Good morning Iran. I open my eyes to the home of my childhood.
Before I unpack, before I wash my face with the rippling pearls of the Damavand, and before I hear the gurgling sounds of the kettle, I step outside and wrap my arms around the house.
My attachment to this house runs deep like the roots of the plane trees that surround it. Designed by my uncle and built by my grandmother, the home was built over 45 years ago, when Daroos was a barren stretch of land and not uptown Tehran. A two story structure with 2 gas heaters and a furnace that gets troubled if two showers are used as the same time, this house is my mother's childhood home and mine.
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The streets of Darrus beckon me. I wander about them aimlessly. Do they remember me? >>> See 4 street photos of Darrus
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Am I really here?
The plane glides across the Tehran night and I unclench my teeth, peek outside and a tiny smile blossoms on my weary face as I touch the oval face of the window. How I love this landing, how I love the tangerine colored lights of the Tehran skyline.
I draw in the musty air as I sway from side to side in the bus that takes me from the plane to the terminal. The terminal that is a few short steps from where eager smiles and loving grips await me in this god forsaken hour of the morning.
I take in the night and this land that I love no matter what. I take Iran without a facelift and dressed as it is, morning, noon and night. Isn't that how we love our mothers? Isn't that how we wish to be loved?
I settle into the car, curl against the glass and prepare for the familiar ride home. The Willow trees in the Bozorgh-rah have grown taller, and fuller. Cars weave in and out. So much dust, so many sounds; people, so many people. My mind is restless, my eyes heavy and tired. I have been awake for 36 hours — the entire trip over. My travel mate, the hazel eyed Hungarian grandmother with the ready smile and the bag full of snacks, announced seconds after we met that “she likes to talk and never sleeps on plane rides”. She was good company for my fatigued nerves and anxious mind.
I crack the window open and touch the still groggy morning air. I can hardly believe it. I am here, at last. I don't know how I arranged everything to be here at this moment. All I know is that, the tomatoes don't need dressing. And the persimmons are winking at me from their high perch upon the tree. I have not been in Iran in the autumn for 18 years. How do I love thee, let me count the ways.