Veiled PAGE

Email:   vulcan@anarchocat.com

Caroline

I was back at my apartment. Oh, God! So what the hell have I got myself involved into? When I saw him, my mind completely blew away. If this is true love than I've never been in love before.

Think Caro! The man's probably in his mid-thirties, maybe his late thirties. At least fifteen years older than you. In theory, he could be your father. He's not just a Muslim, but an Imam. And what life can you expect at the side of this man? Rien ne va plus!

It was 10:00 p.m. Still, time to learn! I booted my laptop and kept working on my thesis. I thought so. As I looked at the clock once again, it was 02:00 at night. I hadn't written one word. The last four hours I had thought about Kemal Khan. That couldn't be true! I turned the laptop down, entered the bathroom, stood under the cold shower and brushed my teeth. I wrapped up in my bathrobe and jumped under the blanket. But I found no peace. I was longing. It almost hurt me physically. I couldn't get any sleep, damn it.

"Isha! I ought to say the night prayer," I thought. Perhaps His Allah gave me peace? I needed to improvise cause I didn't know how to say it. I prayed to Allah for the peace of my soul. I mean, my family didn't care about religion at all. I was praying for the first time in my life. All of a sudden I felt a deep serenity and the pain in my chest was nearly gone. I lay down again in bed and slept deeply and firmly like a groundhog.

I heard a loud knocking on my door. My mother shouted:

"Caro, are you okay? Are you all right, then? Open the door, please!" I stared dazed at my alarm clock. It was 5:00. In the middle of the night, what did my mother expect me to do? I shuffled to the door and I opened it to her. Katrin, the bird of paradise, stood behind her.

"What do you want? Then why do you awaken me in the middle of the night? Are you crazy?" I hummed still sleep-drunk.

" What? In the middle of the night? We have 5:00 p.m., you sleepyhead!" said Katrin, spontaneously entering the room with my mother. How else?

"Bullshit! I didn't... Shit! I do not believe this! I've wasted the whole Saturday." Katrin said as she walked towards the kitchen:

"I'll brew you some coffee."

"Caro, Caro! Mama asked, "Do I have to worry because of my daughter? "No, I think I exaggerated a little with the studying. I take a day or two off," I replied.

 

"That's good! Jump in the shower and join us in the madrasah," she said. "I already passed up the asr cos of you. Then at least I want to participate in the Maghrib."

"I'm still a little way off! Would you please give me half an hour," I said and took a seat in the kitchen for a cup of coffee. With every sip, the spirits of life came back. After I finished my coffee, I took a shower. In my bedroom, Katrin had laid clean clothes out for me, the good one. I dressed carefully and took special care with the headdress. I want to please Kemal, after all. Well! I thought I was a little too multicoloured! Even though Katrin had picked out the most discreet wardrobe she had out for me. On Monday, the first thing I will do is head to an Islamic boutique and buy a more suitable outfit. Now hurry up. I can't keep Kemal waiting. On the way to the Madrasah, I was annoying them with constant questions about my appearance. Till my mother's patience ripped:

"Stop bothering us with your stupid questions. You're head over heels in love with the Imam. Your mother knows the men. However we dress up, these guys don't see it."

I guess I got a bright moment and wondered why I was acting so stupid. Then we entered the madrasah and I was looking madly for my Kemal. And didn't find him. I followed my companions lonely into the women's wing. And Katrin became oddly quiet and serious. She wanted to become a Muslimah today. The women greeted us calmly but very lovingly as usual. I had the impression that I was being secretly fixed by them. I picked up a quiet whisper behind me: like a wife and also imam. And this terrible longing burned up in me again and blown the last of my mind out. Then we headed to the mosque for Katrin so she could pronounce her Shahada.

"Mom, what's the matter with me? I guess I do envy Katrin a little," I asked her.

"I think we're changing. I also feel more and more attracted to these people," she replied and I was as smart as before. I had to ask the Imam, my Kemal. Again and again, I thought of him as 'my Kemal'. Three women spoke their Shahada this Friday. After the Maghrib, we returned into the women's wing.

I went off to the vestibule hoping to meet Kemal here. Undecided, I walked back and forth for a few minutes.

"Caro, is it you?" it popped out from behind a pillar.

"Yes, Kemal, I've been looking for you," I said. He approached me and I wanted to jump into his arms. But he said:

"Not here. Let's go to my office." His office door was covered by a pillar and as we stood in front of it, he said to me:

" Here you can almost find me all the time. But you have to respect our etiquette. Knock three times and then I stand face to face with the wall next to the door and wait until you are asked in. The best thing would be to practice that," and he disappeared into his office and left me standing outside like a stupid child. Though he could have done worse to me. I had fallen for him with all my might. Obediently I knocked three times, stood face to face with the wall next to the door and waited and waited and waited. I wasn't impatient the trace that he made me wait outside his door, I was fine.

"Very good! Get in there! Kneel on the pillow next to the door," he ordered me. He went to his writing desk. Only then I recognized a second person in the room, Sheik Hussein Nabil. He said:

"She's doing really well. I'm sure she'll become a demure and submissive Muslimah. I think you made a good choice with her." What was wrong with me? No matter whether I was in love or not, only a week ago I would have torn that guy apart for the crack. However, instead, I was pleased by the praise.

"I suppose you're not a virgin anymore. Is that right?"

"No! I'm still a virgin," I replied and was also full of Proud of it. Damn you! Damn you! What's the matter with me?

"That's fantastic! Will you become the wife of Imam Kemal Khan? Obey and serve him? Answer yes, then."

"Yes! I want to be Kemal Khan's wife," it literally burst out of me.

"You will speak your Shahada next Friday and in four weeks you will be his wife. Until then, you must not leave the women's wing to preserve your purity."

"Please, may I ask the Imam a question?" I answered humbly.

"Of course! What do you want to know, my dear?"

"Please, do not take this the wrong way. I'm really very proud and happy to become your wife. It's about me. I can't understand myself anymore. I feel and think completely differently than I did two weeks ago. Will you explain it to me? I'm completely confused." The Imam said:

"You're not the first person ever to ask me about this. The values we represent here are in contrast to everything that you once thought was good and right for you. You're in a clash with culture. The next four weeks in the women's wing are gonna teach you how to understand. Have confidence," he told me.

" So I won't see you until next Friday for my shahada?" I asked.

"No! We will only see each other again at our wedding," he said, and I was dumb with shock. Four long weeks I may not see my beloved, future husband. then I saw a movement in the corner next to me. A black ghost raised.

"This is my mother Rana. You will follow her word and completely submit to her. Now leave with her. She will teach you what an Imam's wife needs to know."

I followed her into a new, unknown adventure.