How do I begin this episode? It is so loaded — so incredibly difficult to put into words. First I am afraid of what you may think of me. You see if this were fiction I could carve my characters into what I wanted them to be. But as it is a diary I have to reconcile myself with the characters I have and I am. Each time I write it is a stripping of sorts. But this time it is even more so. Because this time I am actually ashamed of what I have done. Yes, even I, Sarvenaz, am capable of shame. The last episode ended with me feeling ‘empowered’. Well, here you will see how that feeling was short lived. How thoroughly stripped of that sense of confidence I managed to make myself in the span of ten days.
Last week I went to a party and Napoleon’s parents were also invited. I hang out with an older crowd sometimes and his parents are part of that circle. I have known them for years. The parents are cool and I especially like his mom. She even shares a joint with me once in a while. Ever since my affair with Napoleon I have been careful to keep a distance. He told me that his mom always sings my praise and thinks highly of me. Of course she thinks we are just friends. If she knew she would not like it. I am five years older than him, twice divorced with two kids, and no Iranian mom considers me a good match at this point. But his mom hates his girlfriend. I found that out at the party.
She cornered me and told me that her son really thinks highly of me and respects my opinion. I told her that I, too, thought him a good and kind friend. Then she went on to complain about his girlfriend. She thinks that the girlfriend has too much of a hold on her son and that she is too old for him. She told me that the girlfriend was in it for the son’s money etc … I told her that I did not like her either but that I did not, as a rule, get involved in my friend’s personal lives. She told me that I should tell Napoleon that his girlfriend is not a suitable wife. Then she dropped the bomb: they are trying to have a baby!!
Aggghhhhh! My heart dropped to the floor. My mouth went dry. She added that the woman being forty something would perhaps not get pregnant but that if she did it would be horrible. The kid may be deformed, she went on, plus this woman would then rule him even more firmly. Now, I am no fan of the girlfriend but she is around my age and a single mom. I don’t care who she is I decided not to fall into some anti-girlfriend cabal.
I told her that I did not think that Napoleon is that ‘in love.’ She said, “I think he is seeing someone on the side, I hear him talk to someone on the phone in his room sometimes.” Imagine poor me. Now, I am not dumb, but I am not really diplomatic. In fact shunning the traditional diplomacy and savior faire of the Iranian woman has been a principle of mine since I was rather young. Weak creatures need to be cunning I used to think rather naively. But for some of us Iranian women avoiding the diplomacy that our mothers exercised in getting their way was/is a political choice.
Anyway I decided not to mention it to Napoleon and wait and see what happens. I told myself that maybe it would not happen and that bringing it up would ruin the new balance that I had managed to strike. But alas you can take the girl out of America but you can’t take America out of the girl. So the night we were meeting I had a few scotches to give me confidence and went straight to him and blurted it out.
He did not deny it. He told me that it was an old story that they had been trying but not really for the past two years. I had asked Napoleon a while back to tell me if he was going to get married. I did not want to hear it from anyone else. He assured me he would. But he always told me that he did not want to get married. Having a child is more final and important than getting married! I did not think that he would be so duplicitous! This is like Clinton’s definition of sex not including felatio! It is legalese semantics! I trusted that he would be candid enough to tell me something so big about his life. I was careful never to be too nosy, never to try to find things out. But there are rules for these affairs amongst civilized people.
I accused him of duplicity and of being a kharkoseh irooni. He downplayed the whole thing telling me it was old news and that they had thought of it two years ago—and that he thought that it was not going to happen. I told him that if he was a good man he would have told me from day one. He replied that I had been married when we first started and that he did not know the extent of my attachment. I retorted that any playboy, as well-versed as him in the ways of women, should have known that women don’t fuck like this unless they are in love. Not between twelve and two in the morning, not swallowing semen like it was heavenly milk or actually enjoying him coming on your face. This kind of love making women either do for money or for love. I mean there may those who are more Swedish than yours truly whom, after all, comes from a long line of women who read the Koran when their husbands fucked younger women.
He was apologetic but cold. I saw that coldness that I have so often seen in lovers, men or women, who care less for you than you do for them. I know that mental stepping back. And yours truly made the biggest faux pas: I told him I could not continue and then put my coat on to leave. He did not come to stop me so I just turned around, came back, sat down and told him I can’t do it.
I mean how weak is that? It is not the first time I have done something like this. No, one thing about being forty-five is that I have many precedents for most events of calamitous proportion! But it does not make the pain any less. I feel the same sense of dejection that I did when I was sixteen. Only now I feel it for a lesser number of days.
We ended up making love. But it hurt. I faked my orgasm. I told him I could not break up with him right now and went home to cry. From now on my happiness largely depends on some other woman getting her period or not!
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