November 19, 2003
Samira had just finished reading the article in an
Iranian magazine when she noticed the obituary. The name caught
her attention. Bahram Mirani. She searched her memory because reading
this obituary had a strange impact on her. For some reason she
thought she knew this person but could not remember any details.
Then she remembered the Bahram she knew but he had never told her
his last name.
There must be hundreds of men named Bahram in the
U.S., she thought but could not convince herself. She decided to
find out if this
was the Bahram that so long ago had broken her heart. What were
She found the contact number for the magazine and
dialed the number. A man with a heavy accent answered and she politely
herself. I hope you do not think I am strange but I went to school
with someone named Bahram in 1978 and am trying to find out if
the obituary in your magazine is his, she told the man on the phone.
I would greatly appreciate it if you ask the deceased's family
whether I could contact them or not. She gave the man her home
phone number. He said he would call her back by tomorrow afternoon.
Samira went into her hall closet and pulled out
the box she kept her picture albums in. She found the album she
wanted. The first
page had her pictures on the day she had left Iran, August 31,
1978. Tears welled up and her heart filled with such deep sorrow.
How she had wished something would happen so she
did not have to leave Iran. She had always had this strange feeling
that if she
left she would not be able to go back for a long time. She had
graduated college in 1977 but did not want to go to America. After
a year her dad had said that it was time for her to leave and not
waste any more time.
She had cried every day, driving around and getting
her affairs in order. The night before she left Iran, she did not
all. The next day at Mehrabaad airport her brother and a few close
friends were there to watch her leave. She had started to sob once
the Royal Dutch KLM jet lifted from the ground and continued crying
all the way until it landed in Amsterdam.
They had changed flight
and again she had cried until they had reached their destination
in the U.S. That night had been the most
miserable night of her life. She had sobbed all night while her
roommate Ferry slept comfortably because she was looking forward
to being away from her parents and maybe even finding a boyfriend.
the morning they had gone to the Days Inn restaurant and hearing
some men speaking Farsi had made Samira so homesick
that she had
burst into tears.
She turned the pages of the album and started
to remember all the people in the picture. The first week had
been interesting trying
to form friendships because everyone was saying that they should
avoid other Iranians and speaking Farsi or they would never be
eloquent in English. She had snapped at them and told them that
were not true.
There was Faramarz, the ultimate cool in her eyes.
He was from south of Tehran had a mustache, rolled the back of
his shoes and
walked around with a rosary in his hand. He had the thick accent
of people usually referred to as "dash mashtie." He
refused to look at girls. Samira had to earn his respect because
she wanted to be his friend. Once she argued about the inaccuracy
of someone's political comments and Faramarz was impressed
enough to say, "Now you can be my sister because you are
not just a girl. You have brains too."
Fereydoon with his
big beer belly and crooked eyes had become pals with her quickly
and often bickered with her because he called her "my sister
from hell." Reza was the oldest one in the group. Tall, educated,
handsome, and cultured, with a great sense of humor. He was 43
years old and very unhappily married and let everyone know it too.
Mahmoud was the short, chubby, and obnoxious one that nobody cared
for his bragging of picking up blonde dishwashers were he worked
as a dishwasher as well.
There were many others but none of them meant
anything to Samira until that day in October. She walked out
of her English class
and saw a man with short curly hair and Amber color eyes looking
right at her. She had always loved Iranian amber and this man's
eyes were that exact color. She had lowered her eyes and walked
away, dying to know who he was. She had to find Fereydoon because
he was the biggest gossip and knew everyone's business but
she had to be careful.
In the evenings they usually gathered at someone's
apartment and drank tea and had endless discussions about the
climate in Iran, which sometimes were broken by Fereydoon's
announcement that it was time for jokes.
That night they were to meet at Faramarz's apartment.
As Samira and her roommate walked in and greeted everyone she
saw the man
with the Amber color eyes.
Faramarz introduced him as Bahram and proceeded
to introduce Bahram's friend
Sam, a short, 20-something year-old with black hair.
Samira talked with everyone but she could not
look at Bahram or address him. In Iran she was the butt of her
friends' jokes because she could go to
total strangers and start talking to them, but if she found a man attractive
she could not even look at him.
