Veiled PAGE

Email:   vulcan@anarchocat.com

24

Jenny:

The alarm clock rang. It was six o'clock in the morning and my very first working day, as Hartz4 might leave me. But now up and down to the bathroom and afterwards, I dressed especially carefully in my new clothes and veils: the full skirt that reached up to my ankles. Then a full cut blouse with a stand-up collar and long sleeves reaching from the neck to the hips. I continued with a black headscarf, which only left my face. Afterwards long, black opaque stockings. Now I was completely covered except for my face and hands. Then I put on the hijab as Selima had shown me. The next garment was an overhead abaya with butterfly sleeves. So that the sleeves do not slip up, I had to pull the loops fastened to the envelope of the Abaya over the respective middle finger. A slipping up of the sleeves was so effectively prevented. Immediately this strange feeling started again. The thick and heavy fabric gave me the impression as if I was protected. Involuntarily I looked on my mirror image for the smallest visible hair. Also, the eyebrows were hair, which had to be covered. Everything had to be perfect. A little face triangle from eyes, nose and mouth looked at me in the mirror. Satisfied with my work I went to the kitchen, where Lizzy and Sandra were already waiting for me with breakfast. Sandra was sexual, I say, flexible and since Lizzy, since the debacle with my producer, reacted somewhat cautiously to a male company, a small but beautiful community of interests had developed in my family. Sandra was a great friend, and we loved her very much. Both were friends and mothers for me.

How they looked at me now. Their eyes reflected the mothers' pride in their capable daughter, who started her first job and at the same time was astonished at her clothing. I went to them, and they took me in their arms.

"Do not worry. Everything will be all right. I'll talk to Murad right away. We'll find a solution."

"Oh, child, you are only sixteen and have to make such difficult decisions. You should have fun and parties."

"Listen, you're my mommies, giving you back some of what you gave me is the most fun I can imagine," I said with a good portion of irony in my voice and a mischievous grin. We cried a round of luck together, and then I grabbed my suitcase containing the things I wanted to tailor and set off. It's nice when the work is where you live.

Punctually at seven o'clock, I stood at the back entrance to be let in by Selima. I didn't recognise her at first, because she wore a white, silky and very long veil in front of her face. Where her eyes could have been, there were flowers embroidered so that she could see through them.

"Come in, dear! Oh, how beautiful! I see you brought clothes to sew on," she greeted me. She took me in her arms and rubbed her forehead against my temples. It was a great feeling of how fabric rubbed against the material. Then I did it like her.

"Why do you wear this strange veil? I can't even see you anymore." I asked.

"This veil is called Ruband and is worn in the Murad region by the faithful Muslimahs when they leave the women's area. Maybe you'd like to give it a try," she asked me.

"No, thank you, Selima! That's a bit too much Islam for me in one day. Listen, when Murad has time, I would like to discuss something with him."

"Jenny come to me. I'm in the office." I just called back:

"Hartz4!!!!"

"I thought so already. If you work here, these social authorities will cancel your help. You realise that you can only earn a little extra from me. What do you think of payment in kind-of-nature?"

"Sorry, you are not serious! I am not a whore" I said outraged.

"By Allah, no! You have completely misunderstood me! I meant real food", he turned bright red, and Selima could hardly keep up with laughter. I also had to laugh, and a short time later he fell into a liberating laugh with us. Their sense for a special kind of humour met my taste completely. I felt at home. And I began to love them.

"Listen! I do once the week once for Selima and me a bulk purchase. From now on I'll do it for you, too. That is then easily five to six hundred Euros per month, which I can leave for you and your mother. What do you think of that?" My tears came, and I said:

"I can't do anything at all, and you want to help us so generously! That is much too much!"

"Well, Fräulein! Who is the boss here? Well? Answer me!"

"You!" I answered meekly. Selima embraced me from behind and said:

"For us Muslims, it is a sacred duty to help. It brings us a bit closer to paradise, and we show Allah our great love through this."

"According to this logic you must thank me that we let you help us," I said cheekily and:

"Thank you, you are unbelievable! I want to thank your Allah that I met you," I said deeply moved.

"Do not tell anyone what we agreed, not even Ahmed. I'm going home with you tonight to discuss everything with Lizzy and Sandra. The authorities could otherwise twist a rope for us out of our deal. They could even close my store." I thought:

"Where does he know Sandra from?"

"Of course, only if we make ourselves punishable with food presents, then I wonder who or what I am for this country? A parasite, or what?" I said furiously. Murad looked at me very seriously and said:

"You begin to understand, and I want to help you to take up your rightful place in the world. Inshallah! Now go to the living area with Selima. There she can train you on the sewing machine without disguising herself."

"Come, I would like to show you our house first." She led me into the generously cut living room that I already knew, from there we entered a lush winter garden with a fountain in the middle. Then she showed me her room or rather an apartment. Nothing was missing here. She even had a toilet, her bathroom, a small kitchenette and a separate study. There was also the sewing machine where I was to be trained. Selima took off her ruband and hung it in the cupboard. Then we emptied my suitcase. She sorted my clothes and handed me my winter skirt.

"Now I'll show you how to cut seams without destroying the fabric." For the next few weeks, she taught me everything I needed to know for my work. My small self-made collection soon lay in front of me. I was wearing a hijab that I had made from my bright summer skirt. Over it, I pulled an overhead abaya. I had it extraordinarily wide and long so that I was completely covered except for my face. To shield me decently had become as natural for me as brushing my teeth. I learned to say the prayers five times a day and read the Qur'ân al-kerîm in German. Since the work rested during prayer times, I could pray three times a day with my friends.