All posts by Naghmeh Samini

Day 20

 The woman is at the airport. She is sitting in an armchair, recording her voice. She is calm and relaxed. Behind her, an airplane can be seen through a large window.

The woman: You know what?! When there is no writer writing your story, everything looks scary at first. You feel stressed and lonely. You feel like you are in an unending fall into nowhere where you’d become no one, where you’d see nothing but darkness. I felt the same when She–the writer– told me I was no longer her character. I felt I was being thrown into nowhere to become no one and to see nothing but darkness. I had ruined her plot, unintentionally, and she was angry at me. She left me behind, in return, and got busy with her own life. I felt like someone who was never born, never there…  But gradually, I felt something, a sense of warmth a surge of energy ran through my joints. I felt…how can I explain…I felt light…The burden of the plot was no longer on my shoulders…Do you know What I mean? …I felt free, like a seagull, and happy like the old secondhand book seller in St Andrews…and then I forgot everything…All memories I mean! The only thing I could remember was ‘The magic of hands’.

The magic of hands!… Where did I hear that? The magic of hands… Who was it that told me about the magic of hands? It doesn’t matter really.  The important thing is that when I think about the last 20 days, I remember nothing but the frightening sound, noise of the train getting closer and closer…No! I can’t remember anything else…then suddenly your hands…the inviting warmth of your hands…The magic of your hands…Warmth…calm happiness…the sweet taste of togetherness.  It was as if in the warmest, pleasantly warmest, place in the world, I was losing myself in a wave that would allow me to find my real self, the one which was not embittered, the one which was free from bitter memories.… I remember discovering the map of your body, for the first time in my life… and it was full of very narrow alleys, rocks, a sea extending to the horizon and three streets: North one for pain, south one for pleasure, and the middle one for love. While exploring the map of your body I discovered myself as a self … as me… as I … I become I!

-Who are you?

-I am I!

-Who are you?

-I am I!

-Who are you ?

-I am I!

Now I, Who I Am, am going to go to start my journey. As I promised I will remember the last 20 days, to try to understand what happened to me. I will send my story day by day … And you remember that you DID promise me NOT to go to any station and NOT to stare at any clock, till the end of my story. I try to remember what happened for me in last 20 days, but, my love, I can’t separate what I imagine from my memories… So if in my memories you find seagulls having a conversation and singing, or the ghosts of fathers speaking English, don’t get confused. If I talk about you as a master of pretention, please forgive me…

This will be a journey for both of us. Don’t forget that you promised not to reply to my voice massages. Just listen and let my story melt in you. Then wait for the following night’s story, and let this waiting for listening to a new story sustain you, nourish your desire for life … Then when I finished telling my stories, it will be your turn to tell me your stories of the last 20 days, day by day…Then… There is no then! Whether we see each other again or not, the stories will help us find ourselves, and know who the other one really is!

A voice urges the passengers of the 16:35 flight to Istanbul to get on board.

The Woman: I am going to get on the airplane in a few minutes. So let me start the story of the first day…

The woman looks at the audience in silence. Her voice can be heard.

The voice of the woman: 35 messages! Are you crazy? I have not read them yet, and I won’t!

Pause

I was predictable because of English. With you I felt always like a child in front of her father who knows all the words…

Pause

I need to shout. I need to shout at my boyfriend in Persian. But I can’t! I need to speak in Persian . Do you know anybody who can speak Persian in St Andrews?

Pause

I was always watching you, with open eyes, every night, I slept after you and every morning I woke up before you.

Pause

A man and a woman approach her. They are seagulls, but apart from some weird movements and attitudes, they show no other signs of being birds.

Pause

No! you  can never understand my feeling , Hamish. Everybody in St Andrews adored you when you were alive.

Pause

We did not sleep together, We waged wars, irrationally , unnecessarily. It was always like that.

Pause

The Woman stops speaking, but her other hands moves forward, and she presses his hand with both of her hands. The Man turns and looks at her.

Darkness

 

Day 19

The Man and the Woman are in the platform of Lancaster station in London. They are both stressed and nervous. The Man is looking at the station clock, and the Woman is looking at him. It is late at night and the platform is almost empty. The Woman breaks the silence.

The Woman: Why are we here?

The Man: We’ve already discussed it.

The Woman: Listen! This is not a good Idea.

The Man: Have you changed your mind?

The Woman: Yes…No…. Listen…!

The Man: Please stop talking about it. We have made a decision, and we are going to do it.

The Woman: Right! But that was because we were both exhausted, depressed… Stop looking at that damn clock. It doesn’t work. it is not 10 to 10.

The Man: I know.

The Woman: So why don’t you stop looking at it?

The Man: Because I don’t dare to look at anything else.

The Woman: Look at me.

The Man: I can’t!

The Woman:  We are both losers like our fathers. We are from the same material, the same roots. So, we can look into each other’s eyes without any fear, or feeling of humiliation.

The Man: …

The Woman: Please!

The Man: This has nothing to do with our being losers or winners.

The Woman: What is it, then?

The Man: If I look at you, I may change my mind.

