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My eyes adored you
When she spoke of masses and injustice, there laid a thundering river of emotions

By Kaveh Ahangar
May 14, 2002
The Iranian

This is an un-edited follow up to "
For Shohreh". -- Editor

Will you also please modify the dedication on the following webpage with the one the follows. I would also appreciate if you could create a link or footnote where it reads " patriotic men and women" and add the list of those members of CIS who lost their lives fighting for social & economic justice, democracy, and human rights in Iran.

Dedicated to patriotic men and women of CIS: Farmarz Vaziri; Bahram Danesh, Iraj Farahvand, Masoud Farahmand, Taraneh Lotfian, Shokooh Tavaafchian, Bijan Chehrazi, Hossein Majdolhusseini, Ali Shirzai, Garsivaz Boroumand, Hessam Ravan, Shohreh F., Farhad Ghiathvand, Faramarz Semnani, Hossein Ahrayi, Ali Heydari, Taghi Soleimani, Kayoumars Zarshenas, Morteza Nahalbar, Hassan Haghayegh, Hashem Maazandarani, Siamak Zaeim, Mortaza Mousavi, Abbas Barkhordar, Hamid Pazouki, Sadegh Ghotbzadeh, Ali Kalantari, Freydon Aliabadi, Manoutchehr Hamedi, Mostafa Sadighi, Pouran Saif, Khorram Haghpasand, Mansour Ghazi, Mohammad Amin, Mehrdad Ramazani, Mortaza Mashayekhi, Bahman Rongahi, Khosro Safaai, Mahmoud Bozorgmehr, Abbas Tamarchi, Mahan Sajadi, Yousef Yousefi, ... . And to Elyna who persistently encouraged me to share this and other stories, and in memory of one of finest daughters of Iran.

It was two weeks after I had arrived in the U.S. Three weeks before leaving Iran, I had met with Manuchehr, Farhad, Majid, and others. Manuchehr and Farhad were university students. I had met them two years earlier as Hossein, a high school classmate, had introduced me to them. We used to gather in the dorm rooms or apartments of our group members or if the weather was good in parks and talk about the current sociopolitical conditions of our country and the plight of our people. Manuchehr had given me some names of people to contact once I'd arrived in the United States. Now, I was meeting with them. They were inquisitive about how Iran was just before I had left there. I told them the last news in the newspapers just before I left was that some member of Hamid Ashraf's group had been killed in clashes, and that the workers of a local textile factory (Chit Saazi-e Esfahan) had protested over low wages and lack of health insurance. But all the while, I could not take my eyes off of her. She was dressed modestly in a light blue turtleneck sweater and jeans. Her jet-black hair was pulled back and tied in a ponytail reaching slightly below her shoulders. Intelligence radiated from her black eyes with a piercing gaze as she quizzed me incessantly. "Was this love at the first sight?" I asked myself. No, no, I could not allow myself that. Love was a luxury I could not afford. I began reciting in my head Houshang Ebtehaj's poem, titled "Caravan" and set to music by Iran's student movement, on a tape I had gotten from the underground.

Then I recalled the two promises I had made my father before I had left for U.S.: (1) not to get politically involved, (2) not to get romantically involved. When I made the first promise, I knew very well I could not keep it. The second promise was easier to keep. I had never before been romantically involved. And with certain vision I had on how my life would proceed, romance and marriage was out of question. I expected that at some point I would join the guerrilla movement against the autocratic rule of the Shah.

As time went on, we met each Saturday at the CIS's regular meetings. I learned that she was a Turkish-Iranian, born in Tabriz, raised in Tehran. She was studying microbiology, hoping to follow onto medical school and become a pediatrician. She was two years older than I was. She was active in the "Mehvarioun" faction of CIS, which sympathized with OPFGI and now, with "post- 1973 internal struggle" OPMI. But I could not then pry more than that into her life. It would have been impolite in the value system I was brought up in.

