NakedGirl: The Story of Dareen
by donnylaja

Part 5

"I wish they'd just give the software to us, and then let us install it," Dareen said.  She had been asking a few too many questions at the meeting until she got a stern look from Ms. Hom.  Probably for her own good.  It wasn't a good idea for an Arab girl to appear too resistant to security measures.

"Yeah, I just had a bad feeling about it," Jamal said, though he hadn't said anything about it at the meeting.  The guys from DHS were nice and seemed to "click" with Ms. Hom.  Billy Gibbs seemed supportive too.  "Or at least let us get a copy of the program so we know what is being filtered and monitored. . . That's what I like about you Dareen, you've got your own mind."

Indeed.  Dareen had noticed it herself -- she’d been at the job for a year, her first job after getting her master's degree in library science, and in the past few months she'd become more sure of herself and had gotten a little out of her shell.  Last month was perhaps the ultimate -- she had actually written an angry letter to the Democrat-Argus.  They had been running an "expose" about the city schools and had printed essays by grade school kids showing misspellings and mistakes.  The names of the kids were shown, and photos.  Humiliating these kids was bad enough, but to top it all off, the reporters were not too educated themselves.  Her letter pointed out the misspellings in the reporters' own articles and how one "mistake" pointed out in the essays (that Central America is in the Northern Hemisphere) was actually true.  They never printed her letter, of course.  But it still made her feel good to send it off.  She’d been feeling like there was a "new Dareen" emerging.  Maybe after that operation and with smaller breasts she wouldn't have to be hiding herself all the time.

And now this!!  An even newer Dareen, not in the least what she wanted.  She had wished for small breasts for ten years, but never so fervently as now.

Sweating and feeling like an ingrate for lying to Jamal, she was walking with him on the way back, and while waiting for the light to change, he said, "I've got to get going on my invention."


"The 'ice hat'."


"Ice Hat.  You lose most of your body heat through your head, right?  Well, if you would wear an ice pack on your head, like a soft helmet covering your whole scalp, with maybe a battery pack running from your shirt pocket to keep the refrigeration going, then you could stay cool on a day like this even if you have to wear a suit."

Dareen smiled and nodded.  And gulped -- that would feel so good right now.  She felt a little better back in the office, fantasizing about having an ice hat, staying cool while being strapped into these infernal clothes.  She thought about it even through her afternoon prayers.  "Mmmm. . .  Allah. . . ice hat . . ."  She even chuckled about it.  Allah wouldn't mind.

At about 4:30 Ms. Hom called her in.  And closed the door.  This was not good.

Ms. Hom said, in her stilted manner, "Miss Alkaras" -- she never called anyone by their first name, it seemed.  "I can't help but say this, but your appearance the last couple of days has caused me some. . . concern."

Sitting and squirming in the chair, Dareen played dumb.  "I don't know what you mean."

As if she hadn't said anything, Ms. Hom said, "It is important to maintain a professional appearance and not be too distracting."

Dareen looked down, which unavoidably meant looking down at her newly-protruding breasts.  She was on the spot now; she had to give an explanation.  There was no getting around what Ms. Hom was talking about.  Dareen thought of something, the truth, at least partway.

"Ms. Hom, I'm going for a breast reduction operation in two months," she said.

No reaction from her stone-faced boss.

Dareen's voice went very low.  She hated talking about this, but she had to.  "I've had a problem with -- my breasts have been hurting lately so I've tried a new bra with more support.  I guess it kind of shows."

What a relief.  After a moment of more deadpan, Ms. Hom cracked a little smile, something she rarely did.  "You have a problem I've never had to deal with," she said.  "Try to find a better way of hiding your body.  At least until your operation."  Then she was back to her solemn self.  "Do you know when that is?"

"No."  The insurance folks were supposed to get back to her about that.

"Tell me as soon as you find out.  Be sure to put in the sick day form."  And the little scary meeting was over.  Dareen stiffly got up in her stuffy hot clothes and felt like her heart was in her mouth.

The folks at mosque were always nice, though a little quiet.  Al-Hijia Mosque, one of three little mosques downtown, not a very imposing building.  There was an American flag strung up in an awkward place, along one wall, right where, the week after September 11, 2001, the mosque had put up a big banner: "We Pray for the Victims of This Terrible Tragedy".  No one looked at the flag, which, it was painfully obvious, was put there to cover yet another attack of foul graffiti.  Elly, though she had never been here before, was also too tactful to look.

