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A story of talk
She began to notice the existence of something like a script in conversations

January 3, 2003
The Iranian

When she was five, talking was the best thing there was.  There were times at school and at home when she would stand and listen to a conversation, from her teacher or the other kids or her mother and father, and she would know something was happening.  And then there were times when she was the one talking, telling somebody something, and that was great.  She did not talk a lot at school but she was glad when she had a chance to do it.  And it was great to see her mother after school and tell her about everything that had happened.

When she was nine, she still listened closely and she was was still discovering all that there was to do with talking.  It was really something.  It was wonderful, with her friends at school.  It was great to be part of the conversation at home, such as when her father would become upset about something in the newspaper and she or her older sister would ask him about it and he would explain.

When she was twelve, there were so many exciting things to talk about with her friends. There was a lot that was very funny too.  Sometimes she would feel like being quiet though.

When she was fifteen, she began to see that there was some talking that really seemed to matter a lot in the world.  It had to do with who you were talking to, most of the time.  She felt it when she talked with her best friend and sometimes with her sister.  And she felt how she was someone who liked to talk about real and serious things.  It was true with her friends, the way that she was the one they would talk to about their problems because she was very interested.  It was true in school too, the way that she liked to talk about the ideas in the books they read.

It was about the same time that she began to notice the existence of something like a script in conversations.  She heard it among adults but it was sometimes there in kids of her age.  She did not understand it sometimes.

When she was eighteen, she left for college and it seemed like a good place for the kind of talking she liked.  There was so much to laugh about too.  There were times when she heard the script but there were people whom she could joke about it with, and that was nice.

When she was twenty-one, she looked forward to being through with college and seeing what it was like in the world.  She had become tired of the kind of talking that occurred in her classrooms.  It was not as fun to joke about things as it had been before.

Along the way there had been love, and that had had a kind of talking and a kind of listening that she had liked very much.

When she was twenty-four, she worked behind the bar at a billiard hall in the city.  She worked the day shift and she liked it because it was quiet and she did not have to talk very much.  She could play the jukebox and read.  It was mostly the regular day players whom she knew or businessmen coming in at their lunch breaks.

One day in the summer a young man came down the street towards the billiard hall.  It was two-thirty in the afternoon and he was drunk without a care in the world.  He went in and went up the stairs to the bar and asked for a beer.  When she brought it to him, he said, "What is your dream?"

She looked at him and she knew that he was drunk.  He looked like he was a few years younger than she was.  She did not think that he was trying to pull her leg but he was drunk.

"My dream is that I wouldn't have to work tomorrow and I could sleep."

The young man looked at her and nodded seriously.  "I hope it comes true," he said.

He drank the bee, paid and said goodbye.  The young woman waved goodbye.

After work she began to walk to the bus stop but she did not feel like being on the bus and she hailed a cab instead.  She got in and, in the back seat, she began to cry.  She cried and felt embarrassed to have the driver see her cry.  He noticed her and began to look for the things that could console girls who cried in the back seat of his cab.  He was very tired but he had done it at other times and knew that it was a matter of finding it.
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By Siamak Vossoughi

Fiction & prose

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