The Locker Room 2 (on the other side)
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 a sequel to The Locker Room
The original Hungarian version can be found here: Az öltöző 2 (A másik oldal)
Shila was 23 years old. She became Anvar’s wife a year ago. Their parents arranged the marriage but it did not work well. They could not live together. They fought a lot, and Shila wanted a divorce.
“I cannot agree! My dad would be disappointed if we parted and I do not want it,” said Anvar. “But if you could get someone to take your place, that’s okay.”
“What do you mean? Simply marry again! You could find a hundred girls who would be happy to become your wife,” Shila said.
“That’s no good! My dad would know soon that I was marrying a second time. I need someone who they would not know is not you. You know Dad’s seriously ill. He could live for up to a year. I want him to be happy and die with the knowledge that he has arranged a great marriage for his son! The parents of an Arab girl would betray the secret in five minutes, which would hurry his death on.”
“You have to go to London next week. Try to get somebody there! “
Shila really liked London. She was an well-bred woman and she spoke excellent English. She first tried in the local Arab communities but did not find the right woman for her.
“What if I was trying to get one of the women here?” she thought to himself.
“She would go in my place and I would in take hers. I could wear these beautiful clothes, instead of the stupid black abayah and the ugly veil.” She did not even think she was talking about clothes and veils she had worn for ten years without having had any problems so far.
She looked at himself in the mirror. Yourself? Only the veil! Besides, nothing nothing could be seen. Her husband and his family demanded she her to stay in the veil. But now she wanted more! The freedom to live and wear nice clothes! As for the woman who would replace her, she did not care. She was looking for the right woman for days while the time was running out. It was only two days before she was due to go home, when Lady Luck finally smiled on her.
He enrolled in the “Body-breaker” gym, where only women were allowed to train. She had been in a dozen similar places for her purposes in vain, but she was on target here.
She took off her veil, clothes, and put on her new training clothes. She went into the hall and the woman, a strong fifty-year-old woman, greeted her: “Hello Anna! Why did you come in this afternoon? At other times you are always the first in the morning.”
“I’m sorry my name is Shila, and I’m new here.”
“Excuse me! I thought you were Anna Goldwin, our old customer. This resemblance is amazing! Are you not sisters or relatives by chance?”
They talked and Shila knew almost everything about Anna. In all respects it suited! Fate had decided it! She turned to the staff member called Éva: “I want to ask a favour you, Eve! Could you let the members know that the gym will open an hour later tomorrow. I would like to talk to this Anna in private!” and she slid her some money.
“No worries! I open the gym an hour later and stay in the office until I’m disturbed. I’ll call the other early guests. There are only two to three who come at that time.” And with a smile she put the money away.
The next day Shila was there before the opening time. The employee waited there in the door. She was surprised to see Shila wearing the veil (she only saw in the training dress last night) but it did not bother her. Shila went into the dressing room, tossed off her niqab, picked up her training clothes, left her clothes and veils in the cabin and sneaked into her dressing-room. It was pretty narrow, but she was managed. She did not have to wait a long time. She heard the cabin door open.
“Hello! Is anyone here? Someone left her clothes here!” somebody shouted. Shila waited for a few minutes, then slowly opened the changing room door and saw the woman wearing her veil and look at herself in the mirror.
“It’s a lot easier than I thought,” Shila smiled to herself and making sure that she made no noise, sneaked out of the changing room. She dressed herself in the woman’s clothes and slipped into the high-heeled shoes. She picked up her purse and opened it. She looked at Anna’s identity card, which seemed to show her, Shila.
“I’m Anna Goldwin!” she smiled contentedly.
She stepped out of the cabin and headed for the woman. She walked uncertainly in the needle heels, which she had before seen only in pictures and almost fell. At the noise the woman spun round.
“Who are you? And why did you put on my clothes?” she asked her.
“I could ask the same of you, but it is better this way. I paid off the employee, so there’s just the two of us. I knew you were coming, the employee said you were the first to arrive. You know, I wanted to get away from my husband, but he tied the divorce to find someone instead of me. Well, I’ve found her now!” Shila said with a smile.
She was shocked and tried to take the veil off, but Shila sprayed her with a paralyzing spray. The woman fell on the floor and stared at her silently, her eyes glaring through the veil.
Anvar came in, with whom she had discussed the whole thing yesterday and asked,
“Is this her?”
“Yes! The effect of the spray is one hour, you can take her to the airport. And you live happily, you Arab woman. Your husband takes home and I do not think he’ll ever let you go. What the employee said was correct: You really look like me, so it will not be hard for me to get in, but let’s try, because the guests are coming soon to say that they will open later today.”
Anvar put Ann in her car and took her away.
Shila went back to the drawing room and picked up her belongings.
“Hello Anna! Have you met that Arab woman? I think Shila is her name.”
She heard Éva’s voice from Shila behind her. She turned and smiled.
“Yes! We talked to each other and she helped me. I am grateful to her and to you too.”
She gave her money to the woman who was happy to accept.
“I cannot stay today, Éva, but tomorrow I will be in at the usual time”
She was walking down the street in the high-heeled shoes that she had quickly got used to.
Two Arab women came in the opposite direction, talking in Arabic and wearing full veils.
“Look at this shameless woman! Brown is her skin, her hair is black like us, but she does not refrain from walking half-naked!” they said to one another.
“What do you know about this? Then, if you have tried this life, then you can talk,” Shila replied to them in Arabic, and they were almost stoned in surprise. She continued to grin when her phone rang.
“Anna come quickly! Here are two Arab clients we need to talk to, and we still have to find an interpreter because they do not speak English. “
“I’m right there and I do not need an interpreter, I can speak fluent Arabic.”
“You did not say so before! When did you learn it?”
“Long ago, but you do not have to know everything! I’ll take a taxi and in a few minutes I’ll be there!”
‘Yes Anna! Your new life has begun! And the new Shila? You’ll get used to the veiled life. Until you learn Arabic, then the rubber ball will prevent you from speaking. I talked with my parents about how to handle the situation. There will be no problem, Anvar’s father will not know I’m not behind the veil. And if he finds out, that’s not my problem anymore!’ Shila thought, and she was very pleased with herself.