Fereydoon picked this up really quick and hit
her with his elbow. He then whispered in her ear, "I know you
like him because you have not said a word to him
and you do not even look at him." She just told him to be quiet.
She was feeling very different now. Her life had
found a purpose besides going to school. He was everywhere. In
the class she often caught his eyes
at her. When she argued her points, she noticed his smile. Then the preparation
for the big picnic was discussed.
The group had decided to go to a local park and
everyone was supposed to bring something. Samira was so excited
she would be able to see Bahram
find an excuse to talk to him.
She looked at the picture that reminded her of
that fateful day. She was sitting under a tree to take this picture
and as usual Fereydoon
and would not let her sit still. Everyone was shouting at him and telling
him to go away. An American man had walked up and asked Samira where
she was from.
Once she had answered, he asked her if she had been told she looked
like the Italian actress Gina Lulu Brigida. She had laughed and
said no. Fereydoon
seized the moment and in his terrible English told the man "she is
no Gina. She beats and beats," trying to show the man by his
The man had laughed and said but she looks so sweet how could she beat
Then to Samira's surprise Bahram had walked up
and in perfect English
"Sir that is just her shield. She is smart and she wants to be taken
her intelligence and most men do not see the beautiful soul and the
intelligence beyond the face." The man shook his head and said,
"Well, good for
Samira wanted to run and smother Bahram's face with kisses but everyone
was present. Fereydoon started with his antics. "Okay, Gina, finish
up taking your picture," and then he had stood next to her and took
Now she realized how funny he actually looked in
the picture. The group had decided to play volleyball and Fereydoon
had said that
on anyone's team because she played rough. He knew she had played
volleyball in high school and college and said, "she will be running
like a maniac
and slamming into everyone juts to catch the ball." Then he had
said in her ear with his southern accent, "Voolak he likes you.
me I can't see why but he thinks you are sweet, God help him."
Bahram was sitting on the sidelines. She walked up to him and
for all the nice things he had said which she did not deserve.
He had smiled and said, "I meant every word. By
the way, I am proud of you for teaching Mahmoud a valuable lesson."
She was puzzled
at him with a questioning look. He said, "Well, Mahmoud told everyone
that you were dangerous because he had given you a ride from the
store and you
had hit his hand hard when he had simply touched your hand and
you had slapped his face so hard he could not hear for a while
tired to give
friendly kiss." Samira was embarrassed. "What did the boys think?"
she asked him. "Well, Faramarz said that Mahmoud was lucky you
hit him because
he would have broken Mahmoud's neck for touching 'his sister'.
Fereydoon had said: that is the girl from south. She is your pal
but if you step out of line she will let you have it."
Samira felt gratitude towards Bahram but it was
more than that. She had hoped he would ask something personal
but he did not. He
Things had started to get really bad in Iran.
The news was overwhelming. Watching the demonstrations was so
hard for Samira because she
wanted to be there with
her people. But her dad had said no to her going back before she
Everyone was leaving. Some went back to Iran and
a few to other states.
Samira and her two roommates Ferry and Virginia
decided to have a party. Everyone was invited. The boys had drunk
vodka and beers.
was asked to recite
a poem. She read a poem by her favorite poetess, trying to avoid
Bahram's gaze while saying:
Do you know what I want from life? To be you,
head to toe you
If I have a thousand lifetimes to live, once again it will be
with you, once again with you
By the time she had finished Reza, the oldest
of the group, was crying. His handsome face was covered with
tears. Samira went and
to him. Reza
are all young and can have the life you want. I am stuck with an
idiot whose life revolves around shopping and going to beauty salons
she gets only
uglier in my eyes every day." He was very drunk. Samira had tried
to calm him by saying, "Come on Reza, she loves you," and he had
by saying, "Where were you when I was looking for a wife?"
tried to cheer him up so she had said, "God must have liked you,
that is why you did not meet the woman of your nightmares." Everyone
Fereydoon quickly said, "Oh yes, not to mention that she could
have poisoned you with her cooking if she had not killed you with
Reza ad stopped crying and drank the tea Faramarz had offered him.
had placed an Arabic tape and started to belly dance. God, how
young she looks
that picture with her long brown hair tossed in the air.
