Disclaimer: The story you are about to read is true and characters, incidents, names, and places portrayed in the story are factual. Any similarities to any actual persons, living or dead, other than what is portrayed in the story, is purely coincidental and unintentional.
When I was a kid in Abadan, a few decades ago, there was a woman in our neighborhood who everyone called kalantar’e mahal (neighborhood sheriff), who was a kind of a woman who’d get herself in all kinds of arguments and discussions, and she constantly gave advice to other people on how to conduct their business. I remember one time my mother and some other neighborhood women were sitting down on the concrete floor of our front yard, while smoking ghalyan (hookah) and talking, when kalantar’e mahal came to our yard through the partially open front yard metal door. Back then my family was large, several kids who would constantly go in and out of the yard into the alley (koocheh) to play, that’s why during the day the door was usually left open. I remember she did not knock, just pushed the door open and came in, without being invited. She carried an aura of confidence with her. She walked with a stride. She went straight to the women, by now very quiet, and stood there for a while and, to me, it looked like she gave them instructions on how to behave. After a while she sat down with them and they all talked and smoked ghelyan.
Sometimes later, I noticed people began to call her hafti, a name change I did not understood at the time, and no one ever answered my questions about why she was being called that name, only that they would tell me to hush up; but when they themselves talked about it they always giggled. Several years later I came to find out that kalantar’e mahal, despite being married with two children at the time, had an affair with a ghasab (butcher) in an area of the town that was called eastgah’e haft (bus stop #7). A paaseban (policeman) had apparently arrested them during the act and taken them to a nearby kalantary (police precinct); this to great embarrassment to her husband, which left him with no choice but to divorce her three times on the spot (seh talagheh), since the act was witnessed by the paaseban. Fortunately, for her, stoning was not practiced back then.
Soon the poor husband realized that he could not raise the children by himself, and at the same time the children were missing their mother badly, or it was that the husband was missing his ex-wife and the children was his excuse to want to try to come to term with what had happened. But, the problem was that he was a devout Muslim and as such he could not marry a woman that he had divorced three times, UNLESS she married another man first, then that man, after he consummated the marriage, would divorce her and then his original husband could marry her again. That’s what they did. The husband asked his best friend to marry his ex-wife. He consummated the marriage, divorced her, then she married the first husband again, this of course after the passing of edeh (a period of three months that a divorced woman has to stay without a man before she can marry again).
Throughout the years I’ve seen her several times; needles to say she managed to stay married to her husband to this day. She raised her children to be educated and successful, and she is now taking care of her old and disabled husband. Meanwhile along the way she had some plastic surgeries and a tummy tuck, and rumor has it that she had other affairs after the one with the butcher. She still talks with a boisterous voice, she still argues and gives instructions. Her command of spoken language is considerably well, despite the fact that she is not an educated woman in any classical sense. I very much doubt that she could read or write.
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