|Ghost of Isfahan
Remembering the man I've almost forgotten
By Heather-ley Peckham
February 14. 2003
As the wheels hit the ground beneath me, my heart skipped a beat. I watched as the
smog-ridden metropolis closed in around me that once seemed so far away as I descended
from 30,000 feet above the San Andreas Mountains. I remember the scene of rugged
terrain and fluffy clouds once in a dream I had long ago, while floating above satin
lined sheets in love and yearning for the day I could return. I took my single bag
from overhead, and in the time that passed I waited until de-boarding ran its course.
The anxiety became present... once again, as always, while I proceeded to exit the
gates. I was uncertain whether it was the crowdedness of the plane, as I stood there
surrounded, or some adopted reaction, while in this position, that had my heart pumping.
Usually -- but not on this day, or any other for some time now -- he has been there
at the gates waiting for me. I stepped through the long shaky fabricated shaft that
reached the edge of the bustling airport, and finally made my first steps toward
my new home. I squeezed out a familiar exhale.
I've dreamt about this before. What elusive flavor poisoned my tongue and left me
waking with a strange and familiar taste I'd never forget until the one day I awoke
to this vision, "this angelic city," Los Angles. When younger and freshly
green, I sensed her presence hiding somewhere in the city lights. I felt her aurora
in the chilly night air. I listened while faint whispers guided me to wonder what
possibilities lie waiting then ran home to wonder what I was missing. Now I have
come to be fulfilled with a greater sense of hope. The journey was over. "I'm
here at last," I thought, but this time for good.
The hectic crowd rushed around me catching flights, and shaking hands, and hugging
loved ones, with tears in their smiles. I remember he was never on time, but only
once in the beginning when I was naïve and he was trying to make a good impression.
I've almost forgotten about him, but airport scenes help me take into account. My
bags await me down the escalating stairs, and once I retrieve them I am free of this
hectic and somewhat somber junction. I briefly heard her faint whispers, and realized
I must leave this old memory and travel toward new ventures. "My lady is calling,
Los Angeles awaits," I thought.
As I made my way to luggage, I passed a most familiar spot, and a lash of amnesia
invited me in to forget the world for a while. I stood there in suspension recognizing
every detail on that plain black and white square that caught my attention and read
"C-13". I suddenly remembered so vividly this scene unfolding before me.
I was unattached, concentrating on this object, the only distraction in sight. I
fixed my eyes upon it shying my face from his. He was leaving, and I would leave
him no clue of the tears that would follow soon, and sooner if I looked him in his
deepest of eyes.
I remember like a lucid dream silently counting thirteen to one trying desperately
to break my concentration on the thought of his departure. I silently recalled to
myself these words in an arithmetic and distracting beat trying hard not to breath
as he stood there before me: "Isfahan is so far away. It's across half the world
and is half the world to you, but my half of heaven is leaving now and then we will
be through. 'Isfahan nesfeh jahan' (Isfahan is half the world) now you will have
I turned to see his inquiring eyes trying to make contact with mine one last time
before dispersing into the gates of forever, never to be seen again. A figment of
my imagination; I had chalked it all up in my head.
I often wondered in our time together what Iran was like and if he'd ever go back
to the illusive place. Now I would be loosing my dear to his dearest dream of returning
home after twenty years. Iran seemed to be filled with such magic, such mystery like
a veiled beauty waiting to be married and unraveled. I once exclaimed half-joking
half-serious that he take me with him, and now I debated weather letting myself get
so close was a good idea.
I remember mustering up the courage to look into his dreamy eyes. I smiled, and wished
him luck. I no longer had to look at the gate sign C-13. I could look him in the
eyes and tell him goodbye for the last time. He was free of me, free of this moment,
free of America, and off on a new journey, one path that was most likely departing
for good with mine.
