The News

“It happened last night, in his sleep,” she said


The News
by Azarin Sadegh

There are good days and bad days, even good years and bad years. But then, there are years like the year my son was born. It was the same year my father died. Who knows how these years are supposed to be called?

A simple ringtone started this all. It was my mother. Father’s stroke was two months behind us and everything, like in fairy tales, was going to work out just fine. Father was going to wake up one morning, remembering us and remembering who he was and we were going to talk about the past the same way we used to tell a story with happy ending; his sickness, his collapse, his hospital stay, the ICU nightmare, the nurse we had hired and her silly plastic shoes, and then his recovery, his first words, our first reunion, the first time he was going to come back home and the life we were going to live as before, were all parts of this long anecdote, like any other, and my father was going to hold his grandson, my son, at least once, before the story comes to an end, at the moment of the last laughter.

I grabbed the phone, guessing it was her. “How’s everything?” I asked casually, carelessly, like asking a question I knew the answer. Mother hesitated. “Everything’s great,” she said as expected. Nothing in her voice warned me of what was to come.

Then the night ended, and the sun moved toward the top of the sky. But it was a gray winter day, too hard to know the exact position of our source of light and darkness, concealed behind the hundred layers of storming clouds.

Before noon, right after my son’s morning snack, the phone rang again. I picked it up and listened to her.

“He’s gone,” she said.

I could hear the whiz, the sounds of a thousand molecules circulating in a wire, and the electricity of the air, the fluidity of advancement of the waves looping from a point to another, jumping from this millennium of a second to the next, from the top of streetlamps to the deepest holes of an underground civilization, from the sophistication of the city toward the plainness of wild forests, to rush like the rain and river, through the ocean and mountains, the space and steel, from a high altitude onto a deep abyss. From the day to the night. From now to the future, toward a day which hasn’t come yet.

I remembered last night’s call. The instability of her breathing, the shallowness of her attitude, the length of her pause, and then… her silence. The way she accentuated on “everything” and the way she lowered her voice on “great”.  The way she inhaled and didn’t exhale, not even at the end of my rumbling. Mom has never been a good liar, I thought.

Last night, at the other side of the earth, at this time, I had still this illusion that he was alive and the triviality of this thought broke my voice. “What did you say?” I asked. “What happened?”

My son kept staring at me, sitting on his rocking chair, whining, throwing his fists forward, to reach my shadow, my being, me; the center of his world. My breast’s milk had dried up on his chin. His shirt was dirty and he smelled like puke and powder. He opened his mouth wide open and cried, the same way all the other babies do, just by habit, but I knew I could have distinguished his call of hunger or thirst or fatigue among a million other crying babies, and I could have grasped the meaning of each sound he made. Mothers are supposed to know everything. I had his life in my hands

I shoved the pacifier in his mouth and kept the phone with my wet palm, hanging onto my mother’s silence. “What did you say?” I repeated my own disbelief, to drag the time, to postpone his death, this definite knowledge of something sinister. Impossible to cure.

My son smiled and leaned back, pedaling his legs with fervor, and happiness emanated out of his every movement, and life reflected over every piece of furniture around him.

“It happened last night, in his sleep,” she said. “He had so much pain. I’m just relieved. Finally in peace.”

Escaping my son’s sleepy glare, I glanced around in the search of the least traces of the peace Mom was talking about. “I can’t believe,” I whispered, already aware of everything she knew.

“I need to go,” she said, and made up excuses for both of us to have a break from our common heartache. The line went dead and the phone slipped out of my grip.

I lifted my son in the air and hugged him tight, listening to the soothing expression of his pleasure, made by my effortless gesture of affection, or maybe by his obscure sense of assurance. I opened the curtains and enjoyed the warmth of his cheeks and the cold of the window glass. The scenery facing us hadn’t changed since this morning. The same buildings, the same rushing pedestrians, the same cars speeding up or slowing down, the same children running. The same noise. The same outlook.

Yet, something had changed.

My son was falling asleep on my shoulder, blowing life into my ear. I looked harder and deeper to remember the world as it was, as it used to be, but the world kept astonishing me – and deceiving me - with its simple but ever-changing images. I exhaled, the same way Dad should have exhaled last, and the relief of this moment and the mist of my grief blending in my son’s tears transcended over the city, and the rain began pouring hard.


