On Being a Shadow


Even on blazing hot days, shrouding oneself in a floor-length black polyester abaya has its good points, as I’ve discovered over the past week:


    I never have to worry about looking scrappy. I can wear whatever I want under the abaya, and nobody’s the wiser.
    I constantly feel like I'm in graduation robes, just at the brink of some great achievement.
    Mosquitos fly right past me. They don’t even realize I’m under this shroud, in plain sight to everyone else! Suckers.

Abu Halen's robes were way better than mine. Envy.
That pretty much sums up the good points.

As a Western woman I’m not required to veil my hair, unless the religious police are around. I’ve not yet been confronted by one of these guys, but I’m prepared to wrap up my head and act docile if they approach me.

I did veil the first time my guardian (Abu Halen) took me and our children to the mall. Our driver told me I wrapped the veil like a Palestinian. (Just goes to show that I did pick up on some culturalisms during our time in the Levant. Yay for me!) But after I had seen a dozen or so unveiled Western women and the baby had pulled the scarf off my hair for the forty-fifth time, I finally let it hang around my neck instead. 

I didn’t have to veil when I went to get photos taken for my identity card. . . . And when I say “I,” I mean that in the plural sense. Abu Halen's identity card bears a photo of naught but his own whiskered (but handsome) head. Mine shows five heads, as I and my four children are crammed into one frame—all five heads, all on the same level.