My only phobia in London is returning to Tehran. I have nightmares, that I am in some religious ceremony, and a relative whom I do not hate as much as the others -my youngest aunt, perhaps-  asks me, “Rodin, weren’t you supposed to be in London?” I cannot answer her completely logical question, and I jerk out of sleep, my heart leaping. I stare around in the darkness, glance at my school papers, stroke the cheeks of my my British boyfriend, Coin. Coin wakes up, and asks me why I’m trembling.

Coin is the best boyfriend I have ever had. I have told him so a thousand times, and he appreciates it and tries to be even better. I think his efforts are successful.

I picked up Coin at a Swans concert. When I first saw him, I told my brother that even if I sleep with him twice, it is enough for me. What more can one desire? For Coin has the loveliest cheekbones, the most swan-like neck, the most delicate skin, the most beautiful hands. And he always smells of cool aftershave.

That concert was two months ago. Since then, Coin and I have practically lived together, and I discovered that Coin has also excellent cooking skills, and this is a very important factor. For I cannot cook, I become bored beyond belief and start to cry from boredom whenever I try to cook. But Coin delights in cooking healthy and delicious dishes for me, and he also cleans. He takes me to funky jazz and post-rock concerts, and lets me make him up and take sick photos of him. He reads my school assignments carefully and edits them, and also reads my classmates’ assignments, then proves, with many rational reasons, why my assignments are the best and the professor is beyond a doubt an idiot not to have understood the depth of my insights. He is very good in bed too, a complete slave, worshiping my pleasure and my desires.

I thought this would be an awful Christmas, something like our own Nowrouz, or even worse. For the Christmas music heard everywhere is truly dreadful- the sappiest lyrics, the shittiest tunes. They make me mad with rage.

Coin didn’t go to Scotland to spend Christmas with me. And then he said this is the best Christmas ever. I have no opinion on this- it my first Christmas. And it is better than Nowrouz, spent visiting my old aunts, in their sweaty damp flower-print veils and their sick husbands.

We spent this Christmas in the house of Coin’s brother, who went to Scotland. It is a beautiful house, I cannot understand why he let us stay there. If I had this house, I would never let anyone in, I would lock the doors and roll around in the beauty and party by myself.

Coin’s brother has carefully arranged his CDs in a spiral shelf on the wall. His taste is exactly mine.

The only flaw in the beautiful house of Coin’s brother is the mirror. It is huge, with an ugly ornate gilt frame. Right in the middle of the perfect minimalist house. It would suit the houses of my aunts, mentioned above. It would go perfectly with their hideous carpets decorated with gigantic flowers in red and blue and green, the heavy carved furniture sprouting the heads of snarling lions and tigers, the tapestries on the walls of traditional veiled women with thick unibrows. Maybe I will take the mirror and send it to my aunts, as a thank you gift to Coin’s brother. I am sure he would be glad. He must hate it, and the only reason it could be hanging there is that it is a gift from his partner, John.

I did not buy a Christmas present for Coin, for he had told me he hates Christmas. He hates Jesus Christ, and he hates consumerism. So I did not buy him a Christmas present, and instead bought a soft pink sweater for myself from the H&M sale. I cannot understand why one would spend money on someone else, when it is so easy and obvious to spend money on yourself.

This is a selfishness I brought with myself from Tehran, and I have become very self-conscious about it here, in London. For people are so kind, so caring here. My professors, my classmates, the university staff. I compare them to the rude, disrespectful, arrogant professors and staff I knew in Tehran, and my mouth gapes. Even my British boyfriend, Coin. I compare him to my boyfriends in Tehran, and I gape. People here are so respectful, so kind, so caring. I have sold my soul to them.

I am not saying London is perfect. But Iran is awful. I think of my lover there, the only boyfriend I truly loved. He was strong and proud and intelligent, he did not let the system turn him into a crazy coward like us. So he went to prison. When I remember his imprisonment, I crumple.  I was even too scared to ask him about his time there. I just crumple.

Coin bought me a book of Baudelaire’s poems and DVD for Christmas. He also gave me some fancy chocolates lying around his brother’s house. So I promised I would buy him Swan’s latest album. He reads me “Hymn to Beauty” in his adorable Scottish accent, looking deep in my eyes and gently squeezing my waist whenever encountering the word “beauty”. Thank god, he is deluded into thinking  I am beautiful. He reads some more poems, and that night I sleep soundly, with no nightmares of being in a khatm-e an-am in Tehran.



Translated from the original Persian from the blog




  1. bita

    why you translate her work?

  2. Nice story, are you only the translator ?
    regards, Michael

  3. Whether YES (as you replied here) or NO (as was written on the mail reply I received) it is perfectly written. I like the calm, laid-back style a lot. Like with all good literature, the text tells the reader at least as much about the positive attitude and inspiration of the autor as the pure story tells about the places and persons it deals with.
    Hope to read more

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