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October 4, 2002
The Iranian

Part 1
October 3, 10: 11 a.m.

One month! Count them baby! 30 precious, perfect days that I have been in a functional, beautiful relationship with a man who is neither:

-- A pathological liar.
-- A Clintonesque nymphomaniac.
-- An indulgent self-centered little Mama's boy.
-- All of the above.

Could Ali be "the one"?

He likes the Dallas Cowboys and I like Woody Allen films. He is a morning person and I am a night owl. He drinks Diet Coke and favors the outdoors. I like to stay in and lap up green tea ice cream in front of the TV, and yet we are perfect for each other.

We can go from a crazy 100 words a second animated debate to the most comfortable of silences without missing a beat. Sometimes, we blurt out the same observation, or we reach out for the same item at the same time. I have given a nickname for these moments: The Nazali moments ( a combination of our names, Nazanin and Ali, to symbolize how perfectly symbiotic
we are as a couple.) Even our bodies seem to be two pieces of a puzzle that do not feel natural unless they remain in a constant embrace.

I am so in love and happy I feel that my heart has blown up like a balloon, forever on the brink of bursting. But at the same time, it all feels so fragile, as if at any moment this happiness may slip away from me. (I've had the rug pulled out from under me so many times in the past!)

At times, I am almost paranoid. Like this morning, on the way to work, I was looking at Ali's profile while he was driving the car. He was so quiet. In fact, been quiet for a couple of days. Suddenly, I imagined all sorts of thoughts going through his mind. That we have moved in together too fast. That I am cramping his style. That he finds my once endearing habits
annoying now.

I couldn't stand it, I had to break the silence. Before thinking, I blurted out:

-- "Happy anniversary!"

Ali seemed to have suddenly woken up from a daze.

-- "Huh?" He uttered lazily, his face momentarily turned towards me.

I felt like I was sinking into moving sand. And of course, the more I tried to struggle for a way out, the more I sank in.

-- "You know," (nervous laughter) "it's been one month since our official first date. Since my birthday."

-- "Oh Naz," he whispered with a wmile, "You're so sentimental."

He leaned over and gave me a kiss. I didn't feel reassured but I didn't want to push the issue. "He is right Nazanin-eh-khar," I kept telling myself, trying to brush away ugly thoughts, "don't ruin this gorgeous day with your neuroses!"

It was certainly beautiful today. I love New York best in the autumn, particularly in October, when the leaves have all had time to turn . And call me biased, but I think the Village is the most pleasant area in Manhattan during this month. I mean, it rules throughout the year anyway, but in the fall, forget it! You gotta walk through the quaint narrow streets west of 6th avenue while golden, ruby, and emerald gems fall around you carried gently by the wind to understand.

Ali dropped me off at my matinee show, in a little Off-Broadway theater in midtown while he returned to Ground Zero to continue his coverage of the grueling events that have forever poisoned our City.

I wanted to ask him if we were doing something special tonight to celebrate my "sentimental" anniversary, but it was too late. Already his car had disappeared into the Manhattan traffic. With a sigh, I entered the theater. It was show-time!

12:30 a.m.

I can't believe what's happened! I am so tired and drained but I had to write my feelings down as they stand at this second or else I will lose the moment forever.

After the matinee show, I tried to call Ali on his cell but there was no reception. The whole cast was going for their usual bite at a deli across the street before the 9 p.m. curtain call and I joined them. I had only half-heartedly bit into my sandwich when I realized time was up already. With no sign from Ali, I went back onstage completely demoralized. You better believe my "crying scenes" had never been as moving as they were tonight. Even my director Derrick
gave me a sympathetic pat on the back, which is a gold mine seeing as he NEVER gives any compliments.

As I made my way back home on the 6, I could hear the sounds of a giant church bell ringing for the death of our relationship. After 30 days of feeling my heart bursting like a balloon, it had now shriveled up to a tiny, wrinkly weak little organ. I was doomed, doomed!

With these thoughts in mind, I opened the door to our apartment and the sight awaiting me almost knocked me off my (tired) feet.

There were candles and roses everywhere. On the tables, floors, and walls. A delicious aroma revealed to my nose that Ali was cooking his famous chicken Cacciatore. Before my jaw had the time to hit the floor, my love had magically materialized out of the dim shadows of the apartment and had handed me a glass of Chilean Merlot (My favorite yeah!).

I jumped into Ali's arms and proceeded to bury his neck under a thousand kisses.

-- "Happy anniversary you crazy kid," he whispered in between returning my kisses.

My heart was back to bursting. The church bell had changed its tune from a gloomy funereal melody to a frenzied celebratory waltz worthy of Edward Grieg.

Suddenly I felt famished. We sat down to devour the succulent dinner prepared by my sweetheart. I dug my fork into a juicy piece of chicken and was about to bite into it when without warning, the church bell came crashing down the tower of my happiness. My god... Had I heard right?... Ali had just said something that sounded like... no ... it couldn't be... I must have had too much wine.

-- "Could you... (Nervous throat clearing)... Ali... could you repeat what you just said?"

Ali looked straight into my eyes and calmly repeated the following words:

-- "Nazanin, there's something you should know. I am moving to California."

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