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Mano bebakhsh
I pray she knows that I love her

By Sara Maleki
January 10, 2002
The Iranian

I'm playing mother tonight. Or is it doctor, or nurse? Whatever role I am playing, it's not my own. I'm sure.

I'm the kind of person you meet for the first time and then nickname "Ice Queen". I am always cool and composed. You can never tell how I am feeling or what I am thinking. Letting people know of my emotions is to give an important part of me away. It makes me vulnerable, and I hate that feeling. I have never kept a diary, not even as a child; mainly for fear of someone reading my thoughts. I never talk about my problems with anyone.

I can pretend to be cold hearted. So cold that if a person drops dead in front of my eyes, I will neither shed a tear nor will I panic. I'll simply stay calm. Why am I a rock with no heart? I don't know.

When my mother asked me to sleep in her bed tonight, I simply shrugged and said, "Why should I?"

She explained that she was having trouble breathing and was hoping I could keep an eye on her in case (God Forbid) something was to happen. I just stared back at her. I was shocked and wanted to cry. But, of course, I didn't. I picked up my pillow and went to her side.

In my mind I thought of every possible worst-case scenario, and the things I would have to do. I kept the telephone and car keys right next to me, just in case. I never took my eyes off her chest, to watch it rise and fall. I thanked God for her every breath, and then prayed for the next.

When she suddenly wakes up, I turn my face. I pretend I'm just writing (writing this). I didn't want her to think I was worried, or that I haven't slept a wink so I could watch her breath. I don't want her to know I'm scared of losing her. I'm not just scared; I'm petrified.

I am talking about my mother! The only person in the world who would do anything for me, and I for her. So why don't I want her to know that I, too, care?

I'm trying very hard to search my memory for a time when I told her the words "I love you". I failed. It finally hits me like a slap in the face: I am truly a coward, a cold-hearted coward.

Isn't it an unspoken rule that all mothers love their children and all children love their mothers? If she had never told me, "Midooni cheghadr dooset daram?", would I now know that she does? I can't help but wonder.

She must know. How can you raise someone for so long and doubt his or her love? Does she know that I love her? Does she know that I would gladly give my limbs, my organs, my heart and my life, just so I wouldn't have to see her suffer? Or so I wouldn't have to ever live without her.

Does she know that I pray for her safety, health and happiness every waking minute? Does she know that I miss her when she's away, even if I don't say anything and never call?

I pray she knows that I love her. And I hope that someday I get the courage to tell her all these things. I hope I get that chance before it's too late. If I don't, I will never forgive myself.

But right now, I'm still a coward. All I can do is sit here, pretending to be wide-awake and very busy writing (even though I am having trouble keeping my eyes open). I will watch her all night. I will watch the continuous rise and fall. I will listen carefully to hear her breath. And I will pray to God to keep her safe.

Maybe someday, before it's too late, I'll have the courage to tell her how feel. I would tell my mother that I love her more than words can ever express, and more than she can ever imagine.

Maman beh khodaa Ghasam dooset daaram. Faghat jora'at nadaaram. Mano bebakhsh.

Comment for The Iranian letters section
Comment to the writer Sara Maleki


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