A Most Sensual Plight

Submitted into Contest #164 in response to: Write a story about coming of age in a big city.... view prompt

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Coming of Age Fiction Teens & Young Adult

This story contains sensitive content

Disclaimer: This story contains sexual content, which may not be suitable for all readers.

Islam was his name. Islam was his religion. Islam, submission to God, was all he could strive for without escape. But, he liked to masturbate. Allah wouldn’t like that, he would constantly think to himself. After every self-relief came the self-reproach he would carry to the bathroom and perform ablution on before praying in search of forgiveness. But, the cycle would repeat itself. Islam knew there was no escaping his lustful thirst and the burning desire to quench it. Reda, which means contentment, was his brother’s name. It was he who had planted the seed of shameful guilt in his brother’s soul. As soon as Reda took notice that Islam had met the testing discontentment that is puberty, he approached his younger brother and recited,

<<والذين هم لفروجهم حافظون إلا على أزواجهم أو ما ملكت أيمانهم فإنهم غير ملومين فمن ابتغى وراء ذلك فأولئك هم العادون>>

<<And those who guard their chastity; Outside their solemnized marriages, - for them, they are free from blame. But whoever seeks beyond that, then those are the transgressors.>>

Every urge he felt was coated with those verses. The words watered that seed of guilt. This Friday morning was no different. He had been sound asleep engaging in a thrilling dream with his Arabic teacher Ms. Sanaa. His dream was inspired by the first time he saw her in class on that sensual September morning at the beginning of the 9th grade. Islam was staring at his faint reflection in the window evaluating his attractiveness. His curly black hair and how he wished it were straight, his stubbles and how he wished for that thicker beard, his brown eyes and how he wished they were green, his average height and how he wished he were taller. Then, he smelled her beauty in the breeze blowing through the open classroom door. Her odor grabbed his nose and pulled his face towards her wavy hair, her sandy skin, her angelic presence. It had been his daydream repeatedly since that she would walk over to him, grab his hand with no concern for the eyes of others, and guide him to the bathroom down the hall. In reality, this encounter was interrupted by a shoe ramming against his face and the respective classmate yelling, 

"عينك يا واطي!"

   “Control your eyes, you lowlife!” 

But this dream followed his every wish. She did, indeed, walk over to him, grab his hand and lead him to the bathroom stall. Ms. Sanaa looked deeply into his eyes and caressed his left cheek with the back of her fingers. Islam could feel his heartbeat pressing against the rear of his eyeballs and his earlobes become as warm as fire. However, when Ms. Sanaa knelt in to kiss him, the ringing vocal chords of the Friday prayer muezzin pulled on Islam’s burning earlobes.

الله أكبر الله أكبر       الله أكبر الله أكبر

Allah is great Allah is Great     Allah is great Allah is great

He glanced out the window for a moment as though searching for the muezzin’s eyes. As he reverted his focus back to Ms. Sanaa, her hand met Islam’s cheek with an echoing slap. Islam woke from his trance instantly. Now sitting erect in his bed, he continued listening to the announcement of the Friday prayers.

"أشهد أن لا إلهَ إلا الله   أشهد أن لا إله إلا الله

 أشهد أن محمداً رسولُ الله    أشهد أن محمداً رسول الله

 حيِّ على الصلاة    حي على الصلاة"

“I bear witness that there is no god but Allah. I bear witness that there is no god but Allah

I bear witness that Muhammad is the Messenger of God. I bear witness that Muhammad is the Messenger of God

Come to prayer . Come to prayer”

As the chanting continued in the background, he briefly thought to himself that he would love to see his fantasy through to the end. Nevertheless, it was almost time for the Friday sermon and his conscience left him disgusted with himself. Instead, he cleared his throat and called for his brother, 

"يا رضا! يلا عشان ننزل نصلي!"

“Reda! Come on so we can go downstairs and pray!”

Reda couldn’t hear the Friday prayer’s announcement, let alone his brother Islam’s voice, over his preoccupation with the nude picture his senses were glued to. He and his classmates had been taking weekly turns trading nude pictures of women they had cut out from magazines their respective local markets would sell under the table. Reda had been eagerly awaiting this cutout as it was particularly enticing. Her sandy skin seemingly smooth as silk, glistening as the light of his bedside lamp bounced off her thick thigh. Her eyes looked attentively at him, whispering the knowledge he desperately sought. Reda’s whole face felt warm as he gazed at her right arm, which was seductively placed between her lazily spread legs, covering just enough to plant a thirsting curiosity. It was only when his mother’s voice added herself to the mix that Reda awoke from his trance as she yelled, 

"يا رضا!"

“Reda!” 

Reda’s chest contracted and he crumbled the picture up in his pocket as he heard the doorknob turn. 

"مابتردش على أخوك ليه؟ يلا اجهز عشان تنزل تصلي!"

“Why aren’t you answering your brother? Get ready so you can go downstairs and pray!”

