"Hello! I'm Katrin!" a young woman welcomed us when we entered the cafeteria. She wore a light veil over her head; quite casually, without hiding much hair.
" Are you the new girl?" she asked me.
"I am Caroline Lichter and this is my mother Veronika and yes, I moved in recently," I introduced ourselves.
"This is the third time I've participated. We're relaxed here! There are some converts here to give you answers to questions about Islam and more. But you can also have a drink and sit down and relax."
Mama took a seat and when I joined the buffet to get us some cappuccino, everyone welcomed me politely as a new tenant. As I tried to reach our place without spilling anything, I saw my mother engrossed in a conversation with a veiled woman.
"Caro, look whom I have met here, Celina Fürth!" she shouted. The bale of cloth turned towards me, jumped up to hold the coffee, which nearly fell out of my hands.
"Hi, Caro! Haven't seen you in a while! How are you," she asked me with a smile as if seeing my best friend buried under mountains of fabric was the most normal thing in the world. She carefully took the cups out of my hand and said:
"Just sit down and relax. I'll explain everything to you if you want."
"That would be adorable of you," I croaked sarcastically with a dried throat.
"Well, I came across Islam through our classmate Ursula Leiden, today's Rana Karim. I watched her in the news as she was brutally beaten up by Neo-Nazis in Chemnitz and then again more often on the ARD and ZDF talk shows after she was released from the hospital. Over and over again she said that she did not want to take revenge, but that she prayed to Allah five times a day for her tormentors so that he would forgive them their infamies. Imagine how shocked I was. Our ex-speaker was a Muslimah and then on TV. I called her and met her in the Leverkusen Madrasah."
"Sorry, sweetie! What is a madrasah?" my mother asked.
" I think the original name of the Madrasa is School, but it means a place where Muslims meet undisturbed, mostly near a mosque.
All right! We met more and more often and I understood her better and better. I began to read the Koran in German and over time I knew I wanted to convert." My mother said:
"She called me to find out where you were. You haven't even said goodbye to your girlfriend yet. You should be ashamed of yourself!"
"Let's go! We know that Caro has nothing to do with the everyday things of life. She's always been out of line!" Celina slapped me in the face and grinned at me.
"Thank you for the flowers, thank you so much for your kindness," I sang.
"Sometimes life likes to play cat and mouse with you. There always will be: One who tricks you," my mother and Celina jumped in. (German 'Tom and Jerry' Intro song).
The three of us laughed so loud we caught the undivided attention. Everyone who knew the text sang out loud:
"Thank you very much for the flowers. Thank you so much. How sweet of you. Red roses bloom and are only a souvenir. Mimosas bloom like a smile from you. Autumn timeless(Herbstzeitlose= a flower) bloom, saying comfortingly to me:
"What does it matter if I lose once?"
Talking with Boris Becker: "We were in!"
All the horror and stress of the last few weeks has rolled away from us. Mama and I had a lot of fun and Celina, she now calls herself Zarah, the flower and I got close again.
She said: "Do you see the power of Islam! He's renewing our friendship." She meant that in fun - or...?
However, we were welcomed joyfully by everyone and planned the whole weekend with them. We participated in the prayers in their small mosque, visited the large madrasah (the cafeteria is not a real madrasah).
There we met Imam Kemal Khan and Sheik of the Brotherhood Hussein Nabil. I immediately sympathized for the Imam. My mother and I enjoyed all the friendliness and relaxed courtesy in dealing with each other. In the end, Kemal Khan gave us a German Koran with the words:
"A lot is out of time and yet, if you learn to read it correctly, it is great to support for you! Whenever you have questions: I am there for you!"
Then on Sunday afternoon, I brought my mother back. She would have liked to stay and so I promised to reserve her a room for the next weekend. Pete could bring her because I was about to take my exam and had to swot.
Pete, now my new favorite brother, was already waiting for us with coffee and cake.
"Well, how was it? Did you have fun?" he greeted us.
"You bet I do," my mother said. Still over the moon. "You can take me to Cologne next weekend, Caro's renting another apartment for me."
"I'm glad! And you, Caro? So how was your weekend?"
"To be honest, it was magical! I haven't been so relaxed in a long time and that just before the exam. It paid off", and I thought of Kemal Khan again.
Moan! Drool! Swallow!
Was I supposed to have another crush again? Foolishly, my redhead betrayed me, because Mama and Pete grinned at each other knowingly.
"So folks, I gotta go! Studies are expecting me. The next few weeks will be damn tough," I said and wanted to leave quickly before I had to answer any stupid questions.
"You should still pay attention to your wording! I think I still have to rinse your mouth with soap," she said, but smiled.
At first, I didn't even know what happened to me. Did she mean "damn"? Whatever! Let's go!
I said goodbye and left. I expected really hard weeks.