Twenty-five years ago when I was only 17-years old and a freshman university student I met the girl who would be by my side for the rest of my life.
I was such a naive boy back then straight from small-town America. Up until that fateful day in 1977 I had never heard of Iran or Iranians. One day I left my psychology class early with a friend because I had to go and make a tuition payment at the university cashier's office.
When I got there I saw the most beautiful and delicate young woman that I had ever seen in my life. I couldn't stop staring and I couldn't catch my breath… she literally and completely took it away and then in moment she was gone. Every day on campus I hoped to catch a glimpse of her, but each day ended with the same… it was as if she disappeared.
After about two weeks while walking with a friend I saw her again. She paid no attention to me since she didn't who I was. I asked my friend if he knew her and as luck had it he did. He said, “Oh yea, she's an Iranian girl in my English class.”
I begged him to introduce me to her. He told that the International Student Association was having a party on the weekend and he was sure that she'd probably turn up there with some of her friends. We went to that party and I was fortunate to meet her.
At first I don't think that she liked me much, but I kept trying. Slowly over the months our friendship grew closer and warmer. She returned to Iran at the end of the year and now I can admit that it was the most agonizing summer I have ever had. I didn't know whether she would return and I spent my sleepness nights thinking of her. In September, much to my relief, she came back.
During that year, 1978, I fell deeply in love with her and she showed tender feelings for me, too. I came under increasing pressure from my friends to break off the relationship and I am sure that her friends advised her to do the same. Everyone seem to feel that our intercultural friendship would only leave us with broken hearts.
By 1979 the situation in Iran was beginning to get pretty bad. Her father and mother came to the United States to take her home. They said that they didn't know if they would be able to return later. She was torn between wanting to stay with me and obeying her father. Finally, she told me that she had no choice – she would have to do what her father commanded. I knew if she left with her parents that I would never see her again.
I decided to ask her to marry me, but I also know that I would have to secure her father's permission. I was only 19-years old, but I was sure that this girl was meant for me and this imboldened me to approach her father. Thank God he was fluent in English.
I asked him privately if I could marry his only daughter. He was not very keen on the idea because of our ages and because we were from very different backgrounds. I told him that if he would only trust me that I would take care of her and bring her back to him in Iran someday. He finally relented and gave his blessing. I am sure he agreed to let me marry her only because of the deteriorating situation at home.
Two days later, I converted to Islam and we had a small wedding ceremony with her parents, my parents and a few friends. I think it took my parents a long time to get over the fact that I converted to a religion that they did not understand and I married a girl that they would not have chosen for me.
Twenty minutes before the wedding, my father begged me, with tears in his eyes, not to do this… that we were too different and that we would never be happy together. Well it has now been 25 years since I met that beautiful, shy and delicate Iranian girl. We have had a marvelous life together. The love that I feel for her today can't be described with mere words.
My parents finally accepted her. Somewhere between our 5th and 10th wedding anniversaries I noticed the love and respect they gave her as the mother of their only grandchild. We now have two beautiful children together. The elder is a 19-year-old university student and every bit as beautiful as her mother. The other is a wonderful 7-year-old boy who keeps us both busy trying to keep up with him.
For many years we tried to get visas for our children and me to travel with my wife to Iran. We always were rejected for one reason or another. Two weeks ago while on holiday in London my son and I were given visas to travel to Iran by the IRI Embassy.
In five short weeks I will finally be able to fulfill the promise that I made to my father-in-law so many years ago. I am taking his only daughter back to see him. No more phone calls or letters…. nope this time it will be in person. My wife is so happy. She says that it feels like a dream and she's afraid that she going to wake up and find out it's not true.
Although she could have traveled many times in the past, she would have had to go alone. This was something that she was unwilling to do. Now she will get to see her Baba and Maman and she will take their grandson with her. There are many people in the world that think that love cannot last and that marriages made of people from different cultures are doomed. I say that such people are mistaken.
If you love someone, everything else will fall into place. Allah leads us to the one who is our destiny. This beautiful girl from Abadan was, is and shall forever be my destiny. If you see this letter my dear wife, you will recognize it.
All I want to say to you is thank you for giving me two wonderful children and 25 years of happy memories. I mean it when I say that you still take my breath away and you will until the last breath I have to give.