in search for Allah

Afsana stared in the mirror as she rearranged her head covering. She stood in the corner of the bathroom, in the area designated for purses and bags.  She wanted out of the way. Her phone buzzed in her purse and she glanced down. It was Nassar, her husband. He’d been absent-minded all day, distant. She knew he would open up eventually but she feared what he would say when he did. His thoughts had been strange lately. Subversive, even. “We will be late for prayer. Hurry,” the text read.

She straightened her long hair underneath the patterned cloth and took one last glance in the mirror, her brown eyes catching a pair of blue set against pale skin. Afsana smiled, a token of humanity in the middle of an otherwise awkward situation. The other woman looked away, shaking her head. Afsana expected no less. She often found woman staring in the bathroom as she fixed her covering – they never engaged in conversation, though. They always muttered assumptions under their breath and sneered. One woman even asked her to use a different bathroom, saying “her kind” needn’t bother. “Don’t you have a hole somewhere you can use?” she asked. Sighing inwardly, she walked past the women’s glares and found her husband outside waiting.

He took her hand and she glanced at the callous on his forehead – a spot worn from thirty years of prayer. She knew he was ridiculed for this at work. A successful business man, he took the call to prayer seriously. Five times a day he’d stop and pray – regardless of where he was at the time. Even in the office. Taliban is what the guys at work called him. Slapped him on the arm and chuckled as if it were a joke. As if Nassar should laugh and agree. He wouldn’t laugh, but he did take it in stride – “all for Allah” he would say. She still remembered the story of a guy cornering him in the room and asking if he knew Jesus. Not a violent man, her husband came home shaken, “I thought he was going to beat me for saying we serve the same God,” he said.

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Posted on November 21, 2011 and filed under fiction.