The Newlyweds (20, Conclusion)

Goodbye dear brother. Goodbye again and forever


The Newlyweds (20, Conclusion)
by laleh haghighi

PART 20 (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) (Part 15) (Part 16) (Part 17) (Part 18) (Part 19)

Subject: [Great news!]
From: Nassim,
To: Mitra,
January 10, 13:26:04 p.m.

Dear Mitra Joon:

Pejman and I just celebrated our first year anniversary, jatt kheyli khali bood dokhtar, cheghadr bimogheh mossaferat rafti, lol!!! I can hardly believe it has been one year since we are married. And more happy than ever! But now comes the REAL good news. I told my family at Christmas time and now I am starting to share it with my friends, you first of course! I am pregnant!!!! Woo-hoooooooooooooooooooooo....

* * * * * * * * * * *

Subject: [Goodbye]
From: Pejman,
To: Payam,
January 10, 12:55:03 a.m.

It's over. She is gone. I am left behind. I went to her and tried to stop her, plead with her, convince her that I had not betrayed her. Geraldine told me she had already left. She took my wrist and placed her other hand on my heart and told me it's over. I lost Kati like I lost my "other friend", the one who "is in the dark." I blanched. I had not told her or anyone here about Leili. I came home, crazed. I felt like I was the one stuck under the rubble, the rubble of a sham marriage, an unwanted child, a pretend-life. I had dug and dug until I caught a glimpse of sunlight and now it had been taken away from me. This will be the last of my correspondence to you dear brother. I thought when I saw Kati that first day that Leili had come back from the dead. It was my hope that somehow I could resurrect you too, give you a life, a wife and children, a job, a comforting older brother's voice that would guide me through my turmoil, all those things that you would have become if you too had not succumbed with Leili that dark day when the Iraqi bomb fell and destroyed all our lives. I am there with you now, in the dark forever, and I know now I will never emerge again.

Goodbye dear brother. Goodbye again and forever.

* * * * * * * * * * *

Subject: [Re: Great News!]
From: Mitra,
To: Nassim,
January 11, 16:16:00 p.m.

Hi Sweetie,

Wow this is all great news but guess what! I have good news of my own. Nassim, get ready for this: I have found the one! I am soooooooooo happy. I think you were on to something with this overseas husband hunting of yours! LoL, J/K!!!

I never dreamed that this would happen but lo and behold, in the middle of my vacation at mu aunt and uncle’s in London, I have met the most dreamy man and I think he is about to propose. He is a successful business man in New York, some kind of Donald Trump like real estate tycoon. He even showed me his picture with him! I cannot wait for you to meet him and perhaps to be my bridesmaid at our wedding, heehee. His name is Shahab and…

(The End).

(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) (Part 15) (Part 16) (Part 17) (Part 18) (Part 19)


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more from laleh haghighi

Great Job

by Zan Rooz (not verified) on

I enjoyed readying and following up each letter. It was fun like when we were kids and reading one of the Iranian magazines’ multi- part stories. I remember reading each week what happened and could not wait until the next week. It was the same with your stories. As I read your explanation about the ending, I understand it better now. The only suggestion that I may have for you is that the voice of these recent immigrants sounded like immigrants who have lived abroad a long time and was also educated abroad. The slangs and reference points belong to voices more educated abroad than in Iran. If the roles were reversed, it would have been more natural. Something to think about. Can not wait to read another story of yours.

Dee M

A very passionate audience...

by Dee M on

Really loved your work!

laleh haghighi

Sequels and Prequels

by laleh haghighi on

Jaleho that really cracked me up :-)

It reminded me of that scene in Robert Altman's The Player where they are pitching the sequel to the Graduate, where the Dustin Hoffman character is married to the Katharine Ross character and living with the seductress mother in law, Mrs Robinson, who's had a stroke : "Okay here it is, the Graduate Part II... It'll be weird, dark and funny... with a stroke!"

I never cared for sequels or prequels that much either especially when written by a different author in a different era (with rare exceptions such as Wide Sargasso Sea... far more interesting than that boring and preachy saint Jane Eyre)

I am not sure if I will ever resurrect these characters.  I am working on a few things. Not sure if they will be series or short stories or... we'll see. I kno i have a very passionate audience here and
I don't want to let you down.

Thank u again!!!




by confused (not verified) on

Hold on a second... I dont get what happened?
Someone explain...


