I am sitting at the waiting hall for my flight to Dubai from where I will go to India.
Next to me a women in a burka sits down and smiles at me. I met her before at the security check. We both listen to music but keep looking and smiling at each other. I give up, put my earplugs away and we start talking.
This is our conversation:
"Hi, I am Nora. Where are you from?"
"Your name is Nora?"
We both smile.
"It's a beautiful name. Do you know that this an Arabic name and means light?"
"Yes, a lot of people told me here. Are you Arabic?"
"Yes, my husband is. But I was born here in Iran. I just visited my mum and my sisters. Where are you from? - Nice hijab!"
I smile. She does too. I know that she is not serious.
"I am from Germany. And you have a husband in Dubai?"
"Yes, but we live in Marat. Are you married?"
Officially on my Visa documents for Iran I am engaged, but just because of my fears which in the end turned out to be stupid. I shake my head.
"No, I am not. I don't want to be married."
She nods her head. "Yes, that's good. It's better not to be married."
"Hm, I don't know. No one cares if I am married. Not all of the people get married in Germnay."
"Oh! Really in Germany? My daughter loves Germany and wants to study there!"
"You have kids?"
"Yes, five kids."
"Oh, wow. How old are they?"
"My eldest son is 18, my daughter 17, my other 16 and so on", she laughs.
I swallow and try to smile. Five years of pregnancy.
"Wow, and how old are you?"
"I am 31, but my husband is much older. He belongs to my family, you know?"
"Ah so he is your cousin." According to Max and my lie in Turkey where we pretended to be cousins, I am officially engaged to my cousin now too. "Sometimes age doesn't matter, right? I am traveling with a friend, he is nine years elder than me, but often I feel like I am the older one."
I try to laugh. She smiles shy.
"My parents arranged the marriage. He is 15 years older then me."
"Oh, yes this is how you do it here, right?"
"Not all of them. But in the United Emirates always, yes."
"Did you like that?"
She looks down and turns her head very slowly, but lifts up again and smiles.
"Being married is a lot of house work!" she laughs. "So big families we have!"
"Yes, I heard that men have more than one women, right?"
"Yes, one, two three, four"
"Does your husband has more than you?"
She lifts the shoulders and leans back. She looks sad.
"Do you like that?"
She lifts her shoulders.
They call out our flight.
"Hey, if your daughter loves Germany you could give me your Facebook and we stay in touch."
She smiles. "I don't have Facebook and so on, my husband doesn't like it."
I feel the anger crawling up my throat. I feel so sorry for her.
But she smiles. "I have a phone number."
I smile "Ok, great"
She gets up, sorts her Burka and enters the plane.
When all of us leave the plane again, I take off my Manto and my Hijab. It feels so good and strange to shake my hair in public and not to be hot with the Manto, I instantly smile. Same feeling I had last time when I lost my dental brace. And then I see Nora how she walks around a corner with her Burka.