We rarely hugged, but on that day, we did


by Azarin Sadegh

Father's day is approaching... and as you know, I have this special thing for Fathers, since my own father isn't here anymore. So, in spite of my crazy schedule, I wrote a little personal essay last night for him... -- Azarin


   My father and I took a photograph a long time ago, but someone has cut him off the picture. What remains is the sight of a frightened girl – me -- sitting on a frightened horse. And the rest is only a fantasy. But if I close my eyes, I might recall the missing pieces and I might create that moment again as a whole.

   We’re surrounded by green waves of the Caspian Sea. The level of the water reaches the animal’s thighs and my feet. An arm (my father’s) holds the harness tight and I’m leaned forward, smiling. Nothing seems genuine, yet so revealing. My face divulges an unseen sense of adventure unlike my usual shyness. If I think hard, I might remember my father and the way he stood in the picture, pushing his chest forward and pulling in his stomach. He’s looking sideways at the camera, with a frown and a vague smile on his lips. Even naked, he looks like a military man, someone proud of something unthinkable, with the attitude of a hero. Maybe he’s proud of his daughter (this scared five year old girl with long hair and big belly) riding a horse, going so far in the sea where other kids – those who run on the beach or make falling sand castles -- have never been.

   My father liked to brag, mostly about his children. He never lied, just exaggerated. He made people stare back at us with admiration, and his pride made us ashamed of our own achievements.

   But somehow, now, his flaws don’t bother me anymore.

   I’m sure in his mind my memory is betraying me, since if I could ask him, as he remembers he was only trying to control the situation and the horse. He’s going to claim that this glow, this intensity, what I took as his pride, is nothing but the analgesic shock of a horrific possibility in his mind. That he’s afraid of the horse’s reaction to the flash of the camera. Any moment, the animal could escape to the shores or worst toward the depth of the biggest lake of the world. He’ll tell us about the horse’s apparent fear and discontentment of being dragged into this picture. That this temporary moment of a father and daughter’s happiness had no value to a horse, so the animal was ready to express its rebellion against this liquid nature which in the collective memory of all the horses of history had never been kind to a creature of this size. And the look on the horse’s eyes is the look of terror, as it feels the holes opening up under its legs, and the animal’s imagination creates this horrifying picture of a horse drowning, twirled and swooped with the current, and this thought adds a new layer of anxiety in the animal’s mind, each time the waves break over its nostrils.

   If only my father could be here to tell us the truth, but he isn’t and cannot be here, unless I start believing in talking ghosts, so I’m finally free to change him, to recreate him way beyond his reality. He isn’t here anymore to contradict me, to tell me how wrong I am for having even considered the possibility of him posing with arrogance in front of a camera. If I believe him, or if I believe myself, this picture has captured a single moment of an undeserving achievement; when a little girl (who didn’t know how to swim) is at merci of a man who couldn’t save her from the monstrous horse-eating-waves of the Caspian.

   And as he’s gone, for years now, I’m able to close my eyes and if I pay more attention, I’d notice – so clearly -- that my left arm is entangled in his, almost like an embrace. We rarely hugged, but on that day, despite of our usual conventions and customs, we did.

   If the picture wasn’t cut out, I could see Father’s expression, so I could remember that moment the way we wanted it to be remembered; like something simple, ordinary, something that could have happened on any day of our lives, as if we lived always – always - in this same state, holding to each other, saving one another. Like the image of a little girl and his loving father on vacation, having a good time.

   But now, all I can do is to imagine, and to invent this new other, this new reminiscence, just because he isn’t here to tell me who he really was and how – really how – we used to be.


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Beautifully written

by divaneh on

Lovely tribute to your father. Yes, we all enjoyed and trusted that protection. Perhaps the only time in life that one can trust something without any doubt.

Azarin Sadegh

The ghosts we love!

by Azarin Sadegh on

Thank you so much to every one of you, for your sweet and lovely comments!

