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Between kabob and sumac
I am the lucky one

Zariah Behesht
December 1, 2004

The words rang through the receiver clearer than any sound my two-bit, worthless, free-with-these-20-rebates cell phone had ever picked up..."Did you know he's engaged?" awkward silence ensues..."Oh wow, you didn't know? I'm so sorry...I figured you knew..."

Suddenly, lunch isn't so appetizing anymore. Not sure if I ever want to go to Moby Dick again… great food, bad memories.

It makes sense that she would think so, I mean, I talk to you at least a couple times a week...and I understand when you call me from the office, or on your way to work...never from home though.

"It figures," I manage to squeak out... trying my hardest not to crumple to tears in my koobideh lunch at the local kabob shop... "It was just a matter of time," I say off-handedly, hoping the bland tone voice will deceive the volcano of emotion that's a erupting inside.

I guess I should have known better... you were seeing me and her for about a month when we first "dated." Wasn't until I questioned not seeing you enough that you finally admitted there was something else going on. "I just... have some things... I need to tie off. But I WILL tie them off... I want to be with you more than anything..." REALLY? OK, fair enough. I am human. Heaven knows, I know complication and complexity more than I care to admit.

But it didn't work out that way. Things were more complicated, you see. So I went on with my life... always knowing in the back of my mind, that once this thing was "tied off" we'd of course be together, because that was how it was meant to be. No pressure... you date someone else, and so will I. You'll drunk call me after Wednesday's Boys Night Out to tell me you'll "never really be happy" and you read me poetry I know full well was not written for me... but I giggle when you slur.

I even remember the first time I knew I loved you.. .it hit me all at once... from friends to something so much more... "There's nothing else in the world I was born to do, but be a husband and a father, that's it, that's what I am here to do." Done. You had me.

It makes sense when you think about it. She's a teacher, your best friend's cousin... I'm a high powered executive propelling my way into law school... probably not as good on paper for the khoresh cooking would-be mother of your children. But when I looked at you, when I heard your voice, there was no where else I wanted to be than right there.

I kept my distance... bad enough that I adore another woman's man (and a Persian sister at that -- I found out much later, ouch). I cannot see you. No, you can't take me out for my birthday. And I will call you on yours, but we'll never actually schedule anything. It would be too hard... I would like it too much to let go over and over again.

So I take the news of your impending nuptials... I cannot form the words to speak... so I ask... "How is engagement treating you?"... 8 hours later... almost 1 a.m. I get the text message back:

"I wanted to tell you, I just didn't know how... SORRY" And I wonder... does she even know I exist? Is she there in bed sleeping while you make a quick bathroom trip to explain yourself to me? Don't explain. I just want you to be happy. Go back to bed.

All this time, I thought I was the scared one. The one who's been too hurt to let you in when you offered the key to my heart. I pushed you away... you pushed back with warmth and laughter I couldn't resist. You lit me up, and by the time the flicker had set off in my heart, it was a moment too late and a lifetime unknown...

I could not have expected you to wait, but I didn't expect you to ask me to hold onto a mirage... only for it to be shattered by lies... Well, is it a lie if you just don't tell the whole truth? You sent me those pictures… from the beach vacation you took… I find out later, with her… and her family? Yuck dude.

Now I know, without a doubt, that I am the lucky one. I am not the one in my bed, fast asleep as my fiancé texts his "BabyJoon" about how he wishes he could "explain" me.

I am not the one teaching children to read while he spends his workday slyly making calls he cannot make at home. And I realize, looking back, this man is not the man I am destined to be with, but the lesson I was destined to learn.

I tried to let you go, over and over again, and you always came back... why?

And in one second, it hits me -- like a moral police officer educating a girl in Tehran that her skirt is too short -- I am not the scared one. I had faith, blind faith, I grant you, but faith nonetheless. And you, you were always a coward.

I am done now. Could you please pass the sumac?

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