K U WA I T I S E E K E R  7 What really hurt was the fact his religious fervor exceeded my own. Why was I small not only in stature but also in belief? And how did the law of the Quran support such an attack? Was the law not designed for my best? We proceeded to the mission hospital down by the Gulf. The young doctor prepared a glass syringe with local anesthetic, but my father interceded. “He doesn’t need that. Just sew him up.” So went my first encounter with Sharia law, and my blood had counted for nothing. * * * We arrived home in Bneid Al Qar late in the afternoon, and our mother, Fatima, met us at the door with a questioning expres- sion. She saw the bandage on my forearm. My father explained, “He’s a thief. He should have lost his hand.” My mother was not free to argue with Salman, and she kept silent as the details of the day came out in pieces. Suhayb recited his side of the story. “He took my father’s gift to me.” There was no excuse. It was true. I was sorry for my mother, who may have felt responsible for me. She was partial to me in defense of Salman’s preference for Suhayb, but I had failed her again. The events of the day were only a continuation of an ongoing battle between Suhayb and me. Had we forced our parents to take sides? The evening closed with a typical event. Fatima laughed at my latest game. I donned a toy stuffed camel on my head in imitation of Suhyab’s red mane and chased our laughing cousins around the courtyard, growling in make-believe anger. “I’m a big, red lion, and I’m going to eat you.” The next day we had to return to school and face the questions.