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ebi amirhosseini

Azarin Jaan

by ebi amirhosseini on



Ebi aka Haaji

Red Wine


by Red Wine on

آذرین جان ممنون که گفتید آن شهر پاریس بود.محبت کردید.

امید وارم که هر چه زودتر ناشر پیدا کنید و کار کتاب را یکسره کنید.

برایتان آرزوی موفقیت می‌کنم.



Dear Azarin

by Souri on

I have always read your stories, from the beginning. As I said before, in the past I couldn't relate to them. There was something dark and sinister in all those stories, but that is changed. You may not be aware of it, but I see a real change, a beautiful maturity in your writing.

They are becoming more realistic and more optimistic. The optimism that I talk about is something like the transformation of a "kerm abrisham" to a butterfly.

Now, I see you are flying from your inner self to the reader's world.

Of course, people have different tastes and they are all good. Kafka was once my favorite, now I can't relate to him. I got my wings and flied to somewhere else. Nothing higher or more beautiful, but some where completely different. To say it in an easy language : it is like in the past, that was the reader who had to come to your world to understand you, Vs. now you go to the the world of the readers and call them!
I like your style now.

Azarin Sadegh

Thanks dear Souri!

by Azarin Sadegh on

Dear Souri, I'm so happy that you've finally liked one of my stories! It feels like overcoming a real challenge..:-)

I know that many of my stories have been kind of confusing and absurd (mostly because I'm so much in love with the use of absurd and the magical realism in fiction mastered by Borges, Marquez, even Kafka and Beckett.) But I knew that for telling this particular story, I had to write every detail with precision, as I can still remember that moment so well.

Thanks again for your feedback! Azarin 

PS to Redwine: I forgot to mention that the city here is Paris! 

Azarin Sadegh

Dear Ghasedak, I found Lahiri's page 44!

by Azarin Sadegh on

After reading your short but puzzling comment, I got curious to find out more about Jhumpa Lahiri and the page you mentioned, especially that I had heard her name before, and I was excited to be compared to a Pulitzer prize winning author!

Actually, it was pretty easy to find this page online (Thanks Google)! Now I can easily recognize the similarity in the storylines, but why should we be surprised? Unfortunately, I think this same experience (receiving a phone call from home with a terrible news) is a shared memory by many of us. While living in Diaspora, it is how we learn about the death or sickness of our loved ones...I'm sure there are hundreds of stories/essays with this same scene written by the immigrant writers in exile!

Just last night, my cousin got a call from Iran that her Dad has Leukemia, now she has the option of leaving her studies in the middle of the school year and to compromise her Masters' degree, or to stay in the US and to regret for the rest of her life for not being at her father's side. In my case, I chose the second option  after my dad's stroke and maybe that's one of the main reasons why I ended up becoming a writer! 

Thanks again for introducing me to this great writer.

# # # # to console her mother. She can't help but wonder who will console her sole her the day her own mother dies, if that news will also come to her in this way, in the middle of the night, wresting her from dreams. In spite of her dread she feels a thrill, this will be the first time she's heard her mother's voice in nearly three years. The first time, since her departure from Dum Dum Airport, that she will be called Monu. Only it isn't her mother but her brother, Rana on the other hand. His voice sounds small, threaded into a wire, barely recognizable through the holes of the receiver. Ashima's first question is what time is it there. She has to repeat the question three times, shouting in order to be heard. Rana tells her it is lunchtime. “Are you still planning to visit in December?' he asks.
She feels her chest ache, moved after all this time to hear her brother call her Didi, his older sister, a term he alone in the world is entitled to use. At the same time she hears water running in the Cambridge kitchen, her husband opening a cupboard for a glass. “of course we're coming,” she says, unsettled when she hears he echo saying it faintly, less convincingly, once again. “How is Dida? Has anything else happened to her?”
“Still alive,” Rana says. “But still the same.”
Ashima rests back on the pillow, limp with relief. She would see her grandmother, after all, even if for one last time. She kisses Gogol on the top of his head, presses her cheek to his. “Thank goodness. Put Ma on,” she says crossing her ankles. “Let me talk to her.”
“She's not at home now,” Rana says after a static-filled pause.
“And Baba?”
A patch of silence follows before his voice returns. “Not here.”
“Oh.” She remembers the time difference-her father must be at work already at the Desh offices, her mother at the market, a burlap bag in hand, buying vegetables and fish.