Continue with the stories

by d (not verified) on

I agree with one of the prior comments. The fact that we criticized you means we were/are engaged in the story lines and you've done a good job getting our attention.

Don't give up on this novel. All along I knew the stories are based on true life stories because they do seem realistic and most importantly you are talented in describing the emotions well. Sam and Kati may be married now, Nassim and Pejman may be having a child in a few months, Shahab may ... (well, he will never change); but who knows what will happen in the years to come? Continue the work.


Even better now!

by Jaleho on

This took care of Sam the natural way, forgot about him totally :-)

It has been a unique privilege to chat with the author as the story goes on, thanks again.

Like I said, can you imagine what would Margaret Mitchell say to all those who wanted to know what kind of day" tomorrow" really would be!

"what do you mean by, Frankly my dear, I don't give a damn!"

Dee M


by Dee M on

Thats what I call an ending!


You do have more fans than

by aamrcngrl (not verified) on

You do have more fans than critics! And the critics are fans...Well i can only speak for myself but I think the only reason why I commented with such great emotion is that I seriously enjoyed the first 18 parts SOOO much.

And I apologize if my words were a bit too harsh. It takes a lot of courage and obviously TALENT to write and publish and receive criticism and I know my words were disrespectful.

I'm always screaming at the tv during Grey's Anatomy when something happens that I don't agree with and threatening to write the creator a letter. And since I rarely have that reaction with novels/tv shows/movies then you should sincerely take it as a compliment that someone who is completely unfamiliar with Iranian culture simply wants more.

laleh haghighi

Oh gosh technical glitch...?

by laleh haghighi on

I just reread part 20 right now from the website rather than from my own computer document and I realize a whole portion of the ending (in nassim's letter) has gone missing from between my submission and publication in this website.  I wonder was it a technical glitch?  I am not blaming the website, sometimes when I copy and paste things get awry.  If that is the case, I offer my deepest apologies.  I feel so sad that this happened.  I will post the missing portion below but I feel so sad it has been lost to so many readers who probably wouldnt come back now... :-( And even for the readers who do come back and read it now, it will never have the same punch.  I feel truly awful. Well without furter comments, here below is the missing portion, right after Nassim tells Mitra the news of her pregnancy, she goes on to say:


"I felt it for some time but I wasn’t sure until I checked with my doctor  And so, at the start of our annual Christmas dinner at home, (which by the way I almost puked at the sight of the turkey lolol), I made the dramatic announcement to everyone.  Oh my god, it was so amazing.  My mom jumped up from her chair screaming and ran to give me a hug,  Baba looked stunned as usual.  And Pejman, oh my god, he was so happy that he started crying.  How cute is that!  I always knew he will make a wonderful father.  The only minor cloud was Kati, being as usual her pouty self.  She actually was wordless for a few minutes, which must be a first in history for that smart mouth.  Then, she dragged herself over to me and planted two very cold kisses on each of my cheeks and the same to Pejman.  After that, zippedidooda, she excused herself and left.  You could almost hear the skidmarks, just like in the cartoons. 

Oh well, you know her, always wants to be the center of attention right?  So what the hell does she do?  You will SO not believe this one.  She decides to elope with Sam to Vegas on New Year’s Eve.  Yup, you heard right, they are hitched finally.  Guess there was always some unfinished business there.  Thank god we didn’t have to spring for another caterer eh?  The best part of all this is that I am finally going to get rid of her.  Apparently, her and Sam are moving for good to Dubai so he can head up our Middle-Eastern branch office there.  I am so glad she is finally settled and my parents and I won’t have to worry about her anymore. 


But enough of Kati and back to me, heehee!  I am already planning the mother of all baby showers and I need your help.  I want this to be THE shower that all of Toronto talks about.  So, when are you coming back girl? 


* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *


American Wife


by American Wife on

I was wondering too but from the standpoint of... he loved Kati but was still sleeping with his wife.  Yeah, right.  True love at it's

Dee M

The biggest question im left asking is....

by Dee M on

Was Nassim pregnant already OR.. did he sleep with her one more time...before leaving her forever?

laleh haghighi

Merssi to all, again :-)

by laleh haghighi on

Just to clarify, I wasn't hurt because of criticism.  I have always welcomed constructive criticism, if you go back and read some of the earlier posts.  I just had such an amazing time connecting with you all that I did not want to leave you with the feeling that I botched the ending because "I didn't care."  It was an experiment that I planned out and certainly it had its flaws, like many of the other aspects of the story. 

