When I heard ‘Truthful’ had been arrested and subsequently released on the payment of a huge bail, about as much as the price of a small house, I was surprised at my total indifference. Screw that guy, I thought. He was one of the people who caused and increased the blight of our family: quarrelsome, annoying, selfish, loud-mouthed and verbose. My mother adores him, and so he is always there, in our parents house, sucking up her energy, preying on her heart. He was a great one for washing his private dirty linen in public, and his gross sexual conquests and horrible marital life were spread for all to see- an unpleasant situation not as amusing or romantic in real life as it is in films and books, unfortunately. Or maybe it was just him who was gross and horrible.

So, I heard the news and I didn’t care at all. My heart was as icy as this horrible snow and ice. Later on I remembered, however, how he used to send me books from England when I was a young teenager, stuck in an apartment block in the suburbs on Tehran. He sent me all the Narnia books, and tons of others, fantasy and fiction. My daughter is now reading The Magicians of Caprona, the same one he sent me over twenty years ago, and which I rescued from my childhood bookshelf and brought back with me the last time I was in Tehran. He also posted back all his notes for his doctorate, and that was how I learned about the SAVAK and the wives of Mohammad Reza Pahlavi.

And then he is connected to those I care about. I love my aunt and my grandmother, and they, like my mother, adore him. They think he is the kindest and brightest person in the world, and to them, he is. The news hit them hard, and so it hurts me too. What does it matter how little I care for “Truthful”, when the people I care about love him so much? We are all connected on this uncomfortable and inconvenient chain of love and care, and if one of us breaks, the others also fall.

So, “Truthful”‘s recent misadventures niggle at me, worming away at my mind. Now, I wish he was ok, that he would flee and hide, even though that would break the collective hearts of my mother, her sister and her mother even more. They live for the sound of his overloud, affected peal of laughter, they scream with joy at his irritating unfunny jokes, I remember thinking they would gladly rip out the heart of their most beloved child and present it to him, if he asked for it.

And so my not-caring doesn’t matter, after all. Who cares what I care? The only important thing is for all of us to be safe and sound. Oh ‘Truthful’, you annoying bastard, I hope you are safe, and you remain so for ever and ever.



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