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Author Topic: New story - Hijab  (Read 2327 times)

Offline Fraenkelstein

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Re: New story - Hijab
« Reply #15 on: 09. November 2017, 14:21:53 PM »
Thanks for the kind words! Also, libtech: great avatar! :)

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Hijab – part 8: shopping

Aicha had been in the waiting room for quite some time while the doctor worked on me. When I came out I could see from her reaction that it was bad. Both my braces – which I didn't really have a change to properly look at yet - and her chat with the doctor about her teeth. We decided to put a pin in it though and headed off to the shops. The optician was our first stop, but we'd already decided on some general shopping afterwards, at least until it was time for my haircut.

Having done my research, we headed to a store that had a contract with my insurer so that the glasses were essentially free. However, this meant I had to pick from their budget selection, which included only a couple of frames that were suitable. The store clerk suggested I take my headgear off in order to try some, but I told him I wore the headgear all the time anyway and felt it was important to have glasses that went well with it. I had a hard time making myself understood, and Aicha found herself in the weird position of having to interpret for me.

This was the first store where I got a good look at my face with the new headgear. As long as I kept my mouth closed it wasn't that bad, but when I smiled my heart sank. So much metal. The extra bands really stood out, as did the tongue crib which was clearly visible when I smiled. Add a variety of glasses and I could hardly recognize my face anymore. Aicha kept suggesting smallish metal frames, which I felt only accentuated the headgear. I needed something bold, so I found a none to subtle, chunky blue plastic frame which neatly complemented the color of the straps of my headgear.

“I guess blue is my color now.”, I muttered.

Even though my prescription was rather complex and quite strong (+4 in either eye), I was delighted to hear that it could be made using their one hour service at no extra charge. The paperwork was filled and measurements were taken and we were on our way.

Aicha wanted to go to the market in the immigrant part of town. I consented because I was keen to save money and a street market surely has good deals. It was good to be in an environment where you could hear bits of speech from every country imaginable, but it was impossible for me to vanish into the crowd anymore. I felt the stares, the pitying looks. Ill-behaved boys would point and stare, and laugh. It was fast becoming unbearable: the sights, the smells and the never-ending sensation of being on display. Aicha noticed and quickly bought the fabrics she was after, as well as a nice blue scarf with silver stars on it, which she turned around and gave to me.

“I'm sorry for dragging you out here.”, she said, looking down, “Where do you want to go?”

“Let's have tea somewhere, my treat.”, I said.

Aicha's face brightened and she took me by the hand. Before long we were sitting in the back office of the fabric business. The owner was some kind of relation and when she saw Aicha she brightened and brought out tea. She also looked at me pityingly and tried to comfort met, and she meant it, which made me tear up a little. The tea helped with that though (I had taken to carrying straws in my bag) and before long we were chatting away about anything and everything. It was nice seeing that side of Aicha, rather than the shy girl that comes to school.

She said that Olivia had told her that for her braces were not a luxury as her teeth would decay really rather quickly because of her terrible bite. She even said she would be willing to put in a special request with the insurance firm to cover it under the exceptional dental care provision as it would involve  surgery.

“Surgery and at least three years of braces.”, she said, “and now that I know it's possible I'll have to do it. How did you talk your parents into letting you go through with it?”

“I didn't. I just got them.”, I said, then hesitatingly, “but I told baba that this was like my hijab.”

That got me a dry chuckle. “I remember when I first wore hijab to my secondary school out in the country, all the comments and the staring, the cruel jokes, the bullying. Perhaps there's something to your silly analogy. Wait.. has anybody asked you yet if your parents make you wear it?”

Offline Fraenkelstein

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Re: New story - Hijab
« Reply #16 on: 10. November 2017, 08:56:56 AM »
Extra installment as I won't be posting during the weekend.

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Hijab – part 9: Haircut

We very nearly lost track of time, sitting there drinking tea. So when I had the good fortune to look at my phone, I realized I could yet pick up my glasses and make my hairdresser's appointment if I rushed there right now. For once I was entirely oblivious of the stares on the market as I nimbly dashed through the crowd, hopped on a tram and sat down. Only when I caught my breath did I realize that a young boy in headgear was staring at me with giant eyes. I stared back.

He blushed, and said “I'm sorry I know staring is rude. But I don't often see kids with headgear and I wonder if that is what I look like to other people.”

