Waking up from a deeply troubled sleep, my legs still entangled with the sky blue blanket. It's the same blanket that my parents wrapped around me as a child. It's summer now, the weather is hot and humid, so it can still serve its purpose. The window is half-way open, letting in the warm scent of jasmine flowers.
Tha stars have been traced across the sky with the precision of a dreamer's brush across the exotic canvas. The faint sound of traditional village music fills my ears and i slip out of bed, enchanted. Enveloping myself in a royal blue and emerald green robe, my wooden slippers slap against the cool tiles as I approach the garden.
There are groups of men working in every corner of the garden. Some are weaving white lights along the rose bushes while others are arranging flower petals and bouquets in different locations. Their working-men's hands, their callused fingers scorched and tattered by the rays of the unforgiving sun, are coming together in harmony in order to build me the perfect fairytale.
But what if it's not a perfectly-ending tale?
The men begin to hum and murmur the words of a famous song together as I watch them all. In less than a day, I will meet the man who has been “arranged” for me. I will marry the man who has been “arranged” for me. I know absolutely nothing about him. I am supposed to know nothing about him for it adds to the rush of the moment and the beautification of the union.
What if he's ugly? What if he is mean-hearted? What if he doesn't share my passion for soccer and what if he wants us to have a dog for a pet regardless of the fact that they absolutely terrify me? What if he doesn't like poetry? What if he's a Persepolis fan and we argue all the time? What if he smells of onions? I absolutely dread the smell of onions…
Next thing I know, I am in my dress, the one my mother and friends and I couldn't stay away from at the clothing store. The tight beige bodice, matched with the poofy skirt made of white silk and lavender makes me feel like Cinderella. Didn't she kinda have an arranged marriage, too? She met the guy once and then she ran away. Then he came and married her because the shoe fit? Whatever happened to falling in love…
My hair has been braided with white orchids. I have opted not to wear a veil. Why would I want to enter into the sweetest day of my life without seeing every aspect of it clearly? I want see everything, no barriers, no misperceptions.
The family is all around me, even everyone from Iran. No, wait! We are in Iran. That's why the scent of jasmine is so strong, that is why I hear the echoing songs of a lost childhood, revisited. My parents are so happy. Unlike most people, they don't look at today as the day that they are losing their daughter. They look to today as the day that they are gaining a son.
I walk down the aisle. His back is to me. I say a silent prayer in my head and as I finish, he turns, as if he could feel my presence approaching him. He smiles at me. My heart soars as I see the all-too-familiar sparkle of his eyes. WAIT A SECOND!!! Stop The Wedding!!! I know this guy!
Suddenly, time stands still and I feel myself escaping my body. I begin to view the rest of the ceremony from above, like an outsider. I begin to applaud as they kiss. I realize exactly who he is, he's the perfect one for me, the one I have been shamelessly drooling over since day one. I also know what this is; it's a dream.
“Asssssaaaaaaalllll!!” calls my mom from the kitchen as I am snapped out of the sweetest dream I have had as of yet. “Zood baashe, Zibaaye Khofte… Breakfast!”
I enter the dining room awaiting my omlette, a ritual of early Sunday mornings, and I notice a little plant in the corner of the room in which resides a single white orchid. I remember the feel of the orchid's petals as they braided them in my hair before the wedding.
I am ready to lose myself in the dream once more when it hits me: “Mom!!!” I call out in the sweetest tone ever, “I have made a decision! I want an arranged marriage!”
My mom is still chopping up mushrooms and colorful bell peppers, and I have to give her credit; she doesn't even blink at the wacky things that I say anymore. “I'll have to put a sign on you first, Sweetie…”
“What sign?” I ask, wishing I had taken her with us when we had gone to see “Monsoon Wedding” the night before.
“No refunds, no exchanges, no store credit….” She laughs…..