The Falling Stream

A page from a novel


The Falling Stream
by Azarin Sadegh

Waiting had never scared me so much. Waiting for a free shower, for a peaceful moment of loneliness among the crowd, inside those walls made of noise and water offering a kind of rare isolation, a desired moment of seclusion where I could be who I wanted to be. Knowing I wasn’t who I meant to be.

I felt hopeless, like being uninhabited.


“I’m hopeless,” Mitra said.

It was months into the war.

“We’re all hopeless,” I said.

Mitra and I stood by the window of my room. We had scratched the aluminum paper covering the glass, watching the narrow street, waiting for the rare appearance of the living, moving, breathing objects and things outside.

She was my only friend from my first day at high school. We were both students at the same University studying the same thing: Mathematics. She knew everything about me or Kian, and I knew every little secret of her quiet life.

Being raised in a conservative Jewish family, Mitra had this contradiction in her beliefs that I always found fascinating. We had many desires, many dreams, but never the same. We were so similar in many ways.

Still so different.

She believed in rituals and traditions and God; still despised its whole concept. She longed to leave for Israel; still she was madly in love with a Moslem boy she could never marry. She loved life and was optimistic; still she wanted to commit suicide because of the way life wasn’t life anymore. As the war started we both changed. We became alike.

So we decided to kill ourselves at the same time.

“Hanging,” she said.

I shook my head. “Too painful,” I said. “I like pills.”

“No,” she said. “It’s typical coward’s kind of death. We want something spectacular.”

Then we talked for hours about different ways of dying. Throwing ourselves under a train or a truck. Eating arsenic or burning ourselves. The final solution was supposed to be so original that nobody had never died from it. So unforgettable that everyone was going to remember how hopelessly we felt when we were alive.

“We can’t live without hope,” Mitra said.

“Suicide is our last hope,” I said.

She nodded without any hesitation, since her God had already died in the first days of war. Since the optimism - the hope to reach to that unseen layer of happiness- had already vanished for the mortals like us.

Heaven or Hell, angels or jinns all disappeared during bombings.


Hades, that promised zone of torment, became the only place, sheltering us inside. The only place we belonged.


“Your turn,” Zeinab screamed.

“My turn,” I whispered, startled. Still wondering whether the water thrusting out of the shower pipe – if I opened my mouth - could have drowned me for good. Wondering if it could offer me the relief and the accomplishment of that lost honorable death? The kind of death that Mitra and I both longed for. The kind of failure we shared.

“You go first,” Sahar told me. “I’m still not feeling good.”

Darkness, filled with mysterious volumes of prisoners, blended me in the crowd, and took off my clothes with ease, as if it had already owned me. Sahar held my clothes.

Distant warm drops of water, drop by drop, slid through my hair, falling with grace on my face, washing away the germs. The flow became sharper and hotter and the steam hid me inside its burn.

I stood motionless under the falling stream. I was going to wait in this line everyday. Everyday, the pureness of the water was going to scratch the thick stink of air, wasted on the thin layer of my being. I rubbed my skin, my hair, my face, rubbing hard to take away any trace of unknown diseases.

I opened my mouth.

Feeling invisible like a germ. Becoming invisible like a prisoner.


Recently by Azarin SadeghCommentsDate
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more from Azarin Sadegh
Azarin Sadegh

Dear Tina,

by Azarin Sadegh on

Yes, there is a 'rest'! I am working on my second draft now..

Btw, I had never read anything from Farnoosh Moshiri, but after reading your comment, I googled her and found the first chapter of Bathhouse online...Oh my! you're absolutely right! There are definitely resemblance in style...and selfishly I loved her first chapter..:-)

It's funny, because my novel also starts with the arrest of my protagonist in Istanbul. But the basic theme of my novel is about forgiveness (and not only revealing the atrocity and the violence of living in a prison.)

Yes! There are parts in my novel about dark realities of Iran-Iraq war, or being in a prison (an imaginary Turkish prison) and my version of the Iranian revolution, but my main goal is to draw a more humanistic picture of all Iranians, no matter their religion, or their political views, no matter if they were victims or torturers…because after all we’re all humans with the same kind of dreams and desires.

In my story my protagonist grows up to accept her past, and to forgive herself for not being a hero (and forgiving others too in this process).