One of the stories I love is from Maupassant.  I don't remember the title but I remember the story very clearly. He spends 90% of the story drawing out this long, romantic courtship btween a man and a woman in 19th century France.  We follow the carefully crafted story with all its romantic detours and obstacles until finally, we arrive at the climactic scene where the two lovers dare to consummate their passion.  The next paragraph is a short one where Maupassant describes how after a couple of months of their affair, he grows sick of her and then she gets pregnant whereupon he leaves her. He ends this whole long romantic story with one very short, very coldly written paragraph. I thought that story was so great.  And so realistic. Often, life is just as up and down, as quickly as that your fortune and destiny change.  I am not the inventor of twist endings obviously.  I hav always loved them and this is what I attempted to do here.  I admit it was flawed like other things in the story.  I just wanted to make sure you know that I didn't let you down by not thinking about it.  I did think about it at great length.  The twist in Pejman's story especially, it came to me in a dream.  That's how much I care about the story, I actually dream about it sometimes at night ! lol How's that for weird? 

Anyways it was the perfect way for me to end the story with ambiguity.  Not only we realize this whole time, Pejman is suffering from much deeper mental health issues than was ever hinted at the beginning, but it exposes the reality of how one can live with a person or a character for a long time, think you know them, and suddenly realize they are totally different than what you thought.  I had this happen to a couple of close friends where they married someon they thought they knew, someone they thought cared about them, only to realize several months after the marriage this person is actually suffering from a mental disorder and has to be on medication or else. The symptoms of mental illness are not always easily detectable especially in a society where it is still very taboo to speak about it.   Also, it had the ambiguity of wondering whether the affair with Kati was also a part of Pejman's fantasy or not, partly or wholly.  I am not going to answer the questions ad I prefer for the reader to decide for themselves.

Anyways, a thanks again to all of you who hae been so passionate about this story and characters.  You don't know how much you have helped me.

Love you all :-)))





by Lefty Lap Poodle (not verified) on

"You've got to be kidding Laleh? Why are you hurt? Because of comments from one or two readers?"

How many comments from how many readers would be enough to hurt someone?! This is especially true when these comments are from approved unregistered users which were the case here.

Besides if she says she is hurt, who are you to tell her "how to feel"?!

American Wife


by American Wife on

I hate it when your story ends!  Now I have to go back and read everything all over again to satisfy my lust for more details!!!

Great job.  I can't imagine putting myself on the line like you do.  No one is going to please everyone all the time.  But your style is fun and entertaining.  I wish the end was a little more fleshed out but it sure was fun while it lasted. 

LOVE the bit about Shahab....GREAT!


Dear Laleh

by Jaleho on

Thanks for a great story, very captivating, entertaining, and just like a good literature serves, a realistic mirror of the times and social structure in which its characters live in.

I might be a bit at odds with some people, but I found the ending quite elegant. After all, this was the story of Newlyweds! But, the American reader is sometimes used to not only reading the story of protagonists, but also their naveh va natijeh, AND then other authors come and try to write sequals to some very good books, destroying the taste of the original!! I personally HATE SEQUALS, leave a bit to reader's imagination for gossssake! Yuk, I remeber the sequal to Rebecca... and how much I would have loved as a teen age girl to know the sequal to Gone with the Wind, thank god no serious person tried it :-)

On your ending, I REALLY liked the Firoozeh's ending, the Mitra and Shahab could not have been more elegant, Katie, Nassim and Pejman's ending was just what a good reality would turn into. My personal taste was a bit at odds with Payam's ending in the same spirit I told you (part 13) I did not care for Ian Mc Ewan's Atonement. I did not find any similarity with the books you mentioned in your comment that would take away from the originality of your story at all. And, the part I liked the least like Atonement....we're still talking about a GREAT author whose has won many fancy awards. 

BTW, although Atonement made it as Mc Ewan's best book, I thought it a bit cheap on the WWII repeated themes, and I found his Saturday a FAR FAR better book. Then one day, I read in a newpaper some story about Ayad Allawi, and it hit me all of a sudden that Mc Ewan has tried to portray HIM in his Saturday book, and was hoping for a "western-desired-outcome" of Iraqi invasion, and then he would have definitely gotten some kind of bigger prize from his Saturday! You know, cheap kinda game, even as great an author as Orhan Pamuk can play a bit.