At age 14, I had made a determination to come to United States. I needed to see up close all I had heard from my friend, Dennis Egan. U.S. would have provided me the freedom to learn all I wanted to learn. Aware of cultural differences, I had decided that I use the opportunity of my short stay in the U.S. to chisel out my own character and personality, to become a self-made man, to shed myself of certain Iranian cultural traits that I found irrational and to adopt the best of what American culture could offer. I was fortunate in that my parents had been sufficiently enlightened to teach us in childhood and adolescence that men and women were equal and treated their sons and daughters equally. I, thus, had learned not only to respect women but gone a bit farther and put them on a pedestal.

I grew up in Esfahan, a city far more conservative than Tehran. In mid-70s, even in most liberalized northern part of Tehran, social taboos regarding cross-gender relationships were still in place. These applied even to purely platonic friendships. Only a small percentage of youth socialized in a few sporadic clubs, and that was frown upon by most Tehranis. Even, among those youth that dared to break the social norms, many did so without their parental knowledge and consent. With that background and the boundaries of social norms among Iranians, I could not have hoped to get to know her more than that.

In my first months in the U.S., in order to fill my lonely hours, I read a lot. Among what I read was Gandhi's "My Experiments with Truth" and F.A. Hayek's "Road to Serfdom," the latter dedicated sarcastically to the "socialists of all stripes". Soon, at the CIS's weekly meeting, I found Shohreh well-versed in Marxist economic theories and Leninist political theories. And without intending, I found myself at the opposite end of heated debates with her. I grew not only to admire and envy her intelligence and quick-thinking but also to resent her for causing me such embarrassing defeats and retreats at times. I had read Bijan Jazani's "Armed Struggle: both an strategy and a tactic" and Amir Parviz Pouyan's "Rejection of Survival Theory." Both argued for armed struggle as the only feasible mean to end the Shah's autocratic rule. Pouyan had also argued against the post-1953-coup position of Tudeh party and the National Front that in the presence of the Shah's overwhelming military power, the West's unqualified support for his rule and Shah's brutal suppression of any voice of dissent, it is strategically more reasonable for the progressive forces to desist from any confrontation with Shah until the circumstances changes either by some "miraculous" weakening of his rule, a more enlightened American or British foreign policy, or transfer of power to his successor. At the time, I had found myself in full agreement with both Jazani and Pouyan. However, after reading Gandhi's work, history of India's Independence movement and U.S. civil rights movement, my views had changed. After reading Hayek's book, my economics point of view was also gradually changing. And these became centerpoints of heated debates with Shohreh. I noticed that she also despised me as much I did her but I wondered whether she also admired me as much I admired her, or at all.

As I write these lines, her beautiful lilting voice mixed with passion and disappointment rings in my ears: "How dare, how foolishly, can you claim that non-violent struggle can work against the Shah's barbarous military machine? Have you lost your mind? You cite history as evidence but have you ever considered why Gandhi's non-violent movement failed in South Africa though it succeeded in India? Then let me enlighten you. In India, the adversary of India's independence movement and the Congress was the British Empire and aristocracy who took pride in their "democratic values", "justice system", "civil society" and "civilized way of life." Yes, it was possible to shame such people into abandoning their inhuman domination of India through active non-violent struggle but in South African's cruel Apartheid system, the colonizing European settlers did not suffer from any of those egalitarian attitudes and limitations. One could never shame the South Afrikaners into changing their murderous behavior toward the native Africans and indentured Indians of South Africa÷÷÷÷÷÷Ó I countered that the Shah also was very much concerned with his "international" image, more so than with how he was perceived at home and cited Shah's "2500th Anniversary of Monarchial Rule in Iran" as evidence. The debate went on.

Life went on and so did our heated and passionate arguments at CIS meetings. At time, other friends ("comrades") would tell me that they were a bit disappointed in me because Manuchehr had often written quite highly of me in his letters and praised my intelligence and commitment to the cause. Here again, in the midst of "progressives" and "intellectuals", I found that they had the same taste and desire for conformity that I had found prevalent among the larger society during my high school years. But, having been always the outcast and the "unwanted", I had learned to prize dissent and to appreciate and respect it in others.

