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The Unfinished Muslimah

by Vulcan

Part 1

Oh, God! I was excited! For the first time in my life, I went on vacation! We were there: Akay, Pit, Chantalle, Chan for short and I Liselotte, Lise for short.

We came from Cologne-Chorweiler and are in the 2nd generation 'Hartz4er' and we had passed our Abitur examinations. Studying for the high school diploma was not necessarily typical for kids from our area. But we four had one thing welded together: we wanted to get out of this cycle of poverty, joblessness, hopelessness and endless boredom.

Akay was a German with Turkish parents and the rest of us were native Germans. We called ourselves Kanaken that only means human, but because the Nazi pigs insulted foreigners so, and we like to be human - instead of Nazi pigs.

And now we're in Ercan, in northern Cyprus. Öktem, one of Akay's many cousins, picked us up and brought us to Magosa. To his parents' house. There were three guest rooms they had set up for rent. For a ridiculous price by German standards and as we four had always worked alongside school time, we could afford a cheap holiday. The house was beautiful, and Akay's relatives warmly welcomed us.

After a few days, I had the impression that all Magosa citizens were Akay's relatives. At least no evening went by without us being invited by someone. We had fallen in love with these people who were so different. Open, modest and polite people, with a big heart.

Traditionally Chan and I always stayed with the women. During our common school time, Akay had taught us some Turkish, and so we could talk a little with them. Akay’s grandmother, in particular, was so impressed by us that every day she asked us to visit her, and it thrilled us to do so.

Holidays I always thought about swimming and relaxing on the beach, but we weren't interested in that at all.

Chan inquired the women if it would not get too hot for them in all the clothes and beneath the headscarf. Grandma laughed and said:

I'm betting it is good for you not to be longer naked

"Why don't you try it out for yourself? I'm betting it is good for you not to be longer naked." Everyone laughed, and they confused me. Out of consideration for Akay's family, Chan and I had bought some summer dresses especially, which we thought to be decent. And Grandma told me we were naked. Grandma's daughter Fatma and her granddaughter Selma invited us into a room and gave us 'decent' clothes. With a lot of silly giggling, they turned us into good Muslimah. The Hidschāb was a huge fabric with a round hole. They said: " Actually this form of the Hidschāb should be called Khimar. We better help you dress it properly. Beginning with a smaller cloth that covered our hair and eyebrows completely. Then the actual Hidschāb came along. It covered our head and shoulders up to our elbows. The only things you could see of us were a small facial triangle and our hands. It was weird to be wrapped in so much fabric. You might describe it as being wrapped protectively. Not uncomfortable at all, just a little unfamiliar. As Grandma saw us, she started to weep, and we plunged into her arms deeply moved by her tears. And then she said, "Come on, I need to show you, beautiful girls, to our men." Chan and I were looking at each other frightened. "But Grandma, it is unnecessary!" I said. She grabbed my hand and led me to a man-high mirror. Well, child! What do you see?" she asked me. I wanted to answer defiantly and say "Well, me". But there wasn't a Lise, there was a pretty Muslimah. I stuttered: "a..? A Muslimah?" Chan stood by me in silence, looked at herself and nodded. And then we joined the men. "Behold how beautiful our princesses are.!" Grandma called, and it took a few - but for me eternally long - seconds until they finally noticed us. Applauding us, they showed us how much they were pleased with us in our veils. I turned bright red and was so ashamed of myself that I pushed my face so close to my chest only the tip of my nose stuck out under my Hidschāb. Öktem the cousin told me, "Lise, show me your face, please!" I shook my head. What's the matter with me? Showing men my face was the most normal thing in the world. Well, it wasn't like they forbid it. I felt it was inappropriate attracting men's attention to me in this manner. Now I thought only a wife should look into her husband's eyes. This was all somehow incorrect. Grandma said: "So the fun is over! Get out of here, girls." Thankfully, we went back. Then I glanced at Öktem and got bogged down. He had a crush on me and I liked it. I forced myself off of his view. However, all the men had noticed and at once they started to tease the poor Öktem. Among the women, Grandma took me to her place and whispered: "Dear, do you know how beautiful you look in decent clothes? You broke Öktem's heart! I am so proud of you!" I took her hand, kissed it, and pressed it briefly on my forehead. That's how people here return their respect for elderly relatives and show her how much I adored her.

"Dear, do you know how beautiful you look in decent clothes? You broke Öktem's heart! I am so proud of you!"