“It's OK, I wonder too.”, I said, and smiled. The boy was briefly taken aback but then he smiled too and I realized he was wearing a really big neon-green plastic contraption with his headgear. Then we were both embarrassed again and paid each other no heed until my stop came up. I checked the time and decided to pick up the glasses, because I wanted the hairdresser to see the whole picture. The clerk from earlier had gone and I had to explain anew about the headgear to his colleague, a middle aged woman with bleached hair. With a bit of good will and some creativity though, she managed to get it neatly on my face.

“Well, you're very brave.”, she said, “I could never get my kids to wear their braces properly. Always fighting about it, and here you are.”  She told me things would be blurry in the distance at first, but that if I persisted in wearing them, they should be crisp and clear in a week or two and sent me on my way.

When I got to the hairdresser I got nervous again. I had never had a proper haircut before, only a trimming here and there by my mom or a friend of hers. My long unruly hair had always been a point of pride for me and I believe for my mom as well. But it would clearly have to go, the headgear compressed it in an awkward way and it forced itself through, causing fluffy bits of hair to stand from my head in awkward angles. Before, it had neatly covered up the neckstrap at least, but with the new strap it was just impossible.

I had picked an affordable Asian hairdresser, hoping to avoid awkward questions and small talk and I was not disappointed. The slight Thai woman who would cut my hair was the soul of politeness and sensitivity. She asked me to take off my headgear and glasses and very gently placed them on the counter where I could see them. Then she asked what sort of cut I wanted and I explained: the headgear and the glasses were new, and I wanted something a bit more functional. I would still like to be able to wear my hair back, though.

She smiled and got out a magazine with a picture of a pretty bespectacled Asian lady with hair that ended in curve just above her neck. I smiled back at her, removed the headgear and put it back on the counter. She put a gown on me, washed my hair and got to work. I couldn't look at it, my beautiful long locks dropping to the floor, so I closed my eyes. This left me with plenty of time to explore the additions to my braces. The inside of my mouth felt like it was covered in wires, leaving my tongue caged. It all felt huge, like a giant fence keeping my tongue in prison. The added bands, insofar as my tongue could reach them, felt smooth and added greatly to the faint metallic taste in my mouth. I moved my lips over the braces, getting them stuck on the loops in the archwire and the attachment for the J-hooks.

I opened my eyes again and met the hairdresser's eyes. “Teeth are very important.”, she said, “you only get one set. Make sure you keep it.” I nodded slightly, but she grabbed my head and held it still. What seemed like an eternity passed as I now looked at the headgear and the glasses on the counter. Thinking of them as mine still caused my stomach to contract until it was nothing but a pit. But it was what it was, and they did at least look well coordinated. I also had to admit that the straps felt more comfortable than the previous set. The neck-pad was more generous, and the forces were more evenly distributed over my head.

She put a bit of wax on her fingers and began to pull my hair back. When she was done, she took the gown off and motioned for me to put the headgear and the glasses back on. They felt so much more comfortable now that I didn't have to wrestle with my wild mane and I could feel the fresh air on my neck, which was novel. I had a hard time recognizing the girl in the mirror, but I noticed her headgear fit her hair perfectly. Even more so when I saw my neck. The hair ended just as the strap began, leaving only the slightest line of skin on either side.

“Satisfied?”, she said.

“I am,”, I said, my voice cracking a little bit, “No, I really am.”

Offline Fraenkelstein

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Re: New story - Hijab
« Reply #17 on: 10. November 2017, 14:36:09 PM »
Hijab – part 10: New wardrobe

After my haircut, I decided to try shopping for clothes again, so I headed to the nearby shopping center. There was a sale where stores offload their overstock from the spring season so they can get a clean start on the summer which was fast approaching. I decided that while I looked like a total nerd I might as well dress like one and ditch the 'rebel' attire. It was clear to me that all my attempts to make my assigned station in college social life had been misguided and that even people who claimed not to care about a person's are rather selective in whose looks they don't care about. I also wanted to do my mother a favor, I suppose. She had always hated my clothes even if she didn't flat out say it, and she was not going to like the fact that I cut my hair at all.

