Considering I was the only person in the room who didn’t speak Arabic, I didn’t feel so bad about excusing myself into the next room to take a phone call. I was really into a conversation with my friend in English when a stranger I had never seen before rounded the corner and started to talk to me.
“Are you busy?” he asked me.
I asked my friend to hang on and I put the phone down to introduce myself to this new man. Without even thinking I shook his hand, and immediately reprimanded myself for it. Men and women don’t shake hands here… nor do they touch at all. I thought he wouldn’t speak English and would leave, so I was really shocked that he sat down to make conversation with me. I ended the call with my friend and started talking to this new person.
We had a general conversation about where I am from, what I am doing here, is my family okay with me being a Muslim, and so on. Then the question came
“Are you married?”
“No, I’m not.”
He couldn’t quite find the words to say, so he had Sara translate the situation for me.
“He said he likes you and he was wondering if you would be his wife. He is married already so you would have to be the second, but he doesn’t want to tell the first one.”
I couldn’t help myself, and I laughed. Then I realized he was serious.
“I don’t want to be a cowife. When I am married I will be the only wife” I said confidently.
He looked me square in the eyes and said “Islam allows 4.”
The only response I had to his sound logic was “Yes, but I am American. I don’t like it and it’s illegal in my country.”
“So don’t tell them!”
And we all erupted in laughter this time. His wit pared with his warm aura was quite charming. He told me, forget the marriage proposal, but if I ever needed help to feel free to call him. He was my friend here and if ever I needed help he would be there.
After he left I was joking with Sara, and I said “Too bad he didn’t have a son. That would be perfect.”
“Well, actually he does have a son. When he saw you he said you’d be a good match for his son, then he said forget that. i want her for myself.”
“How old his son? What does he look like?”
“He is 23 and he is currently studying in Canada,” Sarah said as she reach for her phone “And he is beautiful.”
Mashallah, she was right about him being beautiful. Brother was fine.