(page 4 of 10)
“Not the girls. My sister and mother still think it’s an abomination - the gayness and apostasy. Needless to say, my relation with them is strained.” He shrugs.
“Where do you live now?”
“I’m still with them, but everyone’s so busy we hardly see each other. That’s better for me.”
“Wow. At least your father’s on your side.”
“Well, not exactly. He’s hoping I’ll come around.”
“Back to being a Muslim?”
“Back to both. I’m his only son so the burden of lineage is upon me.”
“Heavy load to bear, my friend.”
Shapour raised his bottle.
“A toast to those who didn’t make it out alive!”
“Hear ye!” I added. “And a toast to freedom and new friendships and togetherness!”
Suddenly, he got up, sat right next to me on the couch, and kissed me. It was long and meaningful and deep and absolutely unexpected.
Seconds later, he came up for air.
“Did you know about me?” I asked.
“You glow like a neon lamp,” he noticed.
“I do? I do not!”
“Yeah. Read you like a book. I know you like me.”
He kissed me again.
“Yeah,” I admitted. “You’re kinda cool for a Farsi.”
The next few weeks with Shapour were like a dream come true. Appreciative of American culture and the diversity of Seattle artisans, we spent a lot of time going out to “out of the way” ethnic restaurants and visiting local museums like the EMP, Seattle Art and the Wing Luke in the International District. We also went to a few movies at some local art houses. Other times, we simply gave hours to chilling at the Ballard Locks and other points of interest. He was quite the conversationalist once he got used to you. I probably learned more about Iranian life in those few weeks than I ever could in a lifetime.
The initial meeting with his family didn’t go as well, however. His father, Davood, was cordial and respectful. The same couldn’t be said for his sister, Chalipa, or his mother, Mozhdeh. It’s not that they were as cold as ice, but you could tell there was no love lost between us.
One day, Shapour surprised me by inviting me to a picnic. It was to be held at Sunset Gardens, a local park in Ballard. Located on the beach, it was a popular spot for sun bathers and picnickers alike. When I got there that Saturday, I was met not just by him, but his family as well. It was to be our first meeting.
Davood shook my hand, told me his name, and asked how I was doing.
“Fine," I answered.
“So you’re Michael?" his sister asked.
“You must be Chalipa."
I extended my hand. Reluctantly, she shook it.
“Are you Mozhdeh?" I asked his mother.
“You’re pronouncing it wrong," she corrected me. “It’s Moe’sh’day."
“Sorry," I apologized to her. “It’s not a word I’m used to."
“As well you shouldn’t," she responded.
Oh boy, I thought. I could see where this was going.
“Chalipa brought some traditional Iranian dishes," Davood explained.
“I hope you like it," she added. “Took me all morning."
“Whatever you brought, it’d be an honor to enjoy it."
Chalipa rolled her eyes. She was young but flattery was obviously lost on her.
“One day I might open a Persian restaurant,” she proudly asserted.
“I’ve been told I make the best tabouli and gheimeh bademjan this side of Tehran.”
“Good for you,” I said.
Considering our differences, our meeting went rather well. I actually didn’t think Shapour told his family about us, but considering how open he was, it was no secret. His sister and mother also clearly stated their position about his gayness and apostasy, but they also mentioned he’d be “back in the fold" once he met the right girl. Yeah. Good luck with that. Things continued going well with Shapour and me for the next few days till the ball dropped.
It was January 10. Iran was celebrating Bahman 22 - Victory of the Iranian Revolution. Shapour decided to come to work that day dressed in cultural clothing. Over his typical scrubs he wore a green ankle-length cotton tunic called a qaba. Fastened at the waist with green ties, it almost looked like a long scrub top. He complemented his attire with matching cloth shoes and Dervish cap. The cap is basically a pointed rimless cloth cap with inscriptions on it. He was generally complimented on his attire. One employee, however, did take offense to it.
My Farsi Boyfriend continues...