The trickle of soft red wine being poured into a single glass broke an awkward silence that had until that point had been persistent and unrelenting. I positioned myself to his right and leaned against a blue pillow, casually propping my arm against his. Mom sat on the large white couch making herself comfortable before dinner was served. It had been a long day like many others and she needed time to unwind which usually meant a warm soak in the tub, music and the occasional glass of red wine. She was a straight-laced, small town, God-fearing woman who remembered where she came from but years of sophistication could not be hidden. Her questions were broad and friendly but it was apparent that she would be honing in on more important details later.
Inquiries regarding education and career goals were interspersed in a causal way that masked a dogged concern regarding his past. He eagerly pieced together sentences and informed her that he was studying Engineering and had already been a draftsman in Damascus for several years. He was the second of 7 children, and his father owned a store in the business district downtown. He smiled graciously and appeared happy, even enthusiastic in response to each and every query.
What he lacked in mastery of the English language he easily made up for tenfold in a polite and appropriate disposition. No request was too large and he would never utter a complaint but contentedly agreed to help whenever needed. A freshly shaven face coupled with dark eyes, black hair and an attitude of worldly yet humble reservation all added to his charm.
His expertise and know how was offered from that point forward in various areas and overshadowed any flaws that might have been visible in this initial stage. A random sheet was sewn into a couch cover for a new floral sofa on the middle floor, a large wooden food dispenser was hand crafted for Bosco and meticulous details on jobs that needed attention were finished in a timely manner.
A dream had become reality but would ever so slowly evolve and blur into abuse, control and rage.