In June of 1977, we were called to a regional meeting of CIS. Ali, CIS's regional "dabir" for the Midwest was present. We had heard the news that the Shah would visit U.S. in mid-November 1977. Ali emphatically explained that CIS had decided to stage the largest possible protest against the Shah's U.S. visit, encompassing not only Iranian students in the U.S. but also many other American and foreign progressive organizations and personalities. There were over 50,000 Iranian students in U.S. and Canada then. We had a few months left and we needed to organize and to enlist as many Iranians as possible into CIS and/or mobilize them for the protest. Votes were taken and both Shohreh and I were nominated and elected to lead such mobilization efforts in the Midwest and Northeast. Shohreh was picked because she was the "hardcore leftist ideologue;" I, because I had the ability to talk to anyone from any sociopolitical stratum and background, win their trust, confidence and support by simple reasoning, without scaring them with political and leftist jargons and ideologic talk. Above all, Ali has said, I was very patient and calm with people and had good listening skills.

From June to late October 1977, Shohreh and I travelled in an old beat-up Volkswagon van ("minibus"), visiting any college or university in Midwest and Northeast that had more than 20 or so Iranian students. Shohreh was not taking any courses that summer. I was registered for two courses: "Linear Algebra" course and "Statics." I had obtained my professors' agreement that I would study on my own and only show up in class when there is a test to be taken. Often, Shohreh would drive while I studied. And, as we often were on the road at night, she would turn on the dome light, which, of course, made the driving difficult for her as its reflection limited her view of the road. From time to time, she would suddenly announce: "enough! I'm bored and am getting sleepy. Coffee is no longer helping. So, close your book and notes and let's argue."

In those months, we grew very close. I got to know about her family and her growing years in Iran through her description of them and I shared about my family and my impressions. I learned about her hopes and dreams, and shared mine with her. I also discovered how free-spirited, impetuous, vibrant, and vivacious she could be. Under that demur, reserved, intellectual appearance that would only get passionate when she spoke of masses and injustice, there laid a thundering river of emotions and sprightliness.

During those trips, she told me of her last high school years when she would often visit the shantytowns of southern Tehran and how the lives she had met there had affected her outlook on life. She spoke of their sheer poverty, their struggle for life and survival, and their indomitable spirit against all hardships and injustice. More than once she had witnessed when the City Hall bulldozers had come to erase these shanty houses on the orders of the Mayor Nikpay, on the excuse of "beautifying" the city. No one had cared to provide "low cost" housing to these poor migrant families of laborers. When she had witnessed a young boy of one of those shantytown families die of simple infection because lack of accessibility to affordable healthcare, she had made her mind to do everything in her power to become a top-notch pediatrician and then return home to serve the poor and the dispossessed.

I shared with her my similar experiences though slightly different. I had spent my early years with my grandparents in a small village. My grandfather was a petty landowner who had some 40 or so peasant families in his hire. During the planting and harvest season, I would beg my grandfather to allow me to spend time in the orchards and plantations with the peasants. They were genuinely kind, caring and quite generous with the little they had. I can never forget the unconditional love and unrestrained, infinite affection that I received from them. They say my grandfather was benevolent, he had built a school and a public bath for the village. He had bought an electric generator, which ran on gasoline, and thus brought electricity to a remote village when electricity was new even in Tehran and Esfahan. He had built irrigation canals and irrigation dams, working along the peasants with his hands to put mortar together. When Shah had announced his Land Reform, grandpa had taken the pre-emptive act of transferring more than half of his farming land properties to his hired peasant families based on the length of time they had been in his service and the size of their families. For this, he had brought the wrath of the government on himself and served 6 months of incarceration. He had hired and brought to the village a man who could be described in modern terms as a paramedic to treat the people. In other cases, he had paid for the ill members of the peasant families to travel to the city for medical treatment. Despite all these, even at that young age, I very well understood the inequity of it all and, having no power of my own, could only sympathize with the peasants,.

