Loose screw

A half scene from my novel


Loose screw
by Azarin Sadegh


I lit the cigarette and watched the full moon descending over the city. I couldn’t stop thinking about Mohsen and his last love. That woman. There was something haunting in her voice, and that’s why I was tempted to believe her, a woman who claimed to be loved by the only man who had ever loved me. However every time she called, I just stood there like a fool, unable to say a word or to deny her story. And even if it was all true, why did she need to call me?

I swallowed the smoke and looked outside. The moon had grown bigger and brighter; it looked so close that if I opened the window, I could have touched it and held it tight so it wouldn’t slip behind the Paradise Apartment Complex, leaving us all in the dark. I leaned forward. My breath fogged the glass with smoke.

I slid the window open to air the room so the house wouldn’t stink like Mohsen’s first kiss, smelling like ash and alcohol. The breeze gushed in, and its cold touch took me back to a bridal room with balcony at Hotel Darya, a day when he loved me more than any other day, as if he had never loved with such intensity. A day that all the witnesses, those strangers, called the happiest day of my life.

“Your toes are so cold,” Mohsen whispered, crawling up over me. “I’m going to warm you, but only if you let me.”

But I couldn’t let him, not even after drinking that bitter glass of vodka he gave me. Not at all. I was still afraid, I couldn’t move, but I couldn’t resist either. Mohsen glided his hands under my waist, lifting up my body. I hoped he hadn’t torn my chiffon underskirt. It had taken Ma more than a week to find it in an obscure fabric store in the bazaar, and Pa had paid a fortune just to incorporate it into my dress. Mohsen’s moustache brushed my knees. “Relax,” Ma had advised me. But I didn’t want to relax, the same way I didn’t want to think of the ceremony’s aftertaste or the guests who were late, what they wore and other gossip that made Ma happy, because she wasn’t really happy the night before, frustrated by her messed up dress.

Mohsen’s nails clawed my skin, deep purple stripes forming on my breast, and I remembered how Pa – God bless his soul – had frowned at him the whole evening. If he could, or if it was possible, there would have been an earthquake as powerful as the one that shook Tabas and killed thousands of people, so I’d be a victim among victims, crushed to dust under rolling stones, molded in cement but dying innocent, so Pa didn’t have to hide his dissatisfaction with giving away his daughter and Ma didn’t need to agonize over a missed button, and best of all, Mohsen wouldn’t have reached between my legs.

Mohsen moved up, his bareness pinned to my skin. I took a deep breath, imitating the women I had seen in the movies, wondering if I looked as pretty as any of them. The fridge hummed and the shower leaked drop by drop, like being in any ordinary place or time, and it gave me goose bumps. Rocking back and forth, I watched Mohsen sweating. From this angle, he looked like a stranger scowling at me, like Pa who always scowled when he did things he didn’t know how to do; sawing a useless piece of wood, or struggling to tighten a loose screw, or smashing a nail, but nailing it on the wrong spot. Mohsen crept forward, bit me and I bit him back, for the sake of equality between men and women, wondering how much longer it was going to last.

The blanket slid, and the sheet covered half my face. He kissed me and his tongue shoved the fabric in my mouth. Someone sang a drunken song in the hallway, and I felt like choking. I turned my head and inhaled through the entangled sheet, pulling him in, holding him tight, as everyone expected. “My bitch,” he whispered gloriously, making sounds like those filthy pigeons chilling out in our balcony. He moaned, uttering meaningless words, or maybe just insults. I opened my eyes, not yet aware of the contagiousness of love and looked at him, astonished by this lewd explosion inside. He was falling asleep, exhausted, or pleased by his own narcissism, reeking of sex and alcohol, still weighing on me.

Ashes burnt my fingers. I tossed out my cigarette, or what had remained of it, closed the window hastily, and held my hand under cold running water. The moon had fallen beneath the night, and I was shivering. The city looked peaceful, a rare silence everywhere.

I should be sleeping too, but how could I?


Recently by Azarin SadeghCommentsDate
Life Across The Sun
Jun 11, 2012
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Oct 03, 2011
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more from Azarin Sadegh
Multiple Personality Disorder

Dear Azarin,

by Multiple Personality Disorder on

Looking at this half-a-scene installment from your novel as a stand-alone short story, it raises many questions in my mind, and that is a good thing, because short stories are meant to be intriguing in that way.

I wonder answers await me in the rest of your novel; mainly I want to know why Mohsen's wife has been loving a man who has been abusive to her.  He does not seem to be a passionate man yet she considers her first night of having had intercourse with him to be an event when he loved her more than any other time in her life.  Why?  What worse things has he done to her after that night?  I want to know.

I enjoy reading short stories, and acknowledging this story to be one, it is engaging, at the same time I'll wait to read the rest of it when the novel comes out.

Azarin Sadegh

Oh ...

by Azarin Sadegh on

My dear Esther,

I'd say that your poem is way stronger than my little story or comment! I feel so lucky to have a friend like you...:-) Thank you my dear! You are such an inspiration! A real treasure.

Dear Monda, Orang, and Nazy-e azizam, Thanks to you too for being so encouraging and positive about me...specially during the rough times, or those moments when I am full of self doubt about my choices in life...wondering where I'm going to...and god - if it exists - knows how many times a day I soar and then I fall...and fall even deeper.

