The Tea House

The words of Rumi take shape and play a scene with sounds as I sit thinking of the desert, exotic lands, and being another person in another land with another life.

In a far off land different from my own, I am alone, and I walk within your nation, yet I walk apart. The half-hidden faces and the glances show me that I do not belong here.

I have never worn so much cloth around my head, had so much material cover my body, and I have never felt unseen; yet the heat and the clothing cool my skin, and I feel free of fear.

Arabic on the wind and the vision of a mosque so beautiful you know the artists and architects loved their god, yet I’m a hypocrite for I do not believe in anything anymore.

Safely wrapped, a kind man ushered me towards the tea house to have something to drink. The smell of mint, rose water, and orange blossoms put my mind in a philosophical mood.

Surrounded by noise, I feel calm as I cannot understand a word, yet I know I don’t belong here; I am not part of this country. I am a hypocrite hiding behind a cloth I don’t believe I should wear.

Yet, I cannot bring myself to admit that the pull of this place feels like a longing that I have felt since I tried to play that broken instrument that looked like a Qanum many, many years ago.

I sit in the tea house surrounded, yet alone with my thoughts. Then I hear the bombing begin. It is a shock: a booming calamity and a whooshing sound mixed with many other sounds. It is a shock to my ears and my heart, for we do not know of this life in Australia.

Blood mixed with dust, concrete and debris strewn across the streets, bodies broken and mangled, and there, so close to me, the kindly man who ushered me in: bloody and dead. In those cloudy eyes, I once saw courage.

I walk from the tea house to stand and look towards the sky. You have gone from me through some cruel twist of fate, yet I know we will find each other again one day.

I feel like an important person in that instant. It is as if my feelings are the only feelings I can feel exist. Individualism has taught me to think my feelings might change the rivers of time.

The next bomb destroys my daydream, the images and the sounds of Rumi end, and I am sitting at my desk reading about your country: saddened by so many dead.

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