He knew the number of all the usual things— his fingers, the houses, his steps, the windows, but he couldn’t help counting anything new and anything that varied from day to day—raindrops, dings of the wind chime, coughs, and the number of times each coworker wiped sweat from his brow. His name was Mohammed; he worked at a shop that dyed fabrics. He counted the bolts of cloth, and the crocks of dye, the customers, their orders. He knew the days and months, and he knew the minutes and hours. He was aware of the seasons, how the shadows changed as the weeks continued, but he didn’t need to count them. He was a private person, who kept things to himself. He separated the numbers that he had to share from the numbers that were his alone.