Shame on shame
Part 3: Shiraz 1982
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October 5, 2006
Mom and Dad were fighting again. It happened almost every night. Dad came home long after midnight while Mom was sitting by the kitchen table, satring at something on the wall, waiting for his return and then the regular quarrel would follow. The economy was tight and also the tolerance of the people who had lost everything they owned in the very first few weeks of an unwanted war was so limited. One single wrong move resulted in lengthy quarrels. Each night the sound from the couple's bedroom would wake the children first and sometimes the whole block. Words followed by shouts and then screaming, things being hurled at one another and objects being thrown to pieces. When these noises woke the children, Jomee would hurry to their room and take them in his arms, wiping their tears with his calloused hands. Rocking them in his lap, kissing and cooing in their hair, saying nice things, making them feel safe and secure.
Kabiris had moved to the southern city of Shiraz far away from their sweet home in Khorramshahr. They had left almost all their belongings as well as memories there. The city had been captured by the Iraqis right after their departure and it was obvious that there was nothing left out of it after all those air raids and mortar attacks. All the valuable things that Mom had salvaged from the safe in her bedroom, including her jewelry and a some money was enough to pay for a small apartment and a mechanic shop in which Dad worked from dawn to dusk. They were quite lucky to have the essentials of life, since all their friends and neighbors lived in shelters and tents provided by the government.
All the documents in the white sack were just worthless pieces of paper, since all their family properties were destroyed by the war and no document were needed to prove who those piles of soil in the captured territory belonged to. Instead of their big, white palace they had to live in a two-bedroom apartment. Life was not so lavish as it used to be. No helping hand around the house and certainly no cook , just Jomee who still lived with them and slept in the hall of the small apartment. Some family members and friends who could not leave the city were unaccounted for and no one knew for sure whether they were dead or alive and this also contributed to the breakdown of war-stricken people like Amir and Laaya. Ensy's grandparents who also lived in Shiraz visited them frequently and tried to help as much as they could. Ensy's grandfather in particular was so kind to them but his financial resources were so meager and he could not support another family by it.
Soon Mom offered her sewing expertise to a tailor shop but since Dad would not allow her to work outside the house, she had to ask Jomee to bring in the new orders every morning and take back the ready-made items to the shop at night. Ensy had a deep feeling, even as a very young kid that women like her mother were prisoners to their men. Mom could not leave the house without taking kids or Jomee along. She had to explain where she had been and what she had been doing every time she went out all alone. This added to her sense of frustration and rejection. On the other hand, Dad felt no reason to explain how he had spent the evening and why he had returned home so late.
That night Mom was particularly angry and something in the tone of her high-pitched voice told Ensy it was much more stronger than the previous nights. She could feel a kind of helplessness and urgency in her mothers desperate screams. She was talking about another woman. Someone who Dad visited frequently. An unknown woman who had made Mom really crazy. She was raving and ranting like never before. The sound of glasses and dishes breaking was quite unprecedented, and so was the loud sound of a sharp slap across her face that led to a long silence. Jomee did not let the kids leave the room. Taking them hard in his warm embrace, murmuring endearments in their ears. Then they heard Mom going to her room, locking it behind her back, silently crying. Ensy woke up the next morning with the sound of yet another scuffle, this time much less noisy but more serious. She got out of the room and into the hall. Mom was carrying a small suitcase, standing by the threshold. She was crying, saying things to her exasperated husband who tried to stand in her way. In a few minutes she was gone. Mom had left them.
After a few weeks it was quite obvious she would never return again. Jomee tried so hard to mend the pieces of the kids' broken hearts by taking them out and playing with them all day long, telling bedside stories for them until they fell asleep. But it was a kind of wound that could not be healed so easily and so soon. Dad went to work in his garage early in the morning and spent almost all the evening in some mysterious place. Sometimes he spent the whole night out, maybe with that woman. Life was so dark and grey after Mom left, never returning to fetch her children or at least see how they were getting along. Her grandfather came by to look in on them once or twice but he died a few months after the divorce of his daughter.
Soon it was obvious that Jomee was the one and only parent left for the kids. He cooked and washed and swept around the house, taking them out for shopping or occasionally to the park or the movies. He was the only person who took them to see a doctor when they needed to and sleep by their beds on the floor to give them their medication on time. Salar could cope much easier and faster with his new conditions and soon he found new friends in the neighborhood, playing football and spending time with them, adding to Ensy's sense of loneliness. The next year she went to school too. Ensy remembers the very first day of school when Jomee took her there and waited for her to get in line with other children. She saw other kids coming with their mothers and this picture lingered in her memory for a long long time. She was escorted to the school in the morning and brought home by Jomee every day. Jomee had to play a hard father and a soft Mom for the kid at the same time, trying to discipline and take care of them simultaneously.
That year Mom married another man and the news broke Dad to pieces. For a few weeks he was shocked and bewildered, grieving for his broken life and marriage, but after a months or so he returned to his nights of debauchery and his relationships with unknown women. When dad was with the kids he was absent-minded and cold. He was changed. Sometimes he would bring some guest in the middle of the night whose soft voice and sighs could be heard in the kids' room. Strange noises and occasional laughter at midnight showed Dad was having a very good time with the stranger in his room. The mysterious guest usually left the house early in the morning with Dad, never trying to meet the other house members.
Ensy had the colorless life of a child of divorce in those days, but fate decided to turn her gray days into black very soon . She was molested at the age of seven >>> Part 4
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