So I went to the big department store where middle aged Dutch women buy their uniformly boring clothes to get me some. I tried to remember what constituted modest clothes under muslim rules, but I couldn't quite remember. I did remember the kind teachers I had in primary school, and the respect with which my mother looked at them. I'm sure clothes like that would be in here, clothes that would help me send the kind of message to the other students that I desperately wanted them to hear. Clothes that were in fact, like the braces and, yes, the headgear, my own choice.

The sale was great in fact, and it netted me a veritable wardrobe. There were long blue plaid skirts, blouses that buttoned all the way up, tunic like things to go over them in just the right shade of blue, a conservative dress with long sleeves and a high collar. I  found some black ballerina style shoes that I really liked,  some stockings so that I didn't show skin, and a hair band. I knew I wasn't going to bother with the wax like the hairdresser showed me, and I figured this would keep it back just as well – though it was a bit crowded behind my ears. Besides, it, like the clothes, was just so pretty, blue stones set in silver wire, reflecting my braces. For once, I was not to stingy about the money. I hadn't really bought clothes in a long time, and I had saved a fair bit before getting the braces. Up until now, I'd only had to use it for dental care products and premiums, and I had a summer long of working the cash register to look forward to.

 I was just so excited that I wanted to wear them right then and there, so, after paying, I went back into the dressing room, put together an outfit and put it on. A long blue pleated skirt and a light blue blouse, complemented by a nice black sleeveless knitted vest. Under it, I wore the long stockings and then the contrasting black ballerina shoes with blue and white flowers on them. The feeling was indescribable, I felt like a new, more real woman. From the day I had decided to wear braces, I now knew, I had been, and was going to be, the one who determines how I face the world.

As I left the store, the shoplifting alarm went off and I grew beet red and started fumbling for the receipt. You here so many stories of people spending hours in sweaty back offices waiting for the police to show up even when they're entirely innocent. I stumbled over a couple of words when the most amazing thing happened: the security guard smiled and said: “No worries miss, this thing must be on the fritz again. Have a nice day now!”

When I got home I found out that I had not been wrong about my mother: she was couldn't quite seem to choose between being upset about my hair and praising me for my newfound style. Strangely, the glasses and the additions to my headgear passed her by completely. Not so my brother, Mo, he was having a field day, going on and on about how he had always known his sister was a nerd but not this big of a nerd. “Nerd alert! Nerd alert!”, he practically ran around screaming, causing my little brother to join in because it seemed like a fun game.

Offline jonjon

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Re: New story - Hijab
« Reply #18 on: 10. November 2017, 20:59:12 PM »
Brothers done u just love them NOT. Socially this story is great loving all the braces and headgear  she has

Offline acornjohn2001

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Re: New story - Hijab
« Reply #19 on: 11. November 2017, 07:56:01 AM »
Great story, you are awesome, Fraenkelstein!

Offline Fraenkelstein

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Re: New story - Hijab
« Reply #20 on: 13. November 2017, 14:18:43 PM »
High praise coming from such a great poster as yourself, Acornjohn! Thanks!

@jonjon, yeah, I'm mainly working through the social stuff. Would love to do a long winded description of the experience of getting braces in great detail sometime, to see if I can pull it off. Maybe later.



Hijab - part 11: Fired

Summer was fast approaching and with it, finals. For most of my education I had relied on the lectures for studying as I remembered those best. Books never could hold my attention and neither could homework. With the glasses, though, I found that I could read for hours on end and I loved it. My appearance was so different now that I occasionally had people I vaguely knew introduce themselves to me, which was odd considering the fact that I don't think they would know many people who wear headgear in college. In any case, I took to hanging out in the library to study, occasionally joined by Aicha who was fast becoming my friend.

That Friday I had to work again. I'd noticed that I never got extra shifts anymore like I used to, no last minute fill in calls either. I was indignant about it, but there was nothing I could actually do about it as my contract entitled me only to two shifts a week. As I sat there I suddenly remembered the card Olivia had given me and how I had neglected to practice my speech. I had become such a quiet person, now that I was an outcast at school. Still, I muddled through, figuring out ways to say all the things cashiers say without using the letters 's' and 't'.

Then, a man came up to my register all in a hurry and a foul mood, a businessman or a lawyer most like, with his hair done like a seventies movie villain. I scanned his items, asked for his loyalty card and took his money, which he practically threw at me, causing me to fumble. I handed him back the change.

“That's not enough now, is it?”

