Mage Publishers
Photo by Roumin Mohtasham


By Shadi Ziaie
Pleasant Hill, California

The carpet was brick red and it followed the hallway to the balcony. Along the edges of the carpet, white was woven in like frosting. To the right was the bathroom in which I spent one whole day once when I came down with diarrhea. Then there was the kitchen. To the left was my bedroom. I still remember my mattress and the big stains of urine which I left on it every now and then till I was 6. It was red with blue, orange and white stripes. Where the stains hit the red, there were brown zigzag patterns contrasting the linear. My bedroom faced the balcony. It was quite a large balcony. I remember we had parties there. Once for my birthday my mom put rollers in my hair and we took pictures out on the same balcony. (For that birthday my dress was navy with a white tulle apron which had ruffles all around it.) It was a big party and many showed up. The stars were bright that night.

I had dolls. I loved dolls. But I loved cars even more. I was always given dolls however. One in particular had blonde hair, red lips, and big blue eyes. She had a sparkling silver top and a shiny white satin skirt. I liked her. I continued to adore blue eyes until I fell in love with a brown eyed boy.

Somewhere along the line my newly wed pregnant aunt and her husband moved down stairs form us. There were two sets of stairs of about twenty steps each which led to their door. Their unit had the same floor plan as ours but instead of a balcony they had a covered patio. I couldn't wait for the child to be born. She would have the same room as the one I had upstairs. They decorated that room pink. I was the first grandchild to be born on my mom's side of the family. The idea of a playmate appealed to me. I used to go down the stairs only to put my ear to my aunt's stomach to see if the baby was moving. She would sit at the kitchen table and I would adore her big round belly which made her clothes balloon. I don't know whether we still lived there when Delaram was born.

I would think that the front door of the building is still white and the front double doors of the units still wooden. The watercolor mark that I left on the tiles in the corridor has probably faded. And the balcony may or may not overlook the park still. But I'm sure that someone else is making memories at 21 Marjan Street.

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