In those long trips across the Midwest and Northeast, Shohreh would tell me that when she returns to Iran, she intends to work hard to raise the political consciousness of Iran's proletariat and mobilize them towards a socialist revolution. I, to her dismay, responded that it was all a good dream but only a dream. I told her that from Dr. Arani's time and the foundation of Tudeh party, honest communists had worked toward that goal but they had never succeeded to bring forth either the sociopolitical awareness of the proletariat nor a workers' revolt. I told her that in Russia, from what I understood, the Bolshevik revolution had been an intellectual, petty bourgeoisie coup and the process of communization and collectivization had been from top to bottom rather than the other way around; that in China, again, it had been the intellectual petty bourgeoisie, that through a long military campaign had usurped "power from the barrel of the gun." There was not an example in the world where a workers' revolt had led to a socialist state. I went on telling her that only middle-class people like you and I can afford to care for politics and get involved in it. The poor and downtrodden are too busy working their butts off to put dinner on the table and could not care less for politics and political activism. The rich have no reason or cause to be concerned with social politics. The only politics they care for is the kind that brings them more power, influence, control of resources and thus wealth. I am afraid there is only one tool that can mobilize the country, from the toiling masses to middle-class and to upper middle-class, each for its own reasons. But that is a very dangerous tool, it's a double-edged sword, and that is what Marx rightfully called the opium of masses. It is good only as far as stirring the masses into rebellion and revolt, and nothing further than that, god forbid (with a meaningful smile) if it is used for or mixed with governing.

That entire summer and first half of the Fall we spent time together on the road, on college campuses, on the phone with each other and with others. We grew so close that we had become aware of each other's like and dislikes, peculiarities, habits and eccentricities. I had grown to love her without even realizing it. I had grown to her seeing her face everyday so much so that when a day went by and I did not see her, I would feel uneasy and irritable.

I rarely slept in those six months. Nor did she get much sleep during that period. But even at those times when I involuntarily dosed off and got a few hours of sleep, I would dream of talking and arguing with her and sometimes laughing with her. After each dream, I could still hear her voice or laughter in my head but I could not remember my own.

Time passed quickly. Despite all that traveling, meetings, organizing and on top of that my courses in summer and fall, I had never felt tired or exhausted. In Fall, I had registered for two physics courses, an economics course, an English writing course, and a course in FORTRAN programming. I cannot remember now what she was taking. But now, we took turns at driving. To keep alert at the wheel in long drives and having gone nights and days without proper rest and sleep, she suggested that we sing some of the hymns "sorood" that CIS had produced and put on cassette tapes, which could be bought at a nominal cost for the financial support of CIS's activities. One beautiful mild fall afternoon, we had left Cornell University and were driving past the beautiful Adirondack woods, covered with gorgeous fall colors of yellow, orange, red and brown with still some green branches standing defiant. She suddenly turned and asked: "what do you think of marriage?" I replied: "aside from my opinion that arranged marriage is stupid and has high destructive potential, I do not think much of it." She responded "I agree. But what I was asking--" I caught her off and said "I'm getting sleepy. Let's sing a sorood (hymn) together." She responded, "then let me drive if you're sleepy." "No. I'd like to drive and enjoy doing it. Anyway, It's not your turn yet!" I said quickly. Smiling, she replied, "then you sing a sorood." Without hesitation I started singing A.H. Sayeh's "Caravan" put to music by the talented members of CIS's performing arts group. Eighteen months later, when she had left to Iran, my thoughts were drawn back to this day and what had transpired. Then and only then, it dawned on me how vulnerable I had felt at her question, how nervous I had reacted as if someone had discovered me naked, and why she had smiled and asked me to sing alone. And then, subconsciously, of more than 20 or so of the soroods I knew by heart, I had picked that very particular one. Freud could not have been ever more right in his appraisal of subconscious mind than that very moment.

