“Do you love poetry?” Someone asked me.
I used to listen to Shamloo citing the poems of Rumi and Khayyam during the nights of war in the dark, walking in my room, going from one corner to another, and pausing for seconds by the window to watch the city outside, the apartment buildings facing our apartment building, the narrow street, and people in their home -- unaware of being watched -- and feeling like a voyeur... Maybe this is how I loved to be a writer.
Every night, the old woman of the second floor washed her feet in her kitchen sink, looking tired and bored... Maybe this is how I decided to leave my home.
Every day I hid behind the curtain of my room, waiting to catch the light of the morning, holding an unfinished book, a novel, a voluminous story about imaginary characters that I knew they had never existed and wiped off the invisible stains of the glass or counted the stars until they all disappeared in daylight, so I could open the book, to find the sentence I had read the last, to throw myself inside the flow of a life which had nothing to do with the stillness of my room... Maybe this is how I longed to become someone I wasn’t.
In the morning, the young girl – living in the sixth floor at the other side of the street - put make up on her pale face, standing at her window, and her black hair playing in the wind and the light reflecting on her mirror proved her existence, while at the bottom of the building a bald man in a Mercedes waited to take her on a date... Maybe this is how I began to hate traditions.
At noon, a man in a wrinkled suit hurried back home for lunch; his wife had already set the table and stood at the window facing my window. Her face was drawn; she never smiled at the sight of her rushing husband. The man would sit and devour the rice and stew, while the woman poured water and tea and looked hungry. He talked and talked more, talked louder, moving his fists, scratching his nose, tossing the plate, hitting the table, while the women turned less and less alive, crushed, disfigured, vanished under the falling word bombs ... Maybe this is how I learned to listen to the silence between the noises.
Every afternoon the boy I had a crush on – the boy with eyes of gold who had disappeared after the war started - showed up with a missing leg and a missing heart, but his eyes had turned into red and he wasn’t handsome anymore... Maybe this is how I despised war.
Every morning – as I was opening my eyes - Mother was there to remind me to work hard, to study, to be strong and fearless, and to live the life I deserved to live.
Every afternoon, I sat with her, looking at the sky with wonder. Watching for any light, waiting for any sound. Trying to catch something we had never grasped before. She would listen to my made-up stories with her eyes glowing in the dark, without a word, keeping the distance, holding the silence. I never learned whether she had nothing to say or it was just her wariness about her own irrelevance.
Every evening, I hid in my room, but she always knocked on the door, to tell that the dinner was ready, that there was a world waiting for me, and each time I opened that door to join her, the perfume of her sweet dishes filled the gaps and the holes of our separation. She always smiled at me, even if I had seen her – all the time - sitting sadly at the window of her kitchen watching the world passing by… Maybe this is how I longed to live the life she had stopped to desire.
Each time I fell asleep and each time I woke up, I couldn’t set apart the world of fantasy from the world of reality. I couldn’t distinguish the boundaries of my being in the realm of my nightmares. As if I had created a new life within the authenticity of my imagination, inspired by the veracity of a fictional past… Maybe this is how I began to love poetry.
I nodded. “Yes, of course I do,” I replied.
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