It Seemed As If . . .

in conversation
with an American-Muslim selling a newspaper subscription


It seemed as if the war would never be over until I could find it in my heart to step over the body of my dead lover the war it seemed as if it would never be over until the dividing line of Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn cut through my heart until I could not find among the bones of the dead my heart I grew to dread words running silently red on the burial cloth until the face I counted among the dead was mine it seemed as if the war would never be over. “Do you know how many people hate us?” she asked. I told her I don’t know how many people hate us. “Do you know how many Muslims believe as you and I do?” she asked. I told her I don’t know how many Muslims believe as we do in Our Father. “Do you think I am on the right track?” she asked, searching the dark sockets of my eyes as if there were light in it. I told her, I don’t know if she is on the right track if it seemed as if the war would ever be over. Tears glistened in the dark sockets of her eyes as if there were light in it. I don’t know how the war would ever be over until I could step over the body of my dead lover to find among the faces of the dead, mine. It seemed as if the war would never be over until I know God, she said. He has saved me I am going to heaven she said. I said nothing. I don’t know if she is going to heaven. “I have called on Jesus”, she said. The Jews don’t even know Jesus she said. “Do you know that?” she asked, giving me her name. I don’t know if the Jews know Jesus. It seemed as if the war would never be over until someone called my name out and held my face in his hands. I know Jesus, she said, I have called on him, she said. I know Jesus also I said. I learned to call on Him after I called on a thousand Gods. He answered my prayers even though I am a Muslim she said. “What do you make of that?” she asked. I don’t know what I make of that I said. He answered my prayers even when I was a Hindu I said. I believe you are saved she said giving me her name. Muslims believe that God ordains the religion we are born into she said. I know. I was born Hindu, I said. I know we don’t trust very well, she said, looking in my eyes for the light. I gave her my name and told her not to trust me. It seemed as if the war would not be over until we start to trust the One who calls us by name. It seemed as if someone called us both then and we parted in silence like the red sea. I wasn’t there to know if anyone drowned when it seemed as if the war would never be over. During the holocaust, an emaciated man believed the sun was shining outside and the birds singing. To the man who believed it seemed as if the war would be over one day and that blood would course in his emaciated frame. I know according to his faith, it is.

Copyright 2006 Anushka Anastasia Solomon