When the tape had stopped she had quickly looked
in Bahram's direction and saw the smile on his face.
Bahram had surprised everyone by announcing that he waned to read
a poem. Samira's hart filled with sorrow when she heard the beautiful
her favorite poet,
Sohrabe Sepehri, which said:
If you come to visit me come quietly,
be careful not to shatter the fragile porcelain of my loneliness
If you come to see me, I am beyond nothingness
She was puzzled. Was Bahram trying to give her
a message? Was this the reason he never asked her any personal
questions and never
The party wrapped at 2:00 a.m. Bahram was the
last one to say goodbye. He shook Samira's and held it for a
few second, then said "You
never cease to amaze me." She wanted him to tell her what he meant
he just smiled
and then left. What did he mean? What kind of games was he playing?
She was still hopeful that she meant something
to him. The rest of the week went by with everyone gathering
in someone's apartment
the time, hoping that things would get better at home. That Saturday
she had been home by herself reading when the phone rang. It
He was Bahram's best friend and roommate from
their college days in Iran. He told Samira that he and Bahram
would be stopping by
wanted to talk to her.
She wanted to be optimistic and get excited but
there was something in Sam's voice that told her all was not
Shortly after she heard the bell ring. Bahram
was at the door. She opened the door and he said hello and asked
if he could come
He sat down and sounding very calm, said "I am
leaving for Texas but need to explain some things to you."
She felt the earth had stopped. She felt ill.
He reached for her hands and keeping a tight grip
he said, "I fell in love with you the moment you walked out of
All my life I wanted to meet someone interested in poetry, literature,
a passion for her people. Someone who defied the decadent rules.
Most of the girls in my class were always complimentary to me but
the lonely soul inside my body.
My admiration and love for you grew, watching you trying to cheer
everyone and realizing that you share my passion for nature, literature,
She wanted to remain hopeful but somehow she felt
this was not leading to anything good.
He said, "You probably
wonder why the past few months I only looked at you when in my
heart I longed so much to hold you, to feel the
warmth of your skin next to mine and share every moment with you."
looked into his eyes but did not utter a word. He seemed in pain.
dearest Samira, I am a drug addict."
She wanted to pull her hands out of his but she
had no strength.
He continued. "It all started in college because
I felt I did not belong. I have tried but I cannot quit. I love
you and that
why I am leaving.
You are full of life and so many dreams; I will only be in your
way. You deserve
the best and God, I want so much to be the best to deserve you,
but I can't."
There was a knock on the door. Bahram said it
was Sam and he had to go. She looked at his amber eyes and saw
a broken lash resting
the lash with her fingers. He placed his hand over hers and sighed.
He said, "God,
this is like dying." She wanted to hold him and kiss him but she
He said, "I will be watching you and you are going
to continue and make me proud of you. If I find the strength
to quit I will
He then looked at her as though to engrave her image in his mind
The group picture seems from a lifetime ago. There
is Bahram at end of the row, with his yellow shirt and curly
short hair. The
She closed the album and reflected. How she had
cried evey night for a week but did not let anyone know. Everyone
had left and she
had gone by and now all those painful memories had surfaced. She
sleepless night and the next day she was not her usual self with
the signature smile
and full of life. Everyone had questioned her at work and she had
simply said I think
an old friend is dead; I am waiting to find out.
She rushed home and grabbed her book and tried
to distract herself. At 6:00 p.m., the phone rang and she grabbed
it. It was the man
"I spoke to the deceased's sister and she said
you can call her." He gave Samira the number.
What should she say? She gathered her courage
and dialed the number. A woman with a deep voice answered. Samira
said, "I am terribly
my condolences and I sincerely apologize for bothering you in such
difficult moments but I went to school with someone named Bahram.
I just wanted
to find out whether he is the deceased." The lady's voice became
she said, "I know who you are even though we have never met. Your
memory and pictures have been part of Bahram's life and ours for
Samira was really confused. Was the lady making
fun of her?
