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Meeta Kaur conjures a future where the murderer of Wisconsin Sikhs makes different choices.
By Meeta Kaur
As a Sikh, I woke up from the nightmare of the shooting at the Oak Creek Gurduara, or Sikh temple, in Wisconsin. To find my trust in the world again, I have to re-imagine this event according to our first Sikh Guru. He laid down a blueprint for society that we desperately need today in America.
I see the Wade Michael Page of my children's generation walking into a temple ready to shoot. Finger on trigger, he hesitates. He remembers a conversation he overheard, neighbors deep in discussion about the interfaith meeting at the temple a couple weeks ago. All four doors of the Sikh temple made to welcome Christians, Muslims, Hindus, Buddhists and Jews.
He finds his resolve again to go in and do what he needs to do. He charges forward, but a girl in pigtails crosses his path. He is flooded with the excitement his own niece shared about visiting the Sunday school at the temple with her friend. His bloodshot eyes settle on the reader reciting prayers from the holy scripture. He reluctantly recalls the county sheriff sharing a joke with Mr. Singh and confirming the time Singh will come over for dinner next week. This future Wade Michael Page is ashamed. He cannot go through with the murders he had planned. The gun is heavy in his hands, so he sets it down.
Arjun Singh, a scripture reader, sees him, and asks him to sit down and eat something in the langar hall, the free kitchen that is open to everyone in the neighborhood. Wade Michael Page lets go and gives way to hunger on all levels. They eat in silence. Arjun tries to catch his eye and create a common language between them. Wade Michael Page looks up. An unspoken contract lets them hold all that is in Wade's eyes together. The warm wrinkles around Arjun's eyes ease the loneliness in Wade's. Arjun's eyes smile, letting Wade know he is welcome whenever he is moved to come, and together, for even a few moments out of a day, they will make this place his home.
With a Perspective, I'm Meeta Kaur.
Meeta Kaur is a creative writer and community advocate living in the Bay Area.