The Newlyweds (13)

Shahab had not paid rent for the past 3 months


The Newlyweds (13)
by laleh haghighi

PART 13 (part 1) (part 2) (part 3) (part 4) (part 5) (part 6) (part 7) (part 8) (part 9) (part 10) (part 11) (part 12) (PART 13) (Part 14)

From: Ms. Firoozeh L.
132567 C…… Avenue
Canoga Park, CA USA

August 25

To: Mrs. Sedigheh M….
186 Khiabane K…., Plaque B-2
Tehran, IRAN

Dear Khaleh joon,

You must be getting used to my confusion and distress by now. These are emotions that have filled the pages of my letters to you, now more than ever. I thought at the beginning of this month that some positive news would finally go your way for a change. Shahab had been in a chipper mood than usual. He kept telling me that business was “looking up” without elaborating, of course. Every time I ask him to give me details, he just waves me away laughing, saying “in maamele beyne mardha hasst, khanooma nabayad dekhalat konan.” Just like my father!

Finally, one day, he took me out in a spanking new, convertible Mercedes-Benz, which he had again rented out for the week-end. He told me he had a big surprise for me. We kept going up twists and turns on a winding road that led us to the summit of one of Los Angeles’ many hills. We eventually pulled up in front of this gorgeous mansion. It was three story tall, with these amazingly huge windows. When we stepped inside, the light from the shining sun was illuminating the inside of the house. The ceiling was so high, it felt more like the inside of a mosque than a house. I didn’t understand what was going on. Shahab turned to me and said:

-- “Welcome to our new house!”

I thought he was joking of course. But he insisted that this was to be our new home. At that moment, a well-dressed woman wearing a hot pink suit and lots of jewellery came into the foyer and greeted us. She handed me some brochures for the house and took us on a tour. As I entered each of the 6 bedrooms and 5 bathrooms, I was floored. The gorgeous view of a nearby golf course. The shiny hardwood floor. The granite countertops, the marble baths. A fireplace in almost all of the rooms. And Khaleh, the kitchen, dining room and backyard, you should have seen them. The house looked ready to entertain scores of guests.

Afterwards, Shahab took me to a fancy restaurant and ordered champagne to celebrate. It was after the bubbles from the yummy beverage made their way into my head that I finally let my guard down and started believing that this could all be possible. More than anything, I was so happy that Shahab and I were sharing a beautiful moment together, without acrimony, without any of his mood swings or any of my depressive thoughts. I was hoping we were clinking our glasses to more than just a beautiful home but to a beautiful new beginning for the both of us.

When we came back to the apartment, Shahab told me he had to go on a business trip to New York in a few days to finalize the deal and that he couldn’t take me with him because, naturally, it was “highly secret.” I didn’t mind. I thought I would use the time wisely to clean up and gather all our stuff and prepare ourselves for our move. Also, to tell you the truth, once I said goodbye to him and closed the door, I exhaled loudly. It would be nice to be by myself for a while. Guess an only child will always have some longing for solitude, at least from time to time.

On the third day Shahab was gone, I was napping peacefully after spending the morning cleaning out the whole kitchen when some loud banging on the door startled me awake. I opened the door to find a very irate American man looking at me with furious, bulging eyes. I couldn’t understand who he was and what he wanted. I told him the best I could that I didn’t speak English and to please speak slowly. I was a bit scared because I had heard of al these horror stories about crime in L.A. so I was grateful that the building’s janitor was nearby, sweeping the hallway.

Finally, the stranger calmed down enough to realize I had no idea what he was talking about and that he needed to find another means of communication. He called the janitor over and asked him something. The janitor left and came back a few minutes later with a young man who turned out to be Iranian and living in another unit. He was able to translate for me. What I learned shocked me to my very core.

The American who had intruded upon me was the building’s manager and he was here to collect our rent. Shahab had not paid rent for the past 3 months and kept giving him checks that bounced back from the bank. If he did not pay rent immediately, he would call the Sheriff and have us thrown out into the streets. He was tired of the excuses Shahab made and this was his last chance. As you can imagine, I was completely destroyed by this news. The sad part was, I knew what this man was saying must be the truth. Hadn’t I been on the receiving hand of Shahab’s lies so many times myself? When I thought about the little comedy he had played, pretending that we are buying this amazing mansion when he doesn’t even have money to pay rent, I felt sick to my stomach.

I started crying and telling the manager to please take pity on me. I was home alone and Shahab was out of town in New York, or somewhere else, I wasn’t sure. I just had a cell phone number and every time I had tried to contact him for the past three days, it just went to his voice mail. The three men, the janitor, our neighbour and the manager, were watching me uncomfortably. Men become so awkward all of a sudden when a woman tears up. Except for Shahab of course who just gets angrier. Finally, the manager, in a much kinder tone, told me to stop crying, and that he wouldn’t take any action until Shahab came back, but that he should contact him immediately upon his return.

When I closed the door behind me, I can’t tell you how sick I felt. I dialed Shahab’s cell again and unsurprisingly, it went straight to voicemail. I looked around me, at the furniture I had assembled with my blood, sweat and tears, at the floor I had scrubbed, the windows I had washed. The words of Maryam came back to me.

