Ahmed waited for Konan to reply. The problem was that Konan had no answers. Silence filled the moment; it grew more awkward the longer the moment lasted.
“I don’t know, Ahmed.”
“Of course, you don’t,” Ahmed muttered bitterly. “What do you know of my culture besides we are all extremists?”
“Did your sister have any enemies,” Konan pressed. Ahmed shook his head no. He scratched his beard before he answered.
“No, my sister was loved by all. To know her was to love her.”
“Was Talia married?”
“No. She was promised to someone, but the marriage hadn’t taken place yet.”
“Who was she promised to?”
“That’s not important…”
“It might be. We can’t find your sister’s killer if you handcuff our hands behind our backs.”
“She was promised to Rasheed Mohammed before he went to…”
“Before he went to what?”
“Are you a soldier?”
“I was. I am now a cop.”
“Did you fight?”
“Rasheed is a soldier.”
“He turned away from the extremists. He became an informant. He moved back here for protection.”
“Okay. I need to know where to find him. I need to talk to him.”
“You will kill him.”
“Not if he complies. I bear no ill will. If he is decent, I will be decent.”
“Okay. I will have him meet you.”
“I need his address. In case he doesn’t show. Just in case something delays him.”
Ahmed shook his head and wrote the address on a sheet of paper. He handed it to Konan.
“He will resist. His past is, murky.”
Konan and Lilly thanked Ahmed for his help and walked out to the car. The weather was raging, the skies a dark, gruesome black. Konan got behind the wheel and started toward the last known location of Rasheed Mohammed. Lilly looked at Konan.
“You seemed genuinely emphatic back there. I’m impressed.”
Konan sighed. It was always the same thing. ‘You’re not emotional enough.’ What was the big deal about emotions anyway?
“Well, thank you.”
“Your lady friend must be thrilled with your profound emotional development.”
“I don’t have a lady friend.”
“You don’t. Wow. They must not know you’re available. Why don’t you have one? Don’t you believe in true love, Konan?”
Lilly made a pouty face and pinched Konan on the cheek. He cut his eyes to her, and she winked at him.
“No wonder you’re such a curmudgeon.”
“I don’t want to talk about it, Lilly.”
“Come on, Konan. Show me yours, and I’ll show you mine.”
“Fine. I thought a woman cared for me once. I thought. She upped and left, and I tried to salvage the friendship. In the end, I should’ve burned the bridge and gone on about my life.”
“But you didn’t.”
“I wasn’t given a choice, Lilly. I thought we had something, but I was the only one who thought so. In the end, we couldn’t even be friends.”
“That’s sad, Konan.”
Konan bit down on his upper lip and shrugged. Lilly stayed quiet for a while and Konan focused on the road.
“You know, you could try again. Not everyone is hurting or recovering from a traumatic experience.”
“I would rather cut my throat with a dull knife. The problem isn’t that people are busy, or that life is hectic. The problem is that no one knows if the person you’re interested in is really what they show you. How do you know that they’re genuine? That they’re not wearing a mask?”
“You don’t. You take it on faith that they’re being genuine with you.”
“Yeah, that’s stupid. People can’t be honest with themselves, much less anyone else.”
Lilly tapped Konan on the shoulder until he glanced at her. She pointed her finger at him and said, “you’re a curmudgeon.”