The Surprise: Part 5
Version for “Tales of the Veils” website.
Not for reproduction on other websites or in any other publishing format without author’s permission.
Melanie and Anna
“Anna, your clothes have come, would you like to see them or wait until the time starts?”
“I’m coming, one more moment”
It is getting serious. There is nothing left for me except fulfil the bet if I do not want to be described as a coward everywhere, as someone who bets recklessly but does not want to bear the consequences. I’ve been worrying for the past few weeks, but I cannot think of a way out.
When I entered Melanie’s room, she had already unpacked the packages and spread out the clothes on the bed and the sofa. All were black and shapeless. I could not see what was so bad.
“And how do you like your new things?” She could not resist a small dig.
Melanie is sometimes really vicious. What should I say to that?
“Excellent, wonderful, I cannot wait to wear these things,” I replied ironically.
“If you want, you can try them on now.”
“No, thank you, the first of the month is early enough, I do not need it sooner” As long as I can avoid these clothes, I will do that.
Then I put the clothes in my closet and to wear on the 1st. ”
The clothes horrify me. How am I supposed to last only 4 months? Why am I always so stupid and fall for such nasty tricks? Soraya used to do that too, when she wanted to achieve something I did not want. And Melanie may be even worse. But actually, it’s my own fault. I should not have got involved in this.
I could see exactly how Anna got pale when she saw the clothes. I’m looking forward to keeping her under control. So far so good. Now I have to think about how I can manage not to have to redeem my part of the bet, but I already have an idea. But everything in its time.
Soraya and Katie
“Good morning Katie, how are you, how did you sleep?”
“I’m feeling better, I’ve slept well.”
“My family will be coming soon, they really want to meet you. Sultan is already on the way to talk to your lawyer and again our neighbour and I hope he will be successful.”
“I hope so too, I do not know how to thank you for your help”
“It’s not necessary, you’re my friend, I’d do anything for you, and Sultan as my husband too.”
“Thank you and Sultan, and now I’m looking forward to meeting your family.”
“Come on then. I think they will arrive at any moment.”
“Hello Mum, hello Safiya, hello Aisha, this is Katie my friend from the States. Katie this is my mother, this is Safiya my older sister and this is Aisha my younger sister.”
I wonder how she tells the three apart. All dressed identically in black.
“Soraya told me that the neighbour has reported you. I’m sorry to you have to through this. If we can help you, then you just have to say what we can do,” Soraya’s mother spoke directly to Katie.
“Thank you very much, Soraya and Sultan are already helping me where they can, it was my mistake, I should have informed myself beforehand to avoid this nasty surprise.”
“It was determined by the will of Allah, as it happened that way.” Safiya remarked.
“Safiya, please be kinder to Soraya’s friend. You know that it was not easy for Soraya come and live here and she needs all our support. And after all that Soraya told me about Katie, she’s a very good friend.”
“Sorry Katie, that did not mean it. I’m sorry if I have offended you. It’s just that’s unfortunately I do not have a girlfriend like you. It was not granted to me. Maybe you also could try to become my girlfriend.”
“Mine too, please,” Aisha said.
“You do not have to apologize, and yes, I’d like to be your friend and yours, Aisha.”
After a lively conversation, Soraya’s mother and her daughters left Sultan’s house, leaving Soraya and Katie alone.
“You have a nice family, so I can now better imagine why you made that choice, although I probably would have decided differently.”
“It has to be a matter of choice for me, it was important for me to protect my family, even though it threw me into an unfamiliar and limited life, it’s not always easy, but I’m getting used to it. I cannot change anything anyway.”
“You’re a strong woman and I’m sure you will overcome all obstacles.”
At that moment, Sultan came into the room. We waited anxiously for what he had to report.
“I cannot tell if it’s a good or bad news, I had an appointment with the prosecutor today with your lawyer, and we reminded him of the delicate diplomatic situation and also that the offense was committed in ignorance However, that did not impress the prosecutor in the least, he only sees the possibility that we will agree with the neighbour and withdraw the complaint, and if the prosecutor does not withdraw the complaint, the prosecutor will enforce the charge with full force. And the argument that you did not know this prohibition, it does not apply, since you live with us and we could have pointed out to you or you could have asked.” I noticed Katie’s uneasiness rising. This was really not good news. According to Sultan’s reports, judges seldom judge below the punishment demanded by the prosecutor.
“Afterwards, your lawyer and I were still with your neighbour and talked to him again. At first he was completely inaccessible and blocked everything, but after some time he made a suggestion, which I now submit to you.”
I realized how difficult it was for him to make that proposal. This did not bode well.