-- “In che khooneh zendegieh baraye khodett dorost kardi dokhtar?”

I felt so stupid. I was but a fool who relied on her husband and believed his word only to remain at home like a good little wife, or rather, a good little maid and cook. And now, I was being threatened like a common street woman, treated with such disrespect, which I had never been subjected to in my home country, in my father’s home.

When Shahab came home from his trip a couple of days later, still without him returning any of my messages, we had a huge row. I screamed at him that he was a liar and irresponsible. How could he leave me home alone to fend for myself when he knew what kind of trouble he had left me in? He denied everything. About the manager throwing us out on the street, he screamed:

-- "Ghalat kardeh! Goh khordeh! I am going to sue him. I paid him rent on time. It’s not my fault his accounting system made a mistake.”

He was especially incensed that the janitor and one of our neighbours had been witness to this altercation. He asked me if I had run to “Baba joon” or “Khaleh joon” with my tale. I couldn’t believe that this was his most pressing concern in the midst of this chaos, first and foremost that nobody found out about what was going on.

Khaleh Joon, I know I should not have done it but in my blind rage, and my helplessness, I started throwing our dishes and glasses on the floor. Yes, just like a scene out of some stupid film. I slapped myself, I hit myself on the chest and pulled my hair out. I screamed at Shahab that I was tired of his lies, and tired of our life, that I wanted out. He grabbed me by the arms, so hard that it left bruises for days, and told me to quiet down or the neighbours would hear us. That only made me shout louder. I told him I wanted them to find out everything, what a liar he had been. If he had been in Iran, they would have thrown him in jail for writing bad checks and then I would have been known as the wife of a “zendaani.”

His reply chilled me to the bone. He told me that perhaps that would happen in Iran but that we were in his territory now, and the only one who would end up in jail would be me, after he called the I.N.S. to tell them I was here illegally. Since he had safely tucked away my passport, green card and all the rest of my paperwork in his own bank safe, I had no papers and thus, I was at his mercy. I think I went a little mad at this point. I actually started laughing among all my tears. I thanked him, from the bottom of my heart, for his sweet words that any husband should tell his wife before they had celebrated their first anniversary.

I honestly don’t know how much more our fight would have escalated. We were interrupted by knocks on our door. Shahab answered whoever it was and when he came back, he told me I had my wish. He claimed that a neighbour, disturbed by our noise, was threatening to call the police.

-- “It’s your choice now, Firoozeh Khanoom. If you want to spend the night in jail, go ahead, I won’t stop you.” Shahab told me mockingly, his arms crossed against his chest.

I gave him a look with the most hatred that I could muster and silently went into the bedroom, where I locked myself in.

It took some time but eventually, we started speaking to each other again. He came to me, all loving and repentant, asking me to forgive and forget his angry words. He showed me copies of checks that he claimed were cashed in by the manager for rent and that he had gone to him and cleared up everything. It was just a mistake, a horrible misunderstanding. He gave me a beautiful ring that he said he had picked up for me in New York. It was the beginning of his long road to make up to me all that I had lost at the beginning of our marriage. Nemidoonam Khaleh joon, ehssass mikonam baa in mard zendegi konam, kaarama akharesh be teemarestaan mikesheh.

I am starting to get the feeling that Shahab doesn’t love me anymore. For, how could he say those hurtful words to me if he cared even a little, even in the middle of the worst anger. What’s more, I am beginning to wonder if his proclamations of love back when we were courting in Iran, if those were more of his lies. But why? Why would he do this? Why does he breathe and eat lies? I have never encountered someone like him in my life. He twists and turns my mind so easily, like it was dough and he was a baker. He can make anything from it. One minute, I believe him, the next I am proven his lies. Again, he molds me back to the way he wants. I just don’t know what to think anymore, or what to believe. What is your take on all this? I am looking so forward to hearing from you, now more than ever.

Lovingly, Firoozeh.

>>> Part 14

(part 1) (part 2) (part 3) (part 4) (part 5) (part 6) (part 7) (part 8) (part 9) (part 10) (part 11) (part 12) (PART 13) (Part 14)


Recently by laleh haghighiCommentsDate
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more from laleh haghighi
laleh haghighi

Thank you all so much

by laleh haghighi on

Thank you so much for all your comments, from the entertaining to the moving to the supportive to all of the above.  I am keeping with my earlier promise not to make detailed comments so as not to give too much away from future episodes (which by the way have all been written already) but I thank you from the bottom of my heart.  It has been very therapeutic for me.  It is good to hear others out there who have had the same experience and who have survived!

American Wife

well exactly!

by American Wife on

How often does a reader get to interact with the author during the course of reading!!!  I think it just adds more excitement.  I can only hope that Laleh has completely finished the story and that we are NOT influencing  Just expressing opinions, that's all...:-)

I have to admit I'm one of those readers who wants definition.  Probably not very imaginative...or maybe too much so!  I like to know exactly what's going on.  Oh shoot... is that what they mean by obsessive-compulsive!!!!

Anyway... love the story!


