© Seatou 2006
Version for “Tales of the Veils” website.
Not for reproduction on other websites or in any other publishing format.
I was recollecting the past while browsing a photo album of pictures from my graduation. So many memories! It is one of those memories that I will share with you now.
It was my last year in the school. I was an ordinary boy who stayed as far away from trouble as possible. I was not a nerd, nor a troublemaker. I obtained the respect of my schoolmates by always trying to lead a balanced life.
It was the end of an exhausting Thursday. The previous day had been a holiday, and I couldn’t wait for classes to end so I could go home. As soon as the bell rang, I sped towards the exit, but as luck would have it, one of my teachers stopped me to talk to me about a bad mark I got on his surprise test. This put me back a lot.
When I finally got away from the teacher, I resumed my race to the exit. When I got outside the school, I realized that our chat had lasted longer than I thought, and the schoolyard was practically deserted. I continued walking. Suddenly I heard muffled voices. I didn’t give it much thought, figuring they were just playing sports, which was very common after classes. (I have no idea what he’s trying to say here about the window breaking. I can assume by the next paragraph that someone has broken a pane of glass, but there’s another idea in there that I don’t understand.)
When I heard the glass break, instead of leaving, I decided to walk over to see exactly who would be in big trouble with the school keeper. To my surprise and indignation, I came across two brutes, both about 20 years old, beating a boy. The victim was already badly hurt, but the two sadists continued beating him. Without thinking, I picked up a baseball bat lying nearby and screamed, “You! Release the boy, now!”
The two cowards faced me, but when they saw the bat, they abandoned the scene. Once I was sure the two were gone, I approached the boy. He was about 15 years old, and very hurt. I asked if he could walk, and he said he could. There was no one nearby to ask for help, and at the time, there were no such things as cellular telephones for us to use to call for help. I also asked if he wanted to go to a hospital, but he told me that he lived only three blocks away. He asked me to help him get there, and I did.
When we got near his house, we saw the boys father who was arriving home from work. As soon as he saw us, he became furious. In his fury, he pushed me aside, chided me, grabbed his son and told me to disappear, which I did in a hurry (I am not stupid enough to try to talk to someone that angry). Honestly though, in spite of the way he treated me so unjustly, I didn’t really give the incident much more thought. Over the weekend, I had so much fun, that I completely forgot about the whole thing.
To my surprise, on Monday I found the boy and his father at the entrance of the school. I was a little apprehensive, because it was evident that they were there to speak with me.
“I’m so sorry, please forgive me.”, the boys father was soon saying. “Pardon me for my fury and unjust reaction to you.” I thanked him, assuring him that it was no big deal, and that anyone in my place would have done the same. The boy didn’t agree; it was evident that I had become a hero to him and his father. I was embarrassed, not at all feeling worthy of their homage. Not satisfied, my new admirers insisted that I be appreciated more adequately and invited me to dinner at their home. I tried everything, and finally got out of having to go.
Two weeks later I was with the boy, whose wounds had completely healed. It was a chance encounter. We walked down the road together because we lived in the same direction. We talked plenty, and before long, found ourselves already outside the boys house. This time, I could not avoid a visit. We entered together. While the boy went further into the house to inform his mother that he had company, I stayed on the balcony looking at magazines.
Suddenly, my life changed. I saw an angel. Into the room walked a young woman (I found out later that she was 18 years old) severely dressed under countless veils. She didn’t see me, and removed the niqab that covered her face. She turned in my direction and froze. I stared at her, charmed by her beauty. A loud scream echoed across the room. The girl fainted. Before I could react, the girls mother, accompanied by her brother, entered hurriedly. Thankfully they understood what had happened, after my feeble attempts at an explanation. The girl recovers and her mother accompanies her to her room. Meanwhile, the boy assures me that everything is alright. I want to leave, but I wouldn’t allow myself to go before I made sure the two women were alright.
Around this time, the father returns home. After finding out what happened, surprisingly, he began to laugh.
“Did my family surprise you?” he asked.
“Yes, sir. It was frightening, but it’s passed now. What was that all about?”
“My dear daughter did not see you when she entered. She is still not accustomed to wearing the veil.”
“Yes. We are Muslim, and our women wear the veil. My daughter only wears it some months.”
“Oh, I didn’t know. Why did she get so scared?”
“The only males they should show their beauty to are those closely related to them by birth, or their husbands to whom they are related to through marriage.”
“Is she already married?”
“No, she is not.”
“This time it is I that should apologize. I could have looked away when I saw her face, but she was so beautiful that I didn’t.”
“That was not your fault. You are a man, that is certain, and it is the obligation of the woman to be careful and properly protect her modesty.”
“I see. Well, I suppose I should leave now.”
“No, please. Stay here and have lunch with us.”
At this time, the two women return to our presence. The mother is wearing the same clothing as earlier, a shalwar kameez and hijab in shades of green. My angel had put on a full niqab, her face completely covered. She kneeled down before me while her brother asked for forgiveness for her imprudence. I, of course, said that there nothing to forgive.
This relationship will become redundant in my marriage with this angel some years later, but that is another story that I may tell you later.