Waking up to the sound of a stern voice, a young lady is looking at me. She is covered from head to toe in a long black cotton dress, with a covering burka. I can only see her bright blue eyes sticking out. Olive skin covers her soft hands and fingers. Pulling the sheet of me she grabs my arm and is obviously expecting me to rise. I oblige and rise upwards so I’m in a sitting position. Making me stand, this woman straightens up the bed covers and turns to face me. Even though I cannot see all of her face, I can tell she is the gentle caring type. Stuttering a little, she speaks to me. Her soft voice helps me to calm down. Yet her ocean blue eyes remind me of my home. And how much I miss everything. Even the little things like how the leaves blow in the cold winter’s breeze along the paths to school. Getting lost in my mind I realise I wasn’t paying attention to her. Because now she is staring at me uncomfortably. Awkwardly I say, “sorry what?” she replies with a frustrated look, “My name is Seeda. I’m here to help you get ready for the events of the afternoon. I’m sorry I can’t explain more but I am not allowed to. I am going to lead you to the bathroom, where you will have a shower and then I will do your hair and makeup. Please, I’m begging you don’t try to run, for I will get the incompetent blame.” I see the worry in Seeda’s eyes, I know she isn’t lying. I simply say, “okay” she helps me up as my leg is giving me trouble from the bullet hole in it. I wrap my arm around her shoulder and limp towards another door in the hallway. She opens it and I see the newest of new bathrooms. Pure white glistening floor tiles, a window formed from crystal shards, the shower in the corner with a glass door is a pale sky blue sparkling tile that invites you in. I’m grasped by the cleanness’ of this bathroom. It’s overwhelming. Seeda looking at me with an amused expression, asks me nicely to get un-dressed. Unpleased with the idea of getting naked in front of a perfect stranger, I unwillingly agree. Removing layer, by layer I am down to only the bandage that is wrapped firmly around my leg, from where I was shot. Seeda leans down and un-wraps it for me. Then she lifts my upper body back to a standing position, and helps me in the shower bay. She looks into my eyes as if to say, ‘yes I will turn around’ she turns to face the wall and I slowly slide the shining, beaming silver handle to the left, to face the little red spot of water-proof paint that means the water will be warm. I mess up my hair under the soaking water and begin to run my fingers through it, seeing a bottle of shampoo and conditioner I carefully pour some on my head and lather, then rinse. I work my way down my body with a bar or pink soap, then clean my lower orifices. I finally get to the bullet wound, and do not attempt to put the soap anywhere near it, but push the soap on my skin around the hole. Staring at the blue wall tile I wonder why I am being made to get clean in the first place. The fear starts to take a hold of me; it’s trying to swallow me whole. I take a deep breath and push the handle to an off position. Stepping out of the shower Seeda passes me a towel from in front of her and I dry myself off. She next hands me a pair of soft purple undies, and a pure silk white bra. Although I find the bra pretty, it makes me wonder how they knew exactly my size.
Turning to face Seeda, she unzips a long black dress bag and slides outa long, white, sequined gown. I suddenly realise what is going to happen, what I’ve been sent here for. The realisation pulses through my brain as my legs became unstable; I tremble to the bathroom floor. Seeda lets go of the dress and rushes to my aid, kneeling down on the cold tiles. Swipes the tears that are forming from the corner of my eyes and hands me a soft pink cotton handkerchief that was carefully placed in a pocket under her hijab. -I know what some Muslim things are called as I recently did a project on Muslims women’s clothes in society and history. Lifting my head I manage to give her a smile; she smiles back in my direction and whispers close in my ear, “it’s hard, but it will be okay. Cause, well because, I’ve gone through it.” I look at her in a shocked manor, by the tone she said it I know it really did.
I take a hollow breath, as Seeda grabs my hand and pulls me back to my shaking feet. I think to myself, I can do this. If Seeda can, I can. Holding my head and pushing my back up straight, I say “okay” I lift my arms up and the dress falls over my pale shoulders. Lapping around my feet, I see the sequins covering the edging of the top half. Its corseted from the waist up and strapless. Small triangles are cut out of the back revealing small pieces of my soft skin. Seeda gasps at how good it looks on me. I regrettably agree. But I hate this dress. Not its style, small cut out holes or even sequins! I hate what this dress represents. That I’m being tied to another until the end of my days. And there is nothing I can do about. I’m screaming inside. Crying out. And no one can hear me- or if they can they aren’t listening to my painful cries. Looking in the thin full length mirror I n the bathroom, I feel dizzy. Like some evil source is toying with me. Making it so I have to look in the mirror and think about my unfortunate future. Seeda pushes me down to sit on the edge of the spa and starts to apply various and many coats of different makeups. Eyeliner, eye shadow, mascara, foundation, top coat foundation, lipstick, than lips gloss. By the time she has finished I’m looking like a porcelain doll. She than places a pair of silver drop earrings and a bracelet that looks like all real diamonds. I turn around and look in the mirror one last time before we walk out the door and I’m taken to god knows where. The shoes make me taller by an inch. Cream with white stitching around the sole.
I look at Seeda and face the door, she looks at me and breathes in asking “are you ready?” I reply sounding strong, “yes” “okay” she adds. Its time to be brave. I think in my head.