For the Writing Young Love series.
It was my sixteenth birthday. Ten young people sat around a table at Tehran’s Chattanooga Café on Pahlavi Avenue. We were all in love. Holding Farzad’s hand, my classmate Shirin yelled: “Don’t forget to make a wish!” I closed my eyes and just before I blew the candle I squeezed his hand and wished to be married to him, the love of my life, some day.
Shirin was crying. Her life had been turned upside down when an older suitor, khastegar, had walked into their home, asking for her hand in marriage. Her parents had thought the doctor to be a good match for their 18 year old daughter. Farzad was desperate to keep the girl he loved to himself, so he had made his parents to go to Shirin’s house for khastegari. Shirin’s parents had all but laughed the 21-year old college student and his parents out the door.
We went to Shirin’s wedding. While everyone else was dancing and enjoying themselves, the nine of us, including the beautiful bride who needed none of that heavy makeup on her lovely face and around her green eyes, were subdued. That groom looked so old and stuffy to the rest of us. We were so sad.
We were shopping at Kourosh department store for our wedding when we ran into Farzad. He seemed a lot older since the last time I had seen him a year ago. He looked haggard with that beard he was sporting. All he said to me was: “Nazy, didi chi shod?,” and all we could do was to hold him in a tight embrace without any words.
We had returned to Iran for familial reasons. One day after work I went grocery shopping at a supermarket near work. As I was putting things in my cart I heard someone say: “Nazy, is that you?” I turned to face Shirin. Squealing with joy, I held on tight to the friend I had lost all those years ago when we first moved to US. Two sentences into our conversation she said: “I have been looking for you for years. I have had a question to ask you. I have wanted to know what your life is like? I want to know how life is for someone who married with love? Are you happy?” I said life was good and that we now had two young children. I couldn’t read Shirin’s face, but in my woman’s heart I knew that she still missed Farzad. She said she was still married to the doctor and that they had teenage children now. We exchanged phone numbers and promised to call each other. Somehow we never did.
I was almost finished running my 6 mile run on the treadmill at a sports complex in Tehran’s Shahrak-e Gharb. Someone got on the next treadmill and moments later I heard her say: “Oh My God, Nazy! I can’t believe it’s you! I can’t believe I ran into you again after four years!” I reached for the big red button and stopped the treadmill and turned to find Shirin next to myself. I jumped off and ran to hug her. I said: “Shirin, I have been meaning to call you over the past several months. I have thought about you many, many times. I have something to tell you. I got divorced ten months ago. I really wanted to tell you.”
*This title references a series I wrote a while back about relationships, entitled “Kissing all the frogs.”
This is a true story. I have changed a few details in this story to protect my friend’s privacy.