…I go over to the kitchen sink to rinse my mug, and reel back in horror, screaming. There’s a severed head in the kitchen sink. Pale and and bloodless, lids pulled back from sightless eyes, lips from grinning teeth. Strangely like a human head, in fact, it reminds me a bit of my ex-best friend. But it’s only a sheep’s head. I had forgotten.
…Beside the sink, a pair of sheep hooves are soaking in a red plastic basin. Trying not to look at the head or the hooves, I rinse out my mug. Ramadhan is here. And Father is cooking sheep’s head and hooves again.
…A cooked set of sheep’s head and hooves costs 35,000 tomans, but Father buys a raw set for 5000 tomans and cooks it himself, boiling them for hours and hours, so Mother won’t starve herself to death from fasting. She says the hooves stock and sheep brains just before sunrise are the only thing which keep her going, through the seventeen or whatever hours it is. She’s in the living room, her head rolling back on the couch, her face a deathly white. She looks like a clean zombie. She is enveloped in the special stink of fasters. There are still six hours to sunset.
…The whole house reeks, of boiling sheep’s head and hooves. I woke up and thought a cat had died under my computer desk, but it was just the waft of the kitchen. It travels all through the building, greeting you as you step into the lobby and travel up the elevators.By the time you reach the apartment, it smells like boiling shit, and you are actively trying not to throw up.
…The brains are lovely, sprinkled with cinnamon and fresh lemon juice, soft and warm. Mother ate most of it, but left a small piece for me, as a good Mother should. The sheep skull is wrapped neatly in a plastic bag, sitting in the kitchen corner. Hot summer breeze blows through the kitchen window and moves the boiled shit smell around our faces.