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Part 17
New York, Tuesday February 2

4:45 p.m.
Things are as good as ever with Peerooz and me EVEN after meeting my whole tribe at my cousin Samira's wedding. Should I take this as a sign? "Meant to be" and all that crap? Is he my Mystical Iranian Prince, the MIP of my dreams? Manny just laughs at me and tells me to stop living in the clouds. She has been incredibly understanding and diplomatic ever since Peerooz and I started going out. She has hidden her initial dislike of him but I know she still thinks of him as a "playa". If that were true, I tell her, he would have put the moves on me long time ago. As it is, he has been no bolder than a Victorian-era Gentleman in an Oscar Wilde play. So when Peerooz invited me a couple of days ago to go with him on a Valentine weekend getaway to a Vermont ski chalet, my initial thrill later turned to some anxiety. Was this "his play" for me? What would be the sleeping arrangements? What was he assuming about me?

I dissected this issue with Manny and Bruce ad nauseam. Manny says to go ahead and just do what feels right. If I don't like the arrangements at the chalet, simply make Peerooz take the couch. Kheetesh konam. I don't like this idea though, the whole thing just seems so awkward. And I am too embarrassed to ask him about it beforehand. This is so hard. I don't know if I am ready to take the next step with Peerooz yet. One minute I fantasize about his touch, the next, my Iranian girl guilt is screaming at me: No, no, no!

Thursday February 4

1:00 p.m.
I am screaming mad, just SCREAMING MAD. Just came back from lunch with Nance. She was telling her about my anxieties at making the overnight trip with Peerooz. Was actually on the verge of deciding against it when she came up with this bombshell.

-- "Naz Joon, I don't know if this makes the decision easier but a few weeks ago Ali, Hossein's cousin, was over at our house and he was asking about your relationship with Peerooz. I told him you were seeing each other."

-- "Well ? How is it of his business?"

-- "I don't know Naz joon. I think he knew him back when he was a schoolboy in Switzerland. Anyway, he told me to watch over you, as a friend, and that Peerooz is bad news."

I nearly dropped my sandwich into my lap. HOW DARE HE???? After what he has done, how dare he judge Peerooz? How dare he meddle in my business, try to sabotage my relationship? Nance must have noticed the anger in my face because she looked worried.

-- "I am sorry Naz Joon, I didn't mean to make you upset. Ali is a good guy and I just thought I better pass this along. I am sorry if I have offended you."

I was about to tell her how much of a "good guy" Ali is and how he drove that poor girl to suicide back in Switzerland. But I remembered Peerooz made me promise to keep this story between us and I didn't want to make trouble for him. So I just calmed myself down and put on a smile and told her not to worry.

I had made up my mind. I was going to this Vermont weekend with Peerooz.

Friday February 12

6: 27 p.m
Took the day off to get an early start on our road trip. Grolpy wasn't too happy. Well, he can just get someone from the Tri-State Area Society of Birdwatchers to fill in for me since he seems to like them so much! Am in the car right now, sitting next to my honey, who keeps trying to get a peek at my diary but I just shoo him away.

8:45 p.m.
Arrived at the Chalet almost an hour ago. Beautiful place, lost in the middle of nowhere. All wood logs and fireplace, so picturesque I almost expected a bear skin rug to lie in the middle of the living room (But this would be a big no-no in today's politically correct world... not that I mind actually, the idea of the bear skin rug is as scary as it is titillating). The two-floor chalet belongs to a friend of Peerooz at his company who has been kind enough to lend it to us this weekend. I was so worried throughout the entire trip about what would happen once we got there. I was even starting to regret my rash decision to go for it. The more I thought about it, the more I wondered if I was doing this just to get back at Ali. How meaningless was that? Why would I even care what Ali thinks?

When we got there, as soon as we got out of the car, a ball of white cold snow hit my left cheek with the speed of lightning.

-- "Peeroooooooozzzz...Mikoshamett!!!"

