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January 4, 2003
The Iranian

Part 13

February 1
5:36 p.m.

It's been around one week since I've moved into Chloe's spare room. Seven days and seven nights. The nights are the hardest.

For a while, Ali had cured me of my insomnia. The incessant tossing and turning that had qualified every night of my life from as far as I can remember.

Falling asleep with Ali was such a comfort. I was restless no more. I only had to put my head down on his right shoulder, my right arm across his chest, my legs wrapped up in his. I would peacefully enter the world of dreams. I felt so safe.

We used to go to sleep to the sounds of his sports programs. I would tease him so much about it, making my snide comments about the silliness of identifying with these million dollar paid jocks on the screen.

-- "What do you mean, we won the game?" I would snicker at Ali, "I didn't see you running out there on the field."

But Ali's enthusiasm at a Lakers or Cowboys win would never waver. That wasn't every night though. On many occasions, Ali was more than happy to entertain my cinematic obsession. Even though he had to fight to resist the urge of dozing off before a movie. I couldn't believe he had never watched Scarface, or the Godfather, before meeting me. But he sat through it all without blinking and at the end, he thanked me so much for introducing him to this new world.

These lovely memories belong to a different universe.

Now I go to sleep in a strange room. In a bed that doesn't belong to me. Surrounded by wallpaper that I don't like. My eyes are glued to an unfamiliar ceiling and my ears, which were used to the crash of ocean waves against the beach, now have to contend with the monotonous and steady sound of cars wheezing by on Ventura Boulevard.

I toss and turn for hours just like the old days. And I keep my phone close. Right under my pillow. Just in case...

Just in case of what? Well, not that I would admit it to anyone in a million years but I wish with all my heart that Ali would call. I don't think I would know what to say. I am not even sure that I would pick up. But oh boy do I ever wish for that word "HOME" to show up on my cell phone Caller ID. "HOME"... These four letters are all that I have left from my past with Ali.

Ali did call initially. After the third day that he had gotten no response from me, he left me a message on my voice mail.

-- "Nazanin jaan. I know you think I was wrong. And I do admit I made more than one mistake. But if our relationship meant so little to you that you can just pick up and leave without a word, like a thief into the night, then I guess I was wrong on a lot more things than I thought. I am not in the habit of stalking. I can take a hint. So I won't be bothering you anymore...."

Grrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr........ He called me a what?... a THIEF!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! The nerve!....

I was ready to flush my cell phone down the toilet I was so mad! Then, the next minute, I was sobbing more pitifully than one of Dr. Holokouie's nutty call-in patients. Only to end up giggling like a maniac for no particular reason. I've been going through this roller-coaster of mood swings ever since.

I don't know what I want. To lose Ali forever? This is the man I wanted to spend my life with. I miss not only a boyfriend and a lover, but my best friend, my soulmate.

But how can I patch things up when I have no trust in him ?

-- "Aaahhh, you just need a good **&*&%%$#%" Chloe keeps yawning at me when I try to talk about my dilemma. "Hey you know Gavin was asking about you? Maybe I should hook the two of you up?"

-- "What? Who? Who's Gavin" I ask, sincerely curious.

-- "You know... That guy you threw into the pool. At my boss's party... The one with the cute British accent and the dreamy blue eyes."

-- "Ohhh... errr... what do you mean he asked about me? When did he ask about me?"

No matter if you are in the middle of a heartbreak crisis. Even the most distraught, disoriented girl will have her ears perk up at the mention of someone "asking about her." It's human nature. Or at least girl nature. We all crave attention as furiously as Scarlett O'Hara digging up that rotten turnip upon her return to wartorn Tara.

But Chloe's attention span, which is about as healthy as the aforementioned turnip, soon turns to more worldly matters.

-- "Hey? You wanna make a bowl of edamame and watch Dynasty reruns all day?"

I swear, daytime television is made for out-of-work actors and nursing home residents. And it's hard to tell which group is more senile. Although the thought of exchanging sarcastic comments about Joan Collins' oversize shoulder pads and Linda Evans' helmet hair sounds appealing, unfortunately, I, for one, have to get to work.

I don't even know how my savings lasted this long without me having to take another waitress/hostess/human slave job. I hate to think that Ali was providing for most of our expenses. At the time, it didn't seem weird. For some reason, I had the utmost certainty that we were gonna spend the rest of our lives together. In my heart, we were already married and it didn't matter who paid for what when... Now, I would give my right arm to be able to refund every penny of his. I feel like I was a kept woman or something. Maybe that's why he preferred Shohreh to me. She owns her own business, seems to have her life together. And look at me? On the wrong side of my twenties and still figuring out what to do with my life. Holding on to a chimerical dream of an acting career.

Anyways, enough with the mental masochism. I have to put on my fake smily face and serve customers at Sal's Diner, a 50's style burger and milkshake joint that has been a staple of the neighborhood since...well... the 50's. It's not high paying but the crowd is always large and generous with their tips.

Tomorrow, first day of rehearsals starts for my movie. I know, I know, I shouldn't pat myself on the shoulder too much for having been cast in a Z-rated straight to video flick but at this point in my life, I'll hold on to anything if it can make me forget Ali, even temporarily. I just wonder if he is doing the same thing over there, in the place we once called "HOME"... or whether he has already forgotten all about me... Just in case, I think I'll keep my cell phone close by... Just in case...


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