An essay by alum Marian Szczepanski (fiction, ’97) appears at Proximity Magazine:
“Hilary!” I hissed, beckoning to my daughter. With a backward glance and impish smirk, my willful six-year-old took off across the carpets with me in hot pursuit, albeit at what I hoped was a more decorous pace.
It was mid-afternoon on an autumn day in Istanbul, and bright bars of sunlight played across the soft wool beneath my shoeless feet. With intricate designs of muted crimson, sapphire, and amber, each carpet was a work of art, but in that moment I was intent on apprehension, not admiration. Ignoring my stage-whispered entreaties, Hilary skipped from one alcove to the next along the perimeter of the Süleymaniye, the elegant imperial mosque starred as a Must-See in our Fodor’s guidebook. Although the vast expanse was largely empty, aside from a few fellow tourists, I was all too aware that we weren’t Muslim and fearful of giving even unintentional offense.
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