You spend all your life planning your future, and as the time goes by you think to yourself, Why bother planning when things will happen as they are meant too anyway?
It was a warm sunny day back in 1987. I rang up my best friend Noushin, and told her to meet me at Town Hall station at 2 PM. I got ready , and sat in the train counting the stations as they went by. I had a funny feeling in my stomach. I felt like today was going to be a different yet exciting day. Mind you, there was nothing exciting about where we were going.
I caught up with Noushin at our regular meeting place at the steps of the Town Hall.
“So, what movie are we seeing today?” she asked.
“No movie today,” I replied. “We're going to school.”
“What? School? Are you nuts? It's Saturday! Why on earth would you want to go to school on a Saturday anyway?”
“Well, you know how we were short one subject this semester to complete our high school diploma? Well I got an excellent tip from a guy I know, who suggested we do French for this semester!”
“French? I can't even read or write Farsi, let alone French!”
“That's the whole point dummy. This guy told me that all you do in class is learn how to SPEAK French and its for beginners anyway. It's an easy subject to do, and they only have classes once a week on Saturdays.”
“Okay. I'll give it a go. But, I don't think its going to be as easy as you think it is.”
We caught the train to Lidcombe station, which took us about an hour. On the way there I explained to Noushin that this guy who gave me the tip about French classes said that his Iranian friend also goes to these classes.
After an hour on the train, we finally arrived at Lidcome. As we were walking through the gates towards the stationmaster, a group of teenagers, caught my attention. They looked like Iranians. There were three girls and one guy. There was nothing special about the girls, but the guy caught my eye.
Noushin was too busy worrying about her hair, and had managed to catch her reflection in one of the windows. I gave her a nudge, and said , “Noushin! Look at that guy. I think he's Iranian.” “So?” she replied, still playing around with her moussed up, gelled, hair sprayed hair.
There's something about him. We were only a few feet away from them, and that's when he turned around. My heart stopped. I felt this weird feeling come over me. He stared at me, and then looked away. I grabbed Noushin's hand, and almost crushed it. She squealed… “cheeeeeeeeeyeh? What's wrong with you?” I couldn't breath. All I could say was, “That's my future husband!”
Noushin stopped. Looked at me in disbelief, and said, “Have you totally lost your mind? You don't even know his name! He may not even be Iranian. Anyway, I saw him holding hands with this other girl, so sorry to piss on your parade darling but he's taken!”
We continued walking towards the school. I lost sight of him. We finally found our way around the school, and reported to the principle's office. She showed us to our classes. We got there a few minutes late, and the class had already started. I walked in, took one look around, and there he was, sitting right up front. The teacher welcomed us to her class, and asked us to sit down. We sat right behind him. He didn't turn around or say anything, but I couldn't keep my eyes off him. “
Open your textbooks to page 31,” the teacher said. the girl sitting in front of us , turned around, and gave us her textbook, and said, “You two can share my textbook, and I'll share with my boyfriend.” Noushin gave me a smirk, and I poked her in the ribs. She gave out a loud squeal, which attracted everyone's attention. “Is everything okay?” asked the teacher. “Yes,” Noushin replied. “I get this pain in my ribs once in a while… I'm sorry.”
So the class continued. I couldn't concentrate on what the teacher was saying. I was staring at the two love birds in front of me.
During lunch break, the happy couple disappeared, so Noushin and I joined the rest of the students for lunch. I walked up to the two other girls I saw in the group at the train station earlier, and introduced myself. Turned out that my guess was right. They were Iranian, but I didn't have the guts to ask about the two love birds.
We returned back to our class after lunch, and he was sitting at his desk alone. I wanted to say something, but I couldn't. Then I heard Noushin's squeaky voice, “Salam, man Noushin hastam, een ham doostam Shahrzad.” Noushin was talking to him, and was pulling me behind her. He looked at us, and shook hands, and said “Salam, khoshbakhtam, man ham Shaheen hastam.” He had the most gorgeous eyes I had ever seen in my life!! Just as I was about to start a conversation with him, his other half appeared, and introduced herself. Then the teacher arrived, so we went back to our seats.
After school, that afternoon, we walked back towards the station, and on the way, I couldn't stop thinking about him. Noushin thought I had lost my mind, and kept reminding me how he was “taken”. Noushin had managed to convince me not to go to the French classes anymore because the school was too far, and the classes were too difficult anyway. I wanted to go, just to see him again, but I agreed not to go anymore.
A few months passed. Noushin rang me up one Friday afternoon, and said that one of the guys she knows is starting an Iranian youth club, and wanted to know if we wanted to sign up. I agreed.
