Evacuate Traditions E4

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EPISODE 4 – COURTSHIP

⚠️ Use Discretion: Mature dialogue.

Acquainted

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“If you don’t mine, tell me more about your childhood,” Mark asks, since he knows virtually nothing about his bride.

”Okay, I have not always worn the burka or niqab. Bacha posh is a girl who cuts her hair and lives as a boy until puberty in order to obtain basic human rights. I was such a girl.”

“What rights did you receive as a bacha posh?”

“I learned English, played sports, and could walk the streets alone. Most importantly, it limited abuse against females. At puberty, we put away the bacha posh to prepare for marriage and childbearing.”

“That’s interesting. You were a master of disguise from a very young age. You couldn’t pass for a boy now. I’m happy I unveiled you as an adult. Our children will not need to hide their identity for an education in America. Perhaps we will talk more about this later. Now, would you like something to eat?”

“Yes, please. What is there for me here?”

Motioning for a poolside server, “Can we get a couple of menus please?” Mark shouts.

Laila then expresses, “I do not recognize these foods. Is there any lamb or chicken shawarma?”

“Let’s forget about these menus and go for a drive to get that for you. No burka is required.”

On the drive to the restaurant, Laila’s smiling head is bobbling from side to side as she takes in all the new sights. Mark asks, “Do you have any family in the United States?”

“Not any more. Some relatives with dual citizenship were killed in the war.”

“I’m sorry to hear that. What about your father?”

“His name is Laban. He and my mother were also killed in the war.”

“Wow, so many tragedies. Laban was a brave man from what I recall. He helped defend your home against great odds. Do you have any questions about me?”

“If I am allowed to ask my husband, what work do you do outside of the military?”

“Good question! I work with computers on a freelance basis. So wherever we end up living, I can work remotely. I also receive money from the government for my computer service along with some health and housing benefits.”

“So are you wealthy?” Laila inquires.

“By no means. But we can live comfortably with some budgeting.”

“What about your family? Will I meet them?”

“As I mentioned earlier, my father is Jewish. He gets paid pretty well as an accountant. He’s hopeful that I return to Judaism and marry a Jewish virgin. I expect to be written out of his will when he finds out we married. So his reaction to meeting you will be interesting.”

“You made a great sacrifice for me?”

“Yes, but it’s worth it. I love you, Laila.”

“What religion will our children learn?”

“Any of them… all of them. I don’t care. You can decide. Here we are.” Mark says as he pulls into the parking lot of the restaurant. “What would you like with your shawarma?”

“Some water is fine.”

“Two shawarmas and two cups of ice water,” Mark shouts through the take-out window. After paying for the meal he walks back to the table and asks Laila, “Is this something you know how to cook?”

“Done properly, it takes much time, but yes. I can prepare delicious meals for you. I am not familiar with American dishes though.”

“I don’t mind adapting my palate to your cooking. It looks like our food is ready,” he says while standing to retrieve it. “Let me know what you think.”

“It is close to what I expect. The meat is tender,” Laila says while chewing a small bite.

“Is there anything else you want to see while we are out here?”

“I don’t know. Perhaps the Statue of Liberty?” Laila suggests.

“That’s too far away from us in California. Perhaps we can go to the beach and walk on the sand.”

“That sounds fine.”

“Before that, let’s go pick out your wedding ring!” Mark says with excitement.

“Yes, thank you.”

After selecting a ring and walking on the beach, they return to the hotel. In their room, they find some belly dancing music for Laila. On his phone, she shows him the traditional costume.

“The costume accentuates the movements. But you can still see belly rotations,” Laila demonstrates.

“That’s more than good enough for me! You could not pass for a boy now.”

Room service brings up aphrodisiac appetizers. The remainder of the evening draws them closer than ever.

The next day, rather than walking behind Mark, Laila is either at his side holding hands or nestled beneath his armpit. She quickly becomes accustomed to his public displays of affection.

“I am trying to be a good American wife for you.”

“You’re doing fine, but you do not need to lose your entire identity.”

“My identity has always been suppressed by obedience to commands of those having power over me. You are now responsible for my new identity.”

“Your individual personality will blossom with time. Right now I am working on getting you to say, ‘I love you’ to me.”

“I will say it now. I love you. Is that fine?”

“Great, that’s a start. I love you too. In time, I want you to say it spontaneously. Can I ask what was life like in a harem?”

“We did not stay in a palace. The Taliban lived in caves. I shared one with six other girls. During the day we cleansed and beautified ourselves. When the master arrived, we all endeavored to please him well. Only the successful ones survived.”

Prophylactic

“That explains your insistence on pleasing me. I am curious, in the harem, were you serving one man or many?”

“It was just one man.”

“Did he allow you to get checked for sexual infections?”

“No, he did not. But he said all the girls were virgins prior to coming there and that we should practice good hygiene.”

“Did he use any type of protection during intercourse?”

“He did not. You may examine me for an infection. It would hurt me to defile my husband’s bed.”

“No, it would not be your fault. The one who gave it to you bears responsibility. I will still love you with an infection. But we should schedule a gynecological exam in case any treatment is appropriate for both of us.”

“Should I not give myself to you until then?”

“No, From your description, there may be low risk. I hope I didn’t upset you by asking. Women here go to a doctor regularly for checkups. So when we get settled, I’ll find you a gynecologist.”

“That is fine. But now I want to go soon for answers,” Laila confesses.

“A doctor at the base can examine you.

“Thank you.”

“Don’t get me wrong. I like the scar on your cheek. But may I ask how you got it?”

“One of the other harem girls scratched me to make me less desirable.”

“I’m sorry you had to go through that ordeal. Your will to live makes me proud. I never want to do anything that makes you feel like you are a slave.”

“That makes me feel safe. I am no longer embarrassed about my past because you have accepted me. As my husband, I have no secrets from you. So far I am very happy.”

“That’s good to hear. We’ll be together for a long time.”

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