Meeting Old Friends
– A Humble Serenity Story –
Version for “Tales of the Veils” website.
Not for reproduction on other websites or in any other publishing format without author’s permission.
Author’s Note: This story is inspired by Fantasy Towers’ ‘Humble Serenity’. However, having read ‘Humble Serenity’ is no prerequisite for reading this. Furthermore in some details this story differ from what is described in ‘Humble Serenity’.
“Isn’t that your old school buddy Ryan approaching us along with that covered woman?” Janet says to Frank. “It certainly is. I would never have expected that he was religious, and the woman suggests he has become Muslim.”
A little further down the street Janet confirms it is Ryan, as he puts up a big smile directly facing Frank as he says “Frank Robertson, ‘Long time no see’. And isn’t it your old crush Janet? You and her wound up together after all?”
As Ryan, although speaking about Janet he is only looking at Frank, Janet doesn’t think she behaves badly by observing the woman next to Ryan instead of looking at the person speaking. And she certainly is sticking out from the other people in this ordinary shopping street. Except for black shoes everything else seen is the exact same gray color. Gray socks, a gray skirt or dress, and then from the top of the head to the middle of the thighs a loose garment that hides the arms and any form of the body beneath. When Ryan stopped walking and started addressing Frank the woman bowed her head, but although she is facing down Janet can still see the face opening of the loose body cover, but nothing of the face shows. From inside the face opening a gray veil hangs down on the chest and it covers the entire face, just having two small circular openings for the eyes, which are even covered by gray gauze. Not the slightest hint of the person inside is to be seen.
Frank tells Ryan “Our four-year graduation anniversary and last pint together passed this summer. I had to wait the entire winter following before Janet said Yes. You were wild about her classmate Louise I remember. But your life took a different turn and you found someone else?” Ryan, still only looking at Frank, says “Yes and no. You might say my life took a different turn, but I turned with Louise at my side and she’s still here by my side right now. We are not as the garment of Louise suggests Muslim, but have joined a community called Humble Serenity, which shares many views on the role of the sexes with Islam. Among them are that men and women have different responsibilities and strict sex segregation. But if you are not in a hurry and would like to hear more, and I would like to hear how you are doing, then why don’t you come with us for a cup of coffee? We live just down a side street, less than five minutes walk in the direction you came from.”
Janet had to face down for a little while as well when Ryan revealed that she actually knows who is inside that gray, dehumanizing outfit. Although Louise was not among her best friends at school, she was a nice friendly girl and admittedly more beautiful than herself. Recovering from the shock, Janet observes that being introduced has not resulted in Louise reacting in any way. Face down she remains immobile. It is clear Ryan expects Frank to answer for both of them, but it must be a Yes; Janet has to see Louise and learn why she accepts walking around like that. Turning her face towards her husband she knows he will accept.
Frank, always asking for her approval, turns towards Janet to see her nod before again facing Ryan to say “We were just about to find a cafe after having been browsing for a new dishwasher for more than an hour, so your offer is just what we need. And combining it with exchanging old memories and hearing about what has happened since then sounds just wonderful. Lead the way please.”
To allow for others to pass they can’t walk more than two abreast, which naturally results in Frank and Ryan taking the lead, and Louise and Janet following side by side behind them. Janet walks slightly slower, hoping to create a little distance from the men, hoping that Louise will start a conversation, or at least react to her presence, but Louise walks on, remaining unresponsive, head locked on Ryan’s feet. After a minute the women are far enough behind that she can’t hear the men’s conversation, Janet in a low but clear voice tries to get contact “Thank you for the invitation for coffee Louise. Frank was right. I need some refreshment after walking these streets for so long.” Janet shows a smiling grimace, but she doesn’t know if she should be happy or sad. When Louise’s head lifts soon after, the alien face meets hers and the gray head makes a subtle nod before turning away again. As Louise’s lack of communication might be because they are walking in public among strange men and their home should only be minutes away, Janet decides to wait and see what happens then.
A minute later they turn down a side street and only about ten doors down they enter a building, climbing the stairs to a first floor apartment. Taken from the size of the living room, which Frank and Ryan directly enter through the open door, the apartment is small, about the same size as their own. Janet, having entered last to see what Louise will do, finds her blocking the living room door when Janet moves to follow the men. By only leaving one path open Louise guides Janet to the kitchen and bows in the direction of one of two stools on each side of a small table attached to the wall. Louise turns to the work top and from a closet above takes four glasses. When the body cover is lifted it reveals a pair of gray mittens, seemingly made of the same fabric as everything else, covering the arms as far as can be seen. Next Louise opens the fridge and takes a selection of soda bottles. Two glasses and all the bottles except two are then placed on a tray which she carries to the living room.
Louise is back within a minute and immediately starts to make coffee. She puts cups on a tray and fills small bowls with cookies. While waiting for the coffee maker she places the two remaining soda bottles at the center of the small table, a glass in front of Janet and the other at the empty stool. She points to a bottle opener hanging from a string on the wall and gestures Janet to serve them taking the flavor she prefers. While Janet fills the glasses, Louise turns her back to Janet and does something with her right hand at or under her veil. When she next sits down she looks no different but has a straw in her left hand. Louise lifts her glass towards Janet as if for a toast which makes Janet lift her glass as well, but before their glasses touch Louise changes direction, taking the glass to her chin where it is met by the left hand holding the straw, then guiding the straw up under the veil. Janet is close to getting her drink down the wrong way observing the bizarre sight of yellow liquid being sucked through the straw disappearing into the featureless gray void. After a few sips Louise puts her glass on the table and leans over the table until her veil actually brushes Janet’s cheek, making Janet even more perplexed as she hears a distorted, metallic sounding voice no louder than a whisper, but somehow sounding like it is used at full power saying “Nice to meet you again Janet. I am still the pretty redhead you envied then, but now my looks and everything else is only for Ryan to enjoy, something that has made both of us happy. Now I have to serve the coffee, but I’ll be back in a few moments when you can feel free to ask anything you like. But please whisper, as males in this house shouldn’t hear a female voice unless they request to and then only when modified like mine. As there will be only one closed door between us and the men so that I can hear if my services are required.” Automatically Janet answers with a nod while Louise pulls back and gets up.
Louise is back within a few minutes, closing the door behind her and having replaced her shoes with black slippers, Janet notices. Immediately Louise comes to Janet, bending down to get close to her ear again so that the robotic voice can be heard “It seems your husband has decided to stay for at least an hour. My husband said they would do without my services for at least half an hour. It means I can remove some items of clothing for that period to feel more comfortable and make eating and drinking easier.”
