Saturday, January 07, 2006

I was in the middle of writing a bit of a funny story that happened to me the other day when the phone rang. I knew it was bad news from the moment I heard the voice on the other side. I mean you don’t have to be a rocket scientist, as they say, to know that when people are crying, they are going to give you bad news.
When you’re away from home, anything to do with someone dying is a bit of a lonely affair. One day I get a phone call from one country by someone telling me that someone very close to me by blood, that I haven’t seen for twenty four years, has died in another part of the world that I’ve never even been to. I get sad and I go over the memories that I have of that person and in between I keep checking the time and doing the maths to see if it’s yet a good time to call Canada or Iran or France or Spain.
The first thing I remembered of him was a few of us kids being out in the garden one day and him saying, ‘I know how to make a cigar.’ It was the unfortunate Farsi name of cigar (cigar barg: leaf cigar) that had given him this idea I think. He sent us to go and get the driest leaves we could find from around the garden. Then he ripped out a double page from the middle of his old homework’s notebook (there were a few of us little kids in the garden that day you see and he was making the cigar long enough so everyone could have a drag) he poured the broken, dried leaf pieces in the middle of the paper, rolled it and then used a big piece of cellotape to stick it together. We all sat in a row in the back of the garden so no grownups would find us, coughing and passing this strange, smoking torch up and down the line.
I was six when they left Iran for good. For the first few years when his mum came back to visit, he would send me letters with her with a picture of a big candle on them. Underneath the candle he would write, ‘The flame of our friendship is still burning.’ and ‘The flame of my love for Iran is still burning.’
Next thing I know twenty four years have passed and I have eleven cousins instead of twelve.

15 comments:

amanda kay said...

shirin dear, i am sorry to hear this and we are thinking of you.

marieh said...

dear shirin, so sad to hear of your loss.In times like this it is horrible that our families are spread in many countries and can't be together. Surely his family was glad to hear you on the phone.

Negar said...

Shirin jan,
I'm truly sorry to hear about your loss. May he rest in peace. And I hope it wasn't from smoking dried leaves that he passed away because then you would feel bad for not telling him back then that cigars aren't made that way.
I'm also sorry for promising you that I'd add to the story and I didn't. For a while I didn't feel like writing and now that I do feel like writing, I don't have the story (it was on my desktop and that's dead now!) Anyways, I apologize.
And again, ghame akharetoon basheh.

GazanKhan said...

that was very nice my dear, my condolences.

Roshanak said...

Shirin joun I'm so sorry. I was thinking of calling you and talk to you. which I will do but I wanted to tell you that your text is nice.

Foulla said...

Shiring Darling,
what a nice post..so simple yet so powerful.i'm really sorry u lost a friend,but i'm sure the flame of u're friendship 'll keep burning forever..
Big Hug

Nyx said...

Sorry for your loss dear. We had one of those bad phone calls ourselves this christmas. My father-in-law apparently had a heart-attac, two weeks before the call... He's fine now, but it was a shock, and I was so angry about the fact that they hadn't called us when it happened. Yet, I understand why.
take care dear
/nyx

Shirin said...

Thanks a lot for all your lovely comments everyone. Writing this and posting it was kind of a spur of the moment act and afterwards I regretted it a bit thinking it might have made me look like I was fishing for sympathy or something. The problem is that I still haven’t worked out if I even have the right to be sad about this one or not. I mean what difference should this make for me anyway; to have someone on the other side of the world that I haven’t seen for all these years or not to have them. I don’t know really. All I know is that I’m feeling a bit choked and that’s that.

Foulla said...

Relax Shirin, and allow u're self to mourn u're friend.u dont have to analyze u're feelingd right now,just surrouder to this overwhelming wave that's taking u back to Iran ,to u're childhood..and cry.u'll feel better.
for writing about it, i think u're right to do it.it helps to share.it helps u but also as,readers ,as well.
it's simply human ..
Big Hug

marieh said...

Your feeling is honest and no objectiveness like distance or time counts.i think you wrote this so that you share with your friends. One can be far away but there is always some hope that we will meet our friends or family, even after 20 years...Maybe also you are feeling sad about the fact you now have no chance to meet your friend again.I am very sorry...

Em said...

Hey der Shirin

Wateva it is,the person that passed away ur cousin rite..shared ur life

Im veri sorry for ur lost and as Foulla said give urself time to grief...

Take care...

jarvenpa said...

I came to your blog via Foulla's (I think?) and find it very interesting and touching. I am sorry about your cousin. Those phone calls, or people at your door--they are the worst, yes.

Behrooz Soltanian said...

What a sad account and what a proper ending.

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