Great and powerful!

by Souri on

Dear Azarin,

This time I could feel your story, thoroughly and fully. I could relate to it's sadness and understand the full meaning of this part:

" I looked harder and deeper to remember the world as it was, as it used to be, but the world kept astonishing me – and deceiving me - with its simple but ever-changing images."

Yes, it's hard!

Thank you!


Thank you Azarin khanom!

by farshadjon on

Very well written piece!


Jumpha Lahiri

by ghasedak on

The Namesake, page 44.


Azarin Sadegh

Thanks to all of you!

by Azarin Sadegh on

Thanks to all of you for your sweet comments, especially that many of you are among the best of the best writers, and my favorite ones too!

Thank you! Your encouraging words means a lot to me...Azarin

PS to Redwine: Actually, my first novel is finally finished (I've already started a new one) but at the same time, I am in the process of finding an agent or a publisher...please wish me luck, and thanks for asking!


Hamid Taghavi

Capturing a moving moment

by Hamid Taghavi on

This is a well-written expression of a particularly jarring moment in one’s life.  It is sincere and does not elicit pity as one might be tempted.  Emotions this raw are hard to capture.  People who have gone through such moments connect well to your experience.

Nazy Kaviani

Dear Azarin

by Nazy Kaviani on

A beautiful sketch of a few moments suspended forever in your heart and in your mind. You remember only that which was important about the grave loss, the shared grief, and the abundant hope that only love of our children can offer.

Thank you for braving the task of writing about this moment of your life. You have done it with utmost love and respect for your parents and with due appreciation of your son's gift of continuity and hope to you.

Lovely reading.



by Mehrban on

[the mist of my grief blending in my son’s tears transcended over the city, and the rain began pouring hard.]

Very poetic, when your private grief transforms into rain in the public domain of the city. 



by mrudzio on


hadi khojinian

آذرین عزیز

hadi khojinian

! تازه از سر کار آمدم و داستانت را خواندم .قشنگ و ساده و در عین حال عمیق بود .شاد و سر خوش باشی رفیق جانم

Red Wine


by Red Wine on

امروز صبح (به وقت پاریس) هیچ چیز قشنگتر از خواندن داستان شما به همراه یک فنجان قهوه نبود.

از آن کتاب که قرار بود چاپ شود،خبری جدید دارید ؟ ناشر پیدا کردید ؟ ما را بی‌ خبر نگذارید.

موفق باشید.



Well written

by asman on

The story grabs you instantly as it lures oneself into the world of imagination(s).  It is well written and I hungered for it to continue since it ends abruptly.

You sure do have a talent to write.  So there are many possibilities for you to venture using this talent to your advantage...inshaaaaallah


Azarin jan

by IRANdokht on

This is such an emotionally charged piece. There wasn't much of a dialogue and no action but you never miss it because as a reader you get submerged in all sorts of feelings.

What a difficult time it must have been and how beautifully you wrote about it...

Thanks! Your stories always touch the soul.


Azarin Sadegh

Dear Bijan,

by Azarin Sadegh on

Thanks a lot for always reading my stories! 

About political views: I don't know why you have the impression that we think differently.

It's true that since my main goal is to be a literary writer, and not a political analyst, so I usually avoid leaving comments on political blogs. But it doesn't mean that I don't read them at all.

I've read many of them where you were the only one I agreed with! Actually, I think your comments have always been among the most honest and passionate ones on, and for me it is clear that we do share many values.

But between us, many of my closest friends have different views on almost everything! Instead of focusing on our differences, I've always tried to find the common interests, and to learn more about other point of views. It helps me to grow as a person, and to accept people no matter our differences.

So, I hope that there's no more misunderstanding between us and sorry for my long reply! Azarin



Azarin Sadegh

Actually, it was more of a true story...

by Azarin Sadegh on

Dear MPD,

Thank you so much for your kind words!

A few days ago, I read the heartbreaking and wonderful blog of Kaveh about his father and it brought me back some old memories, and this particular image of my son, and that moment.

That's why last night, even if I was supposed to work on something else, I ended up writing this piece...

Thanks again, Azarin

Bijan A M

Thanks Ms. Azarin

by Bijan A M on

You've done it again. I'm a fan, regardless of political views.

Thanks for sharing.

Multiple Personality Disorder

The year life moved on

by Multiple Personality Disorder on

...from father to daughter to grandson.

Thank you for sharing this masterfully well written family story.