For the love of musicPosted: June 26, 2013
I was on the platform waiting for the morning train. I looked down at my watch then quickly stuffed my hand back in my pocket. “Four minutes late…” I muttered to myself.
Anyone from Chicago can testify that our winters are horrendous. No matter how long you live here you will never get used to winter in the Windy City. I always complain about how my “African blood” can’t handle this harsh weather, yet through all my fussing I can never leave the city that I love so dearly.
I hugged my violin case a bit closer, using it as a shield against the wind. I had just started violin lessons. I was proud of myself. As the daughter of a woman who sang classical German opera in college, my musical capabilities were continuously being judged. I couldn’t hold a tune to save my life but I could play instruments. That saved me in a sense.
When the train arrived, I shuffled in to the back, near the window. It was still cold but the train was a safe haven. The windows were fogged up and I was getting warmer.
I think he spotted the violin as soon as I hopped on the train. His eyes gravitated towards the box in my hand then up at me. I gazed out the foggy window not wanting to make that awkward eye contact that happens on the train sometimes.
Now, I must admit I have a soft spot for men with long hair. Long straight hair, soft pillowy curls or dreadlocks – I love it all.
As we approached downtown, the train started to empty. Periodically, he would look down at the violin case. I pretended like I wasn’t paying attention. Finally, in my peripheral, I saw him gesturing.
“You play?” he asked, pointing down at my beaten up case.
“I just started a couple weeks ago,” I said shyly.
“Can I see it?”
I looked at him quizzically. “On the train?”
“Yeah, why not?”
“My stop is about to come up,” I said trying to avoid the moment that was unfolding in front of me.
Noticing my reluctance he backed down. The rest of the train ride consisted of small talk. He inquired about my motivation for wanting to learn classical music, then told me he had recently relocated from California. Smiling, he said he hated Chicago weather. I told him how music is a controversial topic for most Muslims. He started talking about dervishes he had seen at home. When my stop came, I kindly excused myself. He rummaged in his pocket and handed me his card.
Pulling my hood up, I stepped off the train and into the Chicago wind.
It was a call I never made. I can be hesitant when it comes to love. If I am unable to foresee a long term commitment in a potential relationship I will not take it further. I would see him on the train from time to time. We would shyly exchange glances and warm smiles.
The most mundane things bridge people from different backgrounds – little things that connect us all. Seeing the same people while riding the train I often think about what their lives are like. Romance can be sparked in the most unsuspecting places. The idea of falling in love with a complete stranger can be very alluring and passionate. At times, I can be a hopeless romantic. I love the idea of simply being “in love.” The journey of love is full of wonder…and I wonder.
Ihssan Tahir is a twenty something self-proclaimed “SistaQueen” living in Chicago. She is a registered nurse and specializes in emergency and trauma medicine. In her spare time she enjoys writing and practicing the violin. You can follow her candid blog about her husband hunting endeavors and relationship tid bits at http://muslimnlove.com/.