“Yes it is,” I said, counting it out for him, “Twenty-one plus five, makes twenty six...”. At that, a glob of spittle left my mouth and hit the man square in the throat. I immediately apologized but the damage was done. He got angry and demanded to see my manager, saying that he would get me fired over this. The manager came, and I could just see the admiration in his eyes, this customer was all that he aspired to be in life.

“First she gives me inaccurate change,”, he said,

I interrupted: not so. He looked at his hand, noticed the second two euro coin and, to his credit, was embarrassed and said, “well, OK, correct change, but then she spat at me. Plus, it all took her forever.”

“I'm sorry sir”. the manager said, “I assure you that it will not happen again. Zaineb, go to the office and wait there, I'll finish your shift.”

“It's...”

“Not a word!”

So I went up the office and sat there, sweating beads. I couldn't really afford to lose this job and, more importantly, the summer job. I still had a year of classes before graduation. And now I had expenses. If only I'd been more careful when shopping I'd still have had some more savings and I might be able to stretch it. They don't take back sales items, do they? But it's too late anyway, as I'm sure my mom's already taken my old clothes to the Terres-des-Hommes store.

The manager came in and told me in no uncertain terms that this was the last straw. From now on, I'd be operating the bottle-deposit machine for two shifts a week until my contract was up, and after that I'd no longer be working here. The bottle-deposit machine. Pious Muslim girls don't typically work it, and generally quit when they're assigned there. I suppose because it's easier to stay away from the alcohol if you demonize it. As for me, later on when I worked there, it brought me memories of the time when baba had just lost his job, before he found the mosque and the coffee house. He'd smell like it and have these mood swings. It wasn't a happy time for me, and neither was this.

Offline jonjon

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Re: New story - Hijab
« Reply #21 on: 13. November 2017, 18:31:19 PM »
Well just goes to prove managers can (and usually are) as**oles thats scarily close to how I left my last job  except I didn't have braces just a nasty manager!!

Offline Fraenkelstein

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Re: New story - Hijab
« Reply #22 on: 14. November 2017, 10:30:49 AM »
Hijab – part 12: Saved...

My last day working at the supermarket coincided with an orthodontic check-up. It was the end of the school year, between the finals and the start of the vacation. I had studied harder than ever before – the glasses helped a lot – and I was quite confident that I would pass. I do admit I was in denial about my job and finances, though. I had simply parked the problem while I still worked at the store and just focused on the finals. When I emerged from my final morning of sorting bottles and stacking crates, I felt a wave of panic washing over me. I still felt panicked as I walked into the orthodontist's office.

“I have an appointment at three,”, I said, “but I'd like to talk to Olivia first if that's OK.”

“Sure thing, Zakiyah.”, the receptionist said, then noticing my trembling, “Everything alright?”

“Not really.”

“Poor dear, have a glass of water and I'll go get Olivia.”

I sat down in Olivia's office. a beautiful bright room adjacent to a courtyard garden, a room where I hadn't been since we discussed treatment plans, now what,  half a year ago? Only six months, but it felt like six years, like a different life almost. There were pictures of old braces advertisements hanging from the walls, there was a variety of teeth models with various appliances mounted in them in a glass case near the wall. Framed and mounted on the wall were Olivia's degrees, a fair amount of them, all beautiful.

Olivia came in and sat down. “What seems to be bothering my star patient?”, she said, “and might I say you look radiant today.”

I smiled at the compliment. “I will sadly not be able to come here anymore.”, I said, tearing up, “I lost my job because I accidentally spat at a customer. Now I won't be able to make money during the summer.”

“You poor dear.”, she said, “well, it's their loss really. You're in vocational training, right? To be a bookkeeper?”

I nodded.

“Well, I might be in need of one soon.”, she said, “hold on.”

She left the room, when she didn't return for several minutes I got up and admired the display case with the appliances in them. They were entrancing, with a strange beauty to them. Some of them had headgear like mine sticking out, some of them had a tongue crib like mine, but none of them had it all. I felt special, and I hoped, and dare I say prayed, that I could somehow yet finish my treatment.

“They're beautiful, aren't they?”, Olivia said, “So intricate and made with such care.”


“They really are.”, I said.

