Read Part one here: Finding love in a traffic jam.
Amir thought that maybe he could turn over the pocket book to the company as was the policy and just look Ruth up on Facebook. But what if he could not find her on Facebook? With over 100 million profiles, there must be a couple thousands with the name Ruth. Plus, although he was not a Facebook addict, he knew enough to know that although her name is Ruth it does not mean she uses it as her profile name. He could put a note in her pocket book, but what if she considered it inappropriate or desperate? She would be right about the latter, Amir was desperate.
All of a sudden, a light bulb went off in Amir’s head and he remembered when his boss said to him, “Amir, in your short time here you have been such a great asset to our company, if you ever need anything, don’t be afraid to ask.” Amir decided to take advantage of his boss’ offer. He got on the phone and told his boss he would be heading to his afternoon prayers and afterward he wanted to head to Brooklyn to take care of some business. With no questions asked, Amir’s boss gave his blessings on Amir’s request. Amir was reaping the benefits of being a high value employee.
This time the traffic to Brooklyn flowed a lot smoother and in less than a half hour Amir was back on Carrol Street. Either he was on a roll luck wise or maybe it was faith, because he made it to Ruth’s building just in time to see her walking out the building with her dog. Not only that, but there was a parking spot right in front of her building. Parking spots are difficult to find in Brooklyn, especially in the evenings when everyone is home from work. He got out of the car with her pocket book and before he could say a word she saw him and saw her pocket book. “I just called your company about ten minutes ago to report that I left it in your cab” said Ruth. “I noticed that when I got back to the City and decided I would take it back to you as soon as I finished working for the day”, Amir replied. While reaching for the pocket book, Ruth said, “I am so sorry and I hope it was not too much trouble for you”. “Oh, no trouble at all, there is something about Brooklyn that I don’t get to see in the City and I like it”. “Well”, said Ruth “if you like Brooklyn, I am about to walk my dog to the park on Schenectady, would you like to take a walk?” Now with a map, Amir knew New York City like the palm of his hands, without a map, however, he was like an African lost in Rome. “Schenectady? How far is that from here?” he asked. Well it is not too far to walk, but it is far enough for you to see more of Brooklyn. Don’t worry, I have to try and return before sunset so it won’t be too long,” replied Ruth.
As they walk towards the park, they came upon some children playing baseball on the sidewalk. “Hey, who is that walking with my woman!” shouted a little boy. “Oh, be nice Shawn, this is my friend Amir from the City and he is enjoying the Brooklyn scene, you will let him feel welcome, won’t you Shawn?” By this time all the children had gathered around Amir and Ruth and a little girl started teasing Shawn. “Somebody stole Shawn’s girlfriend, somebody stole Shawn’s girlfriend”. Shawn was just one of the children Ruth would pass on a daily basis while walking her dog. Sometimes she would stop and let them pet the dog. Other times they would hold the dog’s leash while she took a couple swings with one of their baseball bats. One day, the ice cream truck came by and everyone had money for ice cream except Shawn. Ruth happened to be passing and see Shawn standing one side with a bat while all the other children were buying ice cream. She bought Shawn an ice cream, but like a man who buys a woman a drink at a club and thinks he owns her for the night, Shawn thought that Ruth buying him an ice cream meant she gave him her heart. No one could tell him she did not belong to him, despite the fact that he was only ten years old and she was in her mid twenties.
As they were about to leave the children, Amir said to a little boy who was about to take his turn at bat, “hit a home run littleâ€¦.” Before he could finish his sentence, Shawn chimed in “Don’t worry about him hitting a homerun, worry about bringing back my home run to me, I am only letting you borrow her, she is mine’s”. Ruth had a good laugh, she admired Shawn wittiness and thought of him as the little brother she never had.
