B For Beautiful

It's my first day with a new look. Excited, that would be the perfect word to describe how I feel today. I check myself in the mirror one more time. Formal blazers with matched pastels shirt and long skirt covering my socked ankles. I put the Arabic brooch on my head scarf. Beautiful. Now I look like a decent Muslim woman.

I walk out of the staff toilet, nearly bump into one of my colleagues, Melissa. "Sorry" she says. "No problem, Mel" I reply. "Andy?" She hesitates. "Yes, it's me" I smile. "Wow you look...different" Melissa looks startled. "I know. I've decided to embrace my faith more firmly" I explain. "Tha.. that's...great" she stutters. "Thank you. See you in the office" I wave and walk away.

The news spreads in a flash. I can tell people hastily walk pass my cubicle and shoot a quick glance at me. Within an hour of my arrival in the office, the HR calls me in. "Could you explain this?" The HR manager carefully ask. "You mean that I'm wearing a hijab now?" I ask. "Yes, please" she answers. "Sure. It's been a long process of thinking and I've finally come to accept myself and go with what my heart tells me to. As a devoted Muslim, I feel the urge to follow what the Qur'an commands us to do. Therefore I decided to wear a hijab because I feel more comfortable and peaceful in this."

The HR manager seems taken aback. He manages to talk again though "But...you are a man. Why would you wanna wear hijab? It's for women".

The question hits me hard but I have anticipated this. "Well I'm actually a woman. I'm just trapped in a man's body."

Lucy Vallender

Jakarta, October 2014


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