Asma had been going to school and working at the mall for two months now and she felt pretty content in the new town. She was excited today because her father had finally sold their house back in West Virginia and would officially be joining them. Asma had seen her dad a few times when he came on the weekends to catch up, but she really missed him being home and having dinner with her and her mom.
It was Saturday and Asma was getting ready to go hang out with some girls from school. They were planning to meet up at the masjid while the mom’s had a study circle. The girls would sometimes be asked to babysit the younger kids running around like wild monkeys, but Asma didn’t mind, it was fun to see her friends and if they could give the ladies a break from their kids, it was no sweat off her back. She also thought it made her look mature. Asma was starting to sort of feel like she wanted to prove she was marriage material. If there was one thing the girls talked about 24/7 it was marriage.
“Asma are you ready? It’s time for my study circle at the masjid, hurry up!” Asma’s mom called down the hall.
“Yes, I’m just getting my hijab on!” Asma called back. Asma was trying so hard to make it look perfect but she just couldn’t get the ends to wrap around the right way. She was trying to do the spanish wrap hijab style but the turquoise fabric wouldn’t sit back on her bun properly. “UGH!” Asma said out loud. She really wanted to look cute and still appropriate for the masjid so no one would give her a lecture on what not to wear.
Asma pulled her white turleneck up high and pinned her scarf on each side so that her neck wouldn’t show. Finally it looked like it wasn’t going to come undone. She looked at herself in the mirror and twirled around in her jean skirt and riding boots. Asma felt so fashionable with her hijab that she was starting to think she looked better with it on. For some reason the girls who wore hijab always looked so much prettier and sophisticated than girls who weren’t wearing it. Maybe they just paid more attention to their appearance because they stuck out more obviously. Either way Asma was having fun with it. She still hadn’t made up her mind on when she wanted to wear it full time.
“This isn’t a fashion show Asma, come on!” Asma’s mother stood at the doorway and startled her.
“I’m just making sure that my scarf wont fall off,” Asma said.
“Well hopefully you wont be twirling like a Whirling Dervish in the masjid,” Asma’s mother said trying to hold in her laughter.
“Asma, hey over here!” It was Ayah calling her over.
Asma and Ayah started hanging out once they realized that both their mom’s were in the same study circle. Although Ayah seemed like a “mean girl” in the beginning, Asma enjoyed the fact that she was quite a character. Ayah knew about all the online matrimonial sites and would often say, “Well I can’t be doing anything wrong, I’m just chatting, and at least they’re Muslim sites!”
Today she was out sitting on the car munching on sunflower seeds and spitting the shell out over the side. The shells were stacking up on the asphalt and Asma was amazed at how she was so gusty.
“Asma, try to come and join us inside, you might learn something,” Asma’s mother said. “There are a few girls your age who regularly attend.”
“Aww mom… don’t embarrass me, I just want to hang out I’m in Islamic school 5 days a week!” Asma responded.
“Fine just don’t get into trouble.” Asma’s mom ran inside as she was running a few minutes late.
Asma went and joined Ayah sitting on the car. They watched as more women came and ran to make it to their study circle.
“OMG Asma, let me tell you something juicy!” Ayah started giggling. “You know Miss Salma? Well I saw her having lunch with this really cute guy at Panera. She didn’t see me, but I saw her and she was all glowing and happy looking, I wonder who he was?”
Asma kept hearing how people were not happy that the Islamic Studies teacher, Miss Salma was single and working and living on her own. A lot of the women in the community thought it was scandalous. There were even rumors that someone was interested in making her his second wife. But Asma figured most of it was petty gossip.
“Maybe it was her brother or something,” Asma volunteered.
“I don’t think you would give your brother your hand and sit there the entire meal holding hands. It was so weird!” Ayah responded.