“As compensation, he wants Katie to become his wife. Only on this condition he is ready even to retract his accusation. The retraction takes place only after the marriage and not before.”
This suggestion was like a knockout blow to Katie. She sat next to me and was stunned. She was thinking about what was worse for her. The conviction or the alternative. I took Katie in my arms to comfort her.
I had hoped for a positive message, but this news was worse than I had feared. It’s like a black hole! What choice do I have: either 5 years in prison or 150 lashes or to avoid such a penalty, a marriage with the neighbour of Soraya and Sultan. A life sentence. There was no light at the end of this tunnel. My mind was blank, I could not think clearly and then everything went black.
I noticed Katie digesting this information that she did not want to hear. Slowly the enormity of it all seeped into her consciousness. I saw her go dizzy and unsteady. Her eyes flickered and she collapsed with a groan. She had become unconscious.
Finally came the day Anna was to begin her life in Purdah. The night before I slept badly with the excitement. Even so, when the morning prayer alarm rang in the morning, I was wide awake. I went over to Anna’s room and woke her, which she answered with a curse. After some back and forth she eventually got up. She looked pretty exhausted. The realisation of what was to happen was upon her.
“Sleepyhead, let’s do it, come with us, so that we can dress you properly before the prayer.”
Anna grunted something and followed me reluctantly but without annoyance. After she had a quick wash, she came to my room and looked at the clothes I had laid our for her.
“This will be your clothes for the next four months.” Or maybe longer, maybe forever, I thought to myself.
“Must I go through with this,” came one last tentative attempt.
“Yes, gambling debts are debt of honour, or do you want everyone to know that you’ve reneged on your bet?”
“No. Let’s start.”
Now the serious bit started. There was no going back for me. Either I’m going through with this or my reputation is ruined. And besides, it is only for 4 months. I’ll keep it loose and then it’s Melanie’s turn. I’m looking forward to seeing her for two years as a French Maid in a tight costume.
“You have to undress completely, including the panties.”
Melanie gave me a pair of panties in black instead, like everything, which, if anything, my grandmother or probably rather great-grandmother would have worn. The panties reached below my knees and were tied with a waistband.. Next, Melanie handed me stockings that reached to the panties. Of course, they were black and opaque. It continued with an undershirt with long sleeves. The undershirt reached up to my buttocks. I was already covered, what would it be like when I was wearing everything? Next came a headscarf. It went on with a skirt and a top, which also covered my head. When it came to Melanie’s niqab my sight grew dark. At first I could not see anything. She flipped tow of the layers back and I could see again. However, my field of vision was clearly limited.
“Am I to be veiled in the house?”
“Yes, a Muslim who lives in Purdah is also completely veiled in the house. If necessary, she is allowed to flip back the two outer layers of the niqab when she is alone if the husband or father allows it, and since you have consented for 4 months to live in Purdah, then one layer must always be flipped down. ”
Then came the gloves and a Khimar. I got really hot.
“You are dressed correctly, at least in the way I was then, and as is probably also Soraya at this time. Of course, there are also husbands who limit their women even further, maybe we will find one for you.”
“That is not funny,” I exclaimed at first, startled. As I thought about it, I had to laugh. That would never happen, since I would never let myself be put into such a situation. After 4 months, this charade is over.
“No, it was a joke, but now you must pray and then you have time for Qur’an study until the next prayer. I have provided you with a German translation which will be your only reading for the next 4 months You will pray 5 times a day, do the housework, and when you have time, you will read the Qur’an, and after the evening prayer, you will go to bed to rest, which you will need when you have the day behind you. ”
That did not sound very tempting. But I have to go through with it now.
Katie and Soraya
After a while, Katie came back to herself. It was a shitty situation for her, to put it bluntly. What should she do? I would not even know what to choose myself. I can only try to be there for her when she needs me.
“Katie, how are you? You fell unconscious.”
“Well, how can I do it? I have the choice between plague and cholera.”
“I know, I’m really sorry, if I could, I’d swap places you and take that punishment on myself.”
“Well, then I would live veiled.”
“That’s true.” We both had to laugh.
“How is it to be veiled? Maybe I should try it before I decide?
“It’s warm, your field of vision is limited, and you do not have the freedoms you’ve had before, so it’s definitely a serious undertaking, but if you want, you can try it for a few days and you’ll be able to judge that better.”
“I know that my life would change completely, but the thought of the lashes and the prison are also not very pleasant. I thank you.”
“I’ll do everything I can to help you.”
After Katie had calmed down a bit and was now clear what decision she had to make, Sultan made it clear that I had to go back to Koranic school. There had been no change in the few days in which I had not visited the school.