The Woman: Maybe you should change your mind. Just think about what will happen after our death? We will be just a news item which will evaporate, will be forgotten in less than 24 hours. No one will remember us. We will be wiped out of the memory of the world.

The Man: We are not ending this nonsense to find a place in the memory of the world. We are doing it because we can’t live with each other, and we can’t live without each other. Am I wrong?

The Woman:  I feel our fathers are like puppeteers pulling our strings, and we are like helpless puppets. Ending our lives by jumping on train tracks!? How did we come up with such an idea?

The Man: That was your idea.

The Woman: I was trapped…

The Man: Don’t you want to get rid of all those painful memories, nightmares and frustrations? Are you scared?

The Woman: I’m not…I’m … I don’t know…Please look at me…

The Man: It takes only a second. You won’t feel anything… Jumping and then…darkness…. Finally, that damned war will finish.

The Woman: The war finished years ago.

The Man: No! not yet…Look at us…

The Woman: Look at me…Look at my eyes. We may find other solutions.

The Man: Where is this fucking train?

The Woman: Please!

The Man: You can go if you want to. You are free to go. I’m done with this prison game, with everything.

The Woman: What about you? What will you do if I go….

The Man: I will do what I have to do. An Arab man never changes his decision, unlike Iranians!

The Woman: Iranians also don’t!

The Man: So, stay …and fulfil your duty.

The Woman: I no longer want to exact revenge on my father.

The Man: You said the opposite before leaving the basement. Did you say that just to bring me out?

The Woman: No! I didn’t.

The Man: Do you hear?! Train is coming.

The Woman: Listen! Now that we are on the edge of non-being, I no longer feel I need to punish my father. All the resentment, all the pent-up frustration has evaporated…OK! We will do it together but not now. Not tonight. We have to go over everything, to see what happened to us. We have to talk about the last 19 days. We had very different experiences in the last 19 days…. It was like a purgatory… We must sit down together again, not with rancour, not with exhaustion, but with calm and maturity to see what happened to us. Jumping into hell without reviewing the problems is not a solution; it is like escaping. I don’t want to escape anymore.

The Man: Is this your solution?

The Woman: Yes. If we die just one night later, nothing will change in the world.

The Man: Be ready! It is coming…

The Woman: Please, please don’t…

The Man steps forward. He takes the Woman’s hand, but still avoids her eyes.

The Woman: Look at me…

The Man:…

The Woman stops speaking but bring her other hands forward and presses his hand with both of her hands. The man turns and looks at her.

Darkness.

Day 18

The Woman and the Man are both in the basement. They are sitting on a mat facing each other. There is a candle in the middle. They look exhausted.

The Man: When I saw you for the first time in that small bookshop, leafing through The Name of The Rose, looking at the pages with those shiny eyes and flaming cheeks, I felt I had known you for years. Then, I felt something unusual in my body. Not just in my heart, but my whole body. I felt I was being divided into two pieces…It was painful and …Oh! Impossible to explain. The last time I had such a feeling was when my mom received the news of my father’s death in the war, and began to wail. I was 5 years old, and I felt I was being cut into two pieces. One piece was burning, and the other piece was cold as a piece of ice.

When I saw you in the small bookshop, I felt I was simultaneously burning and freezing . At first, I had no idea where you were from, and I didn’t want to ask you. I remember the moment when after 5 days , we dared to speak about our nationalities.

M-Where are you from? Let me guess first…From Turkey…

W-Nope!

M-From…Gojira…

W-Nope!

M-Am I too far?!

W-Too close…But let me guess first! With this Arabic accent you have to be from Lebanon!

M-Nope!

W- Egypt?

M-Nope !

W-I hope you are not from Iraq!

M- I hope you are not from Iran!

W-Well, I am from Iran!

M- And, I am from Iraq!”

The Woman: In the blink of an eye, the lovers evaporated, and the warriors appeared.

The Man: Love bed evaporated, and the battlefield appeared.

The Woman: We evaporated, and our fathers appeared.

Pause

The Woman: What is the next step?

The Man: Every war in the history has to come to an end, with a winner and a looser.

The Woman: In Iran-Iraq war there were no winners; they both lost.

The Man: I know.

The Woman: So…?

The man doesn’t answer. Long pause. and then Darkness.

 

Day 17

The Woman is still in the same basement. Another day has passed, and she is even more distressed. She sits in a corner and holds her head in her hands. The sound of steps. She stands up, runs to the door and shouts for help.

The Woman: Help…. Please, help me…Is somebody there? Do you hear me?…Please, help me…

The door opens, and the Man comes in. He has a backpack on his shoulder. The Woman pushes him unexpectedly and runs away. He runs after her. The room is empty for a while. Loud shouting and banging can be heard from outside. The man brings her back to the room, throws her into a corner and closes the door.

The Woman: You are crazy…. You are foolish and mad. [Shouting] Help!…Please, somebody help me…

The Man: Stop shouting. Nobody can hear you. [calmer] How are you?

The Woman: How dare you? How am I? I have been here for 5 days. Have you gone mad?

The Man: When you left me without telling me where you were going, I had the same feeling.