Anyway, my point is that, I don't even forgive McEwan for resurrecting the sister of the protagonist for a while, that's the only reason I wouldn't care for Payam's ending. But, it still was a nice twist, and made the entire letters of Pejman to him very touching. Thank you for a beautiful work.

Please write more! 

Zan Amrikai

There will always be comments

by Zan Amrikai on


Thank you for writing the stories/letters, and thank you for posting your personal response here in this thread.  You do not have to be a "professional writer" to have critics, my dear! Anytime we put ourselves out for others to hear/read, we will have opinions about our work.  No, I take that back: opinions about our work AND about us personally.  It's the nature of the beast.  As writers, we have to be willing to take the rotten apples thrown at us through jeers, as well as the laudatory blessings bestowed upon us with loving care.


I think that, were this to be published, an editor would, indeed, have to talk with you about the abrupt endings.  It is not the pregnancy of Nassim, it is not that Kati has left, it is not that Firoozeh is in school.  Those are not the abrupt things.  I would postulate that it may be the introduction of characters/events that have not been mentioned before the very last paragraphs (dead? Leila? what? who? when?) and these introductions do not just create curiosity, but a questioning of assumptions for the previous entries. This is not in and of itself bad, per se, but it opens the author up for questions.  When your work is well known, you can get away with a lot more (It stinks that this is true, doens't it?!) just as you can get away with a lot more when you are famous.  People just cut famous personalities more slack than they cut each other.  It's stupid!


I have enjoyed reading all the entries; I think you have achieved some good writing here, some good story telling.  You have more fans than critics, and even the critics care or they would not take the time to post.  Remember that, Lalehjoon! (Not everyone is going to agree with your decisions.  I mean, think about it--how many people get upset over TV show plots?!)


That old adage, "If you can't stand the heat, get out of the kitchen" applies to all of us who aspire to have our work read by a wider audience than ourselves and our friends and family. But, Laleh, just put on a fireproof vest, get a fire extinguisher for the toughest fires, and keep writing.  Keep writing.


Dee M

Im sorry if any of my words have hurt you,,,

by Dee M on


I had no idea you were not a professional writer!

We all loved those characters so much, there was never going tobe an easy way to let them go, but perhaps a little more warning might have eased the process.  However, I especailly loved the twist where Mitra meets Shahab!!  Like I said in my earlier post, My life already feels a little empiter. Again - A big Thankyou!

Jahanshah Javid

Dear Author

by Jahanshah Javid on

You've got to be kidding Laleh? Why are you hurt? Because of comments from one or two readers? Well let me tell you: This was a great story. It was so engaging and interesting and revealing. You have shown so many aspects of the Iranian character as well as the nature of men and women and relationships in general. And you did this with a lot of heart AND talent as a wonderful writer.

One thing though: I did find it unusual, even un-natural :o)) that Pejman shared a lot with his brother. It's very unusual for men to talk so much about their personal life to anybody -- even brothers! For the sake of the novel, sure why not. But in real life? I dunno... :o)

By the way, I'm glad we're not sure if he killed himself over Kati. Time heals and life goes on. And who knows! He may get her back. If not, it's not the end of the world. There's no monopoly on love. There's lots of if anyone wants it.

So many people told me personally how they followed the story with excitement. Go look at yourself in the mirror and smile. You're a storyteller par excellence!


the ending was very good and

by Miny (not verified) on

the ending was very good and very spicy..the Shahab one especially...Pejman was to get this only.. a child as a gift sooner or was quite evident from the beginning...though it was a fiction but still certain kinds meet certain ending an extent everybodys life is predictable....Kati had to fly away.....Naseem had to be herself forever...but why man he killed his brother yet was sad...very sad...well true colours of life are this only for some...only few are the chosen ones...that reminds of a quote "Life is a big headache in a noisy street"....

laleh haghighi


by laleh haghighi on

Wow, you know, on one of the older posts, I was told by a reader that I greatly admire that I would be doing a disservice by trying to reveal too much about my creative process and to let the story and characters speak for themselves.  But there is only so much I can take.  I know I am not a professional writer.  I know I have been given a great opportunity to publish these stories of mine in this forum.  But to say that I am "lazy", "bored" or that I failed the readers by ruining the ending, making it too fast or abrupt or whatever, this really hurts me.  Yes, I am a living and breathing human being.  Your words have really hurt me.  This story is like my child.  I have poured so much of myself into it.  You will never know the depths of personal despair I went through and to try to express this pain and share it with others was so therapeutic for me.  So it really really pains me to be shredded like this without an opportunity to defend myself.