"Mrs. Mirani, I am sorry but what do you mean?"
The lady answered very gently. "Your picture from
the day you were nicknamed Gina has been next to Bahram's bed
all these years."
Samira's tears started to flood her face.
God no! Bahram was dead. She had never had a chance
to say goodbye to him. This was not fair. She was angry but cried
She said, "Listen Samira, I know you are angry
at Bahram but please don't be. He loved you until the day he
Samira wanted to cover her ears. Damn him! He
could not have done that to her. He had had the last word in
life; she should have
had the last
he died. But it was too late to tell him that.
She stopped crying
and said, "I want to come and visit you if it is okay."
Mrs. Mirani said, "That is a great idea. If you
let me know, I will send you the round trip ticket." Samira thanked
her and said
for the ticket.
Let me see if I can take Friday off and I will
come back home on Sunday.
Samira remembered that Bahram had left for Texas,
the state she had hated before she even had set foot in the U.S.
She always considered
land where the
gunslingers had changed their cowboy attires for suits and dresses
but underneath it all they were still uncivilized. Now she had
go to the
place she hated
She remembered her mother had often said that
one should never fear or hate anything because that very same
thing will appear
Samira hated Texas and now her dear Bahram had died there and she
had to go there.
She told Mrs. Mirani she would call her back tomorrow
after she checked with her boss.
Samira seemed so withdrawn that everyone in her
office felt sad. Her boss gave her the time off. She contacted
her travel agent
early Friday morning.
On the plane she tried to occupy her mind by reading
but she read the same page over and over but could not remember
what she had
The man next to her asked if she was okay and she said no. He had
a thick Texan accent. He asked her general questions and she gave
so he could get the message. She then closed her eyes and tried
to get some sleep.
She opened her eyes and heard the captain's announcement
that they would be landing at Dallas Fort Worth airport in a
and they were
waiting for clearance to land.
Samira's heart began to beat violently. It dawned
on her. In a few minutes she had to face Bahram's sister.
plane landed and she headed out the gate. She had only brought
carry-on luggage, so she did not have to go to the baggage claim.
People were waiting to greet their visitors. Samira
looked into the sea of people and her heart nearly stopped. She
She froze in her tracks. She looked into those Amber color eyes
and jolted out of her confusion when a feminine voice said, "You
felt the lady's arms around her. She realized that it was Bahram's
sister. They both burst into tears. Bita kept kissing Samira's
face and sobbing a mumbling word that Samira finally understood
should be here to greet you."
People where looking at them, and she finally
addressed Bita and said, "Mrs. Mirani, let's go because people
are looking at us."
The lady wiped her tears and said, "Please call
me Bita. I have known about you and lived with your pictures
for 24 years.
As they walked out of the building and headed
for the parking, Bita stopped and looked at Samira. She smiled
and said, "You still
the same as
he remembered you." Samira tried to cheer her up and said, "Yes
of course I
35 pounds meatier and my brown hair is store bought." Bita burst
into laughter. "Oh God, Bahram used to say that you had the ability
would laugh with them. He was right."
During the ride they spoke
about some general subjects. Samira found out that Bita had been
married for nearly 25 years and had no kids. She had worked as
an architect with
a company, which he and her husband ran from her 4-bedroom house.
When she pulled in the driveway, a distinguished
looking man greeted them. Bita introduced him as Payam, her husband.
There was an eerie
When Samira entered the house right behind Bita, she felt a strong
presence. The living room was decorated with beautiful Iranian
artifacts and the
floors were covered with exquisite Persian rugs. Bita asked Samira
to sit down and
relax while she made tea. Samira had so many questions that she
felt her head bursting
but she did not know where to begin.
She looked around. There were
no pictures of Bahram anywhere. She found it odd. Bita brought
a tray and
big cup in front of Samira and poured her tea to the rim. She then
talked about how you would lose your temper if the tea did not
reach the rim." Samara
was embarrassed but smiled. She was puzzled, so she asked, "How
did he know that? I never told anyone about that." Bita shook her
there were many things about you that only he knew. Then she asked
Samira if she was hungry. She answered no. Bita asked her if she
wanted to see
Bahram's room. Samira shook her head in agreement.