The Woman: I can do whatever I like, and I came back after 10 days to clarify things.

The Man: And I came back just after 5 days.

The Woman: I did not lock you up in a basement. What kind of revenge is this? Stupid, indeed.

The Man: This is not a revenge, this is a decision.

The Woman: What decision?

The Man: I have a duty.

The Woman: What duty?

The Man: You will know that soon. I am sorry for your loss.

The Woman: How did you know?

The man: I know!

The Woman:  Very kind of you to provide me with such a peaceful place to mourn my father!

The Man: I had no other choice but to lock you up here. Otherwise, you would have escaped again.

The Woman: I can do whatever I like. You speak as if I am your prey.

The Man: We both were each other’s prey. You know that better than I do. We never talked about it, though. We pretended we had a simple, ordinary life together, but our life together was neither simple nor ordinary. That is why you left me.

The Woman: I left you because I was choking. I had to find myself…. And I did. So I came back to talk to you…to speak about the dark sides of our relationship and end it.

The Man: Talking will not resolve the impact of the traumas that we suffered.

The Woman: So, what can resolve them?

The Man Doesn’t answer. Silence for a while.

The Woman: I want to go upstairs. Open the door.

The Man: No! Not yet!

The Woman: What is this silly game?

The Man: (Melancholic) I said the same thing when you left me, but I gradually realised that it was not a game…At least, it is not ‘a SILLY game’… It is the most serious chapter of our story, a story that began years ago with our fathers, far before we even met. We have to face our fears. For the first time in our lives we have to put aside our masks and show the violent part of our souls…The part which makes a king kill all the women in his land.

The Woman: Snap out of One Thousand and One Night. Stop pretending. I came back to clarify the same issues.

The man: I am not pretending. Theirs was as real as our problem.

The Woman: What do you exactly want from me?

The Man: To accept your defeat and pay your booty.

The Woman: This is not a war.

The Man: This is a war in which the two sides, you and I, love each other. But the love part does not change its essential nature; it is a war.

The Woman: You are crazy. You are the first person who will be interrogated if something happens to me.

The Man: That was why I went to St Andrews. I pretended I was looking for you. No one will even consider the possibility of me being in contact with you, at least a hundred people would testify that I was looking for you, including Aflah.

The Woman attacks the Man. But she is not strong enough, and he pushes her back. She stumbles, but does not fall.

The Man: Stop this. We don’t need to fight. I asked you to accept your defeat and pay your booty. Talking or fighting do not resolve our problems. Dying does.

Darkness.

Day 16

The Woman is alone in a room with no windows, a small bed, a toilet in the corner and a small fridge next to the bed. She is wearing the same clothes she was wearing the last time we saw her in St Andrews. It seems she has been imprisoned in this room for a few days now. She looks distressed and distracted. She fiddles with the lock with no success, gets tired, steps back and then goes back to the lock again, but she cannot open the door. She kicks the door and shouts!

The Woman: Where are you? Can you hear me? Can you see me? Where are you?

No response.

The Woman: When you asked me to go to the university only one day later, I accepted immediately. When you asked me to lie down under the delicate ray of sunlight, close my eyes and try to concentrate on nothing, I accepted immediately. I listened to your bullshit about how you were swallowed by Shakespeare and how you wished to dedicate the first 6 episodes of your story to MacGregors and Crawfords…But now, When I need you most, you don’t even answer me…Why?

No response.

The Woman: Aren’t you going to answer me?

Voice of the writer: I am really sorry…

The Woman: I have been calling you for 5 days…

Voice of the Writer: Oh! I am really sorry. I was busy doing research and planning my trip and now, on day 16, I am on a train to Stratford-upon-Avon, to visit Shakespeare’s birthplace.

The Woman: I don’t care where you are going; hell or heaven. I have been trapped here in this room for five days, I have been imprisoned. Did you know that?

Voice of the writer: Yes! I do…

The Woman: So why don’t you do anything? I remember you said you were worried about me.

Voice of the Writer: I was worried about you when you were my character.

The Woman: ‘I WAS your character’?! What the hell?  I still am.

Voice of the Writer: You were my character before you changed the plot. You are self-centered and selfish. Otherwise, you would never have changed the plot.

The Woman: What are you on about. I didn’t change your plot!

Voice of the Writer: Yes, you did. In my plot when the woman said she had a great idea, it meant she wanted to see Dr. Aflah again, explain her predicament and ask him to help her. Then her boyfriend would come to St Andrews to find her, but Dr. Aflah would help her hide until he would go back to London. That was a great plot…

The Woman: A stupid one!

Voice of the Writer: If you call my story stupid, it means you are happy with your current situation.

The Woman: No! I am not.

Voice of the writer: So why did you go back to London? To the same house that you had escaped from?

The Woman: I came back to collect my things, discuss the problems of our relationship with my ex, and then… go back to Iran…

Voice of the Woman: What?! Going back to Iran?

The Woman: Of course, I must have a reunion with my father.

Voice of the Woman: Reunion with a dead man?

The Woman: Are you really researching Shakespeare? Have you ever asked yourself why Hamlet returns to Denmark although he knows his uncle had assigned those two guys to kill him?