Louise straightens and puts a hand up under her veil to pull a zipper opening the body cover. Immediately following this she lifts it over her head and places it on a hook next to the door. Then Louise takes her right hand to her left armpit, where it shows the mittens end and, with some difficulty due to the fabric covering her fingers, gets hold of the slider of the zipper to pull it open down past the elbow. With no mitten on the left hand the right mitten is a little easier to remove. But without body cover and mittens Louise is still completely covered, wearing gloves on her hands, her ankle long leg covering now showing as part of a dress with long sleeves and high tight neck, her head still covered where the veil doesn’t reach, with everything still the same gray color. Louise then reaches behind her head to untie the veil, but to Janet’s surprise, after removing it, the entire face including the eyes, remains completely covered.
Louise puts two cups and a bowl of cookies on the table and fills the cups from the coffee maker, gesturing Janet to taste it. Janet politely lifts the cup towards her lips but nearly spills it as she observes Louise who, still standing, takes two cookies, turns her back to Janet to obviously eat the two cookies unseen by Janet, before finally sitting down and for a little while it seems she is still swallowing. For close to thirty seconds Louise just lets Janet observe her closely. The head covering is a full face hood, not tight fitting, but molded to the contours of the head and face, most prominently showing a nose protrusion. Over the eyes and going all around the head is a strap of gauze-like material which reveals the basic opaque hood fabric contains a rectangular cutout for the eyes. Around the head at the level of the mouth is another strap, but opaque, indicating the basic hood has a mouth opening as well. Knowing Janet is interested in her strange head covering, after a while Louise puts a gloved thumb and index finger to the lower edge of the strap at the right ear, lifting it to show it is only attached along the top edge and is slightly elastic enabling it to be flipped up and thus uncovering the eyes, which she doesn’t do. Next she likewise shows the strap over the mouth works in a similar way, but flips down. The demonstration ends with her taking the straw and pressing it against the mouth strap to show it has a slit through which the straw can pass without uncovering the mouth. While the straw is in Louise lifts the cup to take some sips from it through the straw.
Louise leans to Janet’s ear, the voice still sounding distorted and alien, to say “Women in Humble Serenity in everyday life never show even the eyes to anybody. Revealing the eyes, mouth or an ungloved hand to the husband without his request is asking for sex. Father, sons and close females may see a woman’s head uncovered for a few minutes for their birthday and on a few other occasions. The husband is the only one to hear the real voice of a married woman, but in practice it only happens during sex, no woman speaks without her voice being muffled. All this is not to make women inferior, but by being submissive and anonymous a lot of reasons for conflict and bad feelings are reduced, thus creating a better society and life for each of us.”
Getting an explanation is not enough for Janet, who has an urge to speak loudly and behave like the free equal woman she feels she is, but she behaves politely and as a guest follows the rules of the house, making her whisper to Louise “I don’t want to argue but I don’t agree with you. In fact I find it difficult to even chat like women do about any subject while having to look at this faceless gray heap of cloth that is you. I won’t feel it wrong if you uncover to me, even for just a minute – on the contrary I have to admit I seriously doubt that I’m talking to the pretty Louise I used to see most days in school just a few years back.” Louise says “I am sorry Janet. Although we were at school together for many years, this doesn’t qualify you as a close friend who I can show my face to. But it isn’t really the closeness of our friendship. For me to uncover you have to be either a close relative or a member of Humble Serenity. But wait! I can show you something. Please follow me.”
They go to a small chamber used as an office with a desk holding a computer. Louise opens a drawer in the desk and hands Janet a framed photograph. It’s a wedding picture of Ryan and Louise dressed as most bridal couples, with Louise wearing a normal white wedding dress with only a white chiffon veil hanging down her back. Janet clearly recognizes her from their schooldays and in the photo she looks even more beautiful than what Janet remembers. Her fingers sense a label on the back and she turns the photo over. On the back she reads the words ‘Ryan and Louise, 25th March 2007,’ making her nearly forget to whisper “Louise! What a coincident, we have the same wedding anniversary. I was married to Frank on the same day in 2006. This makes me feel we have much more in common and, along with the photo, I’m convinced I know the woman inside the gray fabric. Does this picture mean the women of Humble Serenity only start covering after being married?” Louise says “No, girls of marriageable age are covered even more. We were married in an ordinary church before we learned about Humble Serenity, which we joined about six month later, two years ago.” Janet has regained the curiosity that made her happy for the invitation for coffee. Now seeing the single gray color and the plain dress without even decorative stitching, instead of being alienated she leans towards Louise and whispers “I understand a woman’s face and the forms of her body can excite men and make women envious, but why couldn’t the covering be a little decorative, different items in different colors, multi-colored fabrics, patterns, embroidery. Muslim burqa’s are often very decorative and their black garments often have subtle embroidery in gold. Looking like a bouquet of flowers or a colorful butterfly wouldn’t be sexy.”
The still inhuman voice says “In public just the size of a human makes it something that attracts attention if it wears strong colors or flashy patterns. In private a husband and wife still have different duties and the husband should be able to relax in other ways than sexually, thus the woman must still be unobtrusive. Further, if women differ, the least they will try to do is make their own look the current fashion and intrigue and quarrel to promote themselves. All women in Humble Serenity are dressed exactly like me, right down to the color. But the clothing exists in a number of colors and each Friday a board announces which color is to be worn the following week. Not all colors available are as dull as the gray of this week. You can come and see for yourself if you like, I have some of my other outfits in the room next door.” Janet nods, being just as interested in seeing as much as possible of this apartment, to see if the apartment itself reveals anything about the strange society that its occupants belong to.
They walk to a similar small chamber, like the other probably intended for a child, but now this is used as wardrobe, the walls being covered by closets. Louise opens the closet doors to show that each of many shelves contains several complete sets of clothing in a single color. Louise was right, although there are black, white, gray and brown hues there are also pale red, blue and green sets but no radiant colors. Janet notices that the sets even include bra and panties. With such complete sets there are few shelves with other items, but in a row of low small shelves Janet’s eyes are attracted to some flesh colored rods. She cannot hide a naughty smile and quickly looks down as if something else has caught her attention, but Louise is at her ear.
