Chapter 1

Fragments (speaking for her)


The high heels clipped on the floor of the house where only sounds of fights, negotiations and loud laughs sometimes took place. Half naked she came out. The prudent veiled Muslim lady has decided to come out in a dress above her knees. She chose a black long sleeved dress with chiffon covering the part upper her chest. She loosened her short hair reaching down to her shoulders whilst the shorter layers flickered slowly at the sides of her face with each echo of her heels. Everyone looked up puzzled, frowning and rather disapproving. But her looks were so defiant that no one dared to talk or object. She sat there in front of him but barely looked at him. She searched in the air bits for some fresh air but couldn’t find any in the huge smoke fog made by the males in the room.
She remembered her American friend Salma saying with a big sigh in one of her visits to Egypt ‘Egyptians are very complicated people; very nice, very bad, very shy, and very interfering. How could people live like that?!’
She flashed back to scenes of her past life.

She remembered in her childhood how pictures of pregnant women drew most of her attention. She would spend hours in her pretension play stuffing her wide jalabya with a pillow and taking the pleasure of feeling that she is a plump female. She was actually a typical female loving all that the media broadcasted about stylish beautiful princesses; how they dressed, acted and ate … etc. She would play for hours the passive princess who waited for the prince to fight the world to gain her; for she was so precious and worthy. She would take a pencil and color her nails for a nail polish. She would take the school clay and shape long artificial nails on top of her own trimmed nails (they did not allow long nails in school. Although Fatima, her friend, had her own trick to grow the nails of her thumb fingers by tucking them down her palms while showing the rest of her nails to the teacher each Saturday checkup.) She could not do Fatima’s trick, she was far more honest than that.

She was shy too. Too shy in fact. In her wedding day she planned a white maxi lingerie for the day for the only man she admired and chose on top of all the other suitors. After the wedding where both families and friends gathered, she went with him to their hotel room. She requested that he goes out of the room and gently he did. She picked up her lingerie and put it on along with its long sleeves chiffon made robe. She looked at the mirror to see how sexy and fiminish she was. But she blushed. How come she would come out in front of him with breasts popping out like that! Hurriedly, she remembered they would have to pray before anything happens. This is the Muslim Sunnah from Prophet Mohamed (PBUH); to pray before the first ever sexual relation. And she breathed in relief while she put on her Isdal (a long gown for prayer). Now she is covered. She went out. His eyebrows rose in astonishment and she thought he would have said “What the hell are you putting on in our wedding day?” He was rather so polite and ginger with her. He changed his black suit that had a shiny satan on the collar and a small white flower pinned to the left side of the collar. He put on a shirt and trousers. They prayed and sat on the bed. She sat at the very far edge. “Aren’t you going to change the Isdal?” Shyly, she nodded. She went out of the room and took off the Isdal. She came back and hurriedly tucked herself under the blanket before he could take a glimpse of what she was wearing. He approached her, touched her hands and kissed her cheeks and …
How dare an Egyptian woman speak about sex?! Hushshshsh.

Playing in silence was her favorite toy as a teenager. And dolls have served that best for her. She never loved those plump big headed dolls. She never also loved the dolls that looked like babies. She would rather choose the Barbie shaped dolls; for Barbie was idiomatic for beauty. Barbie is the shape every lady should be; with the tiny nose, neatly drawn lips, blond hair, white face, red lips, well shaped body like two hearts attached together; simply she is the embodiment of perfection. But she never had a real Barbie though. Financially her parents were not able to do that. So she chose the other fake second copies. She used to make dresses out of handkerchiefs when she got bored. She would attempt to roll the handkerchief under the doll’s armpits to make a tiptop dress and would lean gently with her tongue out damping the edges of the tissue and attaching them together. Sometimes, this worked others scotch tape worked better. She was quite creative and patient.

She was romantic too, boringly polite and highly principled. She did not know the meanings of insults (like ‘bitch’, ‘fuck’, ‘piss off’ … etc as well as their counterparts in Arabic) until very late in life. And she was so pissed off to know that people could say that to each other no matter what was pissing them off. She took much delight in creating the Utopia of Plato on Earth. She created a huge circle of acquaintance. She would call her friends and arrange for dates, cinema, coffee and chats. Her heart would break if she didn’t manage to get everyone into a gathering. She was the one usually starting calls after disputes either to apologize or tell the other party how much pain he had caused her by doing an act. She would listen eagerly, split herself into two as she talked (the one doing the talk and the other monitoring it) and in the evening count the mistakes she did worrying if tomorrow her evil self wouldn’t allow her to be better.
‘But was life as good to me?’ I thought …