Voice of the Writer: I am not going to argue with you. You did what you wanted to do, and you must suffer the consequences. He imprisoned you in the basement, and did not let you settle things …. It is not my fault. … Oh! Sorry the train is in the station now…I have to go. I am so excited! I am finally  in Stratford-upon-Avon!

The Woman: OK! Before leaving me alone…Just tell me …Where is he?

Voice of the Writer: He is in St Andrews…

The Woman: What? What the hell is he doing there?

Voice of the Woman: I am sorry! I must get off the train.

The Woman: No! Please don’t go. Please don’t live me alone…

Voice of the Writer: Good bye and good luck! I will talk to you later.

Darkness

Day 15

The man is sitting on the same bench that the woman was sitting on earlier in the play. She is facing the north sea with a view of the West Coast. He is murmuring the melody of the same Iranian folk song that the woman was singing. He is eating a sandwich. There are many seagulls, either flying or siting on the rocks. The female seagull we saw earlier in the play, comes in and sits on the bench next to him. They are both depressed. The man stops singing. He stares at her; she also stares at him. Long pause. He takes half of his sandwich and gives it to the seagull. She takes it. They both start  murmuring their own songs, while eating their sandwiches.

The Seagull:

‘One day,

Not far from now,

Nets on the skies

Walls on the ground,

No one goes

No one comes’.

Day 14

Videos of Iran-Iraq war are projected on the walls, floor and the ceiling. The Man, and his father are sitting centre stage, surrounded by these disturbing pictures, as if they are overwhelmed by them.

The Man: Would you please stop conjuring up these memories, father?! This is not a usual nightmare. This is not a normal nightmare; it is a special one, an emergency nightmare. I am here to ask you a question.

The Father: I cannot stop these memories, son! At the very moment of my death on that cursed morning on 27 May 1988, all these memories were conjured up, and I have not been able to get rid of them ever since. These memories are part of my ghostly presence.

The Man: I know! But I told you I am in urgent need of help. I don’t need your ghostly presence now. I need your paternal support and attention.

The Father: OK! Tell me what the matter is!

The Man: You know what the matter is.

The Father: Yes, I do, but I don’t know what your problem is with this situation.

The Man: What do you exactly want me to do?

The Father: You know that better than I do.

The Man: I just want to get rid of all these perpetual nightmares.

The Father: Then, do what you have to do.

The Man: This is not fair. When you died, I was just 5 years old.

The Father: It doesn’t make any difference. A father is a father. A son is a son.

The Man: Do you know that her father died in loneliness and pain?

The Father: I know, but it doesn’t change your duty.

The Man: You wanted him to suffer pain, as much as you did, and he suffered much more than you did. You suffered  for  3 days, and then died, while he died after 30 years of  mental instability, pain and depression. Suffering from a mental condition that alienated him from all his family. Isn’t that enough? Doesn’t that make you feel relieved?

The Father: It is not my relief which is important here! It is your duty as my son which is important. I didn’t cause his mental problems, pain and depression.

The Man: But he is dead  now.

The Father: It doesn’t make make any difference. You must make her suffer! Promise!

اوعدني!

The Man: Don’t speak Arabic with me.

The Father: Why?!

The Man: Because I hate to speak Arabic with you.

The Father: OK! We will talk about that later. For now, just promise me.

The Man: …

The Father: What?!

The Man: …

The Father: Have you fallen in love with her?

The Man: …

The Father: NO! You must NOT. Fatima is the one whom you must love. I have said that before! Have you forgotten?

The Man: No! I haven’t! It is morning now. You must go. I have to wake up now.

The Father: Just one question before leaving. Where are we?

The Man: In St Andrews.

The Father: Are you in the belly of a holly man?

The  Man : I wish I were. Then I could stay there forever…I remember you once told me the story of a holly man who never shat. And I thought that food waste would remain in his belly forever.

The Father: I didn’t tell you those stupid things.

The Man: Maybe! It was someone else. I always had this wild dream of not being an orphan, so I thought you told me that story. Anyway… St Andrews is the name of this town. Years ago, a king established a monastery in a village near the sea. The village then became a town which was named after a saint whose body parts were apparently buried here. It is a long story.

The sound of train and then Darkness

 

 

 

 

 

Day 13

The Man and Aflah are sitting on the balcony of a small cafe in Crail, facing the sea. Aflah does not speak. He is listening to the Man who is speaking impatiently.

The Man: I wish I could… I mean I could wash away all my worries in the sea. But that is impossible. How can I do that when the sea may have taken her from me? Yes! I do think about all these horrible possibilities. She is creative and crazy. She may have done something unpredictable just to shock me, even drowning herself in the sea.

Pause.