"حاضر ياماما! حاضر!"

“Yes, Mama! Yes!” She stood there staring at him as he scrambled around looking for his slippers.

"أنت هتفضل تلف حولين نفسك زي الأهطل؟ حركة يابني!"

“You gonna keep circling around yourself like an idiot? Move, my son!”

"ياماما قلنا حاضر!"

“Mama, I said yes!”

His mother Hanan, whose name means tenderness, groaned as she walked back over to the kitchen where she had been breading chicken. Islam and Reda simultaneously arrived at the toilet. Without saying a word, Reda entered and Islam followed. They shared the sink as they performed ablution side by side. Reda sped through it and, in his brother’s ear, called, 

"يابابا يلا عشان ننزل نصلي!"

“Baba! Come on so we can go downstairs and pray!” 

Hanan interjected from across the hall, 

"​​أبوك مش هنا يا نبيه!"

“Your father isn’t here, genius!”

"أومال فينه؟"

“Then where is he, Mama?” Reda inquired.

"نزل يصلي!"

“He went downstairs to pray!”

"و ماخدناش معه ليه؟"

“And why didn’t he take us with him?”

His mother then recited,

<<ولا تزر وازرة وزر أخرى>>

<<No one can bear the burden of another.>>

Islam grabbed his older brother’s arm and said, 

"يلا يا أخويا!"

“Come on, brother!”

They both walked by Hanan through the kitchen, Islam saying nothing and Reda affectionately commenting,

"تسلم ايدك يا أمي! دي شكلها هتبقى وليمة."

“Bless your hands, my mother! It looks like it’s gonna be a feast!”

Hanan looked up at the sky through the kitchen window and said, 

"يا ربي ارحمني.."

“My God, have mercy on me..” then turned to Reda, 

"يا حبيبي إنزل بس عشان ضميري يرتاح ونفسي يفك شوية لحسن كونك هنا والخطبة شغالة عاملة لي مشاكل."

“My love, please go downstairs and pray so my conscience is cleared and my chest loosens up because you being here while the sermon is happening is making me nervous.”

Islam grabbed his brother’s arm once again, 

"يلا يا سي رضا!"

“Come on, Mr. Reda!”

They finally left, raced down the stairs and ran across to their father who was seated on the green plastic mat the mosque would lay out on the street in case of exceeded capacity. They sat cross-legged beside him. Their father Sabry, whose name means forbearance, smiled when they arrived. He always liked having his sons around him, but never enjoyed the stress of forcing them to accompany him anywhere. In fact, like most people, he never enjoyed much stress in any context. However, unlike most people, he rarely ever allowed his mind to carry the burden of stress. The three men sat there silently in the ocean of the other cross-legged men. Islam’s attention cyclically swayed from his dream to the sermon to his father to his God. Reda’s attention was focused on nothing other than the sermon, which he did not dwell on much. Sabry did not concern himself with anything other than the breaded chicken he was expecting for lunch. Eventually, the sermon ended and the three stood pinky toe to pinky toe alongside, before, and behind the swarm of piously complacent men. After prayers ended, the three slid into their slippers and marched towards their building. As they climbed the staircase, the crumbled up picture fell out of Reda’s pant-pocket and landed in the way of Sabry’s step. He picked it up, flattened the picture and commented, 

"نهارك أزرق يا رضا."

“Your day is cursed, Reda.”

Reda stood there with a nervous smirk on his face. Islam popped his head in between Sabry’s arms to catch a look at the picture. Of course, Islam was expecting a backlash, but after a long inhale, all Sabry exhaled was, 

"أنا دي حرميها و حاعمل من بنها. إنما وحياة إللي جابتك خليك انصح من كده و خبي الحاجات ديه كويس لاحسن ما أمك تقع من طولها. ضميرها أقوى من ضميرنا كلنا."

“I’ll throw this one away, Reda, and I’ll pretend I never saw this. But, on your mother’s life, be smarter than this and hide these things properly because the sight of this would bring her to her knees. Her conscience is stronger than all of ours put together.”

Islam turned and faced his father, 

"لا مش فاهم حضرتك بتهزر ولا بتتكلم بجد. مش الكلام ده ما يرضاش بيه ربنا؟"

“Wait, I can’t tell whether you’re joking or being serious. Wouldn’t God have something to say about this?”

"يا إسلام يا حبيبي،"

“Islam, my love,” 

Sabry calmly said as he crumbled the picture back up and placed it in Islam’s hand,

<<لا يكلف الله نفساً إلا وسعها>>

<< God requires not of any one that which is beyond his capacity.>>

Sabry sped past Islam and Reda up the stairs. Islam stared at Reda and Reda back at Islam. Reda shrugged then followed his father. Islam straightened the picture, took a look at it, then whispered to the nude woman, 

"والله ما أنا فاهم حاجة."

“I swear to God I don’t understand anything.”

September 21, 2022 10:49

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