As she stepped in the large room and looked around
she felt dizzy and held on to the wall. She gathered her thoughts
and tried to
compose herself but she could
not. She started to shake. Bita realized what was going on and
came to her rescue by holding her arm.
She was speechless. The walls were covered with
her pictures. Some she did not know even existed. There were
little hearts in various
ink on some of the pictures. The nightstand had some books piled
up; right on top was a book of poems by Sepehri. On the top of
had taken on that day in the park with her hair pulled back and
the blue shirt, and the other picture was of her and Fereydoon
had his fingers
over her head in a peace sign.
She sat at the edge of the bed to catch her breath.
She felt overwhelmed. The CD player caught her attention and
she noticed her favorite
album, which she
listens to every day, was on the top of the CD player. She asked
Bita if she could play music and Bita, standing near the bed, nodded.
in and the voice of the singer filled the room: "From the beginning
of creation I was crazy, crazy about you, wondering in your neighborhood.
In love and
being a drunkard, I reached the status of legend. Tell me God,
aware of what
is in my heart?"
She looked at Bita and said, "I listen to this
song everyday. How did he know? Where do all these pictures come
from? What do those
Bita sat on the bed and said, "I need to tell
you a lot of things you do not know."
"When Bahram moved to Texas he wanted to get rid
of his addiction and come back for you. Since he had worked as
an architect in Iran
a company and ran it from our house. I will show you the room they
used as an office later.
"He made a great deal of money because he was
good at what he did but he had his down moments and my husband
Payam had to carry Bahram's
"He had hired a private investigator to simply
follow you and give him updates. He had been out of rehab about
a month and was working
to gather his
courage to come and see you and then the bomb dropped. You were
engaged to be married.
He sank into depression and drug use again. He continued to get
information about you and was in a way relieved that your husband
was very good
to you and treated
"Then he found out you were getting a divorce.
He became hopeful again and checked himself in rehab and was
looking forward to contacting
then he got
your picture with a tall and handsome Iranian man. He was devastated.
He said the
man was a miserable match for you and he would cause you a lot
heartache. The pictures and information about you kept him in different
Then he got the picture of you with your stomach indicating that
pregnant. He wanted
to reach out to you but he said 'She is too stubborn and will think
I want to play daddy to her child and will not accept me.' So
he kept your memory
alive by getting updated pictures of you and the child, whom he
thought was very beautiful and smart, because he was now getting
video recordings of you in the
park and various places with the baby.
"He thought he had a chance
in 1990 when the child was 4 years old and you seemed to be
free and seemed that you wanted someone
to stay drug free then you moved to another state and before
he could reach you, you were married and he got the pictures
said that was a bad match and you will be divorced in no time.
You did not seem happy in those pictures. He continued his drug
he could clearly talk about finally being with you and make up
for the lost time. Then in 1993 you moved again and were divorced.
became hopeful again
got pictures of you in a restaurant with an Iranian man with
and brown hair, and shortly after with a tall and very handsome
"Bahram said you were just having dinner and they
were not going to last. Then you were not seen with any man in
3 months and
to grab the
chance and started the whole process of trying to kick the habit
and seemed happy and determined this time. But in January of
1996 his dreams
picture of you arrived showing you with a very tall and large
Iranian man with gray hair and very handsome face. The investigator
man had his own business and was very decent and educated and
he wanted to marry
you. Bahram was devastated and sank into a deep depression. For
the next two years you were only seen with this man a few times
that you and this man were in touch. The last picture of him
was taken in January 1998, leaving your apartment and apparently
"The pictures and videos kept coming but there
were no longer any men so Bahram wanted so hard to try again.
Then he began
"Bahram began to feel pain while breathing and
we rushed him to the doctor. Many tests were done and the result
stunned us. He
wasted no time
in getting the chemotherapy treatment started. He was optimistic
but all those years of drug use had ravaged his body and made
Bita stopped and said, "I am sorry, do you mind
if I get a glass of water? My mouth is very dry." She left the
did not dare look at her pictures covering the walls.
