[“A Final and Lasting Solitude” is a novel-in-progress]
PART I: AUGUST
Montreal. Winter waits in the distance and when it comes it will be harsh. For now, it is hot and this place has a ripeness to it. Young people teem about in gangs. They parade noisily, drunkenly down avenues and boulevards, through cobblestone streets. They pass places of worship and do not pause or quell their voices in reverence. They speak in French and English and in something called franglais, a perverse blend of the two. Many of them wear their Christian cross, and little else. Women, indeed, show much of themselves, without shame. They walk bare-bellied in the streets, their bosoms hanging out like bunched fruit, eyes skittering about uncontrollably when men pass. I have watched them as they ogle each other, these women and those men, the ones proud of their bare, pink chests and the clothes they have and choose not to wear.
It should not surprise me, this immodesty. I have seen it everywhere outside the confines of my home. I have seen it inside my home, seeping into the minds of the young, their impure thoughts propagating like vermin. For this reason, I willingly subject myself to these sights and to the presence of these people. There are many sacrifices to Allah, I understand, and toiling for Him here is but one. Besides, it will not be for long. A dawn approaches and I have been called upon. Humbly, I will do my part to see its rise.