Ensy's dad was one of the wealthiest people in Khorramshahr, the Southern Iranian port on the border with Iraq. Working in the customs, dealing with all those goods coming by ships and carried by trailers into the country, Mr. Amir Kabiri had his own import-export business and a travel agency in the city too. Although his annual income from the customs was just a chicken feed compared to his private business, he never even dreamed of give up his prestigious job at the customs. He had just completed a beautiful five-bedroom impressive residence by the Shat which perfectly accommodated his family of four, including his wife Laaya, son Salar and his little ugly duckling of a daughter, Ensy, and of course the frequent visitors who came to stay with them all year round..
Mom was always home, never dared leave her air-conditioned nest into the scorching heat of the south. Although she was born in Ahwaz with almost the same climate, Laaya Kabiri had moved with her parents to Isfahan at the age of three, so far away from the sweltering weather of the south. Although she used to get back with the family to Khuzestan from time to time and for short visits, Laaya never really experienced the burden of the southern climate until she married Amir and came to stay in Khorramshahr. Two years after their marriage She gave birth to her son, Salar, and a couple of years later came Ensy. Laaya was a dainty little woman who was a professional home maker and very good at the art of pleasing her husband. She was crazy about all those things women died for, jewelry and furniture on the top of the list. Friends and family used to call her “harmless” or “Mazloom” since she was reputed to be so kind hearted and free from any kind of jealousy or envy toward others.
The two siblings had nothing in common whatsoever. While Salar was white and a little plump with shining light hair and light brown eyes, Ensy was a skinny little lass with nothing interesting at all. Everything was so dark about her. She was a dark-skinned baby with dark black hair and dark brown eyes. Dad used to joke that God may have made big mistakes while creating his children, and there was little hope that his ugly duckling would steal anybody's heart and get married one day. Salar was always calm and quite, playing with his toys and getting to know about the nature of things, a little bit stoic at times, whereas Ensy was so energetic and noisy and very very strong.
The only other family member who lived in the house with them was Jomee (meaning Friday). He was officially the helping hand around the house but because of his long-standing loyalty to the family and especially to Amir's father, Jomee was much more than a butler or gardener. He was the family's friend and sympathizer and Amir's confidante who were given the privilege of being consulted on many issues here and there. It was rumored that he had been born one Friday and it was reason behind him being named as Jomee. A mystery that surrounded Jomee was the nature of his sexuality. Nobody knew for sure if he was male or female. Of course in his birth certificate he was recognized as a man but both in appearance and behavior he showed manifestations of the both sexualities. He had some scarce hair on his chin which he never shaved and his voice was husky and coarse but at the same time he had big breasts, much bigger and heavier than Moms', dangling from beneath his shirt. He never got married and showed no sexual interest in getting close to any person, either male or female. And there was yet another secret about Jomee and that was his age. His ID showed the age of 40 but Amir believed it was fake and he had to be at least 15 years older. The only clear thing about Jomee was the fact that he loved the Kabiris and nothing could stop him from being loyal to them. He was loved by all the members of the family, specially the kids who were usually left under his careful supervision.
Every thing was fine and normal until an evening when some big noise surprised them in their living room. Dad and Jomee jumped out of their seats and into the courtyard to see what was happening. Dad was obviously very excited talking to some people on the phone and asking questions about what had happened. It was something made by Iraqis. Iraqis did not like Iranians and they had sent something really bad to Khorramshahr. The sounds and excitements repeated the next evening and the nights that followed. It was getting really serious. Something bad was happening.
A few days later world turned upside down for Kabiris and their safe haven of a house turned out to be a very dangerous place. It was not another ordinary hot and sultry day in Khoramshar. Ensy was in the safety of her mom's arms and felt quite sure that nothing would harm her till mom was with her. Words like anti-aircraft and heavy artillery had no meaning for the ordinary grown-ups let alone a five-year-old child. They were just the horrible noised that filled their bedrooms at night till the morning. Ensy did not know who fired those weaponry and why, but she was quite sure it was something serious, since her parents were talking about it all the time. This morning the resounding bang of an explosion had woken up the family and the hasty movements of dad and Jomee around the house foreboded of something really nasty coming. Amir and Jomee had left the house in a hurry to see what is going on, leaving Laaya behind to take care of her crying children. Hugging and kissing Salar and Ensy, Laaya tried her best to calm them but to no avail. Telephone ringing from time to time and people moving and shouting in the backgrounds were all signs of something bad happening. Laaya answered another phone with wide eyes and raspy voice. It was dad calling from somewhere in the city asking her to collect a few things. They had to leave very very soon. Iraqis were on the outskirts of the city, moving forwards quickly. Upon hanging off she ran upstairs to her bedroom, finding a big suitcase, she packed it with whatever things she could find nearby, clothes for all of them, photo albums, a few odds and ends. Hurriedly she went to her husband's den and opened his safe as instructed, pouring all the contents including some money and all her jewelries and all the documents in a big sack. She did not have time to think about her precious china and silverware on display in the living room, nor did she try to salvage her precious silk carpets on the floor.
In a few minutes Amir and Jomee were back and took them with their big American car towards an unknown destiny through the deafening sounds of explosions and Iraqi jetfighters flying by. They even forgot to close the main door to their house. Nobody cared anymore as if they knew everything would turn into ashes in a matter of a few hours. It was the last time the family passed through the old Khorramshahr bridge. The whole city was in a chaos since no one believed that Iraqis were really towards the city at last. In half an hour, they were on their way towards Abadan when Laaya gave out a cry of anguish.
“On no God. I forgot to bring the sack. I put all the money and jewelry inside it but I left it by the bed in the living room by the sofa”, she continued to sob relentlessly. It was almost impossible to get back into the city. Amir could not risk the lives of the whole family especially his kids for that. The shock of the past few days and the infuriation for his wife's awkwardness led to a big shock and moments of indecisiveness. It was Jomee who came to rescue the whole family again.
“I will go and get it” Jomee volunteered. Mom and Dad did everything in their power to stop him but could not and in a few minute he was behind a van who was moving towards the smoking war zone and in a jiffy he was out of sight. The last words he had said was that he would meet the family in Abadan. The family drove to Abadan but they were all grieving for their lost friend and loyal servant. They were quite sure he would never get away from that fire. Salar and Ensy were still crying when they reached their destination. Kabiris had gone to stay with a friend in Abadan for the night and wait for Jomee to return. The afternoon passed and there was no news of Jomee. None of them touched their dinner and the only words they exchanged was about him and what was happening to the poor man. When the little Ensy fell asleep that night she asked God to return Jomee to them.
It was in the early hours of the morning when little Ensy came back to consciousness by the loud voice she heard. People were laughing and people were crying. She opened her eyes and saw him. Jomee was back. Dad was hugging him and patting his back and crying at the same time. With him on the ground was a white sack, laden with all their documents and precious belongings
Part 1 — — — —