I was very clear when I began planning the outline of this story that it would take place no longer than the first anniversary of the wedding.  This story is after all called the newlyweds.  Contrary to what you are feeling, I planned the endings for both storylines very carefully and with much thought.  I wanted it to be a twist ending and something unexpected perhaps even shocking.  If you didn't like it, that is fine.  I never expected to please everyone with this ending but to say that I just scrambled something together without giving it much thoughts, that is such an insult to me, I can't even begin to explain how hurt I am by your words.

The idea of the story was based on very personal experiences I have had.  You don't know how personal.  I am not talking just about my work with battered spouses but also my own family, very close family members in fact.  My literary influences were the following.  First of all, a lot of readers praised the originality of the idea of writing in letter format.  That is wholly undeserved praise.  One of my favorite short stories ever is Lettres de deux nouvelles mariees, by Balzac.  I also thought a lot about dangerous liaisons by Chodelros de Laclos.  Another influence was La fille aux yeux d'or by Balzrac, a story of a lover caught between two siblings, hence the reference to Kati's golden eyes.  The whole story about Pejman never letting go of the death of his childhood friend Leili was a wink to Humbert Humbert.  There are countless literary influences like this which I thought long and hard about before I began to write the story.  Please don't get me wrong. I am not comparing myself to those literary giants.  I am not even an amoeba compared to them. I am simply trying to tell you this was more than just everyday I sat at my computer and decided, well, let me see how can I toy with my readers today.  I have much more respect for this audience than that.  Tell me I failed at my writing style, I failed at my twist ending, I failed at my character development, I failed at myr ealistic portrayal of Iranian society.  I accept all those criticisms because I see so much validity to it.  But don't EVER tell me I failed my readers out of boredom, laziness or some other thing like that.

I really hope this shed some light for those of you who were dissatisfied with the ending.  I thank you again, all of you, for going along with me on this journey.

best to you all



a great disservice to your characters

by aamrcngrl (not verified) on

Yes, it should definitely be seen as an honor that we don't want to let these characters go as you've written but it's also unfair as a writer to finish the story without truly tying up all the lose ends. As someone who's never commented before, I know there are lots of readers out there who feel like the story ISN'T over.

I feel like the next time you publish your work I'll be drawn to it because you are a talented writer but that I'll have to remind myself of this "conclusion." Readers do get invested in the material they read and although we have no say so in what gets's frustrating because you've failed as a writer by ending their stories prematurely.

Dee M

Thank you leleh

by Dee M on

I have enjoyed every episode .... and looked forward to the next! my life is already feeling a little empty:)







Is this truly the conclusion

by d (not verified) on

The stories were great but not the endings. As others mentioned, very short and abrupt. It took you so much to build these characters. Why the sudden halt. I suggest you continue and tell us what happens to these people over the years. Live has a lot of ups and downs and twists and turns. Don't simplify it. If you want some ideas (based onreal life experiences) let me know.

laleh haghighi

Merssi to all the readers

by laleh haghighi on

Merssi for your kind words, your constructive criticism, your passionate debates over the very real social issues behind this fictional story, and even your disappointment at the series concluding, which by itself is such an honor to these characters that you don't want to let go of.  I had such fun interacting with you all and reading your comments.  I learned a lot and hopefully grew a lot as a writer and as a person. 

Best to all of you, until the next time :-)))





by abcdef (not verified) on

Over...really?? say what?! disappointing, I agree w/ ammrcngrl...



by kitkat (not verified) on

Boy, I feel so sad that it's all over :-((((


mixed feelings...

by aamrcngrl (not verified) on

The first 18 chapters were captivating and pretty well written although it did certainly seem like they all had the same "voice" and style of speaking/writing.

But I feel as if the end has been rushed and there are so many questions left unanswered. I really do think this would be an excellent read if you took a bit more time and let things develop and then conclude.

Kati is gone? Nassim is pregnant? Pejman's brother has been dead this entire time?

As both a reader and writer, I'm disappointed that I've missed out so much on what's really been going on with these characters.

Now for the good: I loved the way you set the story up with letters. And I loved the different perspectives from each of the characters (it's just again they all seemed to have the same way of speaking.) But I've never been so excited to see anything in my google reader! So well done.