As Ruth and Amir walked on, he joked about her young but jealous boyfriend. “You live in a nice diverse neighborhood it seems”, said Amir. “It only seems that way,” said Ruth, “we live together yet we are divided by chalk lines, but that’s Crown Heights for you, that’s Crown Heights for you.” Amir did not know this part of Brooklyn was called Crown Heights, he heard about Crown Heights
before and Ruth saying the name rang a bell, but he could not think of why, all he could think of, was that he was with a beautiful woman and he could feel love in the air.
They got back to Ruth’s building just as the sun was beginning to set. Amir was in no mood nor hurry to go back to the City, he was praying and hoping in his mind, that Ruth would invite him inside. Instead she opened her door and tell him not to leave as she would be right back. He watched her from behind as she walked into her building. Unlike earlier in the day when she was dressed for work, she was now wearing shorts and a T-shirt. While Amir was not the type to undress a lady with his eyes, he could not help but to notice that her body was just as beautiful as her face. In less than two minutes, Ruth came back and held Amir’s right hand with both her hands and gave him a piece of paper. “This is my number, promise me you will use it and not lose it,” she said. With sweaty palms, butterflies in his stomach and a sheepish smile, Amir replied, “I promise to use it and not lose it”. She gave him a hug and a kiss on the cheek; she then said her goodbyes and head inside her building. Before she closed the door, she said one last time “USE IT, DON’T LOSE IT.”
If this feeling was not heaven, Amir did not want to go to heaven. There was no paradise like what he was feeling inside, even if there were seventy times seven virgins waiting there for him. As he drove through Crown heights heading back to the City he saw men in kippahs or skull-caps hurrying either to or from their places of worship. Then it hit him, Crown Heights. Now he remembered why the place rung a bell when Ruth said it. He heard about the Crown Heights riots before. A Jewish driver hit a Black boy who was visiting Brooklyn from Guyana. As the boy lay dying a Jewish ambulance came and took the Jewish driver away leaving the little boy to die. The incident created a riot in Crown heights and a Jewish man was killed in retaliation.
It was all coming together for Amir now. Ruth wanted to be back home from walking the dog before sunset and Amir knew that from sunset on Friday to sunset on Saturday was when the Jews observe their Sabbath. Could it be that the love this young devoted Muslim man is feeling is over a Jewish girl? This can’t be Amir thought to himself. Maybe she just loves the neighborhood, the diversity. He started making up excuses in his mind of why he was sure she couldn’t be a Jew. He then thought of a TCOOO blog entry that he read titled “What’s in a name?” In this entry, TCOOO said names like Rosenberg, Rosenfeld, Greenberg and Stein were Jewish names. Her name was Ruth Rosenfeld. He did not know what to think, although he enjoyed reading TCOOO’s daily blog posts, they were known to say some off the wall things. Like the time they did a post called “George Bush loves Black Bookie”, Amir did not buy that, as he felt like even a six year old could figure out that Kanye West was right.
Amir knew his Middle Eastern features were evident the moment you see him. Surely, Ruth had to know he was from the Middle and chances are he was a Muslim. Did she not care? Amir thought, if she don’t care then maybe he should not either. Maybe he should just follow his heart. But what would he tell his parents back in Lebanon who thought after he finished college in the States and find a job; he would come back home and find a wife, a nice Muslim wife? What about his roommates who are also Muslims? They may have something to say about him romancing the infidel.
Amir was a man of integrity, a man of Allah and a man of his word. He has never allowed anything or anyone to get between him and his religion, which was why he went to his afternoon prayers before returning the pocket book to Ruth. He would not turn his back on his religion. Not a chance. He thought maybe he should just throw away her number and never call her. She knows his name is Amir but she does not know his last name, so she cannot look him up. He could tell his company that if anyone call inquiring about a certain cab driver, they should not give out any information. What are the chances of her ever catching his cab again when there are thousands of cab drivers in the City?
As he head over the Brooklyn Bridge back into Manhattan, with mixed emotions and tears running down his face, he thought of throwing the number out the window. He thought of Ruth telling him, “USE IT, DON’T LOSE IT” and he thought of the promise he made to her that he would do as she requested.