“Well, Zakiyah,”, she said, “the firm that used to handle my billing went belly-up and left me in a real mess. Karen at reception has been putting in overtime to sort it all out, but it's not her cup of tea, really, and she – well, I – would be delighted to hire you as an administrative assistant for twenty hours a week during the months of July and August. What do you say, will you help me clean up this mess?”

I don't think I've ever smiled as broadly as I did just then, not even before I got braces. She explained about pay and hours, and it dawned on me that I would make more money working less hours than I would have making the minimum youth wage for a nineteen year old at the supermarket. She explained that the paperwork would take some time but that as far as she was concerned this was a binding agreement, and she stuck out her hand:

“Welcome aboard, colleague! Ready to start in two weeks?”

“Sure am! Thank you so, so much.”, I said shaking her hands and smiling. Then I turned to leave.

“Wait up! We still need to get you in the chair.”

Offline jonjon

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Re: New story - Hijab
« Reply #23 on: 14. November 2017, 20:12:17 PM »
Aww thats so great glad she got a new job and with her ortho too

Offline Fraenkelstein

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Re: New story - Hijab
« Reply #24 on: 15. November 2017, 09:38:19 AM »
Hijab – part 13: … by the bell.

I sat down in the chair, the assistant asked me to remove my headgear, which I did, handing it to her. She lowered the chair and got to work removing ligatures and then taking out the archwires. “I like your headband, by the way, really matches your headgear.”  Seeing how the upper archwire was quite complicated she excused herself and went to get Olivia. When she came over, Olivia said, “Well, maybe it should be just me working on you for a while now.”, and she got to work. First she put a new, thicker archwire on my lower jaw and put a powerchain on it. Then she took a newly bent upper archwire, with  T-loops as she called them, and wired it to my upper braces.

“My dear, I know you're a good brusher, but your upper molars are seeing some wear, being squished between bands as it is. Hard to reach. Maybe we should just put bands on them too.”

I nodded. It made sense as there were only two molars left that had brackets rather than bands, other than my back molars. She put some separators in. Next she got out a packet of elastics. “Blue, I assume?”, I nodded, and she said I should wear them all the time except for eating and brushing. “I'll start you off on these two from your upper canines to your lower canines, to help close your slight open bite. Be sure to make an appointment for next week so I can put those bands in.”

When I returned to the waiting room, who was sitting there but Aicha. She was positively beaming when she saw me. “I'm going through with it.”, she said,  “Everything's set up so that I'll only have my jaw wired shut during the summer months.”

“That's great!”, I said, “how did you deal with your parents?”

“They figured out it was halal after all.”, she said, “Apparently the prophet, peace be upon him, once told a maimed man to get a golden nose or something.”

“Maimed, that's a bit harsh”, I said, with a wink, “but I'll take it.”

We decided to go for tea near school somewhere. That afternoon the grades may or may not become available, and there'd be people hanging around school to find out. Aicha would quickly check if the grades had been posted and then we'd either celebrate or commiserate,  or just catch up, whatever the case might be. It turned out grades weren't posted yet, but it didn't matter. Now that she'd committed to the treatment Aicha suddenly had a whole bunch of questions about the ins and outs of braces. When I told her I'd be working for Olivia over the summer she couldn't be happier for me, “I figured something was up”, she said, “but I didn't want to ask and risk upsetting our focus on the finals.”

“I've never studied like that before.”, I admitted. Just then our class mentor – the teacher charged with shepherding our cohort through the program – passed in front of the plate glass window of the store. I suddenly got nervous, what if it didn't work? What if it didn't work for Aicha? What if. Still, there was no time for such worries as she walked straight at us. “I couldn't not notice you two siting here”, she said, “and even though it's not yet 'official', I wanted to be the first to congratulate you! Both of you, on great final marks across the board, but especially Zakiyah. I've told your parents often enough, you're a smart girl, but somehow it never translated into good grades. Until now!”

Aicha let out a whoop and we made room so that our teacher, mrs. Van den Berg could join us. She wanted to know what had changed for me. I sucked the last lukewarm tea out of the glass with my straw, avoiding slurping noises. “Well, there's all this”, I said pointing at my face”I probably should have gotten glasses years ago. Plus the fact that I committed social suicide helped a lot.” I glanced over to Aicha, who looked a bit indignant, “and the fact that I found the best study buddy ever!”, I let out, my voice rising to a shreek as Aicha joined in; we were just that excited. “I admire you for taking responsibility for yourself in this way, Zakiyah.”, said mrs. Van den Berg, “with this attitude, who knows what heights you can reach?”.