“They are for the mouth! Would you like to try speaking like a robot as I do?” Janet takes a rod in her hand and whispers “I’m sorry. I think the color misled me. But even if this is completely straight and smooth it could be used by a woman to play with herself.” Louise says “My husband fulfills me, but it can be used like this I’ve heard from others. As you can see it’s not just a simple rod. First it’s got a tube all through the center to allow the wearer to drink when fitted. Also, in a complicated way it’s two tubes, one inside the other and when the two studs are next to each other the surface is closed and it blocks all sound. When the studs are opposite each other it allows the sound output you can hear from me now. Just put it into your mouth and I’ll hand you a hood to make it stay in.” Janet has to stretch her mouth open to the maximum to get the rod in and then finds her lips are forced to cling to its surface because her teeth slide into an indentation in the rods surface. It’s rather unpleasant having her mouth continuously forced so wide open and part of her tongue pressed down. She turns to look in a mirror on the inside of the door, seeing a completely distorted lower face, which actually is worse looking at than a veil.
Louise hands her a hood of the same gray color as her own. Janet looks inside to see a rectangular cutout for the eyes and a circular cutout for the mouth and opposite a zipper. Pulling it over her head she easily senses the elastic straps at the eyes and mouth, but they don’t give any problems with fitting the hood although the mouth strap is quite tight so as to hold the rod inside the mouth. The eye strap makes her turn to Louise, first whispering but producing no sound, then speaking a little louder than normal voice that produces a weak, distorted sound similar to Louise “This hood makes me understand why you wear plain dull clothing. It’s because this eye covering makes everything look dark and colorless. I would feel terrible having to see like this all day.” While Janet has been speaking Louise has reached to the back of Janet’s head to fit the hood properly by closing its zipper. She answers “The eye cover has to be dark or it would be possible to see the eyes in direct strong light. If you are sure you are going to be alone even for just a few minutes, like when using a bathroom, it is easy to flip up the cover so you can see clearly. While cooking and cleaning, most women are alone in the house so are able to have normal sight.” While Louise is talking Janet has flipped her eye cover a couple of times to learn how easy it is.
She leaves it up as Louise continues saying “But it was to experience the rod you put the hood on. Put the right index finger inside the mouth strap and turn one of the studs on the rod until it meets the other and then try speaking to me.” The stud turns easily and Janet starts asking her next question, speaking louder and louder as nothing really comes out until her shouting results in a low unintelligible mumble. She then turns the stud back and says “It certainly is very effective, but wearing it is perhaps even worse than having the eyes covered. Do you take it out when uncovering the eyes?” Louise says “It admittedly took a long time to get used to, but it’s only taken out to eat and even then it never leaves the left hand. The flipped up eye cover stays on the head, but the rod may easily get displaced and, because speaking in a clear voice is just as bad as showing the face unveiled, you have to fully concentrate on staying mute until finding it or getting a replacement. With the rod out of reach you easily get into an awkward situation if someone shows up unexpectedly. Also while wearing it I can sing along to the radio while working without worrying that someone might hear me.”
About to say thank you for the test Janet immediately feels how much the rod obstructs her normal articulation and reaches for the mouth strap to remove the rod before saying anything further and removing the hood, but Louise, seeing her intention, grabs her wrist saying “I know it annoys you, but I think you should accept wearing it a little longer to do something to really make this afternoon memorable.” Janet has put her hands down and, curious to learn what Louise has to suggest, she speaks with the rod without leaning to Louise’s ear. Louise, knowing it is something like ‘Tell me’ says to Janet’s ear “You could serve fresh coffee to the men. Of course you will need to be completely dressed as a Humble Serenity woman. There isn’t that much dressing, and then you will experience for yourself that there are other advantages of being veiled than modesty and no beauty contesting.” Janet tries to imagine how Frank will react when told she has been serving him as a gray ghost. He will probably jokingly ask her to serve him like that more frequently, and then ask how it feels to be completely covered. Janet realizes she is only wearing the hood and the rod of Louise’s covering. She now wants to know herself what the complete covering feels like, and surprising Frank now and then is part of what makes their marriage successful. Her thinking even makes her remember to lean to Louise’s ear to say “I guess all couples like to play friendly tricks on each other. Also I can find out for myself what it’s like being a veiled woman. I have to remove my sweater and jeans I guess?” Louise turns her head to say “Not necessarily, but the loose clothing will be tight and you will be unnecessarily hot if you do not. But everything is straight forward, so I’ll just leave you alone, and go and make the fresh coffee while you dress. Being unskilled, I recommend leaving the mittens till last. I guess you won’t mind removing your sweater while I take exactly what you need and place it on this empty shelf.” With a nod Janet starts removing her sweater while watching a sample of most items from the ‘gray’ shelf being put on the empty one. Louise then points from the sweater in Janet’s hands to another empty shelf, and then bends down to pull a pair of black slippers out from the bottom of a closet. After pointing down to be sure Janet has seen the slippers Louise leaves.
Dressed in t-shirt, underwear and hood Janet is ready to turn entirely gray. What she has seen as socks shows to be a pair of gray cotton high-waist pantyhose. With a belt on the dress to follow Janet understands that not even lifting the dress to the waist would result in anything but gray fabric showing. As she reaches for the dress her eyes catches the gloves, which makes her put the dress down again realizing that the gloves are elbow length and would be difficult to fit with tight dress cuffs. Not being a high-society girl, Janet only wears gloves in winter, and those are not much above the wrist. Now, pulling on longer gloves she wishes they were silk or satin to get the feeling of being a lady, but like everything else they are made of gray cotton. She is now ready for the dress, which is simple to put on. She buckles the belt, buttons the cuffs and closes the short zipper at the back of the neck. While doing so she turns towards the mirror knowing she should now look like a copy of Louise. She sees she doesn’t however as a rectangle containing an all too familiar pair of eyes spoils the resemblance. Flipping the eye strap down rectifies that, but now it’s like Janet has put on items from the wrong shelf with dark gray sets. Looking in the closets, the dark gray sets have turned into washed out versions of the black. To be with ‘strange’ men, in this case Frank, or does it include the husband too, a Humble Serenity woman has to dress further. Janet is about to flip up the eye strap again to see clearly what she is about to handle, when, by seeing the veil she realizes it, at least together with the body cover, prevents the eye strap from being flipped. For the rest of this experiment her vision will be how Louise views the world, and it will become even more restricted. Lifting the veil to her face she quickly finds out that it has to be fitted accurately if she is not to limit her sight even further than the small eyeholes alone do. It requires several loosening and retying before Janet has the veil fitted and aligned with her eyes. She discovers her peripheral vision is no more, she now only has a dark direct line of sight, and to see anything else she has to turn her head. After fumbling with the veil the large body cover fortunately poses no greater problems than pulling the veil out through its face opening before zipping it. Now only the shoulder long mittens remain. It is annoying to have to hold the hands and arms in a position to have the body cover obstruct her work and view as little as possible. Perhaps it would have been easier putting on the body cover last, but she has done as Louise advised, and she will get a little practice in using her hands with this cloth being in the way before serving the men. After a quick look in the mirror she squats to put on the slippers. Janet looks in the mirror. Putting on the mittens doesn’t seem to have changed her look at all, as, with her arms at her sides they are completely hidden under the body cover her vision is bad and she is now a shapeless gray ‘thing’ not at all pleasing to look at.
