Man in the Park


Man in the Park
by ramintork


I was 20 and caught between a rock and a hard place.

I had immigration problems and with a war in Iran could not risk being deported. The new established Islamic Iranian Government had spread its tentacles and used the education funds that our parents had provided as a way of controlling the political loyalty of students abroad. Suddenly we had gone from a respected community of students to a group of bad creditors, or troublesome young people living in a state of limbo. With no source of income I worked 18 hour shifts in a fast food restaurant and for a while left college. The few friends that I had were living in a similar dismal state. we looked pathetic. Cut off from society and with no family we were living an unhealthy life style of eating fast food, and sleeping rough. The rooms of my friend's flat were littered with sleeping bags and permanent guests staying over. Perhaps congregating in one apartment and laughing at stupid things kept our moral high. That place wasn't my flat either, I was one of the guests.

One of our friends (P.) had a phone call. His old teacher had to come to UK for medical reasons. The teacher was poor so he had borrowed money from P's Dad.

A week later he was there, a dignified man who had dedicated his life to the education of young Iranian men and women. Amongst his pride and joy he had taught maths to Shah's son and Khomeini's daughter. Talk about covering all angles of fib telling I thought. There he was trying to find a little clear corner in that flat so that he could rest his bags. As for P, he didn't care much for his old teacher. "He used to be a hard man he would say". P wasn't too chummy with his Dad either. His Dad was a successful business man the sort of man whose heart beat goes Kuching instead of bebop,  and he could get round all these fund embargos but didn't want to. He'd left P to fend for himself. P had worked so hard the skin of his palm had turned to Rhino skin and peeled off every night. The fast food chain would get its pound of flesh from every worker it employed and P scrubbed those grills like he was scrubbing every bit of bad luck that had hit his young life.

The next day was The teacher's (Mr d) appointment. P was snoring in the sleeping bag like a sore bear hibernating. The rest of the gang was sleep. I still had a grain of decency left so I decided to take the old man under my wing and be his surrogate guide. I guess doing this kept me linked to a life of families, respect for elders etc. all of which at that time had become a forgotten memory from a million years ago.

I took Mr d for his blood tests etc. and took him to the park outside the hospital. I couldn't extend my hospitality further as I was penniless.

The old man was nervous so we tried to cheer him up during the evening. He would ask questions like"so you guys have been living like this for a year?" P. would then respond by saying do you want to see some porn magazines? It gave him such pleasure to see the old man well actually he wasn't that old he was late forties but seemed old to us then share such a naughty joy. A few years earlier who would had detention for just having those magz.

Any way, the look on Mr d's face watching those magazines and admiring God's creation was really funny. "I'm fourty something and I've never seen anything like this before. They are not wearing anything. Nothing". P. would laugh and say well that is the whole point. Isn't it". There can't be many moments in life when you would catch a decent maths teacher and his ex-student watch porn magazines together but this was one of them.

Then on Sunday we took him to a public Sauna that was in East London. He was for the first time beginning to relax but because of his medical condition was similar to the Parkinson disease his arm muscles twitched.

Monday was the big day, he was going to speak to the specialist Dr. he'd come to see.

Again I was up and P. was snoring in his sleeping bag. I shouted P. get your lazy butt out of there. You have to take Mr. d to the Dr's today it's his big day. He snored and rolled and went back to sleep. I took Mr d. to the Hospital. and did the translation.

The Dr. spoke and I went silent. Mr d asked OK what did he say. I'm sorry Mr d the Dr says there is no cure for your disease. "How long. How long do I have to live?" He says about six month. "Is there no-no hope, anyone else?" The Dr says there is a research going on in America but that it is early stages and to be blunt the answer is no.

Mr d was shell-shocked. He said to me or perhaps to himself "I've already borrowed a lot of money. What is going to happen to my wife? How is she going to survive?".

I was pretty gutted by all this. I didn't know how serious Mr d's condition was, so I tried to console him the only way a 20-year-old might. I took him to Mc Donalds and bought him lunch.

His frustration was beginning to come out. "Decades of service I gave to my country, look at me now". A guy with a pierced earing was sitting next to us and beginning to notice Mr d's agitation. Mr d said can you translate this for me please. Tell this guy "Khomeini has destroyed our country Iran". I felt uncomfortable about this but could not refuse a dying man's wishes and did the translation. The man, a cockney lad tuned back and said "Khomeini. Is he Shah's brother then?".

I said to myself if there is a God up there he must be having a bloody laugh after what this guy just said, and translated it for Mr d, Mr d he says "he is sorry for your loss. It is tragic what has happened to Iran and he hopes things get better".

After lunch I took him to a Park and left him on his own and watched him from a distance.

He was still trying to digest the News, and was distressed over the future of his wife.

To anyone else he looked like another man in the park, but I knew. I knew.

He went back to Iran heartbroken and six month later P. dropped the news. "Oh by the way did I tell you Mr d died?".

I was upset for a bit then we all went back to do the same stupid things we always did to cheer ourselves up.

I'm writing this and now I'm about Mr d's age. and I can tell you there was once a man, a teacher, who came to UK to save his life but couldn't. went back home and died, and for me that twenty year old, he is always going to be the man I left for a moment so that he could think, he was for me as I have drawn him the man in the park. 


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Maryam Hojjat

Ramin, Sad story with

by Maryam Hojjat on

Great writing. 

Niki Tehranchi

Thank you for your blog

by Niki Tehranchi on

So evocative.  You really captured the true absurdity of life, a tragi-comedy of the utmost extremes... Thank you for your kindness.



by ramintork on

Even to be reminded of his thought quotes with my bad use of punctuation is an honour.

How have you been?



The thought/quote is a reminder of Pasternak

by ComraidsConcubine on

 "Is Lenin our new Tsar?" (Best not to quote me though, because I can't quite remember the exact quote from reading in my teenage years.)


Thanks Anahid

by ramintork on

Tragic to hear about your teacher. Thank you for reading the story. I like people to remember what has happened to many of us.

Anahid Hojjati

What a story Ramin jan

by Anahid Hojjati on

Ramin jan, It is shameful what happened to the generation that taught us in Iran. Many had to retire early and some got executed or died under torture. We had a physics teacher in our high shool who later died under torture. 

Dear Ramin,your story is so well written and sincere. Thanks for sharing.