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Short story

By Nooneh
May 7, 2001
The Iranian

The moment I laid eyes on Dariush I knew I wanted to fuck his brains out. I don't know exactly how I knew but I knew. I had gone to that party alone as Caveh, my boyfriend at the time was feeling a bit neglected and had put up a fuss about us always being surrounded by others and never having a moment alone. He longed for an evening with just the two of us. I longed for an evening with just the twenty of us. As I see it we both got what we wanted: he, his peace and quiet, and I, my crowd. Of course when I returned home after the party that night, or morning as it were, Caveh was gone, never to be seen again. He had taken his few belongings from my place and departed. His toothbrush was the first missing item I noticed. No note, no call. I was worried about him at first. He was the poet type and I feared the worst. But in a few days I heard he had moved back up north where we first met at a Creative Writing retreat. He will surely create more writing without me to remind him of his idiosyncrasies.

Now back to Dariush. So I'm at this party alone, I see this man who for what ever reason increases the moisture level in my pants and all I can think about the whole night is cornering him in the bathroom and... but no. Even though I was pissed at Caveh I'm still the monogamous kind. I mean it's difficult enough handling one relationship. Two of them at once will probably kill me. Don't get me wrong. More power to those who can handle multiple flings but I need to finish off one relationship, get over it ­ which takes an unreasonably long time- and then move on to the next. These highly respectable scruples of course do not stop me from getting to know a new fellow while I'm in a relationship. It's all healthy fun. I take care not to mislead and we spend the night both entertained and admired which makes us both feel good about who we are. And this was certainly the case with Dariush that night. Now, interestingly, I didn't find him physically attractive at first. What I mean is that he wasn't what I would describe as my type. His height further enhanced his bony features and gave him an almost Frankensteinesque look. But then there were his hands, large with long fingers. The fingernails on his left-hand were short and the right hand long. A guitar player. This discovery coupled with the dimple on his chin drew me to him like a honeybee to pollen.

I found him staring at me intensely from across the room. Having been waiting for the right moment to strike up a conversation with the mysterious stranger with deep brown eyes and long lashes, I began walking toward him. Two steps into my seduction stroll and a very attractive woman appeared from no where and snatched the mysterious stranger to the kitchen area. I stopped realizing that the body my body was burning for may be in heat with another body. This realization concerned me. Then I remembered that the kitchen is often the soul of any party. No matter how expansive the locale, how intense the entertainment in the other rooms, the kitchen will definitely be the most crowded spot. This fact reassured me that the striking woman was not planing to strike up anything unsuitable for the public eye with the object of my desire. It was time for me to do some inquiring about him. Within minutes and no more than three conversations I found out that he is an engineer, which came as no surprise, visiting his sister a.k.a. The Snatcher, from down south where he has recently relocated to from Madrid where he had been living since 1979. Single? Widely speculated as yes. I was politely asked about Caveh -- or was it a reminder? -- to which I politely responded with, "He wasn't in the mood for crowds." I find that in life honesty is the best policy. Most of the time, at least. On the balcony I was meditating on the nature of truth and the obligations that bind us when I felt the weight of his gaze on me. I had no doubt it was him. The song "Strumming my life with his fingers" came to my mind and I chuckled.

"You're not crying, are you?"

An interesting opening line, I thought. "No, why?"

"I just thought perhaps you felt sad because your boyfriend was unable to accompany you to the party tonight."

He had done some inquiring of his own obviously. I turned leaning against the railing of the balcony and said, "My only consolation is that he is probably happier not being here."

"And you?"

"I'm happier being here."

He smiled adding another dimple to his lovely face and said, "I'm happier being here too."

We danced, conversed and said goodbye politely exchanging light kisses on both cheeks. Perhaps our embrace brought our bodies closer than was really necessary for exchanging light kisses on both cheeks and perhaps I imagined that as we were leaving he pressed gently on the small of my back exposed by the clever design of my silk top. Was there an invitation hidden in that touch? If so I ignored it with a heavy heart hoping that Caveh would leave me soon and immediately feeling guilty about it and immediately feeling angry at myself for feeling guilty and for not being able to "just live it up" as the saying goes. All this in the distance of one touch, a gentle pressing to the lovely hollow of my lower back.

