I met him when I was only 16 and with a dual enrollment in high school in the mornings and college at nights. I met him my first day at college, he saw me waiting for my classes to start, sitting at the library, came to talk to me, asked where I was from and where and at what time were my classes. I answered him, like obeying an order. That night he was waiting for me after my classes and asked me to give him a ride back to his apartment, only a few blocks from campus. That was the beginning of a story that shaped the rest of my life, my first encounter with Iranians, and as I see it today, a very bad day for me and how I choose my lot in this life.
That was the beginning of many rides to his apartment after classes. He was always waiting for me, religiously when I finished my classes, two times a week. I was fascinated by this tall, dark and handsome-beyond-belief man, who seemed to have a big interest in me, an interest I did not understand. I was only a child, and had no clue as to how men behave, or how they act and felt. I only knew that all I could think of during my entire week, was the time when I will finish my classes and take the most handsome man I had ever seen in my car, back to his apartment.
He did not talk too much, there was a problem with the language: we were both communicating in a third language, not native to either one of us, and he was struggling with it a lot more than I was. After all I was younger, was in high school and had been in the U.S. longer than him. It was not long until he invited me to come inside his apartment. From that point on “he became my boyfriend”, or what I thought was a boyfriend. He would hug me first, then go on to kissing, and then more… and I was totally fascinated by my effect on this handsome, intelligent man, how I could make him lose control and how his breathing became heavier and heavier, whenever he approached me.
By this time, all my friends were warning me, about this “strange foreigner” from a “strange and far away land”. My American friends were warning me of them having many wives and being just a bit less than savages. My Latin friends kept telling me that this man will never marry me, that he will eventually leave and marry somebody else, that he was probably already engaged to someone back in his homeland. but all I could think of was that he was the most handsome man I had ever seen, and somehow, I could have him all to myself to play with. If I have ever known love, he was it. I was totally head over heels and under his spell and I could not help myself but to just feel the luckiest person on the planet, just because he had chosen me.
I could care less where he was from, or that his language was very strange, or that his alphabet looked like something done by a child. His friends were “weird”, or that maybe he had a harem, back home. All I cared for was that I loved it when he came looking for me, and gripped of my hand and walked with me to the car, and then took me to his apartment, made me some of that great tea — tea that I, a coffee lover by birth right, had come to love — and sit for hours on the couch kissing and being hugged by this man. He also cooked for me, that wonderful Persian food I love and crave to this day, after the passiage of 30 years. He used to call me his “babyjoon” and I was just in what seemed to me as heaven. My world revolved around him. He was the center of my universe.
This was before the Iranian revolution, and he had told me, he had come to the USA, because there were not enough universities in Iran and for all the people that wanted to go to them. I knew his family or maybe the shah’s government was sending him money, and that eventually he was going to go back home, once he had a degree, and that my first love story would be written and lost. But I could not see so far ahead, all I could think of was the next time in his arms.
The time came, when I graduated from college, almost at the same time, (this was a two-year college for associate’s degree) and so did he. We now had to go to a university for the next two years to get our bachelors. He decided to go to the University of Florida at Gainesville, six hours away from Miami. For me, it was out of the question to move from Miami, and I was going to stay in FIU, a university, just a few blocks from my house. So I, who up to that point had never asked questions or made demands, demanded to know, if he loved me. He had never said so, although I told him that I adored him every day. I asked if he ever planned to marry me? What were his plans for our future? He never answered. I guess he never knew the answers himself, he just walked away from me, in the middle of very heavy rain, alone with my questions, and never looked back.
My first love story was never known to my parents, but my heart was so broken and I knew I could not make it by myself, I was so alone, so miserable, so sad, that I decided to say yes to a Cuban kid, with exactly the same pedigree as mine, who was the son of friends of my parents, and who had been asking me to marry him, for a long time.
At that time, we Cuban girls in Miami married very early, because otherwise we were constantly chaperoned, and were encouraged to get married, just as son as a “good man” will ask us. By the time, my Shirazi came back to Miami, during a break from school, he found out I had married, and I never saw him again until February 2000, well over 20 years after I had seen him last, I was already a widow, had a teenage child and he had gone back to Iran to live >>> PART 2