New York, Monday August 15
God, I am so goddamn SCREAMING MAD at Peerooz, at Ali, at all men!
After I extricated myself from Peerooz's slimy arms, I tried to run after
Ali but he had disappeared as magically as if he had a flying carpet waiting
for him outside on Eighth Avenue.
I couldn't leave my parents of course and just made an excuse on Ali's
behalf. I could see mAmAn wanted to probe some foozool questions but a look
from bAbA dissuaded her.
Finally yesterday, I just dropped by his house after he failed to show
up on our usual jogging route. I had the security guard call him up instead
of buzzing him myself because I had a weird intuition that he would hang
up on me but he wouldn't want to embarass me in front of the guard. Funny
enough, it worked!
I didn't have to knock on his door as he had left it open for me. After
looking in some rooms, I finally realized he was sitting outside on his
balcony, smoking. I plopped down beside him and took the cigarette from
his hand. I took a long drag from it then crushed it in the ashtray.
-- "Okay, let's talk."
-- "I have nothing to say Nazanin... And you don't owe me any explanation
-- "Okay first of all let's cut this bullshit ice treatment... Since
you have met my mother, you know I've had to put up with this passive aggressive
crap for ages and I can't stand it any longer."
Ali remained silent.
-- "Why did you run away like that last night? You disappointed
my parents, but what's more you disappointed me."
At this Ali finally turned to look at me. His eyes had become so cold,
they could have been throwing ice bullets.
-- "Disappointed?... That's rich, Nazanin, coming from you..."
He got up and went inside. I followed him.
-- "A-hAn! That's better!... Show some emotion at least instead
of shutting me out! How exactly did I disappoint you? Did you even stay
long enough to grasp the meaning of what happened last night? Or were you
too busy passing judgment on me to stop and ask?"
But I had given up my plan and Ali had sufficiently regained his calm
to retreat behind his fortress of ice once again.
-- "Nazanin, you really don't owe me any explanation... We are nothing
to each other. It is none of my business that you are back with Peerooz.
But it is my choice to stay away from... that... (And here he momentarily
seemed to lose his control again)...that piece of human garbage!"
I felt my ears getting hot. So we meant nothing to each other? So I meant
nothing to him? Well fine, I had expected that all along. How could he possible
feel anything for me, I was so beneath him. I decided to hurt him the best
way I could.
-- "Wow Ali! You really enjoy passing judgment on others don't you?
You really feel like you are above the rest of us don't you? Did you feel
the same way when that girl killed herself over you in Switzerland?"
As soon as I said those words, I regretted them. Ali suddenly turned
around and the anger in his face made me think he was actually going to
hit me. But the expression passed like a lightning and the anger in Ali's
eyes was replaced with another expression, one which chilled me to the depths
of my heart: It was a look of immense pity. Without saying another word,
he turned and walked out of his apartment.
Tuesday August 16
I am never EVER going to speak to Ali again. When he calls, I will simply
hang up the phone.
Wednesday August 17
Rehearsal went okay...Warbled over some of the lines...
Ali hasn't called... Good! Maybe I shouldn't have said those harsh words,
but then again I don't mean anything to him so why did he get so mad? I
guess he can't act all haughty and morally superior anymore now that he
knows I know about his past...
Thursday August 18
Damn! Just finished a big bowl of Ben and Jerry's Cherry Garcia. Derrick
chewed me up like a piece of gum in front of the whole cast and crew. Couldn't
sleep well last night and missed one of my cues at today's performance.
Fortunately the other actors covered up and the audience didn't notice but
Derrick was really mad and let me have it after the show. I didn't feel
like going to the cast dinner tonight.
Ali is so stubborn! I can't believe this... After all these months of
friendship, we were practically joined at the hip! And he doesn't even bother
to call me: What if I had been in a horrible accident? I guess he doesn't
care at all!
If he thinks I am going to call him, he has another thing coming.
Sunday August 21
Oh Dear Dear Diary! You must be so tired of the taste of my salty tears
on your pages. Why, oh why does happiness elude me? And by my own fault?
I am not worthy of it I guess, I am not worthy of ANYTHING.
Tonight after the performance, I couldn't stand it anymore, I went to
Ali's to work things out. I mean, I didn't want to lose him as a friend
over something as stupid as Peerooz and he never even got to hear what really
happened... Not that he would believe me after the way I have been acting!
Well, when I showed up at his lobby, the security guard told me he was
gone. Gone? What do you mean gone? Had he left on vacation? The guard would
only tell me he had broken his lease and moved out for good. He didn't know
of anything else and he hadn't heard of any forwarding address.
In complete denial, still thinking this must be some kind of mistake,
I hopped into a cab and floored it to Nance's house. Her husband Hossein
would tell me the truth behind his cousin's moving out.
When I arrived there, it was already around 10 p.m. but I took a deep
breath and knocked on their door. Fortunately, they were still awake, staying
up to watch some TV before heading for bed. One look at my face and Nance
tried to make me sit down. But I was like a crazy person. I refused to sit
and just kept apologizing and asking them to just give me a quick answer
as to where Ali was and I would be out of their hair. When Hossein finally
told me Ali had decided to take the Time magazine job in the Paris
office after all, and had left before the weekend, I finally sat down.
Nance went to get me some tissues as I sat there on their couch, at 10:30
at night, crying my eyes out.
"It's... all... my... fault...," I managed to utter, in between
sobbing fits, "I... shouldn't... have told him..."
Hossein took my hand into his and patted it sympathetically.
-- "What are you talking about Nazanin jAn?... Of course it's not
your fault, he just got a good job offer... How has that anything to do
with you aziz? I am just surprised he wouldn't have said good-bye to you,
he is usually not rude... Mazerat mikhAm az tarafesh...
-- "Naaaahh... (sniffle, sniffle)... Mazerat az maneh.... Taghsseere
maneh... I drove him away..."
-- "Oh hush hush Nazanin, how could you drive him away?
-- "Because... I told him..."
-- "Told him what aziz?"
-- "Told him I knew... about Switzerland..."
I felt Hossein's hand suddenly harden its grip.
-- "What do you mean Naz joon... How could you possibly know about
-- "Peerooz... he told me... everything..."
-- "Peerooz???...Told you what?"
-- "He told me... when Ali and him were classmates at Le Rosey...
about Ali seducing that... poor girl... and... she killed herself... I threw
that in Ali's face!... And now he is gone!"
My sobs doubled in intensity. I felt Hossein release my hand and stand
up. I looked up at him. He had his face in his hands.
-- "Oh God... Oh God... Nazanin..."
-- "Nazanin, Peerooz... I can't believe he would do that... Peerooz
lied to you... You got it all backwards..."
-- "What... do you mean?..."
Slowly, a feeling of horror was beginning to creep over me.
-- "Nazanin jAn, this is so hard for me to say... It wasn't Ali
who got the girl pregnant when he was a schoolboy in Switzerland... It was...
Hossein sighed. I looked at him, the horror slowly sinking in, like sand
at the bottom of a swamp.
-- "The girl was Parvaneh, my cousin, Ali's sister... She was 15
years old... When Ali found her, she was already cold..."