the pad and puts it down on the table to suggest to Aysha that they go to the kitchen. Aysha gets up while nodding.
They all have a good time, although there isn’t any other communication than Aysha showing and gesturing the two other what do, as a pad is rarely taken to the kitchen where it would easily get dirty or damaged. Aysha finds it nice being in charge again for once after Safina, since coming of age, has been responsible for the cooking. Yasmin enjoys just being together with her mother-in-law and Safina and not having to think of what to do in the kitchen for once. And Safina is in her own sensual world.
The doorbell sounds. Even Hassan uses it before entering to give any women in the house time to get properly covered for being with males, but the women now working in black it just makes them stop working, remove their kitchen rubber gloves and go to welcome him home. In fact it is both Hassan and Mohamed who enter. Hassan asks “Did you all have a good time together?” Yasmin and Aysha nod enthusiastically, but Safina bows politely as if welcoming guests. Aysha gestures Hassan to follow her to the living room, while Yasmin pushes her hands through the slits to embrace Mohamed lovingly as she receives him at home every day and now to let him identify her as well.
It is some minutes before Hassan and Aysha return; he showing a cheeky expression. He says “Safina has asked Yasmin what it is like to be married and being with a man during the night and it seems her account has been so vivid that Safina can’t think of anything else to such a degree that she is unable to think rationally. Yasmin and Aysha think that getting her introduced to the way that married couples are intimate would most likely get her mind back to reality, and this has to take place as soon as possible, which means we have to part right away Mohamed, I’m sure you understand. SAFINA I want your attention for a moment!”
Safina faces her father and nods affirmatively for him to say “Going from knowing very little about what married couples do together to experiencing us having physical contact is shocking. To reduce the impact it’s good to have your senses dulled markedly, so please put on your burqa.” Aysha is ready with a burqa for Yasmin and would have put it on her if Yasmin had not become sufficiently aware, but she takes it and puts it on herself.
Mohamed answers the appeal to leaving immediately by saying “Of course father. With us meeting at the café, for me not to having to wait in the car for you here, I think we already have covered what we would have said if parting with a long chat here. As the women clearly all had a good time together we have to agree on a time soon for coming to visit us. Today was mainly for Safina and Yasmin to get a close friendship, but perhaps Aysha should stay for the day as well?”
She nods several times making sure Hassan sees her while showing her right gloved hand with the ring finger lifted. Hassan nods to her and says “Finding a husband for Safina now has to be intensified. May I ask you Mohamed and Yasmin to thoroughly think over if you know of anyone who might have a suitable son, and make initial enquiries. Please ask your parents as well Mohamed. With this agenda I think Aysha should visit Yasmin as well. Perhaps you can invite your mother too. With her Yasmin and Safina can feel freer to chat about what interest their age, while the older generation can discuss marriage candidates.”
Mohamed answers “Of course we’ll do all we can to assist you in finding the right husband for Safina. Yasmin having met Safina today makes her better qualified for talking to mothers of possible future husbands. Your burqa please Yasmin so we won’t delay Safina’s recovery.”
Yasmin, now wearing her burqa bows to let her forehead touch the chest of Hassan while Aysha and Safina in turn greet Mohamed in a likewise manner. Next Yasmin and Aysha touch. Finally the two burqas squeeze against each other with their heads to the side for safety, even though both the nose and mouth of both are now covered by the thick burqa fabric as well. Immediately after separating Safina minces away, no doubt heading for the bedroom.
Some minutes later Yasmin, while sitting in the car in all her layers topped by the burqa, tightly restricted by safety belts and as such unable to sense much of what is going on, doesn’t doze off as usual. This time she is imagining what Safina is watching right now in her parent’s bedroom. It gets her so much hotter that drops of sweat roll down her face to tickle her lips and for some moments interrupt the adult movie in her mind. When again being aware of that she is with Mohamed in the car it immediately comes to her that he would probably have the same thing on his mind. She is certain this implies they are going to do the same as Aysha and Hassan are doing right now when they get home. These thoughts fuel her imagination again to make the remaining ride become foreplay.
Copyright © 2014, Bo_Emp ; bo_emp ‘at’ yahoo ‘dot’ com
Thanks to Nye North for proof reading