If you do not remember who you are!
Translated by Ed Neil
Original: Ha nem emlékszel ki is vagy!
Version for “Tales of the Veils” website.
Not for reproduction on other websites or in any other publishing format without author’s permission.
Lilian Ritter was a young journalist. She worked for a small newspaper when she got an excellent opportunity. With some of her colleagues, she went to Kabul, Afghanistan’s capital, and interview some important people. Even a language course was arranged to talk to local people. After some successful reports, they went walking with the reporter group with a strong armed escort.
“This is not worth anything! Let us go unnoticed, “said a handsome young man who introduced himself as Karl Leiter.
They both spoke Afghan dialects. Some of the interviews were conducted with Afghan people without any interpreters. Their dark-skinned skins both resembled local people. Only because of their clothes they seemed to be strangers.
“What if we were looking for local clothes, and we would get mixed up with the people here?” Karl proposed.
“I would look at the burqa, alongside an afghan young man, but be. I was always curious about how it might be like wearing a burqa. “Lilian laughed.
When they came to a big burqashop, they turned to the store by playing the guard’s attention. The shop was full of burqas and women’s clothes. Hundreds of burqa hung on the walls. Most of them were light or dark blue, but had other colors. An Afghan woman came to them in a dark blue burqa.
“Peace be out ! How can I serve? ” she offered them with the wrong English.
“Peace with you too! We are journalists. I want to buy a burqa for my girlfriend to be a part of local people and find out what they think of the world, “said Karl in the Pastu language.
“HE! Do you speak our language? Oh, I’m glad! I’m Hassina! Of course I will help you, but burqa is not enough! Take a full dress with underwear and shoes! And you have to wear clothes too, but I only deal with women’s dresses. Go to the next store. You can buy everything at the widower ! “She said happily to the woman and opened a side door.
Hassina escorted Lilian back and motioned for her to undress completely. They brought pants and brassieres that were old fashioned and made on the spot. Lilian has chosen them. She brought new clothes. Buggy trousers, long dresses.
“This is Shalvar-kameez. Most women are wearing it. These are the best Afghan brands! They are not cheap, but they are very elegant. “She said and helped her choose from them.
Then they chose stockings and shoes. They were talking. The two women became friends. Lilian learned that Hassina was a widow. She has a daughter, Galina, one year younger than Lilian. The widower is Omar, who leads her father’s shop. Lilian asked her to show her face, but Hassina refused.
“We do not show our faces. Remember it too! If you wear veils, you can not raise it to make your face visible. Only your husband can see, no one else! ”
“And now let’s see an appropriate burqa for you! What colour would you like? I suggest light blue. Blue is the most popular color, and you’re young, wearing light. Darker shades are for such old women than me! ” Lilian laughed.
Finally Lilian chose a light blue burqa made of original hand. Hassina quit cheap machine polyester imitations:
“They’re not worth anything! Tourists are good if they want to bring their memories back home, but they can not be worn, because they are quickly destroyed! This is expensive but durable! ”
After some tests, they found what was exactly the same size. It reached the ground in the back and almost reached the knee. She could look through a small hexagonal dense mesh. A white inner veil helped to hide her eyes completely.
“How do you feel? Asked Hassina.
“Very tight! I feel like my head crunches and I can hardly see it! Is not a little bigger and something that does not have an inner veil? ”
“It’s good for you, believe me. You have to be tight, or you would slide on your head. The second layer makes it even more elegant. Perfect as it does not even allow you to see the outline of your eye. You’re beautiful! If you wear it, you will get used to it in a short time and then it will not bother you. Do I have Galina? “She turned to a similar light blue burqa woman who was just entering the door.
“Yes, Mom! And it really is fine! Much better than what you were wearing. “Laughter echoed.
Two Afghan men came in, and Lilian noticed with surprise that one of Karl was.
“Oh Karl! If I did not know you were, I think I see a local man. ”
“You speak? You can only get to know about your voice! It’s also dull! Barely recognizable! And how do you feel in the burqa? “Karl laughed.
“I see very little. This little net strongly restricts vision! I just see what’s right in front of me. Narrow my head, my head is tight. Thick tissue makes breathing more difficult. But overall it’s not as bad as I expected. They say it’s a habit of matter. ”
At Omar’s suggestion, they went to a nearby cafeteria. The two men went ahead, and the two Burqa women followed them. They took their old clothes like two plastic bags.