The smell of fresh coffee that gets stronger as she approaches the kitchen improves her mood. She is met by her mirror image tilting its head up and down to inspect she is properly dressed. Louise has put on her veil and body cover as well. A thermos is ready on the work top and Louise is about to step up close to Jane, probably to give her instructions, but Janet lifts her right hand free of the body cover and, unable to directly point, jolts it towards the coffee pot and then at her mouth. After having stopped her movement while Janet gestured, Louise leans to her ear saying “I know you do not agree, but in my view you have now become a proper woman. However wanting coffee for yourself before serving the men shows it’s mostly your appearance which is right. Take the thermos, enter the living room, unscrew the thermos and fill the cups, close the thermos and put it down next to the old one, take the old one and walk back here. That is all. Remember to look down as much as possible and show your hands as little as possible. Most importantly don’t look at either of their faces. I know you want to see their reaction to you, but just believe me; they won’t react. If you enter correctly without making any noise then you won’t be noticed at all, which is as it should be. Any questions?” Janet, starting to feel excited, hesitates for a few moments and then shakes her head. Louise leans to her saying “I have a question.” After a while hearing no more Janet turns her head to say “Please ask anything you like.” Louise then says “The answer was No. The question was: Have you turned your rod to become mute when going where males are?” Janet turns to Louise’s ear saying “There’s more to being a Humble Serenity woman than just the dress as you have just pointed out, but if it goes just as you have outlined, it wouldn’t matter if I’m able to speak or not, but if I’m addressed I might answer by reflex, but I can hardly be heard more than a feet away. I then have a question after all: If I’m addressed should I turn my back while listening or should I face whoever is speaking, in both cases of course looking at the floor?” Louise says “Just stay unmoving looking at the floor. Ryan won’t ask anything requiring more than nodding and shaking the head in the presence of other men. Now mute yourself and get going before the coffee in the thermos looses its freshness.” Janet finds the stitching of the mitten enables her to get on the inside of the mouth strap making room for the other mitten to push at a stud of the rod. She then takes the thermos and holds it down at her thigh to have it and the hand covered and walks out of the kitchen door, which Louise has opened for her.
Just before reaching the open living room door she can hear Ryan telling Frank about some scenic place. Before appearing in the doorway she leans forward a little to have a quick glance of where to go and spot the old thermos. She then looks at the floor just in front of her feet and walks into the living room along the path just observed while Ryan says “It’s popular to walk up along the creek on Sundays after the ceremony bringing a lunch basket. It is easy to find a secluded place where showing a little and perhaps even speaking a little can be done without being observed.” Janet reaches the edge of the coffee table, opens the thermos and lifts her head just far enough to see the cups and begins pouring. While halfway through the second cup her hand shakes just a little when hearing the voice of Frank very close say “It’s nice there are such places in nature women can enjoy as well.” Janet straightens, closes the thermos and puts it down next to the old one, which, in the same movement she lifts off the table and down to her thigh while the body cover slides down her arm. Finally she turns and walks out of the living room. Three steps out of the doorway she lifts her head and takes a deep breath, inhaling air through the tube of the rod in her mouth as well. She gets a small shock at seeing Louise just in front of her. Has she been peeping at the doorway? Janet wonders, but just like her appearance made the men ignore her, it hides her expression to Louise as well.
They return to the kitchen and Janet places the used thermos on the work top, grabs the coffee pot, turns to fill the cups, returns the pot and is finally able to sit down and relax. After another deep breath she takes the straw up under her veil, gets it through the slit and the tube and lifts the cup to the straw to take some long sips of the coffee. Louise waits for her to put down the cup and then leans over to ask “Everything went just as it should, didn’t it? There really isn’t any difference in serving coffee like we are dressed from what you are used to.” Janet leans to Louise and after a few seconds she pulls back. She has forgotten her rod is in the mute position. After restoring the robot sound she says “It went alright I think, but hearing Frank very close knowing he was unaware of my presence was strangely frightening. They seemed like they had met just yesterday and if I had stayed a little longer I could have heard Frank proudly telling Ryan about our last lovemaking.” Louise says “But that is nice Janet. I feel you and I are getting along fine, much better than at school. Perhaps it’s because of these outfits. If our husbands get along as well, then we can start a long term friendship. You doing it so fine in Humble Serenity clothing, you can come and visit us at the compound and see Oliver.” Janet is totally left out and reminded that she knows nothing about Louise and Ryan except that they are married and members of a society called Humble Serenity, of which she knows nothing more than their women are heavily veiled.
She was about to uncover and maybe go and suggest to Frank that they should be home for dinner, but she has to know a little more and Louise will clearly be more open and relaxed with Janet looking like a society sister. Janet says “Who is Oliver, and what compound are you talking about?” They both lean over the table for the other not to stretch uncomfortably. Louise says “Oliver is our son. He is the reason we got married and he has just turned three. The compound is housing for around two hundred people, the permanent address of all members of Humble Serenity, built around a farm out in Waynesboro County. We have a small house out there as well. This apartment belongs to the society. We only live here because of Ryan’s job. His assignment is three months and we have only three weeks left. A neighbor at the compound, having a boy at the same age, takes care of Oliver when he is not in kindergarten. I miss him so much even though I hear his voice on the phone often.” Louise continues telling about the compound, and also touches on the scenery and picnics on Sundays, but she doesn’t really say anything about the teachings of the society.