The Man: No, no, not that. I am sure she hasn’t done anything as mad as that… Are you with me?!…Why don’t you speak?! My friend! It is not your fault that she is gone. Don’t look at me like that. You did not do anything wrong; you are my friend. and as a friend you were supposed to call me when you saw her with my scarf. Otherwise, I would have had no clue where she had gone and that would drive me mad. In any case, I was going to call you. I was calling everyone I knew, all my friends as I knew she was bound to go to a university wherever she was…Listen! I understand your perspective. I know she had come to you to help her, but you didn’t do anything wrong…You thought it would be better if I knew… It is normal. It is what friends do for each other. Listen! If I were you, I would do the same …OK! If anything or anyone,  the culprit is my scarf…or the rain which made you and I seek shelter in that second-hand shop where you saw me buy that violet scarf. Or… maybe the price, £2, which made me borrow one pound from you as I only had one pound in cash.

Pause

It is stupid that we don’t speak Arabic, I know! But I don’t want to attract the attention of the other customers.  You know what I mean! I feel uncomfortable when I speak Arabic in public places, especially now that I am nervous …My Friend! Where are you going? Please don’t go…

لا تذهب صديقي

Aflah leaves. The Man is alone. He is sitting on the balcony of the small cafe looking at the sea.

Day 12

The map of St Andrews on the floor. The man is walking on the map, as if he is walking through the town. He is somewhere on South street.

The Man: (to himself) I know this is South Street, one of the three main streets of this small town. So I start here. (To an imaginary pedestrian) Excuse me, sir! …I wonder if you have seen a good-looking  woman of about 35 with a violet scarf ? She has brown eyes and brown hair and a singsong accent. Not like mine, softer. Okay, Thanks… (To an imaginary shopkeeper) Hi there! Excuse me, Madam! Your pastry shop is phenomenal. My girlfriend loves pastry. She must have visited your shop at least once to buy one of these delicious-looking  black buns…No, no, I am not here to buy them for her! Actually, I lost her. And I want to know if you remember seeing a woman with a violet scarf, a good-looking  woman of about 35? She has brown eyes and brown hair and a singsong accent. Not like mine, softer. No? Thanks!

The man goes to the Market Street.

The Man: (To an imaginary shopkeeper) Hi! do you work here every day? Okay, let me explain. I am looking for someone. My girlfriend…No! She is not lost! I lost her! She loves books, secondhand books, so… I am sure she has been here. She is an avid reader, and bookshops and libraries are the first places she discovers anywhere she goes. She has brown eyes and brown hair and a singsong accent. Not like mine, softer.…. Have you seen her? … OK! Thanks!

He gives some coins to an imaginary beggar.

The Man: Sorry, I don’t have more change! May I ask you a question? Do you always sit here, next to this supermarket? I wonder if you have seen a good-looking  woman of about 35 with a violet scarf ? She has brown eyes and brown hair and a singsong accent. Not like mine, softer. … She cares for people like you…I am sure she must have given you something. Do you remember anyone like that…No?!…Thank you.

The man goes to the North street.

The Man: Excuse me! May I ask you a question? Have you- or any of your colleagues—recently seen a woman in her mid-30’s with a violet scarf asking for membership? She has brown eyes and brown hair and a singsong accent. Not like mine, softer…. No! She is not a student or  a professor, but she loves books, and if only card holders can pass the electronic gate, she must have asked for temporary membership. Okay! … Yes, I have already talked to the people working in the small library in South Street?

The Man Goes to the Scores.

The Man: (talking to an imaginary hotel receptionist): Hi there! I am looking for my girlfriend. Have you had any Iranian residents  in the last 10 days? No! She is not a Golf lover! OK!…thank you. Yes! I have asked every single shop, hotel and bed and breakfast place in the town…I am sure she is here or was here. She can’t have just evaporated.

Day 11

 

A 35-year-old man is standing in the bus station of St Andrews with a backpack on his right shoulder. He is from Iraq, with black eyes and black hair. 35 Messages are projected on different places: on his body, on the wall behind him and on the floor. It seems he is looking for someone.

Message 1: Call me little monkey. 🐒

M 2: Call meee.

M 3: Call meeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee. 🤬

M4: Where R U? Why is your mobile off?

M5: Helllloooooooooooooooooooooooooo

M6: OK ! call me when you turn on your mobile! 😏

M 7: ????????

M8: ?????????????????????

M9: I have a class, but I will call you afterwards.

M 10: Oh! these lazy students are driving me crazy…🤺.

M 11: Fatima wants to celebrate her new Arabic translation of Hamlet with us. R U OK with that?

M 12: Oh! I forgot to say, I am NOT going to speak Arabic with her. I know how it drives you crazy, you little monkey. 🐵

M 13: Something else! It is not my fault that Fatima looks like Scarlett Johansson…the olive version, of course. 👸🏾😍

M 14: I am getting worried. I called you again, and your mobile is still off.

M 15:  I am sorry. You were right. That was more like a one-sided invasion than love making, and I accept that I was a crazy invader…sorrrrryyy…😓😓😓

M16: Why am I apologizing? You were the one who began fighting in bed, as if you hate me and your job is to annoy me…oh! The whole thing is disturbing… disgusting… .

M 17:  WE DID NOT SLEEP TOGETHER.  WE WAGED WARS, IRRATIONALLY, UNNECESSARILY. IT WAS ALWAYS LIKE THAT.

M 18: I am sorry. Please ignore my last message. I was upset. I love you, I really do.

