Scene Five: Welcoming the Ahmeds
Part One: Fatima and Mom.
[Fatima enters, coming home from school.]
Fatima: [Tired] Assalamu ‘alaykum Mom.
Mom: Walaykum assalam. How was school? You’re home late! Again, as always. You came home late every day this week!
Fatima: Sorry, something came up. School was alright. I have a lot of homework and a lot of studying to do. Next week I have a lot of tests and a project, I have to spend the weekend studying.
Mom: Okay, well you must study hard and don’t spend too much time with your student government this week.
Fatima: [defeatedly] Okay, okay. I only do what I have to, you know that already Mom.
Mom: [concerned] Yes, I know. But it is a lot, you are always gone volunteering or being a leader. You’re never home and you’re too tired to go to the masjid or to our family parties at friends’ homes. Anyways, you have to go upstairs and get dressed properly.
Fatima: Get dressed for what?
Mom: Oh! We didn’t tell you, or did you forget? The Ahmed family is coming over, to see Mariam.
Fatima: Yeah, Dad told me we were going to have guests coming…but to “see” Mariam, [shocked and excited] to what, to get MARRIED?!
Mom: [exasperated] Yes, to get MARRIED Mariam did graduate from college now and she is back at home, she is looking for a job. What do you think she should be doing? It’s time for her to get married! The Ahmeds, they are a great family. Their son has a good job in a respectable field. He is involved at the masjid. They would be good for each other.
Fatima: Well, what does Mariam think?
Mom: I don’t know what Mariam thinks! She hasn’t seen him yet! He hasn’t seen her yet either! You have to clean the bathroom before they get here, so hurry up and go change! And can you do me a favor and check up on her? Make sure that she looks decent. Can you lend her some of your makeup?
Fatima: Some of my makeup, why?
Mom: Well, I just want her to look nice. For Allah’s sake, she is trying to get married! She has to make a good first impression.
Fatima: But mom, you know Mariam doesn’t wear makeup.
Mom: I know she doesn’t, but I think you can convince her. She doesn’t listen to me! Just a little is all I ask! But no, never! Just a little eyeliner or even a little mascara, some lip gloss….it’s just a little, no one will even be able to tell!
Fatima: Yeah, well…I’ll try. But…Mariam is… just that, Mariam. [exit]
Mom: These girls, they drive me crazy. They are completely on opposite sides!
Part Two: Fatima and Mariam.
Mariam: [humming, putting scarf on in the mirror] Hm….who would have thought…?
[Fatima enters, startling Mariam, she turns around]
Mariam: Dude, Fatima! You scared me!
Fatima: Assalamu ‘alaykum, sorry, I didn’t mean to.
Mariam: Walaykum assalam. Can you help me pin this in the back? [holding out a pin] My neck shows if I turn my head to the side. See look [Turns head.]
Fatima: [Comes to Mariam, taking pin, says in a teasing voice] So…who is this Ahmed family, huh….?
Mariam: Oh, come off it!
Fatima: No, I mean seriously, who is this Ahmed family?
Mariam: I dunno, one of mom and dad’s friends.
Fatima: So what, are you nervous?
Mariam: Well of course I’m nervous! And I’ve never really done this before….so I don’t know what to expect. I’ve never even seen this guy.
Fatima: Who, their son?
Mariam: Yeah…I don’t know, this is so weird! But how are you supposed to get married otherwise?
Fatima: So you’re fine with meeting him? Like…in this way?
Mariam: Yeah, I suppose so. But it feels like I have to print out my resume and present myself to them as a list of my achievements! Do you know what I mean?
Fatima: Like what, you have to fill out some sort of application, like you’re in a sort of race or something?
Mariam: Exactly! Mom has been drilling me all day. [Starts respectfully imitating her mom, and Mom’s voice comes in as well] She was like, “Mariam!…
Mariam&Mom: Mariam! Make sure you wear that maroon hijab, it looks good on your face! When they ask you about school, don’t forget to tell them you were on the dean’s list! Mariam, when you talk about MSA tell them you helped, but don’t get into the details and tell them about everything and all the things at the masjid and the classes you went to, they’ll think you’re too religious and that will scare them away! And Mariam, tell them that you like to cook, a good cook is a good wife. And please, for my sake, put something on your face just a little make-up, please! You have to look nice, and don’t wear one of your frumpy trash-bags, we want them to know that you are beautiful, you are a practicing and moderate Muslim but not overly religious, and that you are a successful person who will be able to make money for the family, but that you are of course going to be a great wife!
Fatima: Wow…..that must get annoying.
Mariam: Yeah, but I know she is trying to do the best for me. I don’t know…it’s just that I’m not going to change myself to impress any guy and his family. Yeah, he may be the “perfect guy”—a good job, good looking, a good family, a good Muslim…but only Allah will bring me my Mr. Right…and when he comes along, I won’t have to give any of myself up, to compromise the big things in my life, in order to be with him. [laughs] Getting married isn’t my goal in life! I realized in high school that you can’t let people tell you what you should do …it gets to be too much, you know? As long as Allah is happy with me, then I’m good. And I hate how this is turning into some kind of job application or something, I’m trying to find a husband, not a job!
