He leans the entire length of his body against a geometric garden carved into the standing oak panel. At three feet high, it is still one foot taller than him. You watch his fingers travel over the intersections of the pattern, feeling for edges, delighting in the hollows. They find an open octagon.
He aligns his head and peers through. He places his eye against the tiny aperture as steadily as a gunman places his eye against the sight. As tenderly as a filmmaker holds his eye against the viewfinder.
The Imam, wearing jeans under his robes, approaches a man standing by the entrance. They hug and their eyes scan the spaces behind each other’s back.
Sometimes a gunman and a filmmaker can be the same person. This morning you heard that sometimes that happens. That sometimes they can shoot two things at once—a human and a livestream.
The mothers huddle together like points in a seven-fold tessellation, purposeful but unnatural. They whisper and their eyes triangulate the distance between themselves, their children and the exits.
You turn to search for your tiny observer and find him still pressed against his precise peephole. The relief you are ashamed to feel stretches up to be held and you gather it against your heart, safe and warm on your chest. It wasn’t you and it wasn’t here. Not today.