The New Neighbour
Copyright 2018, T_G
Miranda walked on through the stinging hot day. Her long black dress was floated above the sand. Her veil fluttered in the wind. One hand grabbed it from the back and turned it over.
– I told you you could not go anywhere else.
She shouted and stroked her other hand.
As a defense she lifted both hands. The man refused to do so with the other hand, and shook it fiercely.
– Miriam! Miriam wake up! It’s time for the first prayer!
Miranda opened her eyes and realized it was a bad dream. A white figure leaned over her, shaking her shoulders.
– Get up “my daughter”! We have to go! Have you had a nightmare?
She whispered to her “mother”. Miranda slowly realized where she was and who woke her up. He nodded. She was slipping out of bed in a daze, and in the mirror she was dressed in white from top to bottom. She had slept all the night in her veil. Unbelievable! She was incredulous. She slid her feet into the slippers, pulled the prayer mat out of the chest and knelt down behind her “mother.”
Rashid woke up. Something was missing, but he did not immediately know what it was. She took her prayer mat and went to the prayer room. He heard the two women coming down the stairs. And now he realized what she missed. The louder and louder quarrel between mother and daughter about the veil. This had annoyed him for almost thirteen years almost every morning. As Miriam became older she was less likely to tolerate the veil. At least this morning, it’s okay. Miranda has fewer problems and is more obedient than Miriam. The veil had not had a problem before. Like a really good Muslim girl. She should keep wearing it! He smiled at his own idea.
Miriam really slept well. She dressed and picked up the blonde wig. He heard a conversation from below. “Dad,” she thought. She quickly did her makeup and ran down to them.
– Good morning!
– You too! You look good!
– Thanks! I’ll go to prepare breakfast. Who wants it?
“Her parents” looked at each other and nodded.
– How hard-working is this girl. Should not we keep her?
Jonathan joked to his wife. She just smiled. During breakfast they told Jonathan how great they felt yesterday. He nodded smilingly, but he was tired and went to bed. Goodbye, then Miriam turned to “his mother”
– I called “Miriam” to talk yesterday. No problem?
– Of course! I also want to talk to Jamila. We have a lot to talk about the past few years. They’ll be over in the afternoon just like yesterday. Promised.
And they came. They arrived shortly after lunch. Miriam opened the door and let the two women through. Rashid did not come through now, as they said about his community work. The two women went into the kitchen, now Miriam took Miranda’s gloved hand and almost guided the black-veiled girl into the room. And now she asked,
– Am I allowed to take off the veil?
– No! I don’t take it off! Leave it alone. I like to see you wearing it for me.
– But I let you go! Why are you so with me? I thought we were friends! I lent you my clothes too!
– So what? I did not give you my loans? See you now! But let’s get out of here now. Anyway, it was not my idea to change it for two days though I really enjoy it. It’s a great life. I’m sorry that tomorrow will end.
– I do not regret that. This veil is difficult. It’s very hot. Of course, limited sight does not ease my life. I cannot go right either. I have to say, today is easier than yesterday. And you did not even say about the bedclothes. What other secrets have you kept from me?
– Nothing. You remember? We barely had time to talk. Are you thirsty? I brought some drinks.
When the blond girl handed him a bottle of coke and a straw, Miranda lifted the khimar and niqaab layers a bit and began to drink.
– I see you got used to it. And what about the prayers?
– What if? I pray like the others. I’ll help ‘mother’ in what’s needed.
She gave the empty glass to Miranda.
– She teaches you from the beginning. I also help “mother” and I see her well.
Said Miriam. They had been talking for a long time, while Miranda had to go pee. It was not easy for a lot of layers of clothing, and now he understood the panties’ cut. She did not have to undress, just pulled up the clothes and sat down to the toilet. Then paper wiped dry with a handkerchief. Miriam just smiled at how quickly his cousin learned the life of a veiled woman.
When the time for the visit expired, the two girls went back to the ground floor. The two women were waiting for them together with Jonathan.
– How do you enjoy the life of a veiled woman?
he asked, but before Miranda could answer, Miriam overtaken her.
– She cannot speak to any other man because he is now a Muslim woman. I’ll tell you what we were talking about.
Elizabeth leaned over to Miriam and whispered into her ear that she had tried Jamila’s veil, but only for a few minutes.
– All my appreciation is that you still wear it you know.
He said. Miranda was surprised that her mother was wearing the veil, even for a short time. She was a little proud of herself to be commended for her perseverance. Brown thanked, the two veiled women bowed, then Miriam escorted them. They said goodbye to each other, they went back, and Miriam came in to “her parents”.
