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Bahram
Short story

By Nooneh
May 7, 2001
The Iranian

So a while back I told Bahram it was time to call it quits. He didn't seem particularly shattered but suggested we have one last date. No harm in that, I felt. It wasn't as if I had a replacement for him already just that the whole thing wasn't going any where and our days together were turning into white bread, the really doughy kind. That's okay. Bahram never gets my metaphors either. White bread, doughy white bread. Stale, doughy white bread. okay?

I let him pick the place. Made him feel more in control. Although he denies his need for being in control it's obvious to everyone around him. So he picks my favorite dining experience, the whole gamut: chilled vodka shots with olive chasers at The Bar, Washington oysters on the half shell at Frankie's by the wharf then on to Polermo's for Carpaccio and Linguini. We had a couple of bottles of Chianti and the conversation was the best it had ever been. Bahram was warm and open. He kidded around about his dream house, debated the merits of beach front property versus mountain top and being my usual Libra self I argued that a cozy mountain top property overlooking the ocean would really be ideal. He agreed.

No, we didn't want to go for Tiramisu at Polermo's. This was the evening's first diversion from my favorite dining experience. Bahram suggested we drive around for a bit. It was a pleasant night. His convertible invited in the cool night air and we drove around to the voluminous sound of the Counting Crows. He was quiet. I had given up on my hair and let it fly freely in the wind not paying much attention to where we were going. Our destination was separation and I liked the fact that we were creating one pleasant last memory. Much better than the usual scream and cry routine. Or the silent treatment. Or worse of all, unknowing. Void. I hate that.

The smell of the ocean caught my attention. I could taste the salt on my lips. Hum... I breathed it in. The dim lights from The Cove were shining bristly orange in the deep blue night. Cognac? He asked. Sounds great. Back to my favorite dining experience routine. There was a live band playing slow swing at The Cove. A new attraction? I threw my question at Claire the bartender with my eyebrows. She smiled and nodded yes. I smiled back in approval. They sounded great. I felt like shaking the salt off my body with a dance. But remembering that Bahram was pretty selective about when and where to show off his moves I decided not to suggest it. Then I heard those lovely three words ring in the air "Want to dance?" I looked at him to make sure the alcohol hadn't invaded my ears but his lips had that look of "I just finished a sentence, aren't you proud of me?" and his eyes... his eyes...

I placed my hand in his extended hand and we joined the carefree couples on the dance floor. Well, Bahram was definitely putting on the moves. I began feeling suspicious. What was he up to? Dumping me and enrapturing another all in the same evening? Who was he seducing? It wasn't obvious to me and it made me feel guilty about feeling suspicious. I decided to drop the analysis and just enjoy myself. In the two years of our courtship this was maybe the fifth time we were dancing together. Three of those five times happened in the first month of our dating. I think I fell in love with him on the dance floor. Maybe knowing how much I love dancing with him he denied me the pleasure, afraid I might take it for granted or something. Or maybe... Okay. Drop the analysis. Wee... swing, up and down, twirl in and out, and end up wrapped in his arms. He was gazing lovingly into my eyes. Was he? Lovingly?

"I love dancing with you," he said. I'm sure I would have hit the floor had he not been holding on to me so tightly. So what would the correct response be here? Me too? What is this, I love you, goodbye? I was unsettled. This wasn't part of the plan. I was uncertain of how to respond. Why was my stomach over-actively digesting the linguini all of a sudden? Before I had time for any answers, or more likely, more questions, Bahram whispered in my left ear "let's get out of here." Hey, I had finished my cognac, danced beautifully in a wonderful dancer's competent arms and received a loving complement (loving? okay, maybe admiring) (admiring?). Best to leave before I wake up.

The asphalt had turned into cotton balls and the salty air made me feel like I want to take my breasts off, the way you unfasten a seat belt. The feeling in my crotch was vaguely familiar but it had been too long and the wine and the vodka and the cognac had turned my head into an inferno of lustful thoughts and I wasn't sure if I was actually feeling wet or I was seeing wet silhouettes in my mind grinding against each other. What was the difference? The fact was that I felt like unfastening my seat belt and flying out of that convertible and landing on the biggest erection on the beach. My buttocks and abdomen muscles were taking turns contracting and releasing, my heart was beating faster and faster and my lips, separate but equally aware, were trembling with anticipation. I pressed my head against the seat, my leg muscles tightened lifting my upper body a tiny bit at the same time I rolled in my ass a little allowing my crotch to open up. The extreme heat in my groin forced my legs apart and all I could feel was... was... blank, and black, unending light. A gentle ache took over my body followed by an Ah that filled all my pores... My head drunk with pleasure allowed my body to release itself onto the seat again. I licked the salt off my lips and swallowed one satisfying gulp. Peace. Contentment. Bahram turned and looked at me, "How can you be sweating in this wind?" referring to the shiny beads above my lips, no doubt. I smiled withholding further details and inconspicuously ran my hand over my skirt to dry the inside of my thighs. The feeling of utter bliss had overshadowed all suspicion and guilt. There was only me and the salty wind, and yes, Bahram too.

