A tiny moleskin notebook is tucked tightly into one of the side pockets of the backpack. Rick's astounded. "Didn't Silverman even look for an address book?"
It's alphabetised pages promising contacts, names and numbers. Yet as he flicks from A to S, there isn't a single entry. Each page blank and clean. Under 'S' a name. "Fariq Said" Rick feels like he's now in familiar territory. Although he knows Fariq is dead, perhaps there's family, if not here in the US; maybe in Farique's home country. As he strokes a finger beneath the handwritten name, he can smell coffee and freshly made bread, as his subconscious is taken to a land far away; to breakfast with a couple he's never met.
"I will but she deserves a good life. She didn't ask to be born. Fariq wasn't able to look after her. She has no family except us. We're wealthy, we can help. We can share his legacy. What do you think? Will you let me go?"
Shahin folds his newspaper. The silence between them deafening. She waiting for permission. He deliberating over such a reckless act. But he knows his wife and she'll go whether he permits it or not.
"If you must." He stares intently at her, "You know it's a wild goose chase? You know you'll never find her?"
"Perhaps," she lowers her head in that demure way that drives him crazy and he gives in.
"Go...go to the land of the infidel. Just be careful."
Her delight causes her to leap forward and spill the coffee. As it's warmth penetrates her blouse she kisses the man she loves. The husband to whom she is devoted. He would travel with her, but having never completed his National Service, he is not able to gain a passport.
"Thank you Shahin, you are a giant among men. I love you."
There's no sign of the familiar blue passport. "Shahin? You seen my passport?"
He hasn't, and inside he's rather glad that it's missing and this act of folly thwarted even before it began. Her determination unperturbed she turns the house upside down looking for the misplaced identity. As the frustration begins to percolate into anger, and even suspicion, Shahin proffers a quiet 'cough'. She turns to face him. The passport held high between his thumb and forefinger.
"I'm a lucky woman to have found such an understanding man."
"I'll find her, I will!" She kisses her passport and passes a parting smile to Shahin.
"A month. I'll be back in a month." She sweeps through the door, hijab intact, limbs covered with western clothes stashed in her wheelie case. He wishes he could go with her. He secretly fears she won't return.
"Josh? Joshua Silverman?"