Part 2

"Grandma, I'm scared! Please hold me tight," I begged her and she held me tightly and securely in her arms. I was thinking,

" What's the matter with me? I'm behaving like a little innocent girl. Okay, I was still a virgin, but just not to end up in a Hartz4 career, not for lack of opportunities. I've never been happier than I am here.

Selma said, " If you like, I'll practice with you a little how-to dress the Hidschāb properly." This afternoon, something new arose. Chantalle and I had forgotten the outside world. We spent the whole day with them in the house like good Muslimahs and they taught us how to dress and behave properly. In return, we helped them with household chores.

Ramadan followed, and we joined in and prayed and read the Koran with all of them. Chantalle changed in the last few weeks. She was barely the same as before. Everyone knew her as a stubborn and closed block. She rarely smiled and cried a lot, unless we were alone. I guess I was the only one she could open up to. The people told her parents have once belonged to the Oberkassel high society but had lost all for his gambling addiction. Chantalle got two alcoholics for parents and ended up with us in Chorweiler. My parents were both ''Aufstocker'', which means: they worked for a pittance and topped up the missing money via Hartz4.

Eventually, I realized that I hadn't spent a single lira yet, and asked Selma how to shop around here. My Turkish had become better and better in the last weeks, but she understood after a while what I meant. That' s what I thought! But she understood that I would buy my dowry and get married soon.

"Wait till the end of Ramadan, but we already can buy it," she said. Then she approached Grandma. She nodded and Selma handed us a heavy cloak and showed us how to put it on. Underneath it, our contours disappeared completely. In the mirror, we saw identical cones with a small facial triangle.

Now I was to learn a rendezvous with lovers meant here what. Öktem, Akay and Pit were waiting to join us. Sure, we had seen them in passing while we were doing our domestic duties. But it was different here. Well, they were our escort. They had to keep us safe and return us home undamaged.

I had given up wondering about anything for a long time. As a good Muslimah, I lived here and enjoyed it more and more. It was all very well. And so we silently pursued our protectors three steps behind them. Selma behind Akay, Chan behind Pit and I Lucky followed Öktem. We met women who dressed similarly to us and who followed their husbands, too. But as we approached the center of the village, a few more unaccompanied women dressed in western costumes came towards us. Imagining showing myself so naked and without a male company made me idiotically disgusted. Then we stepped into a big bright store. A little boy told us to follow him. He led us behind a curtain. We were sitting on chairs. Concealed behind the curtain, I heard Öktem arguing with the merchant. It was a normal sales talk here, and it took some time. A girl brought us cold lemonade. Then an elderly woman, maybe the owner's mother, asked me to come with her. Behind another curtain, she stripped and measured me. The woman shouted my body mass through the curtain. When she finished, I wanted to change back into my original clothes. But the old woman told me to wait. Again I heard the loud and demanding voice of Öktem.

The woman said to me: "You have a very strong protector. Lucky you."

The woman said to me: "You have a very strong protector. Lucky you."

It felt like an Eternity. The girl came back with a mountain full of white cloth on her arms and they dressed me with it. It was a normal Islamic correct woman's clothing, only white and draped with many embroideries and pearls. The woman presented me with a white silk scarf embroidered with two tears. I had seen anything like that before; she called it Ruband. Laying the cloth over my face, so that the tears were on my eyes, the girl behind me fastened it. I could hardly see through the tiny holes in the embroidery. If I wanted to look right or left, I had to turn my head. I soon realized the most pleasant thing was to keep my head slightly down and fix something was not over three steps apart from me now. Looking at myself in the mirror, I saw a snow-white, perfectly shaped cone without a face or contours. Fascination and anxiety fought for the upper hand in my mind, yet before one of them won, the women began to change me. Then I joined my friends again and listening to the palaver between the shop owner and Öktem. Meanwhile, the girl came in and brought each of us a colorful Ruband. Fitting to my Khimar was mine made of blue silk, with two barred tears above the eyes, which were additionally covered from the inside with a wafer-thin white cloth to cover even my eye colour. All seemed to be bathed in mist, but the view otherwise was fine. In the same color were the silk gloves. Now any person could have been in my cone, even a Mars creature. I had completed my anonymization. My trip home next week, I wonder what I'll be wearing.

Now any person could have been in my cone, even a Mars creature. I had completed my anonymization.

My trip home next week, I wonder what I'll be wearing.