When the afternoon call to prayer came, he would sometimes walk to the sidewalk cafe for a cup. Though his beliefs were farther to the four directions than the land of Mohammad, but he always liked hearing the sound. It was then, he would go to the cafe, sometimes seeking out other infidels and heretics to engage in a game of chess. Sometimes, he would just read a book.
The old, old clerics were there, drinking
minted tea, and making quiet note of his passing. Alla knew of their
love, faith, and service, and no longer expected them submit in the
mosques. It was simply understood.
There were unspoken greetings
as he walked by, because they did sometimes talk to him. Although, they
found him odd. His skin was the color of chalk, beaten copper, and faded
olives. Upon his body was a mark, which might have denoted him as one
of the dark ones that bled smoke, but no one was ever brave enough to
ask or find out. When he spoke, his accent was unlike any other anyone
had ever heard. He wore no cologne, but carried the scent of another
world entirely. His eyes, the color of flawed jade, seemed to take in a
devour everything. When he wasn't talking, playing chess, or reading, he
was writing in black India ink in alien symbols on what may have been
paper in handsomely bound notebooks. Some of the cafe patrons wondered
what it was he saw with those strange eyes. Others wondered what he
wrote in those strange books.
With his cup of coffee and a
hand-rolled cigarette, he sat down, taking in the cafe. Young lovers and
students, sneaking away whilst their parents prayed. Non-believers and
travelers, relaxing in the afternoon quiet, when the devoted went to
mosque and the music was turned whisper low. The old, old clerics,
retired and exhausted now, talking quietly amongst themselves, sometimes
joined by old, old priests and rabbis- people of the book-at which time
they would discuss the ten-thousand names of their god, silently
wondering if he really was the true one.
There was no one to
play chess with and he wasn't in the mood to read. A handsomely bound
notebook and pen filled with black India ink rested inside his satchel,
eager to come to their master's hands if he so beckoned. He waited.
As he sipped his coffee and took in the cafe,
it's sights, smells, and muted sounds during the call to prayer, he
contented himself to the moment. Sometimes, when not reading, writing,
or playing chess, he might engage a patron or stranger in conversation,
but that was not the case this day. This day, it was enough to listen. This day, it was enough to watch.