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The key
Be very careful who you give it to

By Yasaman Rohani
May 2, 2001
The Iranian

Have you ever been in a situation where you believed that you had managed to get a certain person and all the memories you shared with them out of your mind and to finally move on with your life? Has it ever happened to you to be walking on the street and to see a stranger who would somehow trigger all those memories and emotions which you had successfully stored in the back of your head?

I am an Iranian girl, who was raised for most part of her life in the West, but who has despite this fact still maintained a great sense of respect for her Iranian culture and values. I basically grew up living in an environment where most people my age would engage in all sorts of activities including changing boyfriends every month. As we say in Persian, dust pesar mesle kafshe tang-o-goshad hey avaz mikardan.

However the thought of having a boyfriend never appealed to me and the only things of great importance in my life were my studies and my family. My priorities were different from most of my peers, and therefore I gave the impression of having a higher level of maturity for my age. I was basically an old-fashioned girl, who believed in committing herself to one person in life by marriage.

And that idea still hasn't changed. However there are other complications which I have to face today. We all know how it is common for arranged marriages within the family. As soon as an Iranian girl with proper Iranian manners, a sense of maturity, some signs of intelligence and obviously also beauty and nejabat is spotted, she seems to be the target of all kinds of families in search of a girl for their sons.

That is how my story basically starts off. Having an unmarried cousin in Iran, the family took it upon themselves to try to set us up. But in the process of doing that they also managed to completely destroy two people. The family started planning for my family to go to Iran and to meet my cousin, whom I had no memories of . And once we reached Iran, they started with the marriage arrangements.

In the meanwhile, I was trying to figure out whether my cousin was the person I would want to spend the rest of my life with. Basically I was trying to find out whether I loved him as one should love someone whom they want to commit themselves to for eternity. My cousin obviously had already had enough time to think the whole situation through, since he had no trouble of whatsoever to tell me that he loved me.

Even though I might not have believed his words at the time, I could not ignore the look in his eyes every time he looked at me. The more time I spend with him, the more I got attached to him and at a certain point I realized that I could not spend any time apart from him. The idea of leaving Iran to come back to the West seemed unbearable and that is when I realized that I definantly had feelings for my him.

I decided that I would go through with the marriage and obviously that made everyone happy. However, as soon as I had made this realization everything started falling apart. Our family started disagreeing on a lot of things causing a lot of tension between everyone, leaving my cousin and I in the middle of the battle field basically.

I knew my cousin would always take my side, but I could not stand the idea that my kids would have to grow up seeing so much tension and conflict within our family. And that is when I decided that I could not go through with the marriage. I left Iran and came back here, although it was not as easy as it seems.

Coming back here, was like taking a trip to hell. Everything I saw and did reminded me of my cousin. Every night, I would see him in my dreams and my mental status started deteriorating day by day. I started going into depression.

Even though I had not realized the profoundness of my feelings for my cousin when I was back in Iran, I knew once I was back here without any doubt in my mind, that I truly loved him. It took me a lot of time and energy to final move on with my life and not to think about him as much. Once I reached that stage, I was able to live my life again. I even continued by studies. I stopped communicating with my cousin through letters and phone calls.

Everything was fine, until one day...

I was on my way to work . I managed to squeeze myself into the subway overflowing with people. As the doors closed, someone walked up to the subway cabin door. I looked at him and I stopped breathing. In front of me was somone I would have mistaken for my cousin if I wouldn't have known for certain that he was still in Iran. The man resembled my cousin so much, that I could not stop staring at him and as the subway started driving away I never took my eyes off of him.

That is when my problems started again. Seeing this person capable of passing for my cousin's twin, triggered all the emotions and feelings I had managed to place in a far away place in the back of my head. All the memories started flowing back. And he was the only thing I could think about all day.

When I got home, I started on an assignment. One of my habits is to listen to slow Iranian music while writing, since it boosts my concentration. But that night, when I started typing on the computer and Shahram Solati's voice broke out singing "Kaveer", the tears started flowing. All I could see was my cousin looking at me with those big brown laughing eyes.

And as I am sitting and writing this, his face is the only one I see and his voice the only one I hear.

I do not know whether any of you have ever experienced any like this. But if you haven't I will tell you that it is not something which you would want to go through. I have once again been able to pull myself through, but it has left a mark on me, or as Americans would say, left a bad aftertaste.

I will never be able to get back to the life I had, since a part of me will always love my cousin and therefore a part of me will always belong to him. I truly do not wish for anyone to go through this.

Try to always be cautious with your heart, because once you open it up to someone you can not reverse your actions and close it up again. Once you give someone the key to your heart, you can not take the key back and keep the door locked. You can make another key for someone else, but the first key holder can always come and go.

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