We got there and waited outside the building for everyone to arrive. We were the first ones there. Noushin started telling me about this club, and what was involved. Someone behind me said “Salaam”. I turned around, and sure enough, there he was. Those gorgeous brown eyes. We started talking, and he asked why we didn't continue going to the French classes.
A few others had arrived by then, and we all entered the building. After the meeting, I asked one of the guys if he knew anything about Shaheen. He said Shaheen was his best friend. I asked him a few questions without sounding too obvious, and I found out that he's been going out with his girlfriend for a few years now, and their relationship is very serious. After that night I decided never to think about him again.
I continued to go to these community meetings every week, and Shaheen showed up a few times. He didn't say much, neither did I.
A few months passed. One afternoon, after the weekly Friday meetings, Shaheen asked if I wanted to go for a cup of coffee. I didn't think much of it because we were all working on a play, and I just assumed he wanted to go over our script. We ordered our coffees, and sat across from each other. He started by saying. “I really like you…. as a friend of course, and I was wondering if you could help me out.”
I was surprised, but tried not to show it. I said “Sure, what's on your mind?”
He continued, ” I need some advise about relationships.”
I couldn't help myself. I started laughing.
“Why are you laughing?”
“I'm sorry, but you're asking ME about relationships? Why would I know anything about relationships?”
“Because you're a girl ,” he said. “Girls understand each other better than guys.”
“Why me? Why don't you talk to the other girls?”
“'Cause you're the only one I think would look at my problem objectively, without thinking it's a come-on.”
I smiled to myself.
He started telling me about how he went on a trip with his friends, and when he got back his girlfriend asked him if he had been unfaithful to him while he was away with the “guys”. He assured her that he would do no such thing, but she didn't believe him. She had heard from someone that the guys threw a party, and there were other girls there too.
“Is it true? Did you go to the party?”
“Yes, but I wasn't talking to any girls. I swear!”
I looked into his gorgeous brown eyes. He really was telling the truth.
“Now she won't even return my phone calls, and doesn't even want to see me again.”
I tried to calm him down, and told him to keep trying.
The saga continued. Every Friday night after the meetings, we would go to the same coffee shop and talk for hours about his Jasmine. At first I didn't mind it as much, but after a month, I was sick of it. he wouldn't give up, and kept trying to convince Jasmine that he loved her. It got to a stage where he would ring me at home, and talk for hours over the phone. After a while my mom got suspicious, and wanted to know what's going on.
“Khabareeyeh?” she asked.
“Mamaan chee meegee? maa fagaht doost hasteem. He's like Noushin, just a friend.”
I was spending too much time with him. We went to the movies together. We went on picnics, walks, and concerts. But, we were “just friends”.
A whole year went by, and towards the end of the year, close to the year-end exams, I told Shaheen, that I wouldn't be able to see him for a while, so that I could concentrate on my exams, and get prepared for college.
He didn't call me for a few days, and I started to miss him. Even my mom asked about him. After a week, he rang, and asked if I wanted to go out for coffee. I said no, and told him that I had a math exams the next day, and have to study for it. I asked my mom to take messages if anyone rang for me.
A month passed, and my exams were over. Shaheen had left over 20 messages for me. I couldn't be bothered. Deep down, I wanted to talk to him, but I thought it would be better this way. I didn't want to talk about Jasmine anymore. I didn't care. My exams were over, and I just wanted to have fun.
I called my friend Noushin, and we decided to go out one Saturday and have some fun. At about eight in the morning that Saturday, I heard a knock on the door, and heard my dad's footsteps. I dozed off again, and woke up to my dad's voice, “Dokhtaram paasho bebeen baraat chee omadeh.”
I opened my eyes, and saw my dad holding the most beautiful bunch of white flowers I had ever seen. The bunch was so big, he couldn't hold it any longer, and had to put on my desk. There was a card attached to it. I opened the card and it read, “Will you marry me?”
Before I could even begin to think what the words actually meant, the phone rang. I picked it up, and a voice on the other end said, “Did you get the flowers?” It was Shaheen.
I thanked him for the flowers, and said “Firstly, what are they for, and secondly, what did you mean by the message on the card? It wasn't funny”.
“I wasn't trying to be funny. I meant it. I really care for you.”
“I care for you too.” I said. “But only as a friend.”
He completely ignored what I said. “These past few weeks have been hell for me. I missed you too much, and decided that I cant live without you!”
I didn't know what to say. I was dumbfounded. so many things were going through my head.
“Aloo? Are you there?”
“I'm here. I'm just not sure what to say.”
“Just say you'll come out with me today, and we can talk about it.”
And so it happened. We started going out — as lovers. Then decided to get married a year later, and we've been married for 11 years now. He's not only my husband, but he's also my best friend!