Offline Fraenkelstein

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Re: New story - Hijab
« Reply #25 on: 16. November 2017, 08:57:29 AM »
Hijab – part 14: Summer days

The new archwires, the powerchain, the separators and the elastics made my teeth as sore as they've ever been during my treatment, which was a pity, considering that a feast was about to take place. As it turned out, mrs. Van den Berg also put in a call to my parents the following afternoon, telling them of my triumph. The transcript that followed was even better than she let on: a single 8.5/10 blemished my clean sheet of 9s. When I told them that I would be working at the orthodontist's office over the summer, both my parents were ecstatic. My mom called all the relatives who lived nearby and decided to have a big family feast at our place over at our place. Of course, the month of Ramadan was coming up too, and such pre-Ramadan feasts are always appreciated.

That's why our house filled up with cousins, aunts, great uncles, and people we call uncle and cousin who are not at all related to us, all day that Sunday. At first it was unbelievably awkward as there was quite a number of them who hadn't seen me since before I got braces, or glasses, or started dressing more modestly. “It is like hijab,”, one of my hijabi cousins said jokingly, “I see no skin, and barely any hair under all that.”. My baba overheard that and beamed with pride even as I turned beet red. “It's like my golden nose,”, I said, and spent a good while explaining.

Mostly, though, the reactions were kind and generous, as family should be to one another. Also, my mother's enthusiasm was quite infectious, and her amazing food put everyone at ease. After a dinner where I could only manage to eat so much without suffering excruciating pain, though I did my best not to let anything on,  I  excused myself to put my headgear and elastics back on. I turned around only to see my little cousin Hakim standing there in the doorway. “Does it hurt?”, he asked, “Sometimes it hurts a lot, but mostly it's OK”, I admitted.  He winced, “My dentist said I should have them, but I'm afraid.”. I picked him up and hugged him, “Much better to have them now, it'll be so much easier, and I promise it'll be worth it.”

Later that week I went back to the orthodontist to have my remaining molars banded. Afterwards, Olivia introduced me to the staff, most of whom I already new anyway, and let Karen explain the administrative situation. The skinny of it was this: the company they'd contracted out their billing to had absconded with an unknown amount of money. For the past quarter there was no way of knowing which bills were paid and which weren't and there was now a sizable backlog of bills that had to be made and sent out. Poor Karen was quite swamped. I spent the rest of the week strategizing on and off about how to get on top of it so that I could present my plan when I began working the next Monday.

When I came in that first day, I laid out the plan. Insofar as treatments were paid for by insurers, we could probably get the payment information from them, that would give us a baseline when exactly the office stopped working and what bills were still payable. Then we'd have to call the remaining private patients and ask them what their last payment had been. Both these measures, but the last one especially would be embarrassing to Olivia and her office, so Karen and I spent the rest of the morning devising a call script that made it sound like it was no big deal.

I spent the next two weeks working the phones, which I found exhausting because of the tongue crib. Still, if there was any way in which I was not used to it before, I certainly was now. Karen did her usual job and provided me with a limitless supply of sugar free drinks to keep my mouth from drying out. It was noticed that whenever I was sitting in near the front of the reception, with my headgear in full view, kids who came in would quickly fumble to put theirs on, or their appliance in. It was even dubbed the Zakiyah-effect by the assistants.

Offline Fraenkelstein

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Re: New story - Hijab
« Reply #26 on: 16. November 2017, 08:57:53 AM »
Hijab - part 15: Elastics

Due to my working at the office, my check-ups got more frequent. Olivia seemed to enjoy micromanaging my treatment, and I enjoyed the attention. By summer's end I would be wearing six elastics in various configurations. My lower canines would be banded because the elastics kept popping off the brackets. They increased in strength, too, so that I could barely open my mouth and do little more than mumble. Luckily, by then all of the phone calls had been made, and the work mainly came down to keeping track of the payments and devising a new billing system. Also lucky: the month of Ramadan was in summer this year, and eating would have been such a hassle with the elastics that abstaining was almost easy.