Dareen introduced Elly to the usual crowd, the women who hung out after the service in the kitchen making coffee (that really strong old-country stuff) for the turban-wearing men who sat around talking while the kids were in the playroom.  She introduced Elly to Imam Tahir, a short, heavy and rather high-strung man whose sermons seemed always to be about the importance of family.  Made Dareen and Elly feel like they should find a man and start producing babies, and quick.  She laughed about it with Elly afterward.

"It seems a little medieval," Elly said, "these women who don't say anything serving coffee for the men while they talk about the world."

"It's not what it seems," Dareen said.  "Mojgan and Hari and me, we roll our eyes sometimes.  The women aren't really subservient.  Like Flavia Agnes says..."

"I know, I know," Elly said, taking her kerchief off as she headed back to her room.   Their apartment was really a one-bedroom; Elly's room was really supposed to be the living room.  The only common area was the kitchen.  "I wish they'd actually ACT dominant, instead of leaving it to people to figure it out."  She and Dareen went around and around like this sometimes.  Dareen had been much impressed by an essay she had read by someone named Flavia Agnes -- she always kept tabs on new books on Islam that came into the library -- and had copied it out for Elly to read, to no use.  Dareen kept seeing virtues in a religion that Elly had pretty much discarded as hopelessly sexist.

"SHIT!" Elly said, emerging from her room.  "Guess what?"

"No!"  Elly didn't have to say it.  Once again, their air conditioners had blown a fuse.  Not something they should complain about, because they were only supposed to have the one air conditioner, not two.  Tomorrow, on the sly, they could again prevail on Pedro, the super, to re-set the fuse again.  But for now it would be a hot, stuffy night.

Dareen tossed and twisted in bed.  She could survive only an hour before she had to throw the covers off.  Her body seemed about to burst out of her bra and panties under the bulky cotton pajamas.  She looked out the window, past the bars of the fire escape.  The lights of downtown glimmered in the distance.  A hot, muggy night.  Think cool thoughts like the ice hat . . .

She hated getting up in the morning after not sleeping well.  What could she do to get to sleep?  Sometimes warm milk helped, but they were out of milk.  The solution was easy, actually, but she kept trying to push the thought out of her head.  She shut her eyes.  Then gave into temptation and did it.

She dreamed she was flying over nighttime fields.  With cool rain hitting her from above and below.  Ahhhh . . .

When she woke she remembered that she was naked.  In the dark, alone in her room, the modest girl instinctively curled her legs up and covered her breasts.  Then looked out the window again.  Through the open bottom half a slight breeze blew in.  Giving in to temptation, she put her arms to her sides and felt the gentle wind waft over her nipples.  Hmmmm. . .  She was a little aroused and thought about pleasing herself, something she did every few days, with silent fingers under the covers and then the blessed gasps.  She idly played with her pubic hair in the dark.

She didn't know what made her do it, but she got up and went over to the window.  No one could see her in the dark room, but looking out she saw there was no one to do the seeing to begin with.  The street was still, silent.  In the distance, an airplane descended on Hartsfield Atlanta Airport, ahead of its ripping the air with a far-away scorching sound.  She could see the wing lights, red on the left, blue on the right.  It kept her interest until it disappeared behind buildings.

And now something really silly, she couldn't believe it, but she found herself crouching through the open window and stepping out on the fire escape.  At least she could control her eyes, which searched below as her body did this silly thing.  Good, no one around.  She looked up and did a little hop to get out onto the metal-banded floor.

WHOA!!  Up in the air twenty feet!  She looked down past her bare toes to the fire escape below.  She was floating.  Naked, over Boylston Street, in the middle of the city!  ‘I must still be dreaming.  But no...’

She twisted and held her arm out and shot over the street, over the row of buildings to Auburn Street, then banked and turned and flew back, landing softly onto the fire escape again with the pad of bare feet and the slight rebounding of large breasts.  It was so easy, as easy as breathing.

‘Maybe it isn't a dream but it feels like it.  Why not?  I'm still hot and the air whooshing past feels so good!’  She decided to do a little traveling.  She hopped back into the room to check the time.  ‘Wait, let me get my watch.  I'll stay out one hour, then back.  Can't stop being Responsible Dareen.’  With the watch in one hand, she flew out again, way up to where no one could see her, even though anybody was around, then decided to stay away from the lights.  Clothed by the dark and her own dusky colored skin, Dareen banked a nice easy arc upward and out of town.