Finally, the Day of Protest arrived. The day before, we all got on the minivan (VW minibus) and headed out to Washington, D.C. All across United States and Canada, we had rented buses, vans, and cars carrying Iranians and other sympathizer to Washington, D.C. for the protest. Despite all the organizing, we were still concerned not only about the success of it but also what may pursue afterwards. In case of any legal difficulties, two progressive American lawyers, the late Mark Lane and William Kunstler had offered to represent us pro-bono. We had instructed all our Iranian protestors to bring no ID cards with them. We had provided them with phone numbers to either attorneys and their associates where, if necessary, they could call them collect. We instructed them that in case of any arrest or difficulties with the DC police to contact those numbers and to let the DC police know that the law offices of those attorneys represent them. We instructed them that in case of arrest, what their legal rights were. We asked them to refrain from any violent act and any emotional outburst and reactions. We had assigned some of our comrades to serve as "monitors" to maintain order and discipline during the protest. More than a month in advance, we had obtained a permit for the 3-day protest in Lafayette Park and portions of the Ellipse on the south side of the White House, as well as a separate permit for an enclosed loop of routes through which we would march, leaving from Lafayette Park and returning back to there. We had reserved church basements as rest places and for gathering at night. Our attorney had obtained assurances from the DC police that in case of arrest of any protestor, the name, photo or fingerprints would not be shared with the Iranian government and only in case of a criminal act, and even for that on a case-by-case basis would such information be shared with FBI.

As we were passing through Pennsylvania toward DC, we met on the road with many other compatriots, some in buses and vans, and some in their own cars from various parts of the US. By the time, we reached the vicinity of DC, we met others who had driven from Canada and farther parts of the U.S. We even met some that had driven in their own car all the way from California. They had been on road for 4 days, driving non-stop. The Shah's itinerary included also visits to a few other major cities in the U.S. and plans for local protests in those cities had also been made.

It was early morning when we arrived in D.C. I had been assigned to serve as a monitor. Everything went smoothly despite some provocations from National Guard's cavalry. To our dismay, some protestors who had gathered in the Ellipse area became too rowdy and somewhat out of control. On the afternoon of the second day, while walking away from the Lafayette Park to join others at a church a few blocks away, I noticed the DC police in the process of arresting a young Iranian man. Though he was not part of my contingent, I approached the DC police and pointing to my armband informed him that I was a protest monitor and wished to know why the young man was being arrested. The policeman ordered me to walk away without answering me. I politely refused and repeated my question. He and his patrol partner suddenly grabbed me, handcuffed me and throw me in the back of the same armored van that the young man had been loaded onto. Soon, we were at a police station. We were first placed in the police station cells for temporary hold. Then each of us were taken out, photographed and fingerprinted. During all this I kept protesting that I have a right to a phone call and I would like to call my attorney. But none of us were granted that. Instead we were made to listen to the station chief lecturing us. He told us that we were guests in his country and our behavior had exceeded our welcome. He told us that if we do not like the Shah, we should go back to Iran and protest there, not here. I tried to calmly talk with him. I told him of the 1953 coup and its aftermath. I told him of U.S.'s unqualified support for the Shah. And I asked if after all, had it not been true that the United States had sought the support of a major foreign power, France, in its war of Independence against the Britain? Well, we were here doing the same, asking the support of American people in our struggle for democracy in Iran. If our resources had not been spent on sophisticated American military weaponry and arms, then there would have been sufficient financial resources to build more modern and technologically advanced universities in Iran, so we would not have to come to U.S. for our education. In the end, after a couple of hours, we were all released and each charged a $10 fine on the charge of "disorderly conduct," which we paid in cash and walked out of the police station.

Other arrestees did not know where to go after that. So, we all hitched a cab to the church I had intended to go, before the arrest, to meet with other comrades. When I arrived, Shohreh's eyes caught me entering the church's door. She ran to me with open arms and tearful eyes as her blue scarf rolled from and fell off her shoulders. The news of our arrest had arrived ahead of us. She gave me a long, warm and welcoming hug while sobbing, as I stood frozen, caught off guard with her reaction. In Iranian cultural norms, it was, if not taboo, quite unusual that a female would hug a man not of kin and kith. My face turned red as I felt the warmth of blood rushing to my face and I uncontrollably began to quietly cry. It was a moment of total confusion for me and I did not know why I was crying. More than anything, I was quite surprised of my own reaction and could not understand it.