M 19: 🤡

M 20: I am sure you are happy that I can’t record my voice? You hate my Arabic accent, I know! The voice recorder of my mobile is faulty, and I have no time to fix it.

M 21: You can call me rat as much as you want.

M22: 🐀 🐀 🐀 🐀 🐀 🐀 🐀 🐀 🐀 🐀 🐀 🐀

M 23: Last night you were so weird. You were trying to be natural : dinner was ready, TV was on, and  you were sitting in front of the TV with an IELTS textbook in your hands, but you were so weird. You made me nervous.

M 24:  We are planning to go to that Syrian restaurant on Edgeware road with Fatima. I know how you hate Arabic food; but it is not more than I hate Iranian food. So see you there around 5.

M 26: I am on my way home. I changed my mind. I told her we can’t make it today. I am not really up for it, fed up with everything. 🤮💩🐒

M27: I am at home.

M 28 : Stop this childish, silly game, Whatever it is!

M 29: ?????????????????????????????????????????????????

M 30 : ????????????????????????????????????????????????????

M 31: Where are you?????????? ??????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????

M 32: If you want to prove you are not predictable! U R NOT!

M 33: I am getting crazy.

M 34: Turn on your mobile.

M 35: I am really mad.

M 36: What? What is this stupid voice message you have sent me…

M 37: What do U mean by ‘I am going to be nowhere, so don’t even try to find me’ ?

M 38 : NO No No No no no no no No no no no no no . You CANNOT just leave me. I will find you even if it takes me my whole life.

The sound of a bus. Then darkness.

 

Day 10

The Woman is sitting on a bench  with her suitcase. Her eyes are red as if she has been crying. She is speaking with Hamish McHamish.

The Woman: Hamish! How many rats did you catch in your life? 100? 1000? 3000? More? Less? How did you like them? How did they taste? 11 days ago when I decided to leave home I had a dream in which I was catching a rat: Madly, with rancor, with a wild deep-seated anger!  You know! I had a small rat at home . And I miss him so much. My possessions in this world are not many, and I am losing them one by one….  I miss them… one  by one. The first thing I lost was myself. And I missed me so much…

No! You can never understand my feelings, Hamish. Everybody in St Andrews adored you when you were alive, so when you died, people made your statue and put it here to remember you for ever. You never knew how it feels to be kicked out of a house, when you don’t have anywhere else to go. Actually, I was not kicked out by anyone. I was kicked out by death. Don’t worry. I am still alive. If I had died, my statue would have been here, right next to you. ‘Hamish McHamish and the Lady of Shalott’. And by this statue, the people of St. Andrews  would remember me as a weaving woman who came to this town, and did nothing but to find herself.

Don’t be jealous Hamish. If I die right now, no one will ever notice. No one will ever know. No one will raise my statue in any alley anywhere in the world. I will evaporate from the memory of the world, immediately, as if I never existed. You will remain in the memory of the world Hamish as a cat that belonged to St Andrews. I belong to nowhere. To belong, or not to belong that is the question, that is the pain.

Pause.

The Woman: No! No, Hamish. I can’t go back to her house again …I can’t go back because Carmona evaporated this morning at  6:11 am. Yes! She just evaporated. It was a heart attack. I called 999, but while we were waiting for the ambulance I tried to explain to her  that there was nothing to be afraid of. She was holding my hand, as if clutching to life. I was worried, scared that she might die, and she was holding tightly to my hand.

W: I am sorry Carmona… [Carmona is murmuring as if hallucinating) I can’t hear you, please, please…

C-W: …Jorge, Jorge…  my dear… my dear husband.

W: What about him?…where is he?…Do you want me to call him?… Carmona…what is his number?

C-W: 909…

W: 909…and then?

C-W: 909…

W: OK! His number starts with 909…what is the rest? Where is he?

C-W: In an airplane…

W: Is he in an airplane? Is he coming here?

C-W: He evaporated.

W: What?

C-W: He evaporated… 909 …weeks …ago…

W: …

C-W: He evaporated.

W: …

C-W: He evaporated.

Pause.

The Woman: Nobody will make Carmona’s statue although she was a writer, a good one, good enough to be invited to the university. You are lucky Hamish. Luckier than me and even Carmona.

 She wraps her violet scarf around Hamish’s neck.

The Woman: I don’t want this anymore. It is getting cold and dark. Don’t worry about me. I am going to do something…I have a great idea. I am going to be the Lady of Shalott, I am the Lady of Shalott… Good night, Hamish.

She goes with her suitcase. Spot Light on Hamish wrapped in the Woman’s violet scarf. Then, Darkness.

Day 9

In front of the entrance of the flat. Somebody is knocking on the door. Carmona, the writer in residence–a 65-year-old Mexican lady– goes towards the door to open it. The woman rushes after her to stop her.

 Carmona: What are you doing?

The Woman: Please, don’t!

Carmona: What?

The Woman: I said, ‘please, don’t open the door’.

Carmona: Why?

The Woman: I will tell you later. For now, please, don’t open the door.

Carmona: But somebody is breaking down the door.

