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July 8, 2003
The Iranian

Part 19

New Year's eve
In an effort to start the new year with a fresh and different attitude, I had decided to escort my parents to a village near Den Hague, where a friend of theirs was giving a New Year's Eve theme party. The theme of was the 70's. I decided to wear a pair of red bootlegged jeans with a black shirt with the word WORLD on the front and PEACE on the back written in a shiny red colour.

When we entered the ballroom, where the party was being held, we were instantly greeted by the hostess, a friend of a friend. A lady, dressed in a white suit and yellow neck tie, wearing a large pair of yellow sunglasses and an enormous afro wig, walked towards us on her flipflop with a huge orange flower. While walking towards us , she yelled out my mom's name in a very melodramatic way.

"Salaaaam... khosh omadin... che dir omadin... chegadr khoshgel shodin... lotf kardin... khoshaalemoon kardin..."

After the ussual SALAAMALAYK BAAZI, Gila, the big-wig woman, escorted us to our table. After a drink and, I looked around and saw that the room was mostly filled with families with lots of children. I was beginning to think it was going to be a boring night, sitting in a corner sipping champagne, listening to my dad's political discussions on one side, and on the other, my mom's discussion about clothes. The surrounding people in their 70's outfit, which was getting weirder by the second, also generated comment.

When I heard my mom starting to talk about why I had returned back home, I couldn't sit around anymore. I started to walk to the bar to order a margarita. I was planning on getting drunk in silence.

I leaned against the bar and looked around for a waiter, when my eyes caught a man in a suit. I guessed him to be about 30-years old. He hadn't come with a 70's look at all; he looked quite distinguished actually; very charming. At that moment our eyes met and I quickly looked away. I didn't want him to think I was staring (which I was). But he looked so fresh, I couldn't help looking at him.

When I got brave enough to take another glance, to my surprise he was still looking at me, with a little smile. His eyes were shining. Just as he was about to say something, someone tapped me on the shoulder.

One of my mom's friends had a son. He was about my age and we kind of grew up together. He used to be an annoying little boy. He would take my Barbie dolls and undress them. I remember I had shed a few tears when I found another of my dolls brutally raped. Of course that annoying little boy had grown up. He was in his last year of college, studying psychology. My mom called him "Agha-ye Doctor", but for me he was just Behnam, the little boy from my childhood. I couldn't imagine myself on his couch, telling my life story. I would feel his eyes undressing me and fearing the same fate as my dolls.

So when I turned around, to my surprise I saw Behnam with two margaritas!

"Hey Behnam, how did you know?"

"Remember that party at your dad's place last year? I heard you saying you..."

He suddenly stopped and looked at me with pain in his eyes.

"Behnam chi shod?"

"Hichi Awisa, velesh kon"

Behnam called me by my full name, just like my mom.

"Midooni Awisa, in this world there are two kinds of people: those who don't have to do much to get what they want, and those who have to struggle and fight to reach their goal in life, which may or may not work out.

"Behnam, how many drinks did you have tonight?" I tried to make a joke to take away the tension. It didn't help. Behnam looked very hurt.

"Awisa, cheraa hamechiz jok-e baraat? Cheraa zendegi jok-e baraat?"

"Behnam, to ke harchi delet mikhaad daari... what are you blabbing about... you ARE the kind of person that gets everything without a lot of effort! Instead of just saying 'hi', you start talking about deep subjects -- on New Year's Eve!"

Behnam looked at me closely and his lips curled into a smile, the kind Iranians call POOZKHAND... "Awisa, you don't have a clue, do you?"

He turned around and walked away. I was surprised, but I didn't have much time to think, as Jila, walked my way and started to talk. I looked behind me, where the man in the suit had been standing, before Behnam's brutal interruption. But now he was gone... I looked around the room. All I could see were fancy colours and too many disco lights. My Man-in-a-Suit had disappeared...


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