Long after that fateful night, one day after making love resting his head on that very spot Dariush confessed that in fact it was this very anatomical feature that "did him in" as he put it, the night of the party. "And I, your dimples," I said. Two anatomical features, both convex giving rise to an intensity that surmounted any summit in its silent passion and longevity. What I loved about Dariush was that he adored my backside, which needless to say is not, I believe, my best side. He would often caress my buttocks to sleep or kiss the back of my knees, which tickled me to death and then let his tongue lead his body in covering mine. Unfortunately he was narrower than me and this left my sides cold which upon discovery he would rub softly until I screamed or he got tired or we both fell asleep. One morning I woke up to find him snoring on top of me. He said he hadn't been there all night which I did not believe but could not counter in all honesty because my sleep is as deep as the universe and he could have tattooed me for all I know and I wouldn't have woken up or recalled. But I told him this sleeping on my backside business was becoming boring and it made me feel like a mattress and just stop it. So he did. That was easy. Sometimes I find that if I just ask for things they will happen, as I want them. An interesting concept.

The night Dariush broke his big news to me was six years after that party. My mountain was crumbling. His dimples tearing at my heart and I didn't care how much he once adored my backside. He said he would never forget me. I said I would never forgive him. He cried and said he couldn't bear that. I said then don't leave. He couldn't bear that even more. I find that sometimes even when you ask, things don't work out as you want them to. No, he wasn't in love with another. In fact, he believed that he still loved me. It was difficult for him to explain, and even harder for me to understand, but he tried and it went something like this.

"You moved me that first night we met. You moved me so deeply that I felt everyone who had come before you was just a joke. I felt that my life was just beginning. Only with you would it have meaning. I loved every millimeter of your body, the smell of your breath, the taste of your mouth, the sound of your laugh. I loved the way you would roll about when I tickled you and I absolutely loved the fact that you break into laughter when you have an orgasm. Nothing gave me more pleasure than resting my head on the small of your back after sex and listening to the blood pass through your veins. You would immediately fall asleep snoring gently. And I would stay awake all night in absolute wonderment of how I ever lived without you. To be quite honest I'm not sure if I can live without you now. I need to prove to myself that I can, that I haven't lost myself. Where do you end and I begin? I ask myself this question all the time. "

Stop! I wanted to scream. Enough. Are these the words of someone who wants to leave a lover? I mean for Christ's sake if you're going to break my heart at least have the courtesy of saying something I can hate you for later. No, not you, right? You're planning to kill me with kindness. I feel like I want to wring my own neck. Pull out my heart and throw it to the dogs. Eat it, you poor miserable bastards, this is the least valuable piece of meat you'll ever find.

You continued, "The sun comes up with you in the morning and the moon at night. It all begins and ends with your smile. Your smile in the morning when you say good morning and your smile at night when you fall asleep before your head hits the pillow, before you have a chance to say good night. Do you know how many nights I've stayed awake braiding and unbraiding your hair as you dream? I've listened to you sing in your sleep and laugh, and cry. I've held you close to make sure you know I'll always be there. Always. I hate this. I hate feeling like leaving is the only thing I can do but that's how it is. It will kill me but this is what I have to do."


Dariush went silent. Dead silent. I never asked questions. My usual mode of action would be to say "Oh, okay. I understand." And walk away. But I couldn't let that happen here. He was the best thing that had happened to me and what made it even better was that I actually recognized this fact. I knew. With every molecule of my existence I knew that he was the best thing that had ever happened to me and that I was the best I had ever been with him. He made me complete. He calmed my restlessness. His groundedness was the answer to all my doubts. He built a nest for my heart to settle in and now I was being evicted. I couldn't let it happen. No!

"Do you ever wonder if you've fallen behind? That you closed your eyes on the inhale and when you opened them again the world had completely changed but you were still the same? In you I found a new world but I lost my world. I look around now and I don't recognize anything, or anyone. Only you. I don't even recognize myself. My hands only feel right if they're caressing you. My eyes, only if they're looking into your eyes. My mouth doesn't feel right unless it's resting on your lips. It scares me."

Stop. Say no more, please. I can't listen to this. We are so good together. Can't you see that? What is this myself/yourself bullshit? Did I ever stop you from doing anything you wanted? Did I ever force you to do something you didn't want to do? I'm full of support for you and you do the same for me. Can't you see that this is exactly how it's supposed to be? But my lips weren't moving. My eyes stared straight at him and he was the one talking. Talk, talk that's all men do. I bit my lip for thinking that. I loved this man. Simple, soft, loving. I loved him, why was he doing this to us? There must be some wise words I could say that would elucidate the facts. Take away the dark clouds... Oh please come to me, words of wisdom, come. But none came and Dariush walked out the door never to be heard of again. Or was that just my worst nightmare coming true? He was still standing there.

- "You're not listening. See? You go off into your own dreams where do you go?"

- "I'm sorry, I just drifted off for a moment. I'm listening. Please. Continue." I bit my lips for saying that too.

