Wednesday, March 01, 2006

My First Taste of Fundamentalist Islam

Going to Denny’s after work was a ritual that got old fast. The food was always the same, only good if fried, and so were the people. White kids from our high school or another nearby. More the music type than the sports type. Less cheery than the cheerleaders, but nicer too. Occasionally I would see a random person I hadn’t seen since their Bar Mitzvah or something, but it was mostly Moons Over My Hammy, every thing dipped in Ranch Dressing and the same faces over and over.

Quayam was different. He had a beard. He sat by himself in a long-sleeve-buttoned-up shirt that seemed more utilitarian than dressy. With a glass of water and two eggs over easy that he never ate, he painted for hours on a large pad of paper using something like chalk but closer to paint. First landscapes then faces of people in the restaurant. Always exaggerating color making everything flush, the complete opposite of how they looked for real, slouched in their booths, drenched in fluorescent lights.

When we got to know him, he spoke often of heaven. Filled with virgins, rainbows and gifts like “the strength of 1,000 wrestler” when you got there. We were just a group of guys, so his attitude about women never really came out. But I can guess now.


Post a Comment

<< Home