Look now, listen:
The ahdan is calling for prayer/ Wow, he sounds old, this guy. I always wonder who these guys are and if they drop in just at the time of prayer to call out, or if they spend the day there and have a little alarm clock that warns them to turn on the PA and let it ring out over the rooftops.
My son, S told me where L's mosque is today.
Can you believe I have been coming here, to this small town for 8 years and L goes once or twice daily to the mosque that I have yet to see?
There is a separation between my world when I am in this house and what he sees and does outside it.
I can't tell you the first thing about his mosque. It is at the center of his visits here, especially when we drive here from our apt. so he can go to the Friday 'Jumuah' prayer. Muslim men are required, except when traveling to attend Friday noontime prayer which is followed by a sermon by the Imam of the mosque.
L comes back to Sig so much just to go to this Friday prayter. It is the community he grew up into. The old men of the mosque all stop and talk to him. He had sat with them as a kid in the mosque and listened to their stories about how things were done in their day. He sees his classmates from gradeschool. His neighbors who have lived across the way all their lives.
I have slowly through the years pieced together this picture in my mind. But I have no place to go with it. No location. I just know it is close by and is one of the mosques whose ahdan i hear five times a day.
Today S told me how to get there. Not that I could take a stroll over. HA. Here in this place, in this family, that is not an option. And really, even if we were at our apt in Oran, I couldn't stroll into the mosque there, either.
First, I would have to something over my clothes that is loose and drops to my feet and to my wrists. Then I would cover my hair and cover my neck with a scarf.
I did that once.
Did I tell you? When we were married at the mosque in Astoria.
Oh. Back to swimming in Algeria. IF I swim in Ramadan I am declaring to every one around me that
1. I am on my period and not fasting (this being the best option for what they might think when they see me diving into the cool, blue waves.)
OR 2. I donùt fast and should be socially scorned, openly, perhaps.
Get past that part of the maze of social norms and you hit the following wall:
WTF TO WEAR???
My bathing suit is out of the question. Just forget about that lovely pink Juicy Couture pink nubbly number. there will be none of that!
There should be long pants or a dress that goes well past the knees involved, here; maybe both. And it can't be too light a color, say white, that would melt or disapear against my curves as the water pushes against me still; though I have pulled back away out of it.
Maybe my morrocan jilaba with short, slit sleeves: light cotton fabric I bought it in tangerine with bright heavy threads patterning the chest of it. It drops to my knees and lets in the breeze.
With pants underneath, yes. A pair of yoga pants underneath would do.
So, with all these questions to answer and prepare for, what to wear, what people will say and think in a place that it matters what people say and think (i long for my first days in NYC when i tore thru the streets annonymous not giving a flying fuck what anyone thought or said to me about my underwear as outerwear, how high i wore my platform boots. i was immune and had nasty comments for anyone who might approach to bother and question me. that life is worlds and lifetimes ago. maybe i am a little sad about that but life morphs and you aren't that girl anymore and you are more concerned, more aware of action/reaction.
So I just don't go to the beach. I stay at the house that isn't my own and take another 2 hour nap that I probably don't need and in another time and place I might chalk up to depression.
I am full, I tell my brother-in-law, of the beach. I had my fill of the beach in Spain where I can sit on the beach in my pink bikini, read Salinger and sigh. Out loud a sigh and a stretch I can do with zero self-awareness and turn onto my stomach and maybe untie my top to better tan my back and no one gawks, no one says a word. No one cares because there are a hundred others doing just the same right next to me and all up and down Costa Blanca I so, so love.