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She uttered her current title softly: refugee

June 29, 2004

Nassrin sat alone. All traces of her past, it seemed were shut out by the obtrusive, distasteful furniture that had enclosed her.

A series of titles that she's been called by rushed to aid her like true comrades: A child, little girl, activist, university graduate, daughter, lover, wife and prisoner. Voices, faces and smells, brought to life the forgotten memories. She uttered her current title softly: refugee. She waited to see if any sentiment would follow, but it didn't. It never did. She hoped a memory would form in the passing of time. But quickly the hope began to bend under the crushing moment, getting heavier under the concatenation of her fragmented thoughts.

Immured in the four walls, protected from her enemies and the world she relentlessly tried to change, she picked up the comb and started to brush her long, black her. She didn't want to think. Yet, her body yearned to feel. Her mother's caring hand slowly took over, giving her the respite she needed. She sat still. It was the touch that was going to solace her not a plethora of memories. A simple touch she thought. The hand disappeared. Then her lover's hands began to feel her breasts. She let the sensation run through her body, making it warm and loved. Her husband, who's whereabouts she didn't know, his fingers, sensually tip-toed down her hungry skin. She straddled her legs and closed her eyes for a moment. She wanted the ethereal, sweet illusion to coddle her senses forever.

She opened her eyes, staring into whiteness of the ceiling. Were they all with her now, inside her? She questioned. The thoughts once again opened a chasm between her and the feelings she so desperately wanted to retain. She continued to brush her long, shinning, black hair. She said to herself that she's very strong, stronger than anyone she's ever met. But the thought evaporated as quickly as it appeared.

Refugee, she whispered again. She resented the fact that she couldn't be proud of her current title. In the past she had brazenly identified with the outcasts, the down and outs, the oppressed. Now she couldn't give herself the same rapport. She felt powerless. Even in jail she remained ambitious, full of future plans. She enjoyed the company of likeminded people. She was somebody.

She stood up and made a ninety-degree rotation. Someone else's bed, table and wardrobe were mauling her like vicious dogs. There was no place to hide. Standing, she caught her reflection on the dusty window. That illusive countenance that had parried her over the years this time didn't budge. She muttered her name, Nassrin. Waited and muttered her name again. She was Nassirn. No one else, just Nassrin, she told herself. There was no manifestation to resort to, no leader to report to or a friend to turn to; only Nassrin.

Her portrait, framed in the dirty windowpane stood still and looked back at her as if to say, Why now... I've always been here...

She stared deeply into her eyes devoid of their once puckish gaze. She was carrying too much in her. She didn't know how much longer she could go on, remembering, forgetting, forgiving.

* *

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By Farid Parsa


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Spirituality in the Land of the Noble
How Iran Shaped the World's Religions
by Richard C. Foltz

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