She is Chinese, I am Iraqi, and we came up with the perfect couple name. “The Chiraqi Couple”.
I remember the day we met. It was during my stay in China. I was in a cafe, writing notes for my next book, when suddenly, I heard her a girl sing, in Arabic. I know! A Chinese girl in a city where most of its people don’t even speak English. But there she was, singing a song in Arabic. I turned to see who it was. I saw her sitting near the window, the light gave her some halo that made her look so divine. She was working on her laptop while she is singing. But that’s not it… that song, that particular song, I used to listen to it everyday on the radio when my dad takes me to school. I was pushed back in time where things were simpler. While she sang, I was transformed to my dad’s Volkswagen, on my way to school where I played with the school band every morning the national anthem. And on my way, my dad would put classic songs on the radio.
I said hi, in Chinese, and she was as shocked as I when I heard her sing in Arabic; they don’t get that much foreigners who speak Chinese. I asked her if she speaks Arabic. She just knows a little, just from what she heard from the songs that she listens to. She told me that she loves middle eastern culture. That made me smile, because even though our culture is full of art and beautiful stories, and gave life to civilizations, many only know what the media shows, hatred, religious racism, death, terrorism. They do not show that we are hurt by that more than anyone in the world, but most importantly, they do not show the normal, kind people, let alone artistic ones. So you can see why Rita, my wife now, became an interesting person from the moment we met. And on our first date, at an Indian restaurant that I didn’t know about, but she did, we shook hands for the first time, and we electrocuted each other. We laughed about it, but we both took a mental note… “It’s a sign”. Then, one night, on a camping trip, under the stars and god’s eyes, I asked her to marry me.
Celebrations? Big wedding, dove flying? No… far from it… but that’s a story for another time. 🙂
Click here to hear the song that sealed our fate