The Women: I know. But please, I am … (looking for the right word) frankly…deeply… sincerely…imploring you not to open the door. Just let him go.

Carmona: How do you know there is a man at the door?

The Woman: I just know.

Carmona: No! It is Ms Judith! Our neighbour. I have been expecting her. I knew she would come. I put the rubbish in the wrong bin, and her daughter saw me and said something that I didn’t understand, so I called her Mammacita in return! She didn’t understand and got angry, I think.

The Woman: No! it’s not Ms. Judith. Listen! This is a man knocking!

Carmona: Oh! My god! What man?!

The Woman: I will tell you later. let’s go upstairs…

Carmona: No! I want to know what you are talking about? Were you expecting somebody?

The Woman: That is the point. I was not waiting for him.

Carmona: Who is he?

The Woman: OK! He is the one whose father murdered my father.

Carmona: What?!

The Woman: No, no! Please don’t be scared. Not that way.

Carmona: I am going to call the police.

The Woman: No! Please don’t! His father didn’t kill my father.

Ms. Carmona: But you just said he did!

The Woman: Actually, his father wanted to kill my father. But the one who killed my father was not him.

Carmona: So, who killed your father?

The Woman: I did!

Carmona: What?!

The Woman: No!  No, not in the particular sense of the term.  I didn’t kill my father…He did.

Carmona: Who?

The Woman : The man who is knocking… oh how can I explain…the story is complicated.

Carmona: I want to call the police.

The Woman: No!

Carmona: Step aside. Let me go. I want to call the police

The Woman: No!

Carmona : I am telling you!… step aside or,…

The Woman: I don’t want him to be arrested. I still love him.

Carmona: Do you love your father’s murderer?! Oh! good heaven! You are supposed to hate him.

The Woman: How can I hate someone who sent me 35 messages in less three hours.

Carmona: 35 threatening  messages!?

The Woman: I don’t know. I didn’t read them.

Carmona: Does he want to kill you?

The Woman: I guess he wants me to go back home.

Carmona: Which home?

The Woman: our home…

Carmona: Oh! Good heaven! Did you live with your father’s murderer? I can’t breathe!

The Woman: Oh! Not exactly! Let’s go back to the story of his father. You know! A soldier is a soldier…

Carmona: A terrorist?!

The Woman: No! Why!?

Carmona: You said soldier…Oh! Jesus! Terrorists!

The Woman: Sorry…No! Let me explain.  His father wanted to kill my father during a war … they were soldiers in the opposites sides, enemies. He wanted to kill, not exactly my father. You know …all the soldiers are the same. That is what I meant…I meant in the war, soldiers wear similar clothes, as if they are all similar… our fathers probably never met each other,… but he, I mean, his father had direct orders to kill Iranian soldiers… and my father had direct orders to kill all Iraqi soldiers…

Carmona: I can’t breathe…

The Woman: Are you listening to me?

Carmona: Te…rro…rists….!

Carmona faints. The woman catches her on time, and sits down on the floor under her weight. The woman is scared. She goes to the kitchen and after a few seconds, she comes back with a glass of water in her hands. No one is knocking on the door now. The woman puts her ear on the door. No sound. She open the door carefully.

Darkness

 

Day 8

The office of Dr. Aflah. The Woman with a violet scarf wrapped around her shoulders and Dr. Aflah are sitting on office chairs, facing each other.

Dr Aflah: Can you, please, say your name again?

The Woman: I just said it again. I assume you got it the second time.

Dr Aflah: So why am asking you to say it again?

The woman: Because you want to tell me… implicitly, that I am an odd person, who knocks on people’s doors without knowing them.

Dr Aflah: Odd people don’t necessarily have odd names. What brought you here?

The Woman: I thought there might be at least one Iranian professor in the School of Modern Languages.

Dr Aflah: Yes! This school is like a little world with people from many nations…even forgotten ones.

The Woman: We are not one of the forgotten ones.

Dr Aflah: I didn’t mean that. Why knocking on my door?

The Woman: Because it was the only door which was ajar. I wanted to come yesterday…. Maybe that would be a better day for finding more open doors, but today only your door was open.

Dr Aflah: So! it was fate that made you knock on my door. I came  back from holiday yesterday…, but you may have guessed from the sign on my door that I am not Persian, Iranian.

The Woman: I didn’t notice the sign on the door. What do you teach here?

Dr Aflah: Arabic literature.

The Woman: Oh, so, you  know a lot about One Thousand and One Nights, don’t you??!… Funny question. Of course, you do!

Dr Aflah: Why are you asking me that question?

The Woman: For personal reasons. Why are you staring at me?

Dr Aflah: For personal reasons.

Silence. The Woman doesn’t feel comfortable. She stands up.

Dr Aflah: Sit down please. I have one question before you leave. What brought you here from London?

The Woman: How do you know I was in London?

Dr Aflah: You told me.

The Woman: No, I didn’t.

Dr Aflah: So…. Maybe…your violet scarf. Your scarf reminded me of London… A friend of mien who lives in London has a scarf exactly like this…

The Women: In a world characterized by global trends, it is not easy to be unique. We are all over-globalized.

