Keith desperately wanted a smoke, so he gave up on all this ‘seeking knowledge’ business. He was tired already, and they hadn’t even started yet for goodness sake!
He opened the door, and went outside, pleased to breathe in some normal British air for once, instead of feeling like he was polluting the fresh ‘clean’ air in the mosque. He searched himself for the packet of cigarettes, his heart pounding in fear of having left them at home. But he sighed in relief when he saw the familiar ‘Smoking Kills!’ on his packet.
He got it out at looked at it for a moment, contemplating whether or not he should take one out and smoke it in front of all these holy looking people. He decided he would, because they aren’t in a higher status than me, and this is a free world, I can do whatever I please.
He sighed at the craving fulfilled, and blew rings from the smoke. Tired of getting looks from the others, he took himself outside and was waiting for his cigarette to finish outside the gate of the mosque.
He must’ve looked weird… a white guy wearing white guy clothes, looking like a white guy with a white guy cigarette in his hands, standing in a white guy position – outside a mosque?
He was approached by a teenager, who looked like he was in some kind of state of depression after having too many drugs. What’s happening to kid these days… tut tut… he thought, laughing at the irony of what he was saying. He used to be a drug addict – couldn’t live without it for more than 8 hours. But then he stopped, and started eating instead. He ate so much that food became like a drug to him, and he thought to himself that he needed to lose some weight, especially since he was a teenager at that time. Looks were very important at that age. So he stopped eating… but started smoking instead… yes, it was a never ending cycle.
The teenager said hi, and nodded to the pack of cigarettes Keith was holding.
“Give us one would ya?” he said, slurring his words.
Keith instantly thought to say no, but he remembered what the seventeen year old guy said to him inside the mosque: “Be kind and compassionate to people, and give them whatever they need.”
“Well, ‘course you can ‘ave one. ‘Ere y’are.” He gave the teenager not one, but the whole packet.
The teenager’s eyes widened in delight. “Woaaah! ‘Fanks mate!” and with that, he headed off to the bus shelter, harassing some girls for a lighter.
Keith went back in the mosque feeling light hearted and kind. He had done quite a few nice things that he was proud of today. He was all smiles and happiness until he came to the boy whose frown was very deep in his face.
Keith’s mood changed within an instant. “What? What happened?” he sighed when he realised the boy was still looking – actually, glaring – at him. Keith sighed again. “What have I done wrong now?”
The boy took in a deep breath, ready to give Keith a lecture. “You smell.” Was what he said, quite simply in fact.
“Oh, I’ll brush later; I just have something really good I want to tell you.” He sat down next to the boy without an invitation, and asked first what his name was.
“Idris,” the guy replied.
“Well, Idris, I just did a very nice thing just now. I just gave my whole packet of cigarettes to this teenager who totally needed it. That was a good thing right?” he nodded his head, expecting Idris to nod with him, but got surprised when he shook his head.
“Ya Allah! How dumb can you get!” he muttered under his breath, just quiet enough for Keith not to hear it. He openly sighed. “Wow. We really, really have a lot to get through.” He rolled his eyes and started talking.