The buildings were tall and sleek and straight and masculine. As I peered up at them my eyes began to collect tears because of the sun’s constant gaze. They were intimidating. The pristine, modern exterior of these men made me feel inferior. The dirty, rugged atmosphere I have become so comfortable and fond of, transformed into a clean, developed city. We continued our walk to the metro and there was a woman hiding among these tall intimidating men. A curvaceous mosque stared at us with its beautiful bowed doorways acting as eyes. She wore a beautiful off white coat accentuating the eyes and red bricks covering the rest of her gorgeous twists and curls. Many more elegant women introduced themselves to us as we became better acquainted with the city we were in for merely 24 hours, making me feel more at ease in what I had thought was a man’s world.
rhythm, color, faith
My eyes found these features fascinating. They could not be drawn away from the women dressed in their strong colors from head to toe. The men in more neutral tones. All had a deep red smudge placed in the middle of their foreheads. Their faces were calm, they were where they belonged. I attempted to blend into the wall as I stood and watched what seemed to be precious, intimate moments between these people and their beliefs.
I became mesmerized by the drummer’s fingers. They moved quickly and knowingly. My eyes moved to his face. A smile was being given and so I quickly returned the gesture, reminding myself that I was not truly invisible.
I left the bright, intricate temple feeling guilt and fervor in the same moment.
His head was a pillar holding up the dark stained wood ceiling. His voice was deep and gentle. He was a married man with a wedding ring glimmering in the light that showed through the windows of the cathedral as he gesticulated with his hands passionately. The small sparrows chirped from the high ceilings as though supporting what the man was saying. I found myself wanting to be in this pew listening to this anonymous man say mass in Indonesian, with his loyal sparrows chanting in accord.
We walked out the doors of the cathedral back into the bustling, dirty streets of Jakarta. The intimidating men of Singapore had been left behind as we found ourselves in a raw city once more.