7:20 am. Eyes beginning to unglue. Golden boy coughed nonstop last night. Birthday party tonight. shall I go? Shall I take the princess or her father? last time I went out at night without her, she vomited. Need to get a birthday present. ballet classes. ballet.
7:45 am. Princess has cornflakes. egg for golden boy not yet hard. shall I go to birthday thing? Book review. Have to finish the war book and write review. Have to read some more about feminism in development. Where are the library dvds? golden boy coughs and coughs. He doesn`t like to dress for outside. Princess`s zipper is stuck. When will my sister call… when will she call…
9:00 am. ballet lesson starts. All the girls wear blue leotards and white tights. One little girl is wearing a black leotard and black lacy tutu. The princess gives her some black looks. The teacher tell everybody to lie down. The golden boy asks: have the girls died? When will she call… Next week The Nutcracker. 40 dollars if I go with the princess. I wonder how my bank account would look minus 40 dollars. tonight – shall I go? when will she call…golden boy coughs. water.
10:00 Spring garden public library. thousands of little boys and girls dressed in colourful winter wear. the princess sees her classmates. They scream and hug with joy. The parents exchange embarrased looks. The golden boy begins fighting with another little girl over the foam alphabet. I decide not to choose any books- I have too many assignments. The golden boy begins to cry for his father. The princess screams there is a puppet show on. We check out the books and dvds. I have a 2 dollar fine. A sea of little children start queuing for the puppet show. The golden boy does not want to to watch. Shall I go tonight? When shall I get a birthday present? The princess runs off with her friends.
10:38 am. The golden boy goes out of the puppet show with his father. I watch the stupid stupid puppet show alone. War book is not finished yet. Atrocities of the French in Algeria.
11:00 am. I have six dollars in my pocket. I ask a taxi how much it would be to take us home. He says six dollars. We jump in. It is cold yet sunny.
11:20 am. In the kitchen, preparing the evening meal. For lunch the children have chicken soup prepared by their father. With thick strands of spaghetti instead of vermicelli. I hate chicken soup. I warm up some leftover rice and kebab for my midday meal. I burn my arm on the saucepan. Somebody sounds rather smug and pleased about it- natural vengeance for refusing to eat his chicken soup. I put meat to boil. When will she call. The reaction of French society to accounts of torture by their army and police is so different from Iranian society.
11:45 am. Frying chopped onions flavoured with tumeric. I am preparing khoresh-e ghiemeh, a very common traditional Iranian dish made with meat stewed with dried lemons, fried onions, tomatoes, and split peas, and decorated with very narrow French fries. The split peas we get here go mushy after ten minutes, so I decide to add them later in the day. When will she call. The dried lemons smell lovely. Algeria. France.
1:00 pm. The golden boy won’t take his afternoon nap. I briefly lose consciousness while trying to out him to sleep.
2:00-3:00 pm. The afternoon drags on. War book. More war book and France and Algeria. This is so fascinating- perhaps I should write my thesis on war instead of refugees? The kids scream around me. Tin Tin to the rescue. Tin Tin succeeds where we fail.
4:00 pm. We drive to Dartmouth to watch a Christmas tree lighting ceremony. No parking space. We drive round and round Sullivan’s pond. The princess complains and I tell her to shut up- I am spending my entire life trying to amuse her and she is still nagging. She starts crying. The golden boy has fallen asleep in his car seat. He hates Christmas festivities. He is not pleased to be woken up, dragged into a cold muddy dusky crowded field and told to look at Santa Claus. He cries. The princess is ecstatic. She loves crowds.
5:00 pm. After a huge queue, the princess gets on a real fire engine and takes pictures. The golden boy is sulking and refuses to get on. They serve free hot chocolate which tastes wrong, and free cookies. There is live music.
6:00 Fireworks over Sullivan’s Pond. At first, I am reminded of the Iraqi air-raids over Tehran in my childhood, and I feel frightened. Then I relax into the beauty. The golden boy watches, open-mouthed.
7:00 Home. Make rice to eat with the stew. Make shirazi salad. Remember my parents intensly while making the salad. My mother likes the tomatoes and cucmubers chunky with not too much dressing. My father prefers them choped tiny and swimming in lemon-juice-olive-oil-dried mint dressing. My mother says his style reminds her of vomit. My father says she only prefers it chunky because once the father-in-law of her brother said he likes his salad chopped tiny. I can hear their voices swirling in my head as I wonder how to chop the tomatoes and cucumbers. A life-long debate. Which one should I please? Do I prefer my shirazi salad chopped chunky or tiny? I don’t know. In the end, some of the tomatoes and cucumber are chopped tiny and some of them huge, in a futile attempt to please them both.
7:30 pm. Dinner. Too much dried lemon has turned the khoresh slightly bitter. Plus the split peas are not cooked properly. We squabble over the salad. The golden boy eats fistfuls of rice straight out of the pot. The princess states she is sick of Iranian food and asks me to cook something new tomorrow.
8:00 pm Bedtime. I put some toothpaste on the golden boy’s toothbrush and he becomes hysterical with anger. He wanted to do it himself. He rubs the toothbrush on the wall, then dips it in the toilet. I wrench the toothbrush from his strong grasp and throw it in the bin. Drama. Screams.
9:00. pm They are asleep. I crawl outside and try to finish the chapter on France and Algeria. These French names are so seksy. I am so tired. I have forgotten about the birthday. I have forgotten about the call.
10:40. pm I give up. I can’t finish the war book. I drop to sleep.