Everything was done the same as the day before. They prayed, Jamila taught the moves, dinner, prayer again, washing up. This time, everything went easier as if Miranda had done it for a long time. She was wearing the apron and rubber gloves for washing. It was almost natural. She went up to her room and shut the door slowly. She prepared the bathing water for herself. As the water was running, she used the toilet. Then got into the tub. At home, it’s just a shower, but she has been here for bathing. She waited for the water to start to cool, then shet left the tub. She wiped herself dry and went into the room. She got fresh nightgowns and started dressing. Panties, upper, stockings, abaya, niqaab, khimar, gloves. The white spirit was ready to go to bed. “Her mother” came to wish her good night and was pleased to see that her “daughter” was perfectly dressed for sleep.
– Good night “Miriam”! I love you!
– Good night “Mother” I too!
Miriam cheerfully watched her “mother” (her “father” went back to work again), then dumped and went to sleep. And he sighed.
– Just one day!
Miranda got up and felt something was wrong. She did not see her mother anywhere. She picked up her prayer mat and went downstairs. He heard voices from her “parents” room, he knocked.
– Come on in “our daughter”!
She heard his “father” voice. When he entered, he saw that his “mother” lay in bed, leaning over her “father” and reassuring her:
– There is nothing wrong! I’ve called the doctor already. Any minute he will be here.
– What happened? What about “mother”?
She asked anxiously. “Her father” shook his head.
– I do not know. Not feeling well. The doctor came. I go out and accompany you, stay here!
Miranda took her gloved hand with her “mother’s” gloved hand, leaned over and kissed her through the veil.
“His father” escorted the doctor. The doctor was a Muslim woman in white, hijab, but without a veil. Dr. Almari, she introduced herself. She was sent out during the investigation. She went into the prayer room and prayed alone. She did not know how much time had passed when she heard her “father” call.
– You can come in, the doctor went.
– What did she say?
– It’s pretty serious. Some infection. She wrote some medicines and ordered complete rest. That means we cannot go anywhere for at least two weeks. Now I’m going to the pharmacy. You can make some food and take care of the patient. From now on you are the housewife. And I’m going to give Browns a break in the afternoon show. We do not want to infect them either. Right?
Miriam looked at his “parents”.
– Are you serious?
– Rashid said. They cannot leave for two weeks.
Miriam looked at him with mixed feelings. Of course she was glad to live for a few days, but worried about her mother’s state.
For her, Miranda had changed her life to care for her mother. In the first week, she was feeding and drinking. Because of the veil she did not see her face, but they felt very close to each other. On the second Jamila became better and wanted to get up. She really had to stay in bed with strength. Miriam telephoned every day, inquired about her condition and was pleased with the improvement. Miranda did everything. Cooked, washed, cleaned. The black veil did not bother her either. She almost did not realize she was wearing it. It was now part of her life. “Her parents” were very pleased with her. She had heard her father say that he was talking about a retention and that her mother would say, but she did not know what it was all about. Two weeks later, the doctor came back and found everyone happy that the infection was over and she could get up the next day. Miranda was happy to see her “mother” recovered. They thought they could go over and change their clothes again. Then suddenly the world turned black and found herself lying on the ground and her “parents” leaning over her.
They moved a little back and Miranda saw the doctor come back. She did not even sit in his car when Rashid reached her and actually returned to the house.
– She had also caught it!
The doctor turned to her “parents”. “His father” lifted her up and took her to her room. He put her on the bed and went out. “Her mother” came to her and carefully tucked her in.
– Poor baby! You took care of me for two weeks, and I thank you with gratitude. I am so sorry!
Miranda felt very tired. “Her mother” cautiously undressed and pushed into the duster. She was asleep and woke up only in the morning. “Her mother” sat beside her and held her hand. When she noticed she had woken up, she stroked her head and kissed her. Miranda realized she had been watching her all night. It was very good of her. She went out and left with a tray of food and came back with some remedy. Miaranda felt too weak, but her mother had to eat, so she slightly lifted the veil of her daughter, slowly fed and handed her the medicine. Then he opened the door with her and began to read it. With one of her hands, she took the gloved hand with the other, her “daughter”. Miranda fell asleep again. When she woke up, she was slightly foggy that she was wearing a black dress in the middle of the carpet. As she moved, his bed creaked, the covered woman moved and came over to her. Jamila watched her “daughter” who looked a little better. Miriam realized that she was silly because he was still wearing the bedclothes. With Jamila’s careful nurturing, she got better day by day. She heard her mother and father worried about her, and Miriam, but they could not visit him because of the danger of infection.