I still kept in close contact with Aicha as her family had gone to Morocco for the summer leaving her to her own devices (in this case a wired mouth and later on a palatal expander). By the end of the summer she would look positively goofy with an almost a centimeter wide gap between her front teeth and a heavy lisp to boot. She was convinced she was going to go on to earn a bachelor's degree to become a legal assistant or something, so she spent her days in the library reading about the law. I would join her, but mainly to read about orthodontics. All of the books were out of date, though, and I found that my treatment would have been pretty much middle of the road in the eighties.

Near the end of the summer, Olivia surprised me. Firstly, she put new bands on my lower back molars, when I explored them with my tongue I noticed they had the little tubes on the side where the headgear goes. My heart sank, two facebows would be just too much. I'd be like a duck with a bill or something, I could hear the taunting – from which I had been blessedly free all summer – start all over again. Much to my relief, she took out a lip bumper, which she said would help balance the forces of the elastics. Even though it made my lower lip more prominent and closing my mouth hard, I smiled a smile of relief. Olivia beamed one back at me.

This led her to her second surprise. “Well, Zakiyah,”, she said, “it's been such a delight having you here all summer, and a great success too.”. I made an approving motion with my head. “But the work is not yet done. So I called your school.”, she continued, “And they've agreed that I can take you on as an intern for your third year internship if you like!”. I was so excited that I wanted to hug her right then and there, but I couldn't as I was still in the chair. “Until that time, I'd like to keep you on for two hours each morning, or from our opening to whenever you have class to profit from the Zakiyah effect a little longer.”, she said, “it's really powerful what a role model can do for the kids. I've even joked that the assistants should all be in braces.”

Offline Fraenkelstein

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Re: New story - Hijab
« Reply #27 on: 16. November 2017, 08:58:30 AM »
Hijab – part 16: Epilogue

As summer drew to a close, Aicha came in for her fitting appointments. She'd arranged them just so that we could hang out afterwards each time. She got her brackets installed and a headgear with four J-hooks and an Interlandi strap, which she would wear over her hijab so as to not have to cut her hair. Rather than blue, though she chose bright pink as her color. A bold contrasting choice on her otherwise plain white headscarf. When we'd return to school later that year we'd make quit the pair. In fact, when we did, we were mainly left alone by everyone else. Turns out that we were our own little tribe now, the headgear girls, and hence off-limits to the other tribes. We even attracted a third member (we'd privately joke that there must've been some magnetism going on). Turns out, her orthodontist didn't even require her to wear her headgear by day, but she just wanted to hang out with us.

My braces remained pretty much the same after that, to the point where I'd say they were like a part of me, and I felt somehow exposed, naked even, if I wasn't feeling the comfortable pressure of the straps of the headgear on my head. The elastics continued to change, though I would eventually peak at nine. I jokingly said that this would have to be the record, but Olivia just smiled an opaque smile. My glasses did see an update, though that'd have to wait until January, and I'd be bumped to about +5 in each eye, with more prism to boot. Now I was truly dependent on them, and panicked if  my brother would move them while I was in the shower, or something like that. I did find a beautiful frame, though, dark blue plastic for the top half of the rim, with a silver wire to hold the lenses in place on the bottom.

It was also decided that I'd try to get into an oral health degree  program when I was done with my present course, leading to a bachelor's degree, and that I'd continue working with Olivia all the while. This would get me a lot of experience and put me on the path towards becoming an orthodontic assistant myself someday. Thus, I began taking an interest in ongoing treatments, and sat in on practice meetings and began to learn the lingo.

Then one day, a boy walked in, about my age (though I later would learn it was the day after his eighteenth birthday). He was quite skinny, and he wore glasses that made his eyes look tiny, and which caused his face to seem as if it had a dent in it, with lots of reflections. He couldn't even put his lips together without his front teeth sticking through. Like a hare, I thought. I gave him a bright smile, and he smiled right back…


The End?

Offline Fraenkelstein

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Re: New story - Hijab
« Reply #28 on: 16. November 2017, 09:01:03 AM »
Well, that concludes the story of Zakiyah for now. I decided to post the last three parts today as I'll be unable to post for a while. The sequel is already coming along nicely, though, and I hope to resume posting in due time.

Thanks for reading! :)

Offline carking

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Re: New story - Hijab
« Reply #29 on: 16. November 2017, 17:44:32 PM »
Very cool. Thank you for sharing. I look forward to the sequel