As he continued on his way we said a quick goodbye and turned our backs to each other,
and that was it. That was goodbye forever. He took his luggage and whisked it away,
I moved forward a few steps then quickened my pace as I thought of running to the
exits to swallow him in one last kiss before he would leave for eternity. Instead
I headed for the door before I could let my emotions get the best of me.
I remember feeling my jeans so tight and uncomfortable against my skin as my long
fringed leather belt swayed through the air like a wild horse set free -- unsure,
confused, with nowhere to go, just run.
I came to a reasonably far distance before I turned to catch one glimpse of him as
he set off half way across the world and vanish from my life forever. I watched as
he handed the ticket to the flight attendant and boarded the craft never to look
back. My eyes flooded with the liquid that he transcended once from a loving gaze
into my soul and poisoned my heart.
His eyes; I'll always remember the depth of brown that ran so deep
like my love for him. Even now as I stand here in this very spot where I saw him
last, I am baffled to recall such detail as if I never left. I remember this scene
as he boarded the craft never to return the gaze. My jeans feeling tight, my stomach
beginning to turn, and then a few uncontrolled tears making their way pass the barriers
of my tamed eyes. I quickly shied my face from the crowded airport and made my way
to a restroom nearby. (I see it now off in the distance from where I stand) I hid
behind a stall door, and dried my cheeks on harsh toilet paper. It seemed a perfect
metaphor for what was his rather unkind support during such painful moments.
Now I no longer worry about the mysteries of his world, or why he left me for it.
I don't care about airports or goodbyes, or men with dreams in their hearts and windows
in their eyes. My tears have dried and all that is left is the bitter taste of salt
that surrounds my lips. What weight I felt in my eyes for him, and now my eyes weigh
on this silly sign as I sit in this once crowded airport reminiscing and wondering
what ever happened to him.
It is getting late, the airport has emptied out, and my lady's whispers have faded
long ago, or given up on me. I picked myself up from the fake blue leather airport
seat and set out on a final descent to collect my luggage. As I approached my bags
I noticed a single man standing and looking toward me in some near distance. His
look was young, and vibrant. I recognized his glowing and mystical complexion, and
it reminded me of the characters from an old black and white movie. Black hair on
white skin shades of dark over his eyes. Long lost, but not forgotten, they seem
so real, yet unattainable. I was instantly captivated. His curly nose and bushy hair
is familiar. He stood there, waiting.
"I can't believe it. It's him! Is this some
(I moved in closer.) Thick brows, round eyes, red lips, and blue jeans! My heart
began to pound!
"Is he here for me? How could he have known?"
It seemed destiny once again joined our paths. I grew excited, and rushed in closer.
"It's been so long. Did he have a change of heart? Should we give it another
shot," I thought.
The anticipation was so thrilling I hardly knew what to say!
"Perhaps we'll just pick up where we left off, and I'll swallow him with that
kiss that remained fresh on my lips waiting to be taken."
With a racing heart and bubbling eyes I closed in on a closer angle at the man whose
eyes began to fade.
"Wait a minute. What's happening?"
(I came in closer.) His hair grew lighter and thinner. His nose defused into a more
narrow and sharp shape. I watched as his face distorted into something foreign, and
with each approaching step all of Bahram I saw in that man disappeared.
As I passed the older gentlemen in bafflement I noticed
his fragile white face staring back at mine. He seemed as lost as I felt, and withered.
As he began to fade into the scenery, I realized I might have been staring back at
myself in some parallel world of a different time. I wondered if I still missed him,
missed him so much that one day I may grow old and still dream of his smile.
Possibilities seem to exist only so briefly, like my lady calling. Whispers disperse
into the night as one waits too long to answer or approaches too eagerly at a time
long past. The old scar has been scrapped, and healing time has long found comfort
in this wound. As I passed the older gentlemen startled by my sudden presence, I
cast one last stare to find a hint or clue in the tired old man that would remind
me of Bahram. As I found no trace, I couldn't help but wonder what it was in my magnificent
portrait of Bahram that reminded me of love.
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