Thanks again for reading my page!


Azarin Sadegh

It's true Amirashkan!

by Azarin Sadegh on

It's true that a page of the novel by itself doesn't contain its full meaning as a whole, but one lesson I have learned in my novel writing classes is this: "Each scene/page is supposed to be a perfect scene/page by itself. But a novel is not only the succession of these perfect pages. But like a puzzle, it has its own place in the flow of narration."

But it's also true that any protagonist at some point in the process of novel writing finds a life of its own. The writer/storyteller by telling this story evolves from being a neutral spectator to a revealing witness. Or even better, evolving from an old self to a new self – understanding the world under a new light - through the wild journey of his/her own creation/imagination. As if god becomes a god only through this act of creation.

Thanks for your thoughtful comment, as usual!


Tina Ehrami

Wow! I can't wait to read

by Tina Ehrami on

Wow! I can't wait to read the rest...there is going to be a 'rest', right? This fragment reminded me a bit of 'The Bathhouse' by Farnoosh Moshiri. Have you read it?


AmirAshkan Pishroo

At the end of her novel

by AmirAshkan Pishroo on

The sad truth is that a page from a novel doesn't have unity, form or meaning. Its unity is in the good will of the reader, like Ebi. Its meaning as such is a promise that there will be another 300 pages.

At the end of her novel, by showing what time had done to Mitra and Sahar, Azarin will show what she had done with the time she had. She has written a novel, thus created a self who is interested in reaching self-perfection and freeing herself from the descriptions of herself offered by the people she had met and read: becoming autonomous.

Azarin Sadegh

Does Setaar's sound cheerful and happy?

by Azarin Sadegh on

I don't think so Ebi Jaan! But I will remember your advice and I will ask Farhang to practice playing some "shaad - o - rengi" music!!

But honestly, how can I really think about my next book as long as the first one is not done yet?!!

I really like Oscar Wilde (Portrait of Dorian Gray is my favorite), but my favorite writers are darker (like Sartre, Pamuk and Borges)...Yes, I know this page is pretty dark, but all along the 300 pages of the novel my protagonist goes through many changes, at many levels! Plus, even if her past and present is pretty dark, but she is mostly a fighter, full of hope to succeed leaving this darkness. Otherwise why would she even leave Iran? ...but what do you expect from me and my generation? After all we had to go through, you shouldn't be surprised that the stories we have to tell resemble the world/life we have seen/lived.

Thanks again for reading my page!


ebi amirhosseini

Azarin Jaan

by ebi amirhosseini on

What a great & powerful paradox !.Can't wait to read the whole novel dear.

I hope your next novel's protagonist be like the ones in Oscar Wildes' novels,full of hope & cheerful.I think to start  writing such a novel ,you should listen to your dear hubby's Setaar more often!!.

kidding aside,loved it as usual.


best wishes

Azarin Sadegh

Dear AW,

by Azarin Sadegh on

There is such a sad hidden tone in your short note.

Thanks for reading my story! Azarin

Azarin Sadegh


by Azarin Sadegh on

First of all, I have to say that I have never been in any prison.

 Second, I never tried to kill myself!

Third, this story is pure fiction (but based on many true stories I have heard in my lifetime!)

At the end, to clarify this half scene taken out of the context of a 300 page book, I am giving you a little synopsis:

In her escape from Iran-Iraq war, my protagonist gets arrested in Turkey, and this scene is her first day at prison in Istanbul, waiting in a long line to take a shower (then having a flashback about the past and her memories of hopelessness, etc.)

I hope this little description is going to be helpful to understand this page.

Thanks! Azarin


those ugly times

by IRANdokht on

Being a teenager comes with its own set of issues anywhere in the world, but for us the teenage years coincided with additional confusion, depression, darkness and pain.

When I look back at those times I wonder how did we ever survive that era? I never had suicidal tendencies even at the worst of times. Either too in love with life, or too chicken to end it, I was never interested in the concept.

I wonder how many people will read this part and think that you must have been in prison (like I did) 

Which one's worse? committing suicide or living to be imprisoned?

Another very interesting read from my dear Azarin. You've got the message and you have a great style for your story telling. I can't wait to read the rest.



American Wife


by American Wife on

leaves a living death to the rest of the family.