After something like ten minutes the loud voice of Ryan calling “Wife!” interrupts Louise. She quickly takes her hands up under her veil to mute herself and goes into the living room. In a minute she is back gesturing Janet to mute as well. While doing so Janet wonders how the men will react at seeing her veiled as well. Just before the living room doorway Louise blocks her way and clearly indicates that she should enter with head down and hands hidden at her hips. Complying she follows the heels of Louise until she stops. Janet takes a step to the side to be sure her gray form can be seen to be indistinguishable from Louise. On seeing her Ryan says “I have seen that Frank has a beautiful wife in the sense most people understand it, but to a member of Humble Serenity it is the inner values of women that really counts, and hiding the flesh makes these values in a woman more prominent. I’m happy that his wife has chosen to dress as a Humble Serenity woman and, in my view, is now a proper woman, clearly equally beautiful to my own wife or any other Humble Serenity woman. Frank was a little surprised, but although you behaved very much like a Humble Serenity woman, thank you, closing the thermos in full view above the table when serving the coffee earlier on, revealed a woman not used to showing her hands as little as possible. With you being equal in appearance shows to me that you have something in common and get along well. Frank and I like that because we get along like in the old days, and for that reason I have suggested we get something to eat to be able to continue our pleasant time together.”
Hearing Frank didn’t know about her dressing up, Janet regrets she didn’t wait just a few steps longer before following Louise’s directions about looking down, as she would have loved to have seen his face, but now it’s too late and she might as well act like her attire calls for. Now Frank’s voice sounds “We hadn’t planned anything for this evening but relaxing and watching television I recall. Staying here renewing friendships is much better. Ryan suggests we just get something from the local Shawarma Bar. I guess any woman would like to try walking in public completely veiled.” Ryan takes the phone to order, saying before he dials “Four large lamb Shawarma in pita. Okay everyone?” ‘Walking in public?’ Janet says to herself. ‘The men expect Louise and me to fetch their meals.’ After Frank had seen that she and Louise were indistinguishable Janet had expected to change back into her own clothes, but it seems like everybody expects her to stay veiled. Her thinking is interrupted by Ryan’s voice “There is no response from the woman to my right. Does she want a special order?” Janet is confused, is it Yes or No? To stay in the role it doesn’t seem right to speak to Ryan so she chooses to answer his last question and shakes her head, causing Ryan to ask “You want Shawarma like the rest of us?” Janet nods a couple of times, still without lifting her head. Then Louise moves behind her to push her out of the living room.
Once away from the door Louise puts her hands up under her own veil to enable her to speak. “We’ll be back in ten to fifteen minutes. Would you like to use the bathroom before we go or else we just change to shoes and walk right out the door?” Janet shakes her head. Louise continues “You need not look just in front of your feet unless close to a man facing you.” Louise mutes herself again and in a minute they walk out the front door, down the stairs and out into the street, where they turn left, walking away from the shopping street.
Being meal-time they meet few people. They all stare, although most of them pretend not to. Janet feels, at least at their first look, it is just as much by seeing two people dressed identically, as seeing someone having their faces completely covered. There are no harsh comments or rude gestures. Perhaps they are just a surprising break for minds focused on getting the hunger satisfied or how to spend the evening. After about five minutes of walking Louise bumps against her shoulder, making Janet face her, to see her nod towards the next door and then clearly show to look down once inside. Just before entering the bar they pass a window, letting Janet get a glimpse of a small room with small circular tables and five or six men in their fifties or sixties, seemingly of Turkish origin.
They walk directly forward from the door to reach a counter from where a foreign accented male voice of a middle-aged man sounds “How nice to see you again Mrs. Lee. Getting an order from Ryan I always look forward to when it is collected. May I assume it’s you Mrs. Lee right in front of me? What a wonderful surprise one of your fellow society members is accompanying you. If only all Muslim women would realize that to really please Allah, they should dress the way you dress. I have personally told my nephew Hassan, who makes the Shawarmas, to prepare your order just a little better. Hassan! Mrs. Lee is here!” The smell of spicy food comes very close and Janet hears something being put on the counter. Then the owner says “No not up there where she has to reveal an arm to reach it. Go around the counter and hand it over without touching her, and take her purse likewise. We have a long way to go when somebody like you, in favor of traditional values, doesn’t know how to deal with proper women. But when I see the Turkish women around here I suspect even your fiancé won’t serve as a model. Am I right?” The voice of a young man just next to Louise says “Yes uncle. Gülçin only ‘considers’ wearing a scarf after being married.” Some moments later the owner says “Enjoy your meal Mrs. Lee and friend. I’ll pray to Allah to see you again soon.” Janet sees the feet of Louise start moving and follows her out.
All the older men have certainly gazed upon them since entering the bar, making Janet keep her head down until clear of the window, sure they are all looking out for a last glimpse. Then she looks at the head of Louise to confirm holding the head upright is alright. It is, but Louise doesn’t show she has company, just facing forward and looking down a little. It is not to be seen they have bought something either. Perhaps not to spoil the gray only look, Louise must be lifting an arm to keep the bag above the rim of the body cover. Then Janet withdraws to her own thoughts hardly noticing those passing. What a strange experience entering a shop and buying something without really seeing anything, especially the people serving you. But on the other hand the shop owner and his nephew didn’t really see them either. Has Louise ever seen the shop owner? Janet wonders. The loud voice of a teenage girl as she passes them makes Janet focus on her surroundings again “Wow! They hide everything!” Janet just gets a glimpse of two girls in their late teens. The other girl says something and her voice sounds so clear she must have turned after passing them “Let’s hope it doesn’t become the new fashion trend or I’ll loose my job at the beauty shop.” Her words makes Janet realize they went out of the house without as much as looking at a mirror. Just passing a mirror would normally have made her stop to take a look at her face and perhaps pull a brush through her hair. Now she has just trusted that Louise has given her nice clean clothing and that is it. She has to admit it feels nice that her physical appearance cannot be judged. They are back at the apartment building. The daylight has been fading during their walk and Janet would have walked up the staircase much more cautiously on her own with her reduced sight, but Louise seems to be confident nothing has been dropped on the stairs and Janet just follows the lighter moving contour.
