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Full circle

We tumble around and around

October 15, 2002
The Iranian

Covered and smothered by heavy, wet blankets. It's dirty laundry. The sock without a pair. My lucky red ones. Bad luck. Lots of blinding white foam, all the colors mushed, together we tumble around and around and around. Not clothes, we're people.

Every color, wrinkled like the clothes, tear stains instead of spaghetti sauce. We clash into each other, bumping heads and entangling limbs. A mosh pit without the music and funky lights. No smells. Maybe my nose has fallen off like it did way back when I smashed into the concrete, my first pair of high heels sliding against the pavement. I can't breathe. The fire escape is the nearest way out...

Shoving open the dingy wooden door, breaking off its hinges, as the vibrant colors blur my newborn eyes. I saunter down the endless avenue. Every step and building and face is familiar. All the familiarity makes me sure I have never been here before. Maybe in the next life. Breaking into a run, trying to free myself from the straightjacket.

No one sees me but the Saint Bernard. Perhaps Big Brother is watching me. There are TV sets on, maybe I am watching him. Picking me out of the crowd as always, instead of being off somewhere rescuing travelers lost in the Alps, its teeth latch onto my leg.

White fabric unravels around me, as I fall into darkness... Hitting the ground, down on my knees, bending to pray with grandpa smiling over the loudspeakers. Taking off the shoes, tightening the sheer veil. All around me bursts into flames, then it's dark and smelly. A phoenix rises from the ashes as I find myself blinded once more.

Children screaming as I carry the baby, my long black dress making me trip. Shoeless feet. One red sock. And painted toenails. Unbridled chaos. I see the passage into the underground tunnels. No rats, no slimy water. Only the ice cream cart and the man in the stripes. Or is it a cotton candy straightjacket. The phoenix takes a bite and melts away into the freezer alongside the neopolitans. Pink, white, brown. Why not banana or pomegranate? Why no nuts or jams? Escape leads to nowhere...

Home sweet home. Seaweed mask cools my skin, lipstick like the fireman's siren smears my face. Getting ready for a date. No mirrors in the house. Walking on shattered glass as he knocks his fist against the door. Blood runs down his hands. Blood runs up my feet. Same shade as the toenails. Ruby red ring flashes in the moonlight.

He's waiting. Mom grabs his hands, pulling them out of their sockets. My feet also are torn out. She runs with them, into the clothes dryer we go. Arms and legs, entangled together, the color of love. We tumble around and around. Full circle.

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By Assal Badrkhani



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