But next time it happens, I'll remember to be hopeful and strong and optimistic, and to remember you guys, and Esther's amazing poem...so I'll hang onto my love for writing like the only way for me to live and to be alive...And believe me! I will be ok then, just knowing that.  

Thanks again, 

Love you all, Az. 


I can't send you a publisher ...

by Esther on

... but here's a poem inspired by your first comment.  I couldn't get haft seen/half scene out of my head today!

* * *

On one table, seven signs of spring, haft seen,
On another, scattered scribbling, half scene.

Sabzeh, samanu, seeb, seer, senjed, serkeh,
Somaq – perhaps, too, some other thing, haft seen.

Always sleepless wherever you are.  Skin, sweat, screws,
Stories, silence, smoking, shivering, half scene.

How many lonely literary lovers
Must you, silver moon, illumining, have seen.

I had a dream.  If I remembered, I'd tell you.
Meanwhile, nearby, poet and muse are playing, half-seen.

Nazy Kaviani

Crisp and real

by Nazy Kaviani on

Oh Azarin, this is beautiful writing! I think I have read everything you have shared on Iranian.com and I can tell you with conviction that this is obviously a part of something really good in the making and a natural progression for a serious and dedicated writer. It is so real and so familiar. Your character's vulnerability comes through and I could experience her shock and discomfort, anticipation, and disappointment. Very good, indeed, my friend! I hope soon will come a day when you have 14 publishers at your door, begging to publish your book and for your dilemma to be to decide on the lucky one!

All the best Azarin Jan!

Orang Gholikhani


by Orang Gholikhani on

Thanks, you said things with "classe"



self publish?

by Monda on

contact me if you want to know more.


Azarin you covered so many favorite elements

by Monda on

This so touching, because it's open and vivid... just love it. I deferred reading your piece to just now when I was in the proper mood to enjoy it thoroughly, as I did.

(how was that for her to hear dirty-talk on her first time, wasn't it confusing or distracting... what was it?!) 

Azarin Sadegh

Thank you everyone!

by Azarin Sadegh on

I don't know what to say to thank you all after so many lovely comments, specially that they are coming from my favorite IC writers..:-) THANK YOU! Your reading of my story and your encouragement really means a lot..You made my day!

About my first novel: I realized that I have created some confusion among my friends! I think I should stop talking too much and too early!

I wish I were already published, but after being rejected 14 times by literary agents and receiving a few good tips about improving the pacing, I am working on my first novel half time, before sending it out again! I am optimistic and I know I will be published sooner or later...some writers like Janet Fitch was rejected 100 times before receiving a "Yes, I will represent you" response!

BTW, if any of you are interested, I can send you the first few chapters...:-) 

Thanks again! Az.

hadi khojinian

Azarin Jan

by hadi khojinian on

Amazing Aziarin Jan !!!!! thanks for share it .


You are amazing!

by Souri on

Azarin jon,

That story gave me the goosebumps! Your skill of describing all the scenes and the moments, is  extra-ordinary.

Although I have never experienced such event in my life, but it seemed to me that I had lived all those moments of that night!

This is the power of the story telling!

More power to you!


A few of my favorite things

by Esther on

1. Your picture and your first line reminded me of one of Farrokhzad's poems (except there are two lit cigarettes in her poem).

2.The apartment complex reminded me of OP. :)

3. The smell of Mohsen's first kiss reminded me of the smell of Rushdie's mouth in your other story - very compelling both times!

4. I am curious about the chiffon underskirt.

5. I am very fond of the part about bites for the sake of equality and "the contagiousness of love".

Speaking of which, I must tell you that I have now read all of OP except "The Silent House", and I am very fond of him as well.  I went to amazon.com in search of your first novel, but all I found were your reviews of his!  You must keep us updated about both your novels - I don't mind dark and as you can tell, I am actually very fond of dark humor.


Love and Confusion

by divaneh on

A gem of a writing. Thanks for this spring special Azarin.

Red Wine

آذرین خانم بسیار گرامی‌

Red Wine

نوشته‌های شما (آذرین خانم بسیار گرامی‌) حال و هوای خاصی‌ به این سایت میدهد که بنده از استشمام آن هوا، کمال لذت را میبرم ! خدا شما را برای همه ما پارسیان نکو زاد نگاه دارد.

پ.س : بنده برای شما یک عدد کارت تبریک بهاری،نوروزی فرستاده بودم و نوروز را به شما شاد باش گفته بودم،امید وارم که آن را مشاهده و لذت برده باشید.

همیشه سبز و همیشه پاینده باشید.


Azarin Sadegh

A real half scene (it sounds like haft Seen!)

by Azarin Sadegh on

Thank you Jahanshah!

The first time on your wedding night? Oh my..:-)

Maybe I need to give an extra explanation for this half scene from my second novel, or maybe you should only read the flashback/sex part which can be read as an independant short short story.

 But anyway, as the whole story line of this second novel is pretty dark (surprise, surprise!!), so I tried to lighten up the reader's mood by having a character with a particular sense of humor!  

Jahanshah Javid

First sex

by Jahanshah Javid on

Thanks Azarin. You've become quite a writer. You've painted a compelling picture of what first sex is like.

I think the first time I had sex -- on my wedding night -- I was not much better than Mohsen. Except for the dirty talk. That developed much later :)

Please give us an update on publishing your novel.