It’s beautiful up here. The weather is perfect and everything is beautiful, even the bearded man at the airport passport checkout booth was beautiful, very polite. The most confusing part of getting out of the airport was picking up our luggage, most of the them looked the same on the conveyor belt. The more experienced travelers had marked their luggage with ribbons. My younger brother and I arrived at Khomeini International Airport in wee hours of Wednesday morning. He has never, until now, returned to Iran ever since he left the country as a teenager to study in the USA, that was over three decades ago. Over the years he made so many promises to return for a visit, never keeping any of them, until now. The time had to be now or it would never be, I thought. I had told him many times before, anytime he decides to go I would go with him. Me on the other hand have gone back afew times.
Everyone at the airport was crying of joy, and by “everyone” I don’t mean just the members of my family. Some of the people who were there my brother had not seen before, ever. My brother cried nonstop for a long time. I, on the other hand, was more used to this kind of emotional scenes. Yeah! Whom am I kidding?! The tears were unstoppable. Our relatives were waiting on the other side of a glass wall and we were touching the glass and kissing each other and crying all at the same time. There was so much joy it was unbelievable. Grown-up men and women crying like babies. Young adults who were not even born yet at that time when my brother left and had never seen him, ever, were in tears. So much shit has happened ever since we left Iran as two young Iranian students and got stuck in limbo ever since. I went to the USA first, then my brother came some nine months later. He is loved by everyone, a great joker, dancer, plays tombak and santoor, a great party warmer-upper.
Through all the tears, everyone was looking at my dental braces and didn’t know what to make of them. I was laughing my head off in betweenthe tears. I was laughing so hard that they could see my braces all the way to the end of my mouth where my wisdom teeth used to be before they were pulled out. The people here are incredible, and there are those who want to bomb these beautiful people and this beautiful place. To them I have to say khaak to saratoon, dirt be upon your heads. No matter where you drop your bombs you will kill some of these people, and if you want to kill you might as well line up your own children first.
The sensation of belonging to this place is unexplainable. The minute I look at the Iranian people and places something inside me tells me “I belong here.” A few times I have tried to explain this feeling to my siblings and friends; they hear me but I don’t think they fully grasp what I’m saying. The most common reply is “ageh raast migi chera barnemigardi?”; if you’re telling the truth why don’t you come back? And then the reality hits. How to come back to this place after being away for so many years.
There was not much traffic on Tehran-Qom Freeway, having arrived before sunrise. Going towards Tehran we passed Khomeini’s grave, mausoleum, or whatever it is called. It’s a site to see, right by the freeway, which is lined with trees for many miles, is well lit, and looked pretty good. The highways were great and cars moved fast. We passed a few highway interchanges till we finally took surface streets to our final destiny, to my little brother’s house, having stayed there before and being more comfortable there than with the others. It was 4:30 a.m. when we got there. At the house we talked a few more hours before I passed out to sleep from being exhausted. I slept three hours this morning. Being from a different time zone seems to have confused my body but I am wide awake now.
I went out to find a coffee net this morning. The city air smells fresh, no sign of smog. Some street curbs are green and white, some others green is painted over with black. When I asked my brother why green was painted over with black and if it had anything to do with Green Movement, he laughed at the question. I think we in the West have become too imaginative.
I’ll try to write more later.