On entering the apartment they both change back to slippers and go to the kitchen. Louise immediately uncorks a bottle of wine and pours two glasses. Then she unpacks the Shawarmas, gets two plates from the closet and places a Shawarma on each, puts the plates and some cutlery on a tray with empty glasses and the bottle of wine and, after gesturing Janet to place the other two Shawarmas on plates and place them on the small kitchen table, she leaves for the living room. Janet now finds the borrowed clothing annoying, but although she assumes at least the mittens and the body cover are to be removed before eating, she lays the table fully dressed so as not to do something that would spoil the mood of the meal. Janet has just seated herself when Louise returns. Standing right in front of Janet she starts unzipping her body cover to indicate the men can do without her service for a while. Janet copies her and Louise reaches to unzip Janet’s mittens with Janet doing the same for Louise, which makes their removal a bit easier and shows they are going to dine together. Louise puts a hand up under her veil and then bows to have her mouth close to Janet’s ear to say in the low metallic voice “Janet you’re still the considerate person I remember from school, not removing any clothing until I show its okay according to the standards I now follow. It’s very kind of you. Thank you. Because of this I’m sure you have already guessed that the veil has to stay on to eat, as this will mean uncovering the mouth opening of the hood, and of course the mouth has to be kept private. Now comes the most difficult test for someone trying to follow Humble Serenity rules for the first time: Staying quiet while there is nothing to stop the voice. I think it helps to remember that instead of thinking about what to talk about, concentrate on keep repeating in your head ‘Silence is golden’. Ready? Now we can flip down our mouth straps and remove the rods. Enjoy your meal.”
Janet nods while Louise sits down and puts both hands up under her veil to quickly produce her rod, which is placed just in front of where her left hand naturally rests on the table. When Janet’s own rod is placed similarly, she gets a nod from Louise and a finger points down to the plate. Not to show any skin is another test, implying the veil for each mouthful has to be carefully lifted only enough to get the fork to the mouth, but never to show the mouth opening in the inner hood. For many minutes Janet uses all her concentration on eating following the Humble Serenity customs, all the while trying not to stain the borrowed clothing. When her worst hunger is satisfied she takes a break to observe how naturally the gray being opposite handles her fork with a gloved hand and moves it in between the gray layers to feed the creature beneath. Janet reaches for her fork again and uses her left hand to lift the veil, which makes her realize that, except for being less elegant, she looks exactly the same. It is Louise opposite under those layers of gray, not some animal or alien. She has to see it like the teenage girl passing them in the street, as an atypical kind of fashion which removes individuality. Next time she stops concentrating on eating she notices Louise is just sitting still facing her. With Louise being used to eating in these garments her plate is empty already. Janet looks at the gray veil which, by neither showing a mouth nor the curves of the neck, is even less inviting than the face of the hood, but this is how Louise has chosen to show herself. As a blank face that doesn’t show any emotion about what she thinks of dining with Janet or the meal. It’s actually only an assumption that Louise is observing Janet. Soon after Janet has made her observations it is as if Louise has read her thoughts and a hand comes above the table top, playing a little with the fingers to indicate the gray cloth pile is alive and calmly gesturing Janet to continue eating. The hand disappearing beneath the table top makes Janet notice that the rod of Louise is no longer on the table. Now it’s Louise being polite, giving Janet all the time she likes to finish her meal, waiting for her guest to finish, even if she is ready to talk, clear the table or serve the men. Janet welcomes the gesture and continues her meal as before. She really enjoys lamb and this Shawarma is well seasoned and she doesn’t want to stain the clothes after having handled the unusual way of eating successfully so far.
Less than five minutes later her plate is completely empty and she puts down the fork and looks at Louise. Immediately Louise lifts her hand to point at Janet’s rod. Janet gags herself with the rod turned for speaking, but Louise doesn’t lean over to speak to her. Instead she gets up pointing towards the living room and takes her mittens. Seeing her putting the hand into the first one on an impulse Janet gets up, grabs the wrist of the mitten covered hand and starts pulling the zipper closed up the length of the arm. She then takes the other mitten, puts it on the hand being held up and zips it, the latter being the thing that really helps. And finally, after Louise has put on the body cover, Janet puts her hands up under Louise’s veil, as zipping with only gloves on is again much easier than when wearing mittens. Louise is ready to see to the men, but first acknowledges Janet’s help by giving her a hug. Janet has created a good mood for their evening together and inadvertently discovered that a helping hand is the way to make the gray being show there is a nice person inside. To promote this, while Louise is in the living room, Janet clears the table and starts clearing the worktop.
Louise is soon back again, opens a drawer to produce two straws and, after putting a hand up under her veil, leans to Janet’s ear to say “You shouldn’t Janet, you are the guest. In Humble Serenity this would not usually happen, as female guests most often are fully covered except at meals. First they have to be ready to leave when their husband wants to, secondly it is better to appear right if a man accidentally gets a glimpse of where the women stay and thirdly, because there is no reason not to be completely dressed. For trying to be a Humble Serenity woman and making me feel right, I would like you to put on the mittens and the khimar. Being fully dressed you can, if you like, try once more to see if you can fool the men, but first let’s touch glasses and sip wine while chatting. Of course we should have touched glasses while able to put the glasses to the mouth. I admit it isn’t quite the same drinking wine through straws, but hunger and my preoccupation with how you would manage the meal made me forget. But you did excellently, that is just one reason for touching glasses.” Janet just nods and reaches for the mittens, which now of course Louise zips, even though she is already wearing her mittens. Janet doesn’t mind wearing these items. She doesn’t even, except for the rod perhaps, mind being covered herself. It’s not seeing any part of the woman she is in conversation with that feels wrong but she has, since accepting staying for dinner, realized that she won’t get out of this clothing until the minute before they leave, probably after having said goodnight to Ryan and Louise.
As Janet takes her mitten covered hands down after zipping the body cover, which Louise had called a khimar, Louise shows her right mitten to lift her glass. They touch glasses and make head movements towards each other as if they were at a party wearing cocktail gowns. Then the normal party behavior is broken as they have to lift at their veils and fiddle to get the straws through the rod before being able to take a sip. Janet is glad her face is now covered because perhaps Louise wouldn’t like that she is smiling as she finds the scene a bit funny, but instead of being annoyed at communicating with a blank face, she has decided to take this as a telephone chat, which is not so hard as their metallic distorted voices sound like cheap electronics. She leans forward to say “Thank you for a wonderful Shawarma Louise. Perhaps Frank and I will do some late shopping in this neighborhood some day soon just to have this for dinner. Fetching the Shawarmas was certainly a unique experience. It made me wonder if you have ever seen the owner, who was certainly in favor of our appearance.” Louise says “No, since embracing the Humble Serenity lifestyle my head is always bowed when close to men, starting just before entering a space where men are likely to look directly at me. I haven’t even taken a clear look at your husband either. You and the owner make it sound like I go there often. You seem to forget that we have only been in this apartment for some two months and we don’t have Shawarmas every week. I like them and they are one of the few things I’ll miss when we move back to the compound. Would you like to hear more about it? It’s just the right place for children to grow up. I understand you don’t have children while living here in the city. If you would like to have children, then get out of here and move to a place like Humble Serenity.” Louise turns her head to hear Janet’s opinion. Janet turns her head as well to be able to speak close to the ear “You are right Louise, I would love a child and one reason for not getting pregnant is that the surroundings where we live now are not fit for children. Please tell me about what Humble Serenity has to offer.”
