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Short story

By Hassan Zerehi
Jult 26, 2001
The Iranian

My mother and her mother were standing with our heads in their hands.

"We are well," Iran says.

I touch Iran's belly. I feel my child is in there. She looks at me, smiles, and says: "Our child."

A storm breaks out in me. A storm breaks in my heart. My head, in my mother's hand, turns toward Iran's head, in her mother's hands. The world turns green.

We were children. We chased girls. We used to go to the palm grove. We made dolls with clay. We gazed at the clay doll.

"Are you well? How beautiful you've become."

We rubbed the doll's breasts. In that hot, humid weather, cool happiness flowed in our bodies. I fashioned my doll after Iran. When the doll was made, I passed my hand on her firm breasts. I wished Iran, too, had made a doll to think of me, and passed her hands where I would have been ashamed.

She has a black mole on her right thigh. She had white tender skin. I used to call her my crystal. Her eyes were almost green. My mother hated green eyes. Whatever I looked at in the palm grove, it assumed Iran's form. At school, too.

Under the lotus tree, our gazes became intertwined. The look in her green eyes flowed into my body. I was filled with a sense of greenness and joy. I wished to stay green and joyous. I did. We were alone. The sense of that look lingered fresh in my body for a few years. I put my hand on her dear and warm hand; on that soft and tender silk. I was gazing at her brown hair and green eyes.

My mother discovered something from the clay hot stove. With fear and caution, I take a loaf of bread. My mother's heavy look falls on my shoulders. She sneers and says: "Don't let her distract you. That girl is a witch." I keep silent. I don't turn my eyes away from the bread. Iran has distracted me. I like my distraction. At nights, I kiss her in my dreams. Her kisses sweep my body and then something flows inside me. It is not my blood. Her heart merges with mine. I don't tell my mother. I like my distraction. I don't tell her I'm bewitched.

I take the hot bread and go up onto the roof. Their house is two steps away from our house. Far far away. I'm hiding from the guards. Iran's memory gives birth to a storm inside me. My veins overflow like a mad river and, in a pleasant way, destroys my entire being. I don't think about the guards and my own fears. I don't even think about people and my desires. If only Iran was mine. I want to see her. My cousin, a member of the Revolutionary Guards, doesn't want me to get killed. He says I have to leave. I want to stay and die where Iran is. "Go , and return," Iran says.

Under the lotus tree we arrange a rendezvous under the green shade of her first glance. She has come, wearing her faded blue muslin dress. Her glance flows in me. My hand is on her hand, my glance is on her hair and lips. I have to kiss her. I hate the sense of that last kiss. I hate the sense of the first and last kiss.

"Farewell," I say.

"Will you return?" she asks.

"I'll return."

I bring my head close to her eye. There is a commotion inside me. The coolness of the morning flows from her large and warm breasts onto the dead heat of my body. I become the color of a dream. Our young blood mesh together. They become one. Her kisses have the smell of spring and the taste of the cold, humid, early morning breeze at the port.

I'm in Dubai. I see people I haven't seen for years. I've become bitter. I find fault in everything. I've come to hate going away. I say I should have stayed.

The guards took away my books. My clothes, too. My mother asked why they wanted my clothes. My father said they were afraid of my clothes. Iran cried that they had no right to take away my clothes. They took her away, too. With my letters to her, our clay dolls, and our books. Iran was sent to jail. After three days she was released. Confused and depressed, with a bitter and heavy silence whose shadow spread over the port. It's still there.

"You won't believe it. She was bewitched. Her heart wasn't in her body. Her green eyes had faded away. Like a beautiful painting sprayed in black. She still goes to the palm grove every day, under the lotus tree. Her brothers have become a little unkind to me. Don't return," my mother says.

I want to go back. I hate the black color over Iran's painting. "Murderers," Ali says. I don't ask who.

Ahmad and Ibrahin have gone to the port. To Sirik. They have taken with them a gold necklace and a pink neckerchief as a souvenir for Iran. Ahmad, her older brother, has said that they want to take her to Dubai. Iran has thought about me and her eyes have become green. They say they should go that very night. Ibrahim shook his head, sadly. They have taken the gold necklace and set out in the dead of night.

Her mother and my mother have kissed Iran's forehead, their cheeks have become wet. They've said they want to talk to her before her departure. Iran suggested our lotus tree. They've gone to the palm grove in total darkness, under our lotus tree. They've told Iran to be comfortable and to lie down. With her faded blue muslin shirt, Iran has lied on the ground. The night was full of stars. It was humid, too.

Iran went to the jailhouse to bring her green glance. When she found it, a disgusting feeling had come to her. A feeling of fear and death.

Ahmad took out the Swiss Army knife. Iran wanted to open her eyes. "Close your eyes," Ahmad ordered harshly. Frightened, Iran tried to get up and run away. Ibrahim sat on my Iran's breasts, with murderous seriousness. Tears swelled in his eyes. Ahmad put the knife on my Iran's throat. Ibrahim saw her warm blood on his hand and face. Ahmad said he doesn't want a sister with a bastard in her belly.

They've told my mother to wait. She and Iran's mother are standing with our heads in their hands. "Don't worry about us. We are well," we tell them. My hand is on Iran's belly. It's my child. Iran makes me green. She smiles and says: "Our child."

A storm breaks out in me. A storm breaks in my heart. My head, in my mother's hand, turns toward Iran's head, in her mother's hands. The world becomes pitch green.

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