Fatima: You don’t wanna like…you know… have prince charming come sweep you off your feet on a white horse? You don’t mind all of this
Mariam: [laughs] No, I don’t mind at all. Whatever way Allah makes it happen, it’ll happen. That detail isn’t important. It ends up coming together at some point of the process, why should it matter when it happens?
Fatima: I guess you’re right…So…you don’t want any mascara?
Mariam: [laughing] No.
Fatima: Okay, just checking. It was Mom’s idea.
Mariam: I already knew it was her who sent you from the beginning. Slick move, but not good enough. I got my ways of knowing, wisdom comes with age, Lil’ Sis.
Mom: [screaming from offstage]: Mariam, the Ahmeds will be here soon!
Mariam: Ugh…these Ahmeds!
[Door bell rings. Mariam and Fatima look at each other.]
Fatima: Dun, dun, dunnnn! [Coming up behind Mariam and putting her hands on her shoulders] Go knock the Ahmeds out of this world, Mariam.
Maram: [laughing] Thanks, as always :P
Bilkis: Mariam, Mariam, Mariam, Mariam!
Mariam: Yes, Bilkis.
Bilkis: MARIAM THE AHMEDS ARE HERE!! YOU’RE GETTING MARRIED!!
Mariam: Bilkis, this isn’t for sure, I’m just meeting him and his family today, that’s all. Okay, I have to go before I get in trouble! And stop screaming, they’ll hear you!
Fatima: Stop being such a doofus, Booger. They don’t even know each other yet, why do you think that they are getting married already?!
Bilkis: Well, I don’t know! That’s what Mom was saying.
Fatima: You’re so stupid! That’s not what Mom was saying.
Bilkis: Don’t call me stupid!
Fatima: Whatever, Booger. And have you been snooping around in my closet again?
Bilkis: [whiny voice, she’s lying] No, I haven’t.
Fatima: [angry] Well, all I can say to you is keep your little paws off. My clothes don’t even fit you, I don’t get why you keep trying to wear them! [Tone change, suspicious and teasing] What’s that in your hand Bilkis?…Your DIARY?! What do you write in there, huh? Huhhhhhhh…..?! [chasing after Bilkis]
Bilkis: [trying to run away] It’s nothing! I don’t write anything!!
Fatima: Sure, Booger. I know how it is. I was in sixth grade too. Don’t leave it out in the open though, you never know [lunging at Bilkis] who will try to steal it and read it!! [running after Bilkis, exit.]
Scene Six, Getting Asked to Prom.
Part One: Jehan Breaks the News.
[Fatima at lockers, Jehan comes walking excitedly.]
Jehan: [smiling huge] Guess what. Guess what I just did. You are going to have to pay me back for this…this is huge.
Fatima: [excitedly] What, what happened, what did you do?
Jehan: [trying to build anticipation] Well…you know Connor Daveys?
Fatima: Yeah, he’s on the Water Polo team.
Jehan: Yeah, well Connor Daveys just broke up with his girlfriend. At the party on Saturday night that you refused to come to. It’s okay, I’m over you bailing. I had a great time without you. And maybe it was better that you weren’t there otherwise this would’ve never happened.
Fatima: Wait, what are you saying? I don’t get what you’re talking about.
Jehan: Okay, well his girlfriend dumped him right before the party! So I talked to him, you know he looked really sad and stuff, he was sitting in a corner by himself. And I found out all of this stuff, he told me. Well, he was sad because he thought they were going to go to Prom together and he’s a Prince and running for King, so now it’s complicated because they aren’t going together anymore. Something like this can really hurt his chances at winning, you know how people talk.
Fatima: So Connor Daveys got dumped, and this makes me happy how?
Jehan: He was moping freaking out because he didn’t know what to do about Prom, he had already bought the tickets and everything. So a brilliant idea came to me, why doesn’t Connor Daveys take Fatima?!
Fatima: [shocked] What?! Me and Connor Daveys?
Jehan: [flippantly] Stop trying to pretend. I know you like him.
Fatima: [horrified] Well, how do you know I like him?
Jehan: Come on! Every girl in school is head over heels for him. So I told him about you and that you needed a date to prom.
Fatima: You told him I needed a date to prom?! First of all I’m not going to Prom to have fun, I’m going to work, and second of all I’m not in need of a date because I don’t roll like that, and thirdly it makes me sound desperate, like I can’t get a date on my own!
Jehan: [exasperated and annoyed] Well you CAN’T get a date on your own, it’s the truth! We’ve already seen how awkward you are.
Fatima: Well, it’s not my fault that I don’t like flirting with guys, that’s disgusting.
Jehan: It’s not disgusting, it’s human nature. There’s nothing wrong in it, it’s part of who we are, and who said it was flirting, it’s just being friendly! When guys and girls communicate with each other it’s just a little different. It’s not THAT bad compared to what other people do out there. It doesn’t even mean anything! You just think it’s disgusting because you’re not good at it, admit it.