I think my obsession with my father has to do with my own sense of I cannot let go of him. No wonder everywhere I go, I carry his ghost with me. Sometimes, I forget about him (or it has to do with him losing weight, turning to dust, or maybe I've just grown strong), and some other times his weight kills my back, I put him down, and we look at each other's eyes...and he reminds me to love him again and I remember how much he used to love me - no matter what -- and how much I adored him in spite of everything else...and this is how I finally learn to love myself.  


Mysteries and imperfections aside

by Monda on

... they gave us the motivation to recreate them for ourselves.  I think that's resulting from the genuine love we received from our dads. Even if they couldn't always protect us from our fears.  And I do feel for that little girl, you, on the horse.  

Azarin jan you reminded me of some of the mysteries that my own dad carried, before and after his death. Don't you think these memories help us though with wanting to be more open and honest with Our children? I bet you even then, they will put their own pieces of us together.  And that's alright, if you ask me. (Especially if they're written so well.)



عشق من برتر از


عشق من برتر از اندیشۀ توست                                            در خیال از تو بتی ساخته ام                                                  داده ام پیکر زیبای تو را                                   آنچنان جلوه که نشناخته ام                                          

Happy Father's Day to all the fathers who are around us, or in our heart and memory


very nice Azarin - bless him and mine

by MM on

we should never forget that we are made up of bids and pieces of memories, and our parents are the ones that shaped those memories early on.

Nazy Kaviani

Dear Azarin

by Nazy Kaviani on

A very nice piece of writing my friend. I have read other pieces you have written about your father, and your father seems like a very attentive man through you stories--he was a very good father, full of attention and love for you. It is clear that he made room for special times with you alone, and you have a list of childhood memories where only you and your father were present. I see him as a loving man who helped free your imagination and gave your experiences extra layers and dimensions.

Your writing is, as usual, poetic and full of folds which add depth to it, each piece holding the promise of a longer story which could be firmly built on that foundation.

Happy Father's Day to your family Azarin Jan. You remembered your father so lovingly and kindly.

Azarin Sadegh

The real significance of the Father's day

by Azarin Sadegh on

Thank you so much dear Jahanshah for not only posting my little essay so quickly but also for posting my note to you in my email, as a mini prologue!

@Dear Darius, Thank you for reading my essay and being always so nice and encouraging! When I was a kid, I lived next to the Caspian and we used to spend the whole summer on the beach in  Babolsar...One of the activities was horse riding, and the horse owner would rent his animal for a short period of time. My best memories of my father belongs to that period where I was just a kid and he was the whole world.

@Dear Humanbeing, You are absolutely right! This whole essay was supposed to be a sober and philosophical rememberance about how we remember the past and how we look at things to make up new memories ...but of course, as usual, I ended up writing with my emotions, idolizing a time which wasn't even perfect....and even writing about the horse's point of view! 

@Dear BN: Thank you so much for your sweet feedback! I like your "transparent" adjective...It is comforting to know that I've been able to depict a clear image of a man who has been a full mystery to me while still alive...and this is what breaks my heart that we missed this opportunity (I missed it) to get to know each other...Maybe that's why I can't go through any father's day without a new scar. 

bajenaghe naghi

Azarin jan

by bajenaghe naghi on

Lovely story. Very clear, transparent, and honest. A wonderful tribute to a Dad from a loving daughter.


beautiful piece azarin

by humanbeing on

as you show so touchingly, parents in their five-year-old children's minds are often larger than life, all-powerful, and idealized (or even idolized). in your description, the horse and the waves, as well as the heroic pose of your father (as you recreate it) fortify the fairy-tale quality of this ideal memory. as adults we remember them both as we thought of them then, and with their imperfect humanity superimposed on it. time and our love blur things, but the pain of longing doesn't blur.

Darius Kadivar

Nice Tribute Azarin Jaan and Beautiful Photo

by Darius Kadivar on

In tribute to your Childhood Horse ( Caspian Horse ?)  and your Fond souveniers with your dear Father:

pictory: Omar Khayyam Wins Kentucky Derby (1917)