While I had been traveling where every woman travels alone, Bahram had been winding the convertible up an increasing slope. The scenery reminded me of the Italian Riviera or what I knew of it based on Hitcock's "How to Catch a Thief". Me: Grace Kelley, You: Cary Grant, romantic! The ridiculous thought brought a smile to my face and I realized that apparently Bahram had been speaking for a while as I found him quite in the middle of expounding on a thought. I turned and looked at him stupidly.

"Good, I'm glad you're intrigued," he said. Did he find stupidity intriguing? Then he stopped the car declaring ecstatically "Here it is!" I looked around baffled. He got out of the car and slammed the door closed. I followed suit running a quick check over my skirt for any evidence of the private trip I had embarked on while accompanying my soon to be ex-boyfriend on what had turned out to be quite a last date. All clear. I stepped out examining my surroundings.

We're in front of what looks like a mansion. I immediately notice the large bay windows up stairs, oh and the beautiful white French doors opening to the garden on the side. This is beautiful indeed. The magnificent ruby colored front door is at once inviting and foreboding. Bahram seems to have a destination. I just follow hoping we won't get shot for trespassing. He opens the iron rod gate to the side garden and gestures to me to follow him inside. I do. The purple and orange flowers shine bright in the starlight of this moonless night. I instinctively walk to the bench and sit mesmerized by the familiar scent that surrounds me. Jasmine. But where is it? As if reading my mind, Bahram points up. And I find myself sitting under an awning covered in luscious white jasmine. The smell takes me back to my childhood for a moment when I used to visit my great grand mother's home. Her tiny house had a beautiful back yard whose one tall wall was covered with jasmine. Every summer night we would sit in the freshly sprinkled yard by the small blue ceramic pool filled with fancy gold fish. The kind whose gills float gently in the water.

"Nice?" Bahram asks. I smile in appreciation. He takes my hand and drags me out of the garden leaving the iron rod gate open behind us. Shouldn't we cover our traces? What if the owners suspect intruders? We continue in the dark passing through some shrubs and trees I can't quite identify in the dark. The fear of being caught must be playing games with my mind because I think I can hear the ocean waves. I'm thinking, "Okay, this has been a truly enchanting evening but I'm ready to go home now. Thank you for a great time... " OOPS, I slip on some pebbles and grab on to Bahram to keep my balance. He turns to look at me, that look again.

He takes my hand and whispers "Come... " Okay. I look behind me just to make sure there are no police cars or private security forces trying to secure the safety of the inhabitants of this lovely dwelling by kicking us out of their private property. As I look back I notice the house is built on a giant boulder and that we're actually stepping down and out through the trees. Overlooking us there is a beautiful terrace protruding out of the house. I imagine myself in a white bathrobe standing on that terrace gazing at the ocean while sipping on my morning coffee. What? The ocean? Yes, the ocean. Right there in front of my feet. The ocean, its waves lazily washing up the beach and I'm looking at it from what, 30-40 feet above on a cliff hand in hand with a man I've known intimately who agreed it would be best if we separated. Is he going to throw me off this cliff?

Vague images from old movies rush into my head. The woman and her lover conspire to kill the rich husband and throw him off a cliff. Or maybe they kill him first and then throw his car with his murdered body inside off the cliff. Fear takes over again. So this is why he's being so nice to me. This is why he didn't get angry or scream or demand any kind of an explanation. He was contemplating the final solution in his mind all along. No. Is he capable of murder? Some God-awful statistics buzz in my head: two-thirds of all women killed, are murdered by their husbands or boy friends. No, can it be? But I don't deserve this. Even in the movie the lovers are destroyed by the murder they commit. Once they know what the other is capable of they can never trust one another again. No, he'll never be able to do this. I have no money. My measly life insurance and 401K proceeds together are worth less than Bahram's convertible. And plus, she'll never be able to forgive him. After all, if he is capable of killing me who is to say where he will stop? Who is she? I wonder... was she at the Cove? Was he making love to her by seductively dancing with me? Maybe she likes to watch him with other women in which case it would make more sense to keep me around.

"Well..."

"Well."

"Here we are..."

"Yes."

"Do you like it?"

"Like it?"

"Yes, the view. Isn't it magnificent?"

"Yes, it is. I'd like to live to enjoy it."

Bahram laughs heartily. I feel a chill take me over.

"Let's go back." I say.

"Go back? Why?"

"I'm cold." I lie.

His arm reaches around me. I jump.

"Sh... " is all he says turning to look at me.

I find myself in his embrace. He is pulling me close. Maybe he plans to squeeze me to death. I look up, no trace of evil in his eyes. In fact, the next thing I know is his trembling lips planting these words in my left ear: "Ours, this is all ours."

But before I have a chance to inquire any further into his meaning he presses his lips against mine with a passion unparalleled in our two-year history. And before I have a chance to complete a breath and refocus my eyes I hear his blurry image utter the words I never expected him to say, "Marry me, I love you, marry me."

That was the last time I saw Bahram. Eight months later I heard the news of his engagement to Zari, a mutual friend of ours. Their wedding to which I was not invited took place in a beautiful house above a cliff overlooking the ocean where the happy couple is expected to live comfortably ever after.

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