Hijabi Woes

I survey the battle field. A plain black scarf lies quietly on the counter top of my bathroom, blanketing the empty tins and pots of makeup. Pins and brooches adorn the littered landscape, pins poking out underneath gems and stones, points at the ready.

Hair tied back tightly, I secure it under an underscarf, in attempts to shield my tender scalp from the barrage of pins and brooches.

You think it should be easy. A scarf. Just a piece of cloth, right? A few pins. What damage could they do?

I fling the cotton-polyester mix atop my head, holding the tassels like lassos. The edges are frayed and slip over my eyes first, and then down the crown of my head. Reaching out for a pin, I manage to secure it under my chin before it completely consumes me.

Breathless, I tackle the two dangling pieces of fabric. They flip and they flop, refusing to stay put.

I wrestle with them, as I wrap one piece around my neck and the other atop my head. But before I can pin them down, they’ve slithered downward and now I’ve lost the place where I was to pin them.

I try again. Out of their guards, the points of the pins find my scalp, my bare fingers and my neck, but not the clasp where they belong. Blood bubbles on the tips of my fingers and disappears into the scarf. Good thing its black.

Instead of pinning, I arrange them loosely around my neck, threading the pieces in a creative arrangement. At least I tell myself its creative. But now I appear to have no neck.

Gingerly, I wriggle a piece out of the arrangement and tie a bun around my hair, using the second piece to drape around my face. As I ready my shaking hand to secure the final piece, the bun comes undone.

I wrap it up again and again, it comes apart.

My reflection laughs at me as I grip the cloth tightly, swinging it over my head and neck, as I try to simultaneously create the desired folds and achieve the face-slimming drapes and cover all the bare flesh.

“Are you almost ready in there!” shouts my brother at the bathroom door.

I tug tightly on the pieces and secure them to the scarf. My neck is subsumed by ropes of fabric and my moon-like-face is nestled in cocoons of cloth.

As I tidy up the lethal pins and brooches, I eye my wary reflection in the mirror.

Today, I’ll let it go. But tomorrow is another day, and another battle.

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  1. Zainab says:

    IKHLAAS this was so cute and awesome and well written and lets meet each other this break because my heart is full of missing you.

    also the night circus is AMAZING OMG OGMGOMGOGEJG all I can think whilst reading this is ‘ikhlas will LOVE THIS’

    • Ikhlas says:

      Awwww you’re so cute! <3 Thanks for commenting on this 🙂

      I actually have it on hold at the library, but alas, I don't know when I'll get it >_<

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