Born Again


Laying face down on wet terrazzo, my head rests on the hairy leg of the sturdy woman vigorously scrubbing every inch of my body. I turn my head to smile at the baby boy beside me. Naked, he nonchalantly pees on his mother’s leg.

The sound of laughter and Arabic stories fills the room and permeates the air, much like the steam coming off the buckets filled with hot water. With her half-toothed smile our Hammam mother gestures for me to roll over as she continues to cleanse every fiber of my being. Wow! She exclaims as our eyes lock in a smile and the dead skin rolls off of me. Wow, I reply. Wow.

Looking up, I see a young girl who has been curiously and sweetly gazing at us in between the scrubbing, soaping and splashing. I smile back and she beams.

My heart expands as I gaze around the room full of pear shaped bodies whom only an hour before I may have passed on the bustling alleys of the Medina...fully cloaked with only eyes peering out from behind the slits of their burkas...and now each one so intimately familiar.

Being bathed in this way and sharing this ancient ritual clearly reminds me of the amazing power of community and the human lineage we all share.

I leave the Hammam with a freshly scrubbed soul, my heart smiling... as in each moment, we are born again.

dream mullick