-- "Can't you see how difficult it is for me to sit here in front of you, looking at you, and say this stuff?" He did continue, I listened and I understood.

- "Remember that night..."

Suddenly it all made sense. Of course. I knew exactly what was coming. I knew it was a bad move then and I know now that it has cost me my relationship. Did I force him to do it? Was my desire overpowering? He wasn't an adventurer by nature. He just enjoyed playing along. Not this one though. Such a delicate balance. I pushed him over the fence and now he is on the opposite side. But can't we just talk about it? Can't we just work it out? It all happened that night. I know. More than you know happened that night. I felt bliss and he he didn't feel too good. What can I say? Isn't this what expanding our comfort zone is all about? There comes a time when you want to try other positions, different holes. My mouth had covered his entire body and his mouth most of mine. One particular spot turned him off. And that was my favorite spot for his lips to become acquainted with but he didn't feel the same way. I had tried tricking and bribing, getting him drunk, stoned, but none had helped direct him to the desired zone. His mouth evaded the region and the more he escaped my scheming the deeper my desire grew for it. I remember exactly what went through my mind as I held his head down between my legs that night. "Come on little one, it's time you grew up," he resisted, I kept him down, he didn't know exactly what to do, a lousy tongue job, if you want to know the truth, but I felt it was a good introduction. And that was the beginning of the end.

It all boils down to this. His heartfelt speech about losing himself and me being the beginning and the end is plain BS, ladies and gents. Yes, he didn't want to put his mouth there, I forced him to do it and now he's leaving me. Too simple to believe, isn't it? His mouth adores every hollow of my body except that one. He loves sex in every position except that one. He wants to stick his dick in every hole but not his tongue. No. And he can't say it. He can't say it because he doesn't want to seem closed-minded. Or maybe because he is afraid the romantic image he has created of us in his head might be destroyed by acknowledging the baser facts of our union. But it makes no sense. Here we have a sensitive person who deeply cares for myriad of causes, the human condition, as he calls it, but here's one condition that is beyond his grasp. How easily we discuss the grandest of global conflicts but we fail at exposing the ordinary. In fact, the grander the issue the easier it is to analyze it but oh, bring up something personal, private, and you'd be labeled as trivial, self-absorbed. How trivial is ruining a relationship? How trivial is the separation of two hearts that claim to beat for one another? How trivial is it? Oh, whatever, just let him go!

But wait! Don't go. There is so much more to be said. Why isn't he saying what exactly ticked him off? He's going on about some abstract philosophical turmoil while the issue is much more concrete. Why won't he actually spit it out? He's a concrete man, he's an Earth sign for crying out loud, they're nothing if not concrete. Say it. Come on say you didn't like it. Say it disgusted you, say it! Say it, say it, say it! What? He said it, "And sex is different now." Okay, we're getting somewhere. In what way is it different? "I'm not feeling experimental anymore." I see. Now that I've fulfilled your every fantasy, "I feel like I have to perform each time and it makes me self-conscious." First he complained about being lost, now it's being self-conscious. Which is it, baby? Yes, I'm getting irritated.

"You know what, Dariush jan?" I say, "It's a two-way street. It's a give and take, negotiating the limits constantly. I don't have a problem with negotiating, talking about stuff and understanding each other better. But I will not be made ashamed of my desires." Why did I say that? That's not what I meant to say. Am I ashamed? He didn't say anything to make me ashamed. Why did I say that? I'm feeling guilty but angry too. Angry because he doesn't like what I like and he doesn't have the guts to say it plainly. Okay, regroup.

- "If there is something specific that is bothering you. Please just say it. And we'll talk about it. General complaints make it difficult to come up with remedies."

- "I'm sorry I can't be any more specific. But I know that the remedy is for me to leave. This is the only way I know how not to hate you."

He kept his eyes low, those beautiful long lashes hiding the glitter of a tear in his eyes. Bitterness was pulling on the two sides of my lips and my jaw was pressed so hard that I felt my teeth beginning to crack ready to fall out of my mouth at any moment. He didn't have the guts to say it. Instead he left me with a heavy heart and a guilty conscience for knowing that I drove away the man I love. Angry and disappointed that the man I love doesn't have the guts to actually talk about a simple sexual act that bothers him. He was so understanding when I asked him not to sleep on top of me the whole night.

I never gave Dariush my big news. Two weeks later I aborted my big news. It took me nearly two years to get over losing the two things that meant the world to me. And now I have the rest of my life in front of me. I am grateful for all that I have. And what I do not have, I just try not to think about. Sometimes it actually works.

Comment for The Iranian letters section
Comment for the writer Nooneh

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