The next day, when the protest was over, we headed back to our home and school. Late at night, while driving back through Pennsylvania, with me at the wheel, Shohreh sitting in the front passenger seat, and 12 others huddled in the back seats of the van, Shohreh suddenly turned and asked me, "Who is your hero?" Impulsively and without thinking, suffering from exhaustion of all the activities, I replied "Grigorios Lambrakis!" "What?Ó she screamed in surprise while trying to lower her voice so as not to awake others. "I expected you to say Mossadegh or Gandhi or Martin Luther King." I tried to recover and said "ah, but he was a pacifist, a good man, a progressive politician, and a descent human being who loved his people and the world." She retorted: "Well, are you going to also be unfaithful to your future loving wife as he was, and as he is admittedly your model figure?" "No! and that is if I ever get married" I replied. "You mean when not if, right?" she continued. "Well, yes, when Iran is free and democratic and I can share the joys of freedom, prosperity, and hope of my people." She became quite and a few minutes later she said good night as she turned away and quietly went to sleep.

Two months later, events took on a different path and form on 17th and 19th of Dey 1356 AHS. We continued with our academic life, often meeting for lunch with others at the Student Union. In January 1978, I attended the CIS's Congress in Frankfurt and in those days, I missed nothing more than her cheerful smile. I had accustomed to seeing her face at least once a day. ÷..

Finally, in December 1978, she graduated summa cum laude with her degree in microbiology. She was not particularly fond of pomp and ceremony so she chose not to attend the commencement. On commencement day, she called me and said she needed a ride. I rushed to her apartment. When I arrived I found her suitcases packed and ready. Surprised, I asked what was going on. She asked me to come in and sit down. As she made me a cup of tea, she said "I am sorry to break this news so sudden and so late to you but I am leaving to Iran. I did not want to tell you that beforehand because I did not wish you to persuade me to stay and follow onto medical school. And I do not want to hear anything from you along that theme. I did not even tell you that I had passed my MCAT. I am done here. I feel I am needed back in Iran. And someday, I will return and go to medical school. That's a promise! Here is my MCAT score report. I want you to keep it for me as an assurance to you that I will come back and complete my lifelong dream. Here is also the address and phone number of my parents in Tehran but please do not contact them until you have first heard from me again. I have two other requests. One, I beg you that you modify your thinking and give up your pessimistic attitude toward life and have faith and hope in a better future for everyone including yourself. Two, and I hope this does not embarrass you like the last time, give me long and warm hug." I had been quiet as every word dropped on me like a heavy stone. I did not know what to say and how to react. This girl had a special talent to shock me out of my mind every so often. I was slightly shaking and felt a particular weakness in my knees as I tried to walk forward to hug her. As I reached her, she stretched her left arm toward a cassette player on the kitchen counter and pushed the "play" button. As I held her in my arms, I heard a sweet music harmoniously in tune with a strong and beautiful voice that sang:

I see trees of green........ red roses too
I watch 'em bloom..... for me and for you
And I think to myself.... what a wonderful world.

I see skies of blue..... clouds of white
Bright blessed days....warm sacred nights
And I think to myself .....what a wonderful world.

The colors of a pretty the sky
Are there on the faces.....of people ..going by
I see friends shaking hands.....sayin'.. how do you do
They're really sayin'......I love you.

I hear babies cry...... I watch them grow
They'll learn much more.....than I'll never know
And I think to myself .....what a wonderful world

The colors of a pretty the sky
Are there on the faces.....of people ..going by
I see friends shaking hands.....sayin'.. how do you do
They're really sayin'

*SPOKEN*(I ....LOVE....YOU).

I hear babies cry...... I watch them grow

*SPOKEN*(You know their gonna learn
a whole lot more than I'll never know)

And I think to myself .....what a wonderful world
Yes I think to myself .......what a wonderful world.

All the while, I was locked in a slow dance as Shohreh led, and I, while silently sobbing, followed with the shell of my body, as my soul seemed to have left me. The song finished. Though I had heard of Louis Armstrong, I had never heard that song before. Shohreh reached and turned off the cassette player. She kissed my chicks now wet with tears, took her blue scarf and wiped them, looked into my eyes as tears swelled in her beautiful black eyes, cleared her throat and in her soothing voice said " a man who plans to fight the demons of injustice, ignorance, cruelty and suppression must be much stronger than this!" She turned her face away to wipe her own tears with her scarf, then reached and pushed the "eject" button on the cassette player, took out the tape and turned to me while trying hard to smile and said "Here, " handing me the tape as she removed her scarf exposing her delicate and statute-like neck: "Keep these as 'forgive me not' " as she placed the damp scarf in my other hand. I tried hard to gather my strength and say something. I wanted to say something but all seemed too surrealistic. I was at loss for words. I could not feel my tongue much less to move it. I wished that this all had been a dream. I yearned to wake up and realize it was all a dream.