When she left the room, Samira looked around because
there was a presence in the room. It felt as though someone was
to her and
She stood up to look around again. On the other side of the bed
were books piled up neatly. She walked to the books. She covered
her mouth not
The books were those she often read and loved. Samira picked
up one of the books by her favorite, Foroghe Farokhzad, whom
so much to women's independence at a high cost of self sacrifice.
She remembered that once she had passionately defended her and
were not sophisticated enough to realize and appreciate Foroghe's
contribution to women's independence and the ability to express
She thumbed through and noticed again that there
were red hearts on some of the pages. Her eyes stopped on the
poem she had recited
her apartment. There was a big heart around the poem and little
ones inside the big heat. Her tears fell but she was angry. The
in her hand
so she placed it back in the pile and out of curiosity opened
the drawer to the nightstand where the books were piled up.
Her hand froze and she had to take a deep breath.
This was impossible, how would he have known?
There was a bottle of perfume she had loved in college and had
been her signature.
However, she had
that she would not wear it again until she fell in love and wearing
it will make her feel like a college student filled with dreams.
remember if she had told him that.
It all came to her mind. It was at the night of
the party. Fereydoon had gone into her bedroom and came out complaining
that she had
too many perfume
and lipsticks and said, "One only needs a bottle of perfume
so everyone will remember him or her by that fragrance." Samira
had told him
to shut up and looking at Bahram had said, "I will wear one
in love." Fereydoon had asked how much would that bottle cost.
She had smiled and said about $100 for -- of ounce and it is
had teased her and said "What is the name so I can buy it for
my wife when I get married?" She had slapped him on the wrist
Bita came in and noticed Samira's frozen look.
She touched Samira on the shoulder and said, "He used to put
drops on his pillow and
he knew this was your favorite even though he had never smelled
it on you."
She lead Samira back to where they were sitting
before and said, "Well, the treatment made him sick and after
a short time he
decided to stop
the treatment and spend whatever time he had left in peace.
I asked him if
I should contact
you but he could not bear the thought of your disappointment
at seeing his ravaged body and face. The week before he died
in a good mood.
me to hold his poetry book and read passages to him. He looked
through your pictures and picked his favorites and gave names
to them. The
night he died
and I sat by his bed. He told us that you had always liked
tragic love stories. Now, you had your very own."
Bita wiped her tears. She paused for a few minutes,
watching Samira's reaction. She seemed lost for words. Then she
"Do you know what those hearts mean?" Samira nodded
her head. "Well, he loved you in certain colors and when you
on how much he loved the picture he would draw hearts, each symbolize
"He also knew some of your favorite singers from
when he knew you in 1978. Samira jaan do you remember that you
used to get some
with nobody talking?"
Samira said, "Oh God, yes, of course I remember.
Most nights I sat until late and read books and I remember getting
a wrong number because the person on the other end would just hold
it was my ex-boyfriend trying to hear my voice."
Bita laughed and said, "Yes that was Bahram and
he could hear this song in the background. Once you made him
laugh so hard he nearly
Samira looked at her with curiosity. Bita continued,
"One night when Bahram called and did not say anything you said
'I know who you are. You want to hear my voice but you should know
I do not like people who
lack courage. Speak to me I understand and won't hurt you!' He
turned off the phone and rolled on the floor and said, 'I love
it, and she has
not lost her sense of humor!'"
Bita looked at the clock. It was
almost noon. She told Samira to accompany her to the living
room so they could eat. She told Samira
to sit because
not need her help.
As Bita brought the food out into the living room,
the fragrance of Iranian food permeated the whole room. Bita
had made the dilled
was Samira's favorite, and she had baked fish with it also.
Bita smiled and said, "Bahram thought you were
very strange because every Iranian loves this dish with lamb
but you would only eat
it with fish."
Samira felt a deep sorrow. How did this man know
so much about her without having been with her?
During the lunch
they spoke about Samira's plans for her future and some of
the projects she was working on.
Samira felt tired and Bita and her husband must
have noticed it because Bita said, "My dear why don't you change
and go rest a
bit? We will
She went back into Bahram's room. She pushed the
covers and went to lie down. She felt the presence again. He
was there right next
closed her eyes and her mind went back to that day in the park.
