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U Turn

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This story is published at "eleven eleven", A Journal of Literature and Art, issue 11

 


Written by

Farangis Siahpour


U Turn


She fixes her scarf in the mirror, she smiles as her hair looks wavy and bright.

She looks again in the mirror, she sees a distant car quivering in the glass. She shrugs and drops her eyes to their music tapes. We’ve heard all these before she says, and each time she said to Amir, we have to change this old music-player for something new, Amir agrees as always, and says “I don’t need music” when I can talk to you forever, and he knows that I would love to hear him, from the morning until the evening. But he doesn’t know if there is music, that could keep them from talking, even till the evening.


She looks again in the mirror, she can see policing eyes from a car behind her, she drives faster. Take it easy love, “the journey is more important that the destination,” Amir says...


She speeds past a line of cars. A car comes in front. She brakes, and swerves to the edge of the road, she stops!


Her mirror comes flying, it bounces back beside her, she takes it up while staring at her reflection, I’m not getting any younger, she says. She steps out, and walks along the edge of the road, cars fly past while the drivers push on their horns.
The snow is pelting down, and the road looks like a wrinkled sheet. Amir is walking on the other side. He’s slowly, getting old. They look across at each other, they wave as if not knowing.
Amiiiiiiir, she shouts in silence.


“Drive on the right lane” Amir says. He sits in the right side of the car, and he always walks on the right side of the road too. But he didn’t know that she likes to drive on the left lane.


She knows, if she doesn’t brake, she’ll crash into a car approaching her, then the smashed glass would cover her body, and her blood would cover the smashed glass. At the same time, Amir places a piece of orange on her lips, as the juice is running under her tongue, she’s thinking, “what would Amir think if he knew what I am thinking right now.”


She smiles at the suspense. Rain is coming and it’s not. She pulls in at a sign that leads to a forest. “Where are we heading to?” Amir asks. She says, “Didn’t you just say, the journey is more important that the destination?”
I want to walk through the forest and get lost under the cover of trees, where no one can find us, she says.


They take each other’s hand, and walk through the forest under the peaceful shadows,
while taking in the sights and sounds of nature all around them and out of the bliss, they emerge into an open valley with a road way. A crowd appears. Is this the end of the forest? Amir asks.


A few men step forward, and one of them bares his teeth with a big smile and says “yes, it ends here, but first, come with us for your wedding.”
The rain is running down their faces, and just as she opens her mouth to taste the rain drops, a white car pulls up. A burly agent gets out and approaches them, while another stays, with a phone to his ear, “Produce your Identities,”
the agent shouts!


Amir presents their ID’s.
“What is your relationship with this Woman?”
the Agent demands!

 

The wedding goes on, throughout the night, the smiling Man said. Towering walls surround this place, and as daylight fades, darkness begins to loom. A guard opens the cell door and throws her a blanket. She covers her trembling body as she moans. She hears hard knocks!, and goes nervously to the door. A Guard shouts:
“Shut the fuck up, you whore.”


And the voices become like that of wolves, subbing till Azan (Call to prayer) in the morning.

Just before sunrise, a guard opens her cell door.
“Prayer time.”


The guard escorts her to the bathroom, she enters, he locks the door behind her. She crouches over the wash-basin, wanting to scream, but she can’t. The ferocious knocks on the bathroom door sets her frantic. She splashes her face with cold running later as the guard enters to cuff her. He manhandles her to the Courtroom.


In Court, an old man with a long black beard reads out his final decision. He reads:
“For your crimes, I sentence you both to receive 75 lashes. And may you feel Allah’s marks on your backs.”

 

They’re released the next day and go to their car. She says to Amir, I don’t like the rain anymore, it hurts me so much when it sticks my blouse to my back. I really want to get drunk right now. I want to get so drunk, that I totally forget this ever happened to us.


Amir takes her by the hand as he drives off in search of a pharmacy. He too can’t lean back because of his open lash wounds. They arrive in Gorgan. Amir spots a pharmacy just below the town square, he gets out of the car and rushes inside to buy iodine.

 

She is drawing human portraits with her blood on the car windows, while passing drivers blow their horns. She’s oblivious to the sounds, as the blood weeps from her back and shoulders. Amir rushes out of the pharmacy.


The iodine bursts in his hands just as he reaches the car. He pulls the door open, gets inside, and throws his arms around her, iodine drips from his hands onto her raw lash wounds. She screams out in agonizing pain.


A crowd gather around. But no one wants to help. Their feet are stuck to the ground. Amir shouts, “Ambulance!”


A truck driver looks terrified. His face has the color of death. Amir looks at him and says, “your truck lights are off; I haven’t heard you swear to Allah.”


Two medics arrive on the scene, and put her on a stretcher, and then into the ambulance.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


She wants to say, turn on the heat, I’m
cold, but the words won’t come out.
She sees Amir knocking on the door. She
opens the door and invites him in.