While taking care of a few errands that I needed to do yesterday, which was pretty much my usual routine that I do on Tuesdays. Nothing major or grand about the routine to be honest, just getting my unemployment money and putting it in the bank and as well go shopping for a few house hold items that I had needed as well.

Like I said just another typical day for me, during my travels around town yesterday I was in a part of Brooklyn, New York that was actually not that far from where I use to live sometime back. It’s an area of Brooklyn where three neighborhoods kind of converge on each other. The areas are downtown Brooklyn, Fort Greene and Park Slope.

And right on the main strip of this area of Brooklyn is Atlantic Avenue. If you ever go to Atlantic and Fourth Avenue in Brooklyn you will see a lot of mom and pop stores, a few flowers shops and a major drug store chain as well, even shops and stores that sell things that you would not normally find in a major metropolitan city such as New York. If you walk down Atlantic Ave and pass some of these stores you would feel and think that you were not in New York City anymore and that you were magically transported to some exotic land such as India, or even Egypt.

The area is full of culture and does have a certain level of being unique, while I was in this area I have been known in the past to go into a few of these stores to get a few items for myself. Such as soaps and lotions that are naturally made with little or no chemicals added to them, for I feel that they are much healthier for the skin and body, like lemongrass and tea tree soap or a bar of African black soap.

I had gone into one particular store that I have not gone to in a while, it’s a store that I go to mostly for cologne and scented body washes. While I was there yesterday I had taken a short moment to explore some of the other things that were there. The store clerk that was there knows who I am as a customer and we spoke for a short while catching up on things since we have not seen each other in some time. While chatting with him and exploring the store. I had discovered a book that caught my interest. The cove of this particular book was covered in a gold paisley pattern and had a zipper that went around the book for the cover was made of cloth and protected what was inside. As well this book had a plastic wrapping around it to protect it.

I asked the store clerk if I can remove the plastic wrapping to see the book and its contents inside. I thought he would say “no” for as you know some stores don’t like a person to unwrap things before purchasing it. From a distance he looked the book I was holding and replied back to my question with a “yes.” Actually… there was a sense of joy and happiness in his eyes when he had seen the book that I had picked up and his actual reply to my question of opening the book was actually the following.

“Yes… Please open the book for I know you will buy it once you look at it, it’s a beautiful book.” To be totally honest I really had no intention of purchasing the book. But I just wanted to check it out and take somewhat of a quick look at it. After unwrapping the plastic and unzipping the cover open and I took great care doing so for I did not want damage it in any way and the store clerk noticed this. And made the following comment as I was unwrapping it.

“It’s a great book you will buy it.” I thought nothing much of his comment at the time and I did noticed that he said this with a certain level of confidence like as if he had known something that I did not know.  After unwrapping it I opened the zipper around it and opened the book to what I originally thought was the first page. Actually… the first page was the last page of the book. For here in the United States and most of the world we read a book from left to right.

In Islam and Muslim culture a book is read from right to left. The complete opposite of what I have been learned as a child on reading,  after this cultural adjustment I do what I usually do when I look at a book for the first time. I look at who was the author, the date of when it was printed, the ISBN number and all that stuff I find interesting. The fact that all this typical detail was in what I consider the back of the book from years of reading from left to right, and now being forced to do the opposite in order to read it correctly sparked my interest more.

Like I said… after my “cultural adjustment” on how to read this book properly I opened the book to a totally random page. I did not pre-judge what I was going to look at by reading the table of contents. I just opened the book to a totally random page. After doing so I came across a passage and read it. The passage was about seven lines long and spoke about living in ones means, weather rich or poor and that after hardship has passed one will be blessed with the joys of life.

I kind of found myself identifying myself with this passage since I am not working and living off unemployment with the limited funding that I get from time to time. I wanted to read more, but thought since I cannot buy the book at this time, I will make the purchase another time in the future if I ever remember to do so. After closing the book and wrapping it. I had put the book back.

The store clerk noticed that I had put the book back with care and then said to me. “It’s a great book, beautiful, it speaks to everyone.” And he had said this with a tone of joy and passion in his voice. As I put the book back he told me. “You will buy it.” I told him that I can’t do so right now for I have done quite a bit of shopping already, while showing him the two large bags of items that I already purchased.

He replied back saying. “I know it (the book) spoke to you for it’s a beautiful book.” In my head I said to myself, “yea… It did”, but I did not tell the store clerk that of course it as my little way of not admitting that he was correct. He then told me the cost for will be eight dollars. A lot less than what the book originally had as its purchase price, to be honest… if the clerk owned the store, I think he would have given it to me for free.

He then said to me (again) “Eight dollars you will like it, it’s speaks beauty.” And with that said, I actually bought the book. He clerk was so happy that I purchased it. And after all was said and done with the transaction and I had gotten my change back. The clerk said. “You will see the beauty of what is written for it speaks to everyone, you will be happy”

As I left the store to go home after my unexpected purchase, I had a felling on the way home of. “How did he exactly know that I was going to buy this after looking at it?” Was it faith or destiny that lead me to this purchase? Or was it a general curiosity that I wanted to explore? I will say the latter of the two. But the clerk at the store just knew right from the start that I would buy it. As if he knew I was looking for something and all he did was point me in the right direction as if I was lost in my travels.

A person who does not know not that much about me, but somehow had known what I was looking for. If you asked me would I have ever made such a purchase I would have said “maybe” or even say “I would never consider it at this moment.” But this person who did not know me all that well, just knew that I would buy it, as if he had known me better than I have known myself.  It’s like I always say about life. “Things happen for a reason, and we may never know the reason as to why things happen in our lives. But when it does happen it might show you something that you might have missed whether about yourself or the world around you.”



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