Saturday, April 12, 2008

The Philosopher and the Revolutionary
a short story

Standing outside the masjid, the philosopher embraced the idyllic snow that settled upon his beard, waiting to be brushed off or slowly lose shape and melt into water droplets that would seep into his hairs. It was the third friday of January in New York and the streets were visible with snow enough to mask the sight of pedestrians from a distance. The philosopher paced a few steps forward and then retreated to cover his initial steps. He had done this a few times over the last half hour while he waited for the revolutionary to meet up with him. The philosopher told the revolutionary to meet up with him in front of masjid so they could enter together. The real reason was that the discreet location of the masjid made it difficult for the untrained eye to pick it out from the apartment complexes surrounding it.

The philosopher did not mind the wait but rather took the moments to observe and reflect upon the congregation members who had passed him by to enter the building. He kept his distance from the middle aged women with the brown paper bag who asked for the congregation member for a donation as to prevent himself from being in that intimate space where one can ask another for help. Amongst those who passed him by were various African street sellers, South Asian cabbies, Arab restaurant workers, students from the local community college, and elderly people of different classes and backgrounds, each with their own pre-Jummah ritual and demeanor as they entered the masjid.

to be continued...


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