He was standing there and looking right at her with his Amber
eyes. But this
time he walked
up to her and smiled. He placed his hand under her chin and then
placed his face
next to her. She was motionless. He then placed his arms around
her. She felt so content nothing else in the world mattered. It
was nearly five in the afternoon when she woke up. At first she
did not realize where she was but the unfamiliar place reminded
She walked out of the guest room and found Bita
reading a magazine but it was evident that she was just looking
through it to occupy
Samira said hello. Bita got up and said, "How
are you feeling?"
"I am fine thank you," she said.
Bita went into the kitchen and brought a tray
of tea and some peeled oranges. Samira was really baffled because
she had never seen anyone
do that but
her own mother when she was a child and throughout her 23 years
of life whenever
was home. She looked at Bita for a clue. She had a hard time looking
into Bita's Amber color eyes.
Bita laughed and said, "Bahram used to do this
because you used to eat an orange in the afternoon and he had
noticed it and asked
was only in the afternoon. You had answered that your mother used
you tea and
orange in the afternoon and the smell of orange filled your lungs
as you drank your tea and there was a very nostalgic feeling that
Samira wanted to cry so hard. She was angry at
him for having abandoned her. Bita interrupted her thoughts.
"Listen dear, I have a box
of the letters Bahram had written to you but he wanted you to read
and decide whether you wanted the rest or not."
She handed Samira the letter and said, "My husband
and I are going to give you some privacy to read the letter without
Samira's hand began to shake. She gathered all
her courage and opened the letter. It was in terrible handwriting.
It was obvious
must have not been steady when he had written it. She began to
My dearest Samira:
I wish I could write about how I feel in the
language that you like best but my mind is not up to it. I
am not feeling
end is very
near and is only a matter of short time before I leave this miserable
life of mine. I am looking forward to being released from this
prison of pain
I have one regret and a wish. If only I could see you once more
to look into your eyes, to hear your talking while I try to sound
since you talk so fast.
Do you know that I was in love with you before
I even met you? I knew what you looked like and even pictured
you as impatient
I looked for you when I was in school but could
not find you. All the beautiful girls who came up and talked
to me were interested
for my looks and how mysterious I looked. Only you would know
my lack of
confidence and shyness kept me quiet. I started doing drugs out
of loneliness because
wanted to find you so the sound of your laughter would fill my
heart. I wanted you to walk with me in the moon light, by the
Kakh Avenue. Do you remember that day when you mentioned you
had gone on a date there and loved the trees and the fact that
played films of your favorite
Arab singer while his beloved Samia Jamal danced? I was there
many times in hopes that my dream girl would walk in. But you
My addiction was because of the longing in my
heart to be understood and loved for me only and not for being
Do you remember the day you walked out of the
class and saw me? You stopped and looked at me but I was so
had found you.
All the way in America. I was filled with joy of finding
you but at the same time I was filled with fear that you may
someone. I was
find out. You do not know how overjoyed I was when I was
told that you were focused
on getting your degree and going to Iran and changing so
many things everyone said you did not have time for a man.
I was thrilled because I saw the look in your
face. You would make time for me because I had waited for you
for so long.
I loved everything about you. The fearlessness
in you. The passionate way you argued about politics and your
and the ability
fun of yourself when nobody dared to. But I loved the
softer side of you, too. When you cried at watching the demonstrations
poems but wished you read them to me only and not for
and at the gatherings.
I am tired now and do not feel well. I tried
to be the courageous man you would have wanted me to be but
I always felt
did not deserve
you. That feeling was intensified when we were all
out and American men smiled at you. Do you remember Jake
when we were
all at Iraj's house and he took his drink and toasted
to your beautiful brown eyes? I walked out of the room
not even notice.
I wanted to slap him because nobody but me should talk
to you that way.
did not have
the courage or the heart.
My dearest Samira, I do not blame you for being
angry but please believe me. I loved you all this time and
how I longed to
hear your laughter
and to just hold you in my arms and never let you
go. I never betrayed you. My addiction was the "other woman"
in my life.
