A few years ago I was in Iran for a visit. Every friday I would go hiking in the mountains of north Tehran.
One Friday, early in the morning on a cold winter day, I was supposed to meet one of my friends at a bus station in Gisha. We were going to go to Darakeh.
I was late, and in a hurry. I paid the taxi driver and ran under the Gisha overpass towards the bus station. As I was running I saw a little boy (he might have been about five-years old) coming toward me. He held up his hand and asked for money. Nobody was around.
I looked at him and asked: “Esmet chiyeh?” (What is your name?)
“Daryoush,” he said.
“Maamaanet kojaast?” (Where is your mother?)
“Maamaan nadaaram, khaaleh daaram.” (I don't have a mother. I have an aunt.)
He looked at me with his big brown eyes.
I wished I could be his mom. I wanted to take his little frost-bitten hands and warm them up. But I got scared — scared that maybe someone was hiding in a corner, keeping an eye on the boy. Someone who was abusing him, and could hurt me.