About to turn her face away from Louise to listen Janet sees that Louise is reaching for her glass. They touch glasses and each takes a small drink before Louise starts speaking. During the minutes that follow it is as if the enthusiasm of Louise gets through the distortion and attenuation of her voice as she tells about green meadows, wide open fields, a sparkling stream, an exciting wood, a varied bird life, wild and farm animals, playing fields, indoor sports facilities and much more. All this is inside or just around the compound and as such only minutes of walk from their home. Janet starts thinking it sounds like the kind of home you have to be a millionaire to buy, even if the size of the house itself is not extraordinary. But perhaps it’s the missing sea view that has made it affordable to Ryan and Louise. Louise has spoken for more than a quarter of an hour when she finds it’s time for a break and turns away from Janet’s head and picks up her wine glass. After they have touched glasses and taken a few sips, in Janet’s head she has placed some of the most wonderful scenery she has ever experienced around Humble Serenity. Right now thinking about the multitude of colors of a forest in the fall makes her ask “But is it possible to enjoy all this through layers of clothing with no skin in contact with nature, loss of detailed hearing and quite reduced sight?”
Louise nods while they both turn heads to convey the answer “About nature the most important is that it is there, and not replaced by concrete, noisy vehicles with poisonous exhausts and whatever else surrounds us here. Out at Humble Serenity the air that you breathe is basically fresh and clean even if women do breathe it through a couple of layers of fabric. The butterflies still are colorful even if you see them in more subdued tones and you walk in silence because there are no …”
At this moment Louise is interrupted by the voice of Ryan shouting from the living room “Wife! Bring a new bottle of wine!”
Louise immediately rises, gets a bottle of wine from a closet and uncorks it, but instead of walking away she takes her glass and gestures Janet to do the same. Some seconds later Janet hears the sound of sucking the last few drops with a straw and soon after she produces the same sound. Louise fills their glasses from the new bottle and places the bottle in front of Janet while pointing towards the living room. Janet nods and reaches for the bottle, but her hand is stopped by Louise who taps Janet’s mouth. Janet understandingly nods and lifts her hands up under the veil to turn the studs of the rod to the muting position. She takes the bottle, Louise gesturing her to hold it not to be seen below the hem of the khimar.
Before the living room doorway Janet stops and listens. She catches the voice of Frank in the middle of a line “… veiling of women ensure you are not tempted by other women. But your wife is always veiled if I understand you right?” Janet wants to prove to herself she has learned from how Ryan revealed her first serving to now play a Serenity woman so good that even Ryan won’t notice it is not Louise, even though there may be no opportunity to ask him and she has to do with what Frank noticed. Besides looking at slightly drunken faces is not a pretty sight, but the men being intoxicated might make it easier to avoid being spotted. She bows her head before being able to look into the living room and walks through the doorway while Ryan answers Frank “Yes, the women of Humble Serenity are covered even when alone with their husband. Your wife is a pretty woman who arouses you like any other woman, perhaps even more. And being aroused when it isn’t the time or place is frustrating and distracts you from what else you are doing. Another benefit is that when you actually see her it’s like rediscovering a gem or hearing your favorite song after not hearing it for a long time. That impact is of course enhanced if it happens less frequently. Because of that, most Humble Serenity women sleep completely covered most nights as well. I only see my wife’s face one night a week, and she covers again as usual before lying down to sleep, but the most important reason for her staying covered most nights is not to enhance the kick of having sex naked, but that we both enjoy …” Janet had left the living room more than thirty seconds ago and now walks to the kitchen just accepting she can’t stay and listen to their conversation as Louise is expecting her. The difficult thing about placing the wine bottle on the table and taking the empty one proved to be to avoid being distracted by the interesting conversation, and therefore pausing several times to concentrate on listening.
Back in the kitchen she sits down directly opposite Louise and leans over the table to ask a question. Her excitement about the men’s conversation has made her forget she is mute, but quickly her hands are under the veil to turn the stud. She asks “I heard Ryan say you are even covered in bed. Is it possible to enjoy sex fully covered?” But Janet has her patience tried as Louise first lifts her glass for them to touch and then says “You have just proven to yourself the necessity of being gagged by trying to speak without considering you can’t. Also, to reduce the attraction of the opposite sex, we avoid using names when speaking about males. To answer your question: Yes, women of Humble Serenity on most days present themselves to their husband in bed like they do all day, dressed exactly as we are now with mittens, khimar and veil. Very often men are not interested in foreplay and just want release. They simply lift the dress of the wife and enter. Women like me, who enjoy the Humble Serenity lifestyle, are modest and submissive accepting, and even enjoying, lying passively while having sex. Actually it turns me on not knowing if my husband will just take me directly or squeeze a little here and there, or perhaps he will want to flip back the veil, remove the gag and kiss. There are numerous possibilities between just accessing the crotch and me being completely naked. You see with just a bedside lamp on I’m virtually blind in bed and can’t see what he is up to. I guess now might be a good time to tell you about what social life is like in Humble Serenity”.
Janet nods enthusiastically, sincerely wanting to learn about the life of women always veiled, but while Louise starts talking her mind goes astray – to the bedroom. She picks up on odd points, something about sewing with other women, themselves producing most of their garments, frequently dining with the other women in the compound communal building, chatting before and after the meal, but most of what Louise is saying just functions as background noise for Janet’s imagination trying to visualize how it feels making love while dressed as she is now, practically blind, her body unable to feel Frank’s touch, unable to excite him with sweet words or naughty sounds. Most of what Louise tells her about how the children are brought up, most of the time living as if at a boarding school, just vaguely registers at the back of her mind, although Louise is very passionate about Oliver being raised like this. The life of boys and girls from six is of course segregated, but when Louise tells about the special life of girls from fifteen until married it overrides her imagination. She listens attentively to hear they spent almost all their time in a sealed-off section of the compound, almost like a harem, but even there they are veiled more than married women. If out in public their outer dress is best described as a completely closed sack, all their senses are blocked, implying they have to be guided. But Louise emphasizes that this ensures their father is the only male they are able to communicate with, and that no young men fall in love based on a coincidental glimpse or similar inappropriate contact which teenagers can’t help seeking.
