Heathens in the Highlands

Mr Umar was a respected man among his fellow heathens. His grandfather fought under the banner of the great heathen army and conquered the Caucasus: the country in which his family have lived ever since. He never drank or smoked, he was deeply faithful to his Saracen, heretical religion and he was a true patriot of his newly founded country. One day he went to a musical show that everyone talked about for months. And he was accompanied by her daughter.

Her daughter, Zara, was overly sensitive. Everyone saw her as a rebel even though she hated to be seen as one. For most people it was obvious that her interest in the life of highlanders (or Freemen, the way she called them) couldn’t be a mere coincidence. Under her Niqab she considered herself a psalm singer Puritan and a devoted believer in God. Regardless, she was as promiscuous as any Saracen woman.

Mr Umar wished he could leave the amphitheater when the show began. He hated highlander dramatic fashions and eccentric music. He often teased the sound of Tanbur, their revered instrument. After no more than ten minutes he stood up and left his seat. It made artists and musicians a little distracted and people turned their head and quietly babbled.

After a few seconds everything went back to normal. The show was actually very successful. But Zara was still crying soundlessly. The show was everything she could ask for: highlanders playing their glorious music in their elegant customs. But she still felt the crowd was looking at her with an accusing stare. She felt embarrassed and wished she could leave too.

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