I don't know what it is about tears of a little girl that just stops me in my tracks, no matter how fast I'm going in my life.
Years ago my cousin, who had just separated from her husband decided to stay with us after my repeated requests and pleading with her to do so. She was the typical Iranian girl who wanted to get out of Iran so badly that she married a promise. This guy's grandmother was a neighbor of my aunt's and upon seeing my cousin, thought she would be a good candidate for her beloved grandson in the U.S. He was an engineer, a rarity among Iranian men in the U.S.!
After ceremonies in Iran and the U.S. by both families, she arrived here and found out that Shaaszdeh Pessar — Prince Charming — was in fact a public-transportation-facilitator-engineer, i.e. taxi drivee. And he was addicted to narcotics.
It gets better and better.
After living with this loser for a couple of years, my brilliant cousin had an epiphany: a child would save the marriage!
A little girl, cuter than a bug's ear and amazingly sheytoon was what I saw when she was about two. “T” had long curly hair, courtesy of grandpa on Mom's side, pulled back and tied in a pony tail. She had little hands with long fingers, an innocent face and lips that looked like she was about to cry any moment. She was lovely and one could not help but hug her.
I loved her from the minute I saw her. My wife and I don't have any kids but I have always told her that if we ever decide to, I would only want one just like her, a little girl with curly hair.
“T” managed to make me love her more and more when they moved to California and stayed with us. She was a disturbed child of a divorce and for the most part did not have a father figure in her life. She suffered from the fights, shouting, and whatever else that goes on in a pre-divorce home.
Gradually “T” calmed down and became a normal girl. At nights, when I would come home from work, she would run the length of the house, bare feet, (again courtesy of her Grandpa) and jump into my arms. She called me “Da Hamid”, Da-ee Hamid, (daee is uncle on mother side). For the few months they stayed with us, she was the daughter I never had.
My cousin eventually got married again, this time to a wonderful man who became more of a father to “T” than anyone else could have.
“T” is now 14. She is not a little girl any more; she is starting to look like a woman. Almost my height, sophisticated, well spoken in English and Farsi. I still love her and think about her and cannot help but to feel sad for her. I always have and perhaps always will. Maybe only because the way she looked as a little girl.
I wrote about a little girl in Mexico, frightening fireworks, where she had almost the same look, with hair pulled back into a pony tail. She got my attention and brought back all the sad feelings I had about “T”.
This morning checked my Yahoo email and read the news. One of the headlines read: “Doctors blast official toll of Iraq's civilian dead” . When I clicked on it, the first thing that came up was the picture of a little girl, with curly hair, pulled back into a pony tail and eyes filled with tears asking, “Why”? I connected with her and wanted to reach through my computer screen to hug her, as if she was “T”.
Then Ebi's song came to my mind: “kee ashkaato paak mikoneh” (who will wipe your tears)? “T” has plenty of people to wipe her tears and give her love, but what about the little girls in Iraq? Are you listening King George? Why do you want to create an atmosphere that makes little girls cry?