Louise takes a break in her speech, knowing this is a climax and they touch glasses again. The break lets Janet notice that she feels much hotter than the clothing can account for. The complete veiling and the gag have made her daydreams much more intense, including a low moaning to strengthen her feeling of making love. She senses her nipples are hard and her crotch moist as well, but due to the rod and her covering none of this has been revealed to Louise. Janet has to admit to herself that sex completely covered seems to turn her on just like it does Louise. They have sipped wine for some minutes longer than previously. Louise then slowly leans towards her to see if she is ready to go on, and Janet nods while leaning over, her head sideways ready to listen again. Louise begins “The lifestyle of Humble Serenity is based on some moral and ethic rules written down by the founder as ‘The Teachings of Hank’. There are no verses or procedures to be repeated everyday, but there is a community assembly or service every Sunday morning, where it is expected everybody join in. There a member of the ruling board lectures over a subject explaining what the ‘The Teachings of Hank’ has to say about it. The service ends with a wedding or coming-of-age ceremony if appropriate. Of course women never speak in front of the entire community, but a couple of times a year a man reads a lecture written by his wife. When a man becomes a member of the ruling board his wife becomes member of a shadow female board. This means that if a woman has some question about the female aspects of a lecture, or any question for that matter, she can go to a member of the shadow board. If the shadow board is able to come up with an answer on their own this will be approved …” Louise is interrupted by a loud knocking on a door. She immediately puts her hands up under her veil to make the rod muting, and Janet copies her. Ten seconds later they hear the men at the kitchen doorway and they both look down at the table top.
Surprisingly it is the voice of Frank that speaks “I ‘m sorry to interrupt your friendly chatter. It’s not because I think we should leave, because it isn’t late, in fact the time isn’t half past ten yet. But I’ve been told about how couples of Humble Serenity interact, and it is so different, and yet sounds extremely interesting and enjoyable, that I’ve asked if it is possible to try it here where we have the right conditions. We have been permitted to use the bedroom. Please come with me my dear.” Janet gets up realizing Frank is referring to what she overheard Ryan telling him about while she was in the living room to replace the wine bottle. Ordinarily she would have protested heavily just to tell Frank that she should have her say before doing this sort of thing, but right now she is enjoying playing a docile Humble Serenity woman and looks forward to have her fantasy tested as she silently walks into the dark bedroom.
It is after midnight when they leave the bedroom. Janet is still fully dressed, mute and veiled. Only her crotch has been uncovered while in the bedroom. She seems to remember about every minute of what happened, and yet it all seems so unreal. Her daydreaming in the kitchen was nothing compared to what happened. No matter what it was, it was fantastic, the most wonderful lovemaking she has ever experienced. Now that there is more lighting than bedside lamps she can see on Frank’s face that he feels the same. They go to the living room. Without thinking about it Janet enters head down. She stops on finding Louise at her feet. She is lying outstretched on her back on the floor, fully dressed as well and not reacting to them entering. She is probably sleeping, but she might as well be unconscious. Ryan says “We enjoyed each other as well. And doing it on the sofa and then on the floor was an inspiring change. It’s so late now, go back and sleep in the bedroom. We’ll manage somewhere else.” They go straight back to the bedroom. Janet discovers it wasn’t completely dark before as Frank turns off the bedside lamp. Then she hears his voice, relaxed and quiet, say “Can you dream about a dream? Because this is what will happen when in my mind I replay the hours that have just passed during my coming sleep. You feel the same I’m sure. Maybe it would help our dreams if you, who, dressed as you are, won’t get cold, placed yourself as a blanket on top of me. Goodnight my veiled beauty.” Janet places herself on top of Frank with her head on his chest. Frank neither says thank you nor complains about being weighed down. In a minute Janet just hears a low snoring. She is lying uncomfortably, being hot and sweaty and would still like to remove the rod in her mouth, but she just falls asleep.
Waking up Janet for some seconds thinks it’s early morning, because there is light but not bright daylight. Then she realizes that she is of course still fully covered and it is the strap across her eyes that make her think it is just after dawn. She sees Frank lying next to her. He is awake as well so she leans across to him to speak. But she has to roll on her back again to be able to use both hands to turn the rod, before again leaning over to say “I’ll go and find my own clothes and go to the bathroom for a quick shower before changing, and then we’ll leave.” Frank says “Yes darling we’ll leave, but not for the apartment. We’re going with the Lees to the Humble Serenity compound. You have no doubt heard they have a house there. We can borrow it until Ryan’s work assignment here is over. Let’s see if the Humble Serenity lifestyle is something we want to continue with. It’s for free and with no obligation but to follow their rules while we are there. Please take a shower and put on some fresh clothing.”
Janet is shocked. Frank is implying that she will remain a gray ghost for several weeks with no other male contact, only exchanging distorted whispering with other gray ghosts when it doesn’t interfere with the requirements of the men. Janet lifts her hands a little with the aim of unzipping the khimar as the first step of removing all the gray fabric right here in bed. But her thoughts turn to Louise telling her of the green meadows and the sparkling stream, which a veiled woman cannot perhaps enjoy to its full extent, but nonetheless are clean and just the right place for an energetic and adventurous boy, or girl, who can be completely safe and find new kinds of flowers to pick every day. Her hands have sunk to her lap where they remind her of the joys created just a little lower last night. If she can only experience half of this pleasure when she and Frank make love in the future – – – then her future is the veiled life of a Humble Serenity woman. Janet lifts her hands up under her veil after all, but just a little higher to turn the studs of the rod to mute. She might meet the husband of Louise when leaving the bedroom to change into a fresh ghost costume. Before leaving she walks around the bed and falls on her knees at the side where Frank lies and bows until the soft cloth of her forehead brushes his chest to inform him of her decision. As she gets up he says “The lure of the veil overcomes all objections, Ryan said to me when we met at the recent trade show.”
Copyright © 2009, Bo_Emp; Bo_Emp ‘at’ yahoo ‘dot’ com>
Thanks to Nye North for proof reading