I came back to myself when Shohreh said, "it is getting late. I have to be at the airport in 45 minutes. Please help me with the luggage. I leave my apartment keys with you. Please donate whatever is left in the apartment to others who can use it. I can't take everything with me. And return the key to the apartment management afterwards." I, feeling like a zombie, picked up the suitcases and walked slowly to my car. I felt weak and was not sure if I should drive. But if Shohreh demanded to see strength, it was strength that she would see from me, I said to myself. She followed me to the car. We got in and I began driving toward the airport. In the car, the silence was so overwhelmingly that one could hear a pin drop. I could not even hear the engine. Somehow I made it to the airport and helped her with her luggage to the check-in counter. We were standing in the line. Since our last glance, when she had asked me to be strong, I had avoided any eye contact with her. I could not bear it. I kept staring at the airport floor. Suddenly it occurred to me. Why had I not think of it earlier? I excused myself and told her I will be back shortly. I rushed back to my car in the short-term parking lot. I got in the car, pushed the ejection button on the car's cassette player, took out the worn out tape, on which, after returning from DC 13 months earlier, I had recorded one single song from the radio with poor quality. I took the tape and rushed back to the airport. By the time I got back, Shohreh was at the departing gate in the line with only one other lady ahead of her. She was the last person to get on the plane. I ran to her with my arm extended as far as it could reach and handed her the tape as she got her boarding pass from the airline's boarding-agent. As she reached to get the tape, I barely managed to kiss her hand. She waved and ran inside the plane. I went and sat down on the waiting seats. As I watched the plane taxi away and take off, I began singing to myself the song I had just given her on that tape:

My eyes adored you
Though I never laid a hand on you
My eyes adored you
Like a million miles away from me you couldn't see how I adored you
So close, so close and yet so far

Carried your books from school
Playin' make-believe you're married to me
You were fifth-grade, I was sixth
When we came to be
Walkin' home every day over Barnegat Bridge and Bay
'Til we grew into the me and you
Went our separate ways

My eyes adored you
Though I never laid a hand on you
My eyes adored you
Like a million miles away from me you couldn't see how I adored you
So close, so close and yet so far

Headed for city lights
Climbed the ladder up to fortune and fame
I worked my fingers to the bone
Made myself a name
Funny, I seemed to find
That no matter how the years unwind
Still I reminisce 'bout the girl I miss
And the love I left behind

My eyes adored you
Though I never laid a hand on you
My eyes adored you
Like a million miles away from me you couldn't see how I adored you
So close, so close and yet so far

My eyes adored you
Though I never laid a hand on you
My eyes adored you
Like a million miles away from me you couldn't see how I adored you
So close, so close and yet so far

My eyes adored you
Though I never laid a hand on you
My eyes adored you
Like a million miles away from me you couldn't see how I adored you
So close, so close and yet so far

I never saw Shohreh again!

Sixteen years later when the pain had subsided enough, I got married. But ever since June of 1980, though I am not a smoker, I smoke the week before May 1st and the week after May 1st with another two weeks in June to calm my nerves. People find this habit of mine strange as I tend to smoke only 4 weeks in a year every year, and yet do not touch a cigarette at any other times of the year. It's too painful to explain why.

[to be continued]

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Life in Evin
By Ebrahim Nabavi

Admit it

Interrogation of former agents of Iran's Ministry of Intelligence on video
National Union of Journalists, UK

Eliminate violence
... in all its forms, including the death penalty
By Hossein Bagher Zadeh

Why would I repent?
By Farnoosh Moshiri

Seven bullets
One bullet at a time. I count them.
By Farnoosh Moshiril

Alive and kicking
Victim meets torturer
By Fariba Amini

Burning eyes
No one will cry for us
By Javdon


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