Dear Laleh,

by Jaleho on

Isn't it great that not only you can play God, others expect you play it for them the way they want :-)

I remember this book called Atonement in which the author at the end even goes to a detailed explanation of how an author plays God (I didn't like that part at all, sometimes western writers like to chew every detail for you and rob readers imagination dry, in this case by even revealing  different ways he had thought about ending his book!)

Anyway, just wanted to tell you that we're still reading with the same pleasure that we started reading the first part. See what happens to your readers when you create such realistic characters?!



Lies, so true

by t (not verified) on

Laleh you write so well. For those who think how could Firoozeh fall for all the lies, trust me one can. I'm an educated woman who grew up in the States but I was naive enough to fall for my ex-husband's lies about how things will work out soon and to give him just a few more months; for years. I think as Iranian women we are taught that to be a good wife you need to be tolerant particularly when it comes to finances (otherwise we will be labeled "poolaki" and "madi"). In reality it has nothing to do with money and everything with putting up with an irresponsible, lazy and dishonest person. I think Firoozeh needs to find "Dr. Holakoyi" on TV who she can talk to and who can point her to social services.

American Wife

this ain't going anywhere good!

by American Wife on

Poor Firoozeh... not many options for her, are there!  I can see my husband taking off for a few days and not checking in!!   Things have gone way past the point of her wondering if he loves her.  She needs to start thinking about getting the heck out of dodge!  But what can she do?


Shahab reminds me of "A beautiful mind"

by Miny (not verified) on

I guess if Firoozeh has the courage to go take a step forward with janitor do you think she would be keeping up with this piece Shahab in the first place...she is already confused..she has not been reared to take bold she has to do a lot of talking to herself first...

and secondly he wont try to kill himself ever...Firozeh would be his gun target if he finds anything sortish....he may become a fugitive...but not a suicidist

but sometimes these violent violinists are very timid people..they can be scared off by being bold..but somewhere a bold well thought well planned act is required....

He is never going to change....not for good ever and not in good times ever...Firozzeh has to make a decision if she is capable of making and if she is capable of pulling through it....

and Toofan your fanny fanatical comments have earned you a fan...Your concept is soo much juicy..its dripping actually...very lucid...juiciendous, juicimonious,juicylicious...let your spirit live ever...hahaha!

And Laleh...its so nice that you write about things that are of common is prevalent across the globe...characters and decorations may change..plot is essentialy same....great thing to discuss but who can help whom..Firozeh has to decide to help either Shahab or herself....problem is she is trying to help shahab help her..


I agree Zane Amrikai

by Toofantheoncesogreat (not verified) on

We can fix the story line so that we both get what we want.

I believe that if Firoozeh sleeps with half the appartment block, Shahab will be so mad that his head will explode.

Imagine the landlord saying: Shahab, you ow me rent

Shahab with his FOB dialect going: Im not paying until the next month, what are you gonna do?

Landlord; Oh nothing really, by the way, here is a tape of me humping your wife.

Then we cut to the scene where Shahab sits and watches the hot film while crying for himself in his living room alone. The author, Lale, off course telling all the hot details for uh.. story credibility..

He then gets drunk, and tries to kill himself with a gun, only to have his long lost friend call him.

They meet, and his friend, Hassan, tells him that he has always loved him. We have a short gay steamy sex part.. just so that the story is spicy.. and like.. not politically correct..

And then, 3 months later, Shahab finds out that he has been infected by 15 different sexual diseases by Hassan, including AIDS.

Is that good enough? We can have a piano dropping on him after he walks out of the AIDS clinic.. but somehow I feel that would be overkill..

Now I should stop typing, and go to bed, I hope Lale enjoys these golden nuggets Ive given her!

Good luck! And seriously, Im looking forward for the next part, good writing :)

Zan Amrikai

Some may question the reality of this

by Zan Amrikai on

But not I.  Not that I lived with THOSE kind of lies from my shohar azeez, but we all know some have and some still do live with that nightmare.  Even if it is "fiction" Laleh, in that you are not recounting--not claiming to recount anyway--someone's specific tale, it still hurts to read.  I wish there were more one could do besides have sympathy, empathy, and heartbreak that life is sometimes so painful we think we would prefer death. 

Could you make Shahab die, please?  At least, in fiction, let there be some POETIC justice! God forgive me for even thinking it, but seriously, don't let him just get injured, kill the guy and let Firoozeh inherit anything he has that is of value, and then let her start a life of her own that is based on truth and character and good values. 

 The affair that Toofanjoon suggests is going to do nothing to make Firoozeh feel at all better; it will only make her heart hard and confuse her.  She is already confused: she is wondering if Shahab loves her!  If that is love, someone hate me now please.


Hey "Toofantheoncesogreat "

by Miny (not verified) on

You are Toofan and You are brilliant..hahaha


Beautiful line...funny but nice expression!

by Miny (not verified) on

"He twists and turns my mind so easily, like it was dough and he was a baker. "



by toofantheoncesogreat (not verified) on

Can she have an affair with the landlord, the janitor and the grumpy MILF next door?, that should really blow Shahabs mind haha.. no really.. do it.. and dont spare the details...