Somebody knocked on the door. Thankful for everything that took me away from my writing desk. It was Katrin. Three times I needed to look till I identified her, she was wearing an ankle-length, colorful skirt and a strangely wide cut coat with long, wide sleeves, which had a waistband that widened over her hands and covered them almost completely. But it was her headdress that changed her. It was a large headscarf that reached over her shoulders and framed her face like a bonnet. Jesus! It was pink with black patterns. Pretty hard to get used to, but nice as that.
"Hi! I hope I'm not disturbing you. I wanted to say hello and see how you are," said the bird of paradise ( barn owl would have been wrong in her case ).
"Sorry! I didn't recognize you right away is because of your new outfit! Come on in. We have coffee and a little chat, cause I desperately need someone to provide me with a reason not to study!"
" You don't know what day it is, do you?" she asked.
"I'll tell you. It's Friday, and I was going to pick you up at our meeting."
"Damn you! Then I'll be sitting for a week at my thesis, feeding on fruits, and liters of coffee. It's time for a break and some decent food. After the meeting, will you go out to dinner, I'll buy you a drink?" I said.
"We will go to the meeting and then take a little walk to the madrasah. The food there is delicious and above all free of charge. The women will certainly be happy to get to know you a little better. Freshen up a bit and then we'll go, I don't drink coffee anymore, by the way," she said. I don't really like being commanded. Well, what she said had its use. So I went to the bathroom to get renovated. " I leave the door ajar, so we can chat while I get ready, okay?" I said.
"I like the way you acted around the way I looked at you. You know! Stupid questions! I guess you were just thinking, there comes a barn owl in a bird of paradise look. Come on in." She laughed and I had to swallow. Can she still read minds?
"Nah, I can't read minds. But judging people very well," she replied to my thoughts.
"I think this may be another very interesting day," I said and we both had to laugh. I dashed into the bedroom to get dressed, slipped into jeans, T-shirts, and sneakers.
"Ready! Let's go!" I said.
"Uh, it's okay for the cafeteria. But don't you mean for the madrasah, too? After all, it's a retreat for Muslims," she printed.
"Listen! I do not have anything more serious, everything else is leather minis and summer dresses," I said a little upset.
" Caro, come down! I certainly didn't mean to upset you. Muslim men and women are ticking a little differently from us decadent Westerners," she grinned doubtfully at me.
" Let's go by my apartment and see if we can find you something suitable. We have plenty of time," she said.
" Today, if I don't want to look at the books, I'll just have to bow to your idea of fashion, but nothing with purple, okay?" I said and yielded. I was also excited by the idea of dressing up as a Muslimah this Friday. We liked each other and were curious about each other. So we went up a floor to her apartment. I should have guessed! This was not a home furnishing in the conventional sense; it was seventies pop mixed with all sorts of replica furniture that somehow looked oriental.
"Bow-wow! That's a domicile of the finest", it deflates my lips.
"Thank you for the flowers," she sang.
"How sweet of me!" I returned. You didn't need a reason to have fun with her!
" Don't misunderstand me, please. Don't want to talk you into Islam, because I like you too much. Well, I keep a lot of clothes here that I'll never wear again. I'll just name them my transitional clothes. It just takes a while until Hijaab and Islamic clothing become my way. Two months ago, someone told me that I would convert, I laughed at him. So take whatever you want. Everything is clean and no longer needed."
"Are you serious? Do you want to be a Muslim? What's the matter with you? I know these are the stupid questions that nobody should ask, but even you are too dear and important for me to ignore," I said.
"I understand what you mean. But I think tonight we want to have fun and we'll sit down another day and I'll explain how it happened to me. Now we have an Islamic fashion show up in ten minutes. Then we should leave at once!" I said:
"I trust you! Gimme what to wear and help me if necessary." Ratz, I stood there like we were sisters. A little colorful perhaps, but also beautiful and most of all very decent. Now l was also a bird of paradise like a barn owl.
---! At this point, I hear the Germanists screaming! ---
---Torturing can be fun too, can't it, Mr. Jürgen von der Lippe?---
But keep going!
We were warmly welcomed in the cafeteria! Some admired our colorfulness, others refrained from commenting, but no biting remarks were made, everyone was cute. It's kind of funny. I know women among themselves quite differently. Are they putting something in our drinking water?
-- Just passed, Caro.---
However, an evening with no mare bitching is something you can only enjoy. However, we stayed only half an hour, as my stomach drowned out every possible conversation.
We left for the madrasah. Whether I'd find Kemal Khan there. That man I couldn't get out of my head. If so, how will he respond to me like a bird of paradise like a barn owl? Though we had a long footpath in front of us, we were fooling around giggling like stupid little teenagers. Then we were already there.
Entering the vestibule, you feel safe and secure. Like coming home. 'Fascinating' is what Mr. Spock would say right now. I do digress. We were welcomed friendly at once and as I was asked in the women's wing whether I would like to eat something, I was ashamed to deny it. But Katrin said tough, in the best Kölsch:
"Datt Mädje ka'mer jo et Vatterunser dorch de Rebbe blose. Isse nur am studiere! Ätte hätt de janze Woch noch nix zom esse hätt.“
Translated: You can blow the Lord's Prayer through the girl's ribs. She's just studying. She hasn't eaten well in a week!
And I loved how this woman could produce herself. She surprised you over and over again, there was never any boredom. But now I would rather sink into the ground with shame. But we are in Cologne and from every corner, their dialect sounded. I couldn't understand anymore. I allowed them to take me to a table and, most importantly, to spoil me. Everything was fine! Then we women were sitting together chatting about that and that.
Around 9:00 p.m. it was time to say goodbye. When we left the women's wing, the Imam waited for us.
"Excuse my curiosity, ladies, but some of the brothers saw two colorful little birds flutter into the madrasah. As an imam, I needed to look after the right one," he said with a broad grin.
"Well, my love! But the little birds now flutter into their nest so that they can tirilize their Fajr in time in honor of Allah," Katrin said and I died again.
Oh, God! My bright red pear had to be seen to Mecca! I had a crush on him from both ears. Please, Katrin doesn't say anything now! But the good guy took full control of the situation.
"Well then! I may be a bird lover, but I'm not your 'lover', Katrin. And when you speak your Shahada next Friday, you should call yourself Tharthar (meaning Big Muzzle). This is a pretty name for you.
I'm here to confess my love to Caro, ask her if she can reciprocate." But before I could even think, I started babbling:
"I love you with all my heart!" Oh, my God! Oh, my God! What had I done?
"I'm always here for you, awaiting you. Just take all the time you need. I do hope I can see you more often now. Outside a brother with a car is waiting for you. He'll probably take you back to the student house. Allah bless you!"
As we walked down the stairs, my heart never slowed down. I needed to take one more look around. Our eyes met and I knew he was the only one. We were meant to be together. On the way home, Katrin shut her mouth.
Thank you, Katrin!