He rose a little unsteady to his feet. His face was streaked with ash, ash lay on his hair and scalp and his eyes were crazed with pink. He came wincing down the steps of the mosque as if his back or hips were bothering him, and he and Zelikman fell into each others’ arms. From within the mosque came the broken voices of men at prayer. Amram stank of burned tallow, smoke, and a hard day’s laor, but underneath it all there was the familiar smell of him like sun on dusty sandstone. The sound of prayer found some kind of grateful echo in Zelikman’s heart.
“Late as usual,” Amram said.