Fatima: Fine, I’m horrible at talking to guys, but it’s good for me, it keeps me out of trouble. You know how much my parents have been cracking down on me lately for all the stuff I’ve been doing. All the volunteering keeps me out of the house for a long time and they get mad. I don’t want to add another worry, this time a really bad one
Jehan: Who cares about that? Parents are always mad. Okay stop, stop thinking for a minute! You’re missing the most important part of the story….I’ve convinced Connor Daveys to ask you to Senior Prom!!
Fatima: [panic stricken] He’s what?! He’s asking me to Prom?! But why did you do that I didn’t ask you to!!
Jehan: Well you know, good friends, and good cousins, look out for each other. Yeah, so open your locker and see.
Fatima: See what? [Opens locker and note falls out.] Oh my gosh! Is this………..yeah, it’s the note asking me out.
Jehan: Well what does it say?
Fatima: “Out of all the Swordfishies in the sea….come to senior prom with me? Meet me at the pool deck after school tomorrow.”
Jehan: [giddy] I’m sooo excited!! This is so exciting! This is like the best thing that could have ever happened to you. That was so cute, that IS so cute, I can’t wait to see how he’ll ask you after school!!
Fatima: [dejected] But…I can’t say yes to him.
Jehan: [indignant] Have you lost it? Why not?!
Fatima: [angry] Have YOU lost it….You know as well as I do that my parents will never let me go to Prom, WITH A GUY!
Jehan: Well then just don’t tell them you’re going with anyone. It’s as simple as that. They already know you have to volunteer there.
Fatima: But what about pictures…and stuff? And they’re be people there, they’ll find out, I’m sure! They think I’m going just to volunteer. I’m not even gonna be wearing a dress, there’s no way I can get away with this. I’m not going to lie to my parents about something like this.
Jehan: Hold up—you’re not wearing a dress? Are you INSANE, what else would you go up and get crowned in, JEANS, even worse-slacks?! Okay, you just need to stop FREAKING OUT and think about it. Connor Daveys is THE GUY of the whole school. He’s smart and he’s charming, he’s the captain of our ranked Water Polo team! He’s so popular! If people know you’re going together, you’re going to automatically be 50 times cooler and then more people are gonna vote for you! Maybe they’ll think he likes you, that’s why he’s taking you to Prom with him! Then you’ll win for sure!
Fatima: But yeah, well we’re not supposed to date!
Jehan: I know, you’re not dating him, you’re going along to Prom with him. You don’t have to dance, you don’t’ have to do anything besides GO with HIM. Just let him take you.
Fatima: But…I don’t feel comfortable doing that!
Jehan: Okay, do you want to win, or not? You have to do what it takes. We’re talking about Marina Bay Prom Queen 2011! There’s only five days left ‘til Prom! Alright, [grabbing Fatima by the shoulders] this is what you are going to do: you will go after school tomorrow to meet Connor Daveys and you will say yes. We’ll figure out a plan about your parents, okay?
Fatima: I don’t’ know about this. This seems like I’m giving up too much…like this all is going a little too far…
Jehan: Fatima! Come on!
Part Two: Fatima Breaks the News to Sam.
[In class, Fatima is sitting looking sad/distressed head in her hands at the desk. Enter Samina, coming over to Fatima,
Samina: [awkwardly (because they’re mad at each other)] Hey….Fatima. Assalamu alaykum. Is everything okay…? I couldn’t help but notice….
Fatima: [Mumbling, without looking up.] Walaykum assalam. Yeah, stuff is okay.
Samina: [worried, consolingly] Are you sure? You know you can talk to me anytime you need to. I know we’re not doing too good right now, but we’ve been best friends since the 5th grade, and something like this can’t break us apart. [Bell rings, teacher interrupting “Settle down, settle down. Open your books and take out your homework.”] Well class is starting…I’m just….okay, then…
[Bell rings, Samina is leaving]
Fatima: Samina! Hey!
Samina: [Samina turns around] Yeah?
Fatima: It’s just that…well someone is asking me out to Prom.
Samina: Someone is WHAT?
Fatima: Yeah, today, I got a note in my locker, see look.
Samina: Well, do you know who it is?
Fatima: Jehan says it’s Connor Daveys.
Samina: Well, what are you going to do? This is such a problem!! You like him. You’ve liked him since last year.
Fatima: I know, this is like a dream come true…Connor Daveys asking me to Prom.
Samina: I know that we used to talk about it and think about it and stuff…but is it something that you really want? And something that you’d really do?
Fatima: I don’t know. I just don’t know anymore. If I go with him, my chances at winning are a lot better.
Samina: Well, is it worth it? What about your parents, they’ll freak out.
Fatima: Yeah…well I’m still making up my mind.
Samina: I think it’s pretty clear, what you should do. I dunno, this whole Prom Queen and Connor Daveys stuff, yeah to some people it could be a dream, but now it’s starting to look like a straight up nightmare. I have to get to class, I have a test! Asa [exit]
Fatima: Nothing is clear these days. [cell phone beeps] Oh, it’s a text from Jehan. “I have a surprise for you after school today, can I drop you off at home an hour or two later? We have to drop by the mall first though.”