“I’m so glad to meet you. A foreign girl who wears our clothes, our veil, and speaks our language! “Galina said with pleasure to Lilian.
They sat down at two separate tables and started talking. Nobody did not realize that two of the four Afghan-speaking people were not Afghans. The two Burqas knew each other well. This was no longer a report, but a long friendly conversation. Lilian got used to the burqa. Talking to her new girlfriend did not even think she looked the same as Galina.
They did not even seem to have a very rough car in their neighborhood near Afghanistan. Lilian heard a huge explosion. Like a slow-motion shot, she saw the two men hit by the shock wave. She felt an invisible force lift her up and cut something hard. Then everything darkened before her.
“Well, Lieutenant? What did you find out? “The Colonel asked.
“Apparently it is a suicide attack. At least 12 dead. It’s hard to say. And there are many wounded. The taliban took the responsibility for it. Afghans were transported to various hospitals. There is a big headache. The dead have still not been fully identified! ”
“Do you have an American victim?”
“Unfortunately sir! Some American soldiers who were escorting journalists were wounded. Lilian Ritter and Karl Leiter, two US journalists who accidentally made a bad report, died. But their bodies did not come out! ”
“Are you sure they are among the victims?”
“Yes sir! The power of the explosion was so great that more victims were simply destroyed. But we could identify them on the basis of blood pressure. No doubt their blood was on the spot. And we found more of their personal belongings. For example, Mr. Ritter’s wreck, burned personal records, and Mr. Ritter’s left shoe. The dog identified it. His shoes. ”
“And the reporter girl?”
“A clogged bag left behind. It is undoubtedly hers. Her personal belongings were in it. Her blood was on her, too. And some dress scraps. The dog also identified it. She belonged to her clothes. ”
“Yes, sorry! Inform their relatives! ”
“Yes sir! I already do it. ”
When the patient came in, she noticed that she was in a hospital. A bell began to blink, a nurse running in. She was a weird nurse because she was covered by a white veil and a red crescent on her forehead.
“Doctor Hamid! The 17-year-old woke up after two months of coma! “she said to the visiting physician.
“I’m glad you finally got it! Do you remember what happened? Who are you? What is it called? Who are your relatives whom we could notify? Another injured came to her yesterday. Is this a name for you, Omar? “The Afghan doctor asked the patient.
She just shook her head. She did not remember anything, nor her name. She was sitting in his burqa next to her girlfriend, and someone called Omar. She whispered to the doctor.
“This is something! We’ll find the relatives of the victims. We hope someone recognizes you! ”
The following day, a dark blue burqa woman visited her. When they left alone, he lifted the burqa from his face.
“Galina! You do not know me yet? I am your mother! Hassina! Here is your husband, Omar. She had come to her for two days, and she hardly remembers something! “Said the woman.
She pulled back the veil in front of his face and fed a man leaning on a crutch. His head was wrapped, his cheeks were distorted by an ugly rust.
“Hello Galina! I’m sorry, but I do not remember you, just so much that we were sitting on the cafe’s terrace before the explosion. ” She said.
They left them home in a month. They entered their house, but they were all alien. It took a long time for them to accept each other and to integrate into their environment. Omar’s father, Raul, and Galina’s mother, Hassina, helped them all. She became a real married couple.
Two years after their injury, Galina gave birth to a boy, and then two more girls. None of them remembered the days before the explosion. Galina was a good wife. She kept the house in order, raising her children. She loved and respected her husband. When he left the house, she always wore veils as it suited a good Afghan wife. Omar was looking for enough to keep his wife and children safe. He was not too strict. He led his father’s shop, and Galina could do it, helping Hassin in the burqashop.
One afternoon, a woman burqas knocked on Raul’s door.
“Peace with you Raul! I’m Hassina! What do you think? Do you still think it was a bad idea? ”
“Peace with you, Hassin! There is still a chance that they will remember! I wrote to their parents that their children are alive, but do not look for them if they do not want to be bad for them. ”
“This was not a good idea, but after all these years I’m not worried. When the blast killed your son and daughter, I thought I was going to die. Then I learned that Lilian and Karl were seriously injured but survived the explosion. I immediately knew that they were when I saw them in the hospital, but I did not tell anyone. And I knew none of them remember anything. Then came the idea of being our kids. And once they remember what I do not believe, they are already included! And you see, we have three grandchildren too! Their happiness is a joy to us, and we can have our old age, “Hassina said.
“Indeed! She was a beautiful Afghan family! “Raul nodded.