King Fahad Mosque, 13th Street, Downtown Dammam

Contributor: Lauren Hoyt

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I see the world through men’s faces. Men with religious beards and carefully acquired wrinkles. I see women and I don’t. Every woman has my mother’s face, my wife’s face, my daughter’s face. Only the eyes change. Black, almond, brown, round, squinted, sometimes painted up like a cheap whore. Masha’Allah, the eyes.
I walk through the streets of Dammam and see women paces behind their husbands. Their eyes are hidden behind their niqab. The men nod to me, Salam, muttawa. I sift through my prayer beads, reciting the Qu’ran. I hear the Salah ring through the streets, and I go to a mosque. We wash our hands and feet in unison, speak in unison, pray in unison, bow to Mecca in unison, in a sea of black eyes. Praise be to Allah. We try to be the same in our piety, a world of uniformity. I do not want this for my sons, my daughter, their sons, their daughters.
I leave the mosque silently, their bodies still posed in worship. I hear the House of Allah moan prayers, shout praises, curl words. I walk down the dusty road, staring at the beads in my hand. I feel the smoothness of them and the soft whisper of the tassel brushes my palm. While walking, I see a man with blue eyes sitting on a bench. I let go of the beads and they drop onto the filth of the street. I hear men leaving the mosque, muttering praise be to Allah.

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Lauren Hoyt is a senior majoring in English with a minor in creative writing from Stephen F. Austin State University in Nacogdoches, Texas. She grew up in Ras Tanura, Saudi Arabia, but her family is from Baytown, Texas.
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3 Responses to this post

  1. Anonymous on July 30, 2012 at 10:51 PM

    This is really fantastic.

  2. Anonymous on July 30, 2012 at 11:20 PM

    A Great story

  3. Frank Grigonis on August 3, 2012 at 4:42 AM


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