The evil one
that kept me apart from you but I will never be far
from you. I want to
and know that someday you will be mine.
I have done some things hoping that you would
forgive me. Do you remember the day you spoke about your
visit to the
how it had
You told us about the horrible conditions
as tears rolled down your beautiful face. Your voice became
how the patients
had gathered around you and one of them who was
a female with very little hair and pockmarks
of the staff
members had hit her on the hand. You had become
outraged and yelled at the attendant
told her never to hit any of these people again.
You told us that she had calmly
told you "lady, these people are crazy." You
had shouted at her and told her "you are the crazy
one because you
do not understand
these people, now leave me alone." You had told
the patient to go ahead and touch your hair and
she told you
that she loved
of your lipstick you had opened your handbag
and gave her your
lipstick and the
You told us that the lady was as overjoyed as
she put on lipstick and combed her hair. You had told
was even more
had meant it. She had run away with your mirror
Samira, I wanted so much to wipe the tears off
your face and smotehre your face with kisses. You were so emotional
that made us all teary
talked in your absence about their amazement at the intensity
of your emotions. I decided then that I would do anything to
of me and I have.
I have asked that my life insurance proceeds
be given to the facility with my uncle's overseeing the expenditure
and to make
conditions at the facility improve.
I know you hate Texas so I have asked to be cremated
and my ashes to be scattered on the shores of Caspian Sea in
the city of Noshahr
city and I want to be there when you arrive and sit by the shore
to read your poetry
book as you had done in your college days. I wish I had been
there with you then.
Please find the compassion in your heart to forgive
me no matter how hard it is. I know you and know that you despise
lack courage but my love for you was so consuming that existence
was hard for me.
But know this, I loved you every moment of my life and I will
die with your love only.
I die for you,
Samira threw the paper
on the floor and buried her face in her hands. She sobbed for
a long time. She was angry.
her? So many
addictions and never look back, why couldn't he have done
the same? How could he claim that he loved her? Doesn't love
He loved drugs more. She hated him.
She walked into his bedroom and it dawned on her
that there were no family pictures with Bahram anywhere. She
at her picture
she wanted to rip
them all up and burn them.
She felt a presence in the room.
She felt cold and ran out of the room and went into different
area and finally
in the office.
Bita looked at her sympathetically and said, "Are
you all right?" Samira gathered her voice and said, "How come
is no picture
eyes filled with tears and she cleared her throat. "He
would never take pictures in family gatherings and made
the few pictures
him in them. He did not want you to see the way he looked.
He wanted you to
remember him the
way he was."
Samira looked at her and said, "I hope you
do not mind but I do not want to read the rest of the letters.
am sorry, but reading them will make me angry and resentful
and I will never
courage to forgive him."
Bita nodded her head and said, "I understand and
he knew it too. That is why he wanted you to read his
Samira said, "Do you mind if I leave on Saturday
instead of Sunday? I cannot stay here any longer.
May I use
and see what
smiled and said, "Of course, my dear. I really
understand." She called the airline and was in no mood to argue
with the lady
who had a thick
Texan accent. She just bought a one-way ticket
the flight leaving at noon
That night she could not sleep. She kept jumping
up and feeling like someone was watching her.
The short trip to the airport seemed like eternity.
they reached the airport, she thanked Bita and kissed her.
"I have one last question,"
Samira said. "There must have been a stronger reason to deter
shook her head and
said there was. "He feared that even if you
accepted him you might
up being bored with him. He said you were
always looking for the next challenge because you
grew bored and he
exciting enough to keep
you happy. That was his biggest downer."
Bita then changed the subject and said, "Please
when you are ready, call me, because you
are so dear to
so precious to him and we want to be in
contact with you because I personally
we only spend a short time together."
Samira could not wait for the plane to
take off. She sat by the window as she
sky as she always did, even as a child
in times of trouble. She pictured the
to life in her
She looked at the sky and saw Baharm.
She looked at him and said, "You had
in life by choosing to leave me and you
had the last word by choosing to die
in the place
a man will have
smiled. That is why he loved her.
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