The day came that they could cross over to the next afternoon. Only the four women met, the men worked. Jamila told her they were almost always with Miranda. First Miranda cared for her, then Miranda, and how close they were to each other. Elizabeth was glad that Miranda and Jamila were healed, then told her they had to go shopping and invited them. Miriam was happy to have her mother and her cousin healthy again. She missed them. They have not met for weeks, they only spoke on the phone.
– Then go up and change our clothes.
Miranda suggested, though she was not bothered about the veil anymore. Miriam shook her head.
– Let’s go shopping as we are! We’ll see the rest when we get back.
she said with a false smile. Miranda did not argue, but she shrugged. Elizabeth stepped out of the garage with the car. Miranda opened the other front door, but Miriam sat in surprise and said cheerfully,
– The veiled section is in the back!
– Come “my daughter” sit next to me!
Said Jamila, who was already behind Elizabeth. She could not do anything but sit next to her. She was sitting in the back seat of their little car, but alone. With Jamila now, they felt herself in the back. The couple of minutes seemed very long. Miriam took her cousin’s gloved hand and helped her get out while Elizabeth helped Jamila.
– Why do not you buy a bigger car?
She asked Jamila by her waist.
– While Miranda went to school, for the two of us it was enough. Let’s go now!
Of course, the things bought did not fit into the small trunk, so Miriam and Jamila took the rest in on their laps.
By the time they got home, the men were already waiting for them. Miranda raised her dress up again, but she was overwhelmed by the great surprises of the others. Finally, Jonathan said,
– Miranda has been thinking a lot in recent days. Almost a month has passed, and Rashid and Jamila were very pleased with you, just like we are with you, Miriam.
She turned to her “daughter”. Miranda had a strange feeling. Jamila told how easily she had accustomed to the veils, and how close they were to each other while they were caring for each other. Rashid how much easier to go to prayer in the morning that the quarrels have stopped. Miriam blushed. Of course they were fighting, but why should they tell this to others? Elizabeth emphasized that Miriam was diligent and helpful. Then Jonathan began to talk.
– That is why we think we should keep up the current set-up. We would not adopt you, at least not currently. But Miriam would stay with us like Miranda, and you Miranda would stay there like Miriam. Of course, you can walk through each other every day, and you can do joint programs. Consider each other as a brother. And we also, Rashid, would continue to look at both of you as ours, and we would have a daughter for them as well.
Miriam was very happy. She loved her parents, the actual ones, the new ones. And now she can live her life without a veil. She does not have to. She did not know who to hug her for the first time, but then hugged everyone. And Miranda? She did not breathe. She looked around, not understanding what was going on around him. She just agreed, now she is the veiled Miriam, and she had no illusions. She was confident that they would soon be adopted and married in a few years to someone who would strictly handle it. She dreamed of it, and it seems that way. Of course she could protest, she could claim that she was of age. However, she could only frustrate all four parents now. Then where would she go? What would she do? And finally she likes them, very much. Even Miriam, sorry, now Miranda. She saw how pleased she did not want to spoil her happiness. And the veil? She had been wearing almost a month for nearly a month. She knew it, she was quite accustomed to it. When her cousin reached to embrace, she hugged her.
– My dear single sister! I’m so happy for you! Now we are all a big family!
Said Miriam. With her two hands he took his sister’s head covered with veil and touched their foreheads. Miranda was still out of the question. Her mother’s mother approached her.
– We will not lose each other! We live here just a few meters away. Whenever you get through, sometimes I’ll pop over to you. And you’ll always be my daughter!
Her new mother also came in. She also embraced her. The two veiled women almost bunched into a single black band. Miranda came slowly to her. Let’s look at the positive side of things, she thought. Now I have two moms and dads. Plus, there is a sister who is fond of me. Of course, since she got rid of the veil I will have to wear it to the end of my life. And here’s the veil question. At first I only saw the disadvantages, but I got used to it. In just a month. And let’s admit it’s just a dress, and it’s not that bad either. And I still have the option to stand on my heels and say no. But do I want to say no? I really do not know. We will see later. They thanked each other, Miriam was escorting them. And she hugged his new brother. As they walked home, the two veiled women were far behind Rashid. Jamila fired at Miranda and whispered to her ear:
– You Miriam! Do you remember the doctor? She has a brother, now twenty-five years old. His father a modified trader, his son is his right hand. She’s a handsome, handsome boy! And clever! But he’s strict! That’s it! We told her the dresser’s gown, and she and her brother. That’s it! This young man is now very much interested in you! Of course, you should change, but then you have lived so far as a decent Muslim girl has to. You took the veil, you prayed, you were an obedient good girl. If someone had seen you this month, then they could not have thought that you were not Muslim. You were like the dream of a Muslim young man. It’s true if you’re married, you should wear stiffer clothes. Much stricter. But it would be a very good match! Do not you think?