On Friday

On Friday, as in several other countries, after prayers, there were protests in Jakarta in front of the US embassy.

* * *

On Friday, I sat by the mirrors with one of my friends while the other girls took off their makeup. They’d just performed for the Economics Department’s anniversary and then we’d all come back to the student union.

My friend pulled out a pack of cards and started arranging them in rows and counting; she was going to tell my fortune. “This is his family,” she said, pointing at one row of cards. “And this is your family.”

One of the girls pulled her hair into a ponytail, looking at her reflection in the mirror. Her boyfriend lounged in the back corner of the room.

Ayo,” another of the boys said, “Jumatan.”

They went off to pray.

The girl finished with her hair and started arranging her jilbab, making neat creases where the fabric rested against her jaw.

I walked down the hall to the bathroom. Inside the door, I rolled up my pants legs, not because I was going to wash my feet for prayer, but because Indonesian bathrooms are covered in water and when I forget to roll up my pants the cuffs always end up soaked through.

On my way back, I passed the gym. Rows and rows of students sat on prayer rugs, listening to a sermon.

I returned to the dance room and my friends. The boys came back some time later and sat down with us, easily rejoining the conversation. We didn’t leave till later.


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