March 26, 2003
The Iranian

Part 24

March 23

My parents have returned to the East Coast, taking away with them the last remnants, scents, and fragrances of Eid Nowrouz. No matter how hard it is sometimes to cohabit with Maman, I cannot help but tear up as I stand at the airport gate, waving her and Baba away. God, goodbyes suck! At least they have each other. But I am left here all alone.

Gosh, what am I still doing in Hell-Ay? Let's face it, I only came here because it was Ali's choice. And now, where is Ali? Or rather with whom? I shudder to think. Let's face it, it's not like any grand career plans are keeping me here either. Or deep long lasting friendships. Chloe won't even talk to me because of the Gavin thing. Who knows if she'll be in a better mood once she gets back from wherever the hell it is she disappeared to...

-- "Daaaaarrrling you shouldn't have!"

I start at the familiar voice and pivot in its direction. Sure enough, speak of the devil: There is Chloe before my very eyes, wearing what looks like a huge sombrero with little pompoms hanging from it, a black bikini top and flowery blue and black wrap around skirt. Her skin is tan and glowing, her blonde hair bleached almost white by the sun. She gives me a dazzling smile and saunters over to me in her perfect little strappy sandals. I am still dumbfounded but I return her embrace. The good thing, I guess, is that she is talking to me. Why snap the illusion she has that I have come to the airport to pick her up?

-- "Oh Naaaz, I had THE BEST TIME on my shoot" Chloe coos "I TOTALLY, like, did not miss it here at all." Then, after a sheepish pause, she adds charitably "Oh of course, except for you and Artie."

-- "Where have you been ???"

-- "I got a NATIONAL commercial spot Naz, isn't that great? It's for this new Mexican beer or something... I just spent the whole shoot in Cancun, frolicking by the pool and doing tequila shots arriba arriba hahahaha!"

-- "I'm so happy for you Chloe..."

She can't stop giggling, holding on to my arm with one hand, and flipping her hair with the other. This can't be all about a commercial. I smell a man!

-- "Chloeeee... Is there something you wanna tell me?"

The giggles intensify. Chloe is doubled over.

-- "Oh Naz... I feel like I'm sixteen or something... I'm just... Oh I don't know where to begin..."

-- "Why don't you start by his name?"

-- "Diego!"

I suddenly picture a tall suave Zorro type with six pack abs and a delicious accent.

-- "Wow, you hooked up with another actor?"

-- "Noooo... He is the company president!" Chloe exclaims. Then, her voice down to a whisper, she adds: "Naz, you won't believe it but... He let me drive his jaguar... I THINK I LOVE HIM!!!!!!"

I am speechless. How nice it must be to live in Chloe's simple world.

And there, that must be him coming our way, carrying Chloe's unmistakable faux Vuitton traveling bags circa 1986. Yes, he is all I imagined him to be: A chest that could stop a speeding truck. Longish black hair slightly damp from the heat, that curl at the bottom. Biceps that look as if they could lift Chloe into the air like a dumbbell. For some reason, the background music in my head is "Rico... Suave"

-- "Miss Chloe", the scrumptious Adonis grunts, "I put da bags in da carrrr. "

-- "Sure Antonio! I'll be right there!" Chloe beams. Then, giving me a devilish smile, "I should set you two up."

Antonio? Who, what, where? I thought his name was Diego? The look in my eyes makes Chloe roar with laughter.

-- "Naaaz!!! That's Antonio, our chauffeur. Diego is probably in the car already. Here, you wanna come meet?"

At this point, my curiosity has reached its peak. I follow Chloe to a stretched black limousine parked outside. Antonio has finished loading the bags in the trunk and is now rushing to open the door for my friend.

What I see inside makes my heart jump six feet. At first, I hope this is another mistake and that the old bald guy inside, with a fat belly, silk Hawaian shirt, white pants, and crocodile leather pointy boots, is another member of the household staff, a cook maybe? Alas, Chloe jumps in his lap and starts tickling him, to which he responds with a delighted high pitch squeal.

-- "This is Diego!", Chloe happily chirps, "We're moving in together! Tell Artie Antonio will be by for my bags later okay?"

And with that, the door of the limo is slammed shut. Off they go.

I think I am going to throw up. When did Chloe turn into Anna Nicole Smith?

I look back to the airport inside those glass doors. Maybe this was the ultimate sign I was waiting for. The confirmation that I don't belong in this crazy town. Come on, Nazanin, there's time to turn back, get inside those doors, and walk up to the ticket counter. Four little words that can change your life for the better:

-- "Ticket to New-York please!"


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