Time was running slowly for me. I was constantly thinking about Katie and could not concentrate on the teaching. Towards the end of the day my friends approached and asked what was wrong with me. I then told them the whole story and what choice Katie had been presented with.
“I’m sorry for Katie”
“Yes and I feel guilty because I invited her here.”
“Please do not say that, Katie is responsible for her own actions, and given the circumstances of her life, she should have asked what the rules were before she went sunbathing.”
“That’s true, but I still blame myself.”
“I’m pretty sure there’s everything will back into balance. Maybe Katie will marry your neighbour and become a happy and satisfied Muslim like you.”
Noor again. In fact, just because I wear these clothes and visit the Koran school regularly, she assumes I am a happy and satisfied Muslim. If I could, I would go back immediately to Germany and my former life that I gave up.
Anna and Melanie
“It is time.”
“For visiting the mosque. This is part of life as a practicing Muslim. I’ll go with you. Since we leave the house right away, it is necessary that you wear a gag. I had to do that before too, and since you should get to know this life, it is necessary.”
It’s getting worse and worse. The thought of leaving the house so veiled scared the hell out of me. I tried everything to get around this, but Melanie stayed firm. And then a gag. It was getting worse and worse. I’m so stupid, I never should have got involved in this damned bet.
After Melanie had fitted the gag with obvious joy on Anna, both went to the mosque. Everything was completely new to Anna. The women had their own section in the mosque, separate from the men. Together with her, two more veiled and several unveiled women were present. Since she did not know what she should do, she looked at Melanie for everything.
Finally the service was over and they left the mosque. Instead of going straight home, Melanie walked up to a man who had just left with the other two veiled women they had seen in the mosque.
“Salam Aleikum Ahmet”
“Aleikum Salam Melanie, how are you?”
“I’m fine and you?”
“Me too, is that Anna?” he asked, pointing his finger at Anna
“Yes, that’s Anna, it’s all pretty new to her, but I think she’ll get used to it in the near future.”
Once she has lived this way for some time. She will not wish for anything else, my two wives will teach them all that is necessary for a devout Muslim, and they are looking forward to having Anna stay with them.”
What is this now. We had not talked about that. I wanted to protest against it, but through the gag came only incomprehensible words.
“I think Anna is also in agreement that she lives in the near future with you.”
“Yes, it sounds quite like that. So, ladies get in there. Anna, it is customary for the women sit in the back, so please get in.”
Anna tried to fight back but through the clothes she was restricted in her movements and before she knew it, she sat between Ahmet’s women in the car. Before Ahmet drove off, a gloved hand came out and wrote a few words on a piece of paper.
“We’re here for you.” was written on the note. Were the two women gagged like her?
After a short drive, they came to a fairly large house. Ahmet opened the doors for the women. After entering the house, the two women went with Anna to the women’s living area. After the doors were closed, the women took off their gags and Anna was released from her gag.
“I am Salima and this is Kadija. I am the first and Kadija is the second wife of Ahmet. We will show you what life is like as a Muslim in purdah. We wake in the morning for early morning prayer and go to bed in the evening after Night prayer, always completely veiled, even as we sleep. During the day we always wear a gag with the exception of prayers and meals. For a pious Muslim it is absolutely necessary to veil yourself and even the voice should not be heard. We have a notepad and pen for you to communicate with us, and in the times when we neither pray nor do the chores, we read in the Qur’an since we do not have a television or a computer as these are just useless diversions.
The best thing will be that you follow what we do, then you will learn very quickly. And now it’s time for prayer. Then we will fasten the gag again and read the Qur’an. After the evening prayer we go to sleep. We sleep covered. This is just for your information. Tomorrow morning, after the early prayer is done, only then do we shower. You can find fresh things for the day in the cupboard. You have 30 minutes for this. Until the next prayer we read the Qur’an again. After the prayers, we prepare the breakfast for Ahmet and after Ahmet has eaten we have breakfast. Then the housework is on the plan. Washing, cleaning, ironing, preparing lunch, etc. If we finish before noon prayer, we spend the rest of the time reading the Qur’an. After the midday prayer, Ahmet is the first one to have lunch, then we eat and do the rest of the housework. Then we read the Qur’an again. After the evening prayer and dinner, as always first Ahmet eats, then us, and then we do the rest of the kitchen work and then read again from the Qur’an.
This is our daily routine. You will get used to it in a short time. I’m sure.”
After what Salima just told me, the next 4 months will be absolute hell. What did I just get involved in? But it is settled now. When I’m through here though, then Melanie will pay for it.