We ended up having an amazing snow fight right in front of the chalet, with Peerooz running after me. When he finally caught up with me, he lunged at me and we both fell on the snow laughing til tears came out. The kiss we shared was delicious.

That snow fight had so cheered me I had completely forgotten about my anxiety until we stepped in with our luggage. Peerooz took my hand and led me upstairs. There was a hall there with two doors across from each other. Two bedrooms. "This here is yours," he explained as he pushed the door open for me to reveal the loveliest suite with adjoining bathroom. I was so relieved, so happy! It was hard for me to restrain myself from jumping on him with a rain of grateful kisses. We decided to each unpack, take our showers, then meet back downstairs in the living room for a bite to eat. As I am writing now dear diary, I am in my "fluffy sheep" bathrobe, my hair freshly washed, my whole body so relaxed, my mind at ease. Peerooz must have been faster than me because I already hear him downstairs, banging away at pots and pans in the kitchen. Already a delicious aroma is finding its way up to my room. I can't wait to see what is the surprise he has in store next for me. But first I have to change...

Monday February 15

3:35 p.m.
Of all the Valentines I have ever had, this was by far the absolute, unattainable, highest peak of delight. I feel like I am floating on clouds, and I want to hug every stranger on the street and even Grolpy to share my joy and wisdom with them. Life is love. Love is life. I am so lucky!!!

When I went downstairs to meet Peerooz that evening, he had already set a cozy little table for two, lit a multitude of candles all around, and soft jazz was playing softly in the background. He gave me a very appreciative look as I came down the stairs, snugly wrapped in my white cashmere sweater (winter white is so perfect!) which contrasted nicely with the dark hair sprawled on my shoulders, still a bit damp and peach-smelling from my recent shower. My cheeks remained flush with excitement from our snow fight in the cold outdoors and I wore minimal make-up, just a little gray shadow to contour my eyes and a glossy lip balm that smelled of tropical islands. Peerooz had whipped up this amazing pasta dinner (penne a la vodka, in a pink sauce...mmmm...) which we toasted with the sweetest white wine, a German Riesling, just the type he knows I like. After dinner, we danced a slow to Chet Baker's "My Funny Valentine". It felt so good to be held in his strong arms.

After dinner, he lit the fireplace and for the rest of the evening we just sat on the floor on pillows we had taken from the couch and scattered in front of the fireplace. He had had the presence of mind to bring the right selection from his personal CD collection and I was amazed to find out how much our tastes in music were alike, how romantic he was. We listened to everything from Gershwin (Is there anything more dreamy than Rhapsody in Blue?) to Nina Simone, Ella Fitzgerald and Louis Armstrong. The conversation was endless, as we talked about our childhoods, our vague memories of Iran, being raised as a hyphenated Iranian in the West. Many times we laughed and a couple of times, tears came to our eyes. I was amazed at how open he was, how vulnerable. I imagined what he must have been like as a little boy, as a young man. When the last candle went out, and the last spark of fire in the fireplace died out, we went upstairs where we kissed each other goodnight and retreated to our suites.

I undressed languidly, filled with elation and regret at the same time. It was such a nice evening, why did it have to come to an end? I wished that it could have gone on forever, somehow. I put on my Scooby-Doo T-shirt (my favorite sleeping outfit since college!) and crawled under the covers, thinking what a wonderful man Peerooz was, how much fun we would have this weekend. I felt physically so exhausted yet my mind was going at a hundred miles an hour, filled with a thousand thoughts. I couldn't go to sleep. I wondered if he felt the same, there, across the room, in his own bed... I wondered... if he was going to knock on my door in a few minutes and...

Two knocks were finally heard in the pitch darkness of the night. The sound of a door opening.

-- "Nazanin, eshgheh man, do you need something aziz?"

I smiled.

"Yes, I need you Peerooz...," I said as I closed the door behind me and entered Peerooz's room.

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