RESPECT THE LETTERS (conti)

ط
It was 9 p.m. during the winter season. So, I prayed Ishaa (the last obligatory prayer of the day) and went on a study spree. My PhD researches were consuming a lot of my time but it was all worth it. I hope my thesis on the HIV drug I am working on shatters the floor and leave the committee speechless.

Anyways, as I was studying, I decided to have a word with Homayra (also known as Homie) before sleeping on it. I searched for her number in my phone and dialed her number instead of walking to her room. Laziness at its pinnacle!

“Hey, can you come to my room please?”

“Sure.” She replied.
A few minutes later, she knocked at my door.

“Come in.” I said.

She came in, and I told her to sit next to me on my bed. So I started, “Do you have an expelling wish?” I asked still trying to wrap my head around her leading disaster.

“No.” She replied bluntly. She honestly did not have a clue.

“I mean you promise me that you would look after the girls and look what happened.”

“Jeez, relax!” She said. “I joined this group to have a family that does not judge me. So, don’t start.”

“Please don’t use that j-word, it is not appropriate for a Muslim like yourself.”

“And you are telling how to talk now? Omg, you are so overbearing and perfect! You micro-manage everything around here! Come on Rokeeya, just relax a little bit!”

“I am not going to relax because I do not want a bad reputation for the group or myself.”

“Ain’t you Miss. Perfect over here?” She roared intensely.

“No, I am not perfect Homie! It is very degrading to see sisters that wear or do not wear the veil strut themselves openly and engage in blamable behavior like you guys did this weekend. You think boys keep secrets to themselves. No, they don’t! They share with their friends and the next time you are amongst them, they giggle when they look at you! Be careful! Have some honor and dignity.” I pleaded.

“How do you know?” She asked with an unsure look.

“Because I have seen it many times.” I replied sadly.

“Hum…” That is all she said and left my room.

“Way to have manners! Unbelievable!” I let out exasperated.

ل
I should have seen the next morning come up. I was blindsided. In fact, the way that hot head of Homie left my room last night should have made me realize that something was up. As I was walking the streets of the campus, I came across my pictures pre-Islam glued all over the University town. I started pulling the pictures down but there so many of them, and I could not do it alone. I panicked.

My reputation was garbage now with pictures of me wearing the skankiest clothes ever are all over the university. I prayed that Allah spare the sisterhood from slander. I guess I am taking the hit instead. I recited the surah 2 verse 156. Then I called Fatou. She was genuinely sorry.

“Don’t worry, I will come down right now, and we will find a way to deal with it insha Allah.” She said hopeful.
I hung up and got busy removing the pictures of me I could spot.

“I knew you had a streak of freaky in you!” Aaron laughed behind me.

“This is not funny! I have long repented from my sins.” I replied with a sullen look.

“I am sorry about that.” Aaron said after realizing that he hit below the belt. Then, he accrued, “do you need help?”

“I am fine.” I actually needed help but I did not want to admit to it. Saved by the bell! Fatou showed up at the same time.

“Fatou and I can handle it.” I said hoping that she backed me up.

“No Rokeeya, this is way too much. Who could have done that?” She asked.

“I am sure Homie knows.” I barked.

“Don’t throw accusations in the air.” Fatou reminded me.

“Ladies, I can have my brothers help us remove all these scandalous pictures.” Aaron jumped in the conversation.

“That is a great idea.” Fatou interjected.

“No way!” I retaliated.

“You don’t have a choice. And my guess is that they have already seen your pictures or heard about them.” Aaron dropped some reality words on me.

“Fine call them.” I gave up.
He gawked at me for a while and got busy. A few hours later, my posters were gone from the face of the university.

“Please say thank you to your brothers for me.” I asked him before heading to the sisterhood’s house. I was mentally and physically exhausted. On the way home, a few boys whistled at me. I rolled my eyes and thought: Great! I guess I am going to wear a niqab now to stop the unwanted attention.
Back at the house, Homie was waiting for me in the living room.

“Liked the display of your past life on the walls?” She asked me wickedly.

“Your doing?” I asked.

“Of course it is. It was very easy to do. I just googled your name, and there were everywhere.” She admitted with a grin. Unbelievable! She did not even deny it.
So I got in her face, stared coldly at her, and said, “You think this is going to shake me? It just makes me stronger. I forgave you for your acts over the weekends but you go and do this to me. That is very low and shady! And coming from my own sister, it is very disappointing.”

“Well, I thought to myself: I will either be kicked out or have her kicked out.” Homie antagonized me further.

“You are a psychopath! I was not even planning to have your badge removed.”

She felt stupid then.

“Oh I am so sorry. That was very spiteful.”

“Ya think?” I asked in a pseudo-incredulous tone.

“Excuse me, I need to take of these ‘cockroaches’ of the internet.” I let out disappointed and crushed. Then, frustrated, I roughly bumped my shoulder to hers before disappearing behind her.
د
I emailed Google, Bing, etc. to take any pictures (covered or not) of me down. It was a ‘fun” process.

Later that night, Aaron texted me.

Aaron *Hey, you are very beautiful. But I did not need to see uncovered pictures of you to know that. Aaron.*

Me *Where did you get my number? And thank you for the compliment.* I blushed at his words.

Aaron *I have my sources and that is my business ;).*

Me *Touché! What’s up?*

Aaron *Bellissima…*

Me* La bellaza would be more appropriate. I am not Italian, lol! Anyways, I don’t mean to burst your bubble but you and me can’t happen.*

Aaron *Because I am not Muslim? That is wildly unfair.*

Me *It is not. I am not encouraging your feelings because it goes against my belief. I worship Allah and not feelings or love for that matter.”

Aaron * Very deep. This is not over. I want to learn about your religion.*

Me * Stop by the MSA (Muslim Student Association)’s office, they can help you 😉 *

Aaron * Will do.*

Me * Talk to you another time.* I replied and smiled. There was something about him I could not quite explain or understand yet.

***

By

Papatia Feauxzar
Author of “Between Sisters, SVP” Novel

“The Hazardous Life of Nilüfer” Upcoming novel
“The Dream” Upcoming novel
“Freedom Fighter” Short story
“Fixed Up!” Short story
“Change of Shoes” Short story

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