My cab driver tells me he’s been in the states for 15 years. His family scattered when war came to his country. When he told me the year, I guessed he was Somali and was right. His face was gaunt and dark, impossibly high cheekbones and a great toothy smile he showed me in the rear view mirror.
He’s Muslim, he says, but no one religion is wrong if you seek God. He doesn’t drink or smoke. He is divorced, though, a softness in his tone lends to the shame he carries for such a thing.
He asks about my family. I tell him I don’t see my parents and why, he understands. He misses his family, but they are all in countries all over the world. He rattles them off with pride. Their ability to survive after the war is it’s own reward.
Soon, he says, he can qualify for citizenship. The pride in his voice when he tells me this is overwhelming. He left his country in war, settling in Minnesota of all places, then Boston three years ago.
His story is one I can’t put myself in, to flee in wartime, to find yourself anywhere but here, scratch out a life in a country that is full of people who hate you, a black Muslim refugee. Yet he loves us, he loves America in a way I never can. For, while I was born here, and know nothing else; he knows what’s out there and gets it. This is the best gig out there.