Dr Aflah: That is true.

Pause.

The Woman: I like your Arabic accent.

Dr Aflah: I like your Persian accent.

Pause.

The Woman: Could you please answer my first question? Are there any Iranian professors here?

Dr Aflah: OK! There are two Iranian professors here: a man and a woman. …They are both very welcoming. The lady is always busy  teaching. She teaches the Persian Language. She is kind and calm. The gentleman who teaches Persian literature  is always on a quest for contemporary narrative identities or narratives of identity. So I don’t think you can answer his questions with questions as you did with me. You must tell him the truth.

The woman: The truth?! What truth?

Dr Aflah: The truth that you didn’t ask me where I was from.

The Woman: Why do you think I didn’t ask that question?!

Dr Aflah: Because of fear.

The Woman: What fear?

Dr Aflah: Fear of my answer…  but you don’t need to be afraid. I won’t reply in the way you expect. A friend of mine once told me ‘We are from our language. When we speak in our language we feel safe and mature…powerful and anchored…’ If you had asked me that question, I would have answered ‘I am from Arabic’. I live in Arabic. Days and nights, I always live in Arabic….

She is staring at him, confused and apprehensive.

Dr Aflah: What’s wrong?!

The Woman: What do you mean by “we are from our language”. What do you mean by  ‘Days in Arabic’ … ‘Nights in Arabic’?

Dr Aflah: I meant in a world characterized by global trends, by globalization, it is not easy to be unique. BUT… YES! There’s a” BUT”!…. [As if testing her]

حتى في عالم اليوم وهو عالم العولمة، كم شال بنفسجي عليه ثلاثة أثقاب على الهامش في الجانب اليساري يمكن أن تجديه؟؟

The Woman: [Looks at him confused]: What are  you saying? I don’t speak Arabic, you know!?

Dr Aflah: [Now assured that she does not understand Arabic] Yes, yes, I know. I said: ‘Even in a globalized world, how many violet scarfs can you find, which have  three…exactly three holes in their edges, the left side of their edges?’

 Sudden darkness.

 

 

Day 7

Darkness. the voice of the Writer can be heard.

Voice of the Writer: This is the 7th Day I am here in St. Andrews as a writer in residence. I have written 6 very short plays for each day. So each play –consciously or unconsciously– has a sense of my daily experience.

This is the 7th day of the creation. The creation of a small world, with its airplanes, bathrooms, seagulls and cemeteries… Now I am so tired. I thought I had to rest in the 7th day, but I can’t. I am worried about my character’s future… OK. Let me confess that the woman– my character– is on the very edge of several crazy changes in her life.  Everything is going to change. I mean everything is going to lose its form: the narrative, the narration and the narrator…

I must go to the Market Street. I must buy a handbag with a Scottish pattern. I must eat fish and chips in the small restaurant on the corner of the union street. I must sit somewhere on the coast of the north sea and look at the horizon, the waves and the seagulls. I must go to Dundee for shopping. I must go to the beautiful farm that my friends told me about… to have clotted cream and scone: the fruity type.  I must  go and dance Cèilidh with them.

…But I can’t…I am so worried about the character. This is when the woman is supposed to visit the University of St Andrews for the first time, one of the most crucial moments of the play. I can’t leave her alone in this very dramatic moment.

I lie down on the small couch, under the delicate ray of sunlight that has found its way into the room through the window. I close my eyes and try to concentrate on the woman’s future… How she reminds me of Hamlet. She studied philosophy and her father’s ghost appears to her. Aren’t these enough to remind me of Hamlet? Or maybe it is because I am currently researching Shakespeare…Or better to say I am currently being swallowed by Shakespeare…Who am I? A woman swallowed by Shakespeare? Am I the Shakespeare’s sister? Am I Cleopatra? Am I Hamlet? Am I Ariel?

I lie down under the delicate ray of the sunlight and close my eyes: Colours…Scottish colours conquer my dream…

Suddenly, the Scottish colours and patterns are projected in the darkness.

Voice of the Writer: I have heard there is a different pattern for each different clan.

The map of Scottish clans is projected.

Voice of the Writer: I am reviewing the patterns, and I realize I love MacGregors and Crawfords… . MacFarians are a little bit too serious for me…and Chattans a little bit too Cheerful! But they are all the same in having checked designs and giving the sense of a colourful order. There is no bias or curved line. The patterns are made of different colours, but are simultaneously orderly in their lines. A narrative based on these patterns should be the same: made of different colours, but orderly in its lines.  I think my first  six episodes reflect these patterns. I am not sure if the link I have established here is real or the result of my subconscious associations, but  I am really happy with this association. So I wish to dedicate the first 6 episodes to MacGregors and Crawfords and will be honoured if they accept it!

From the moment, my protagonist sets foot in the university, this dramatic structure will begin to change …. The lines become curvy. There are many things in my mind that make the lines curvy, twisted and even deformed: sanction, isolation, doubt…  regression, transformation, love…, politicians, immigration, fear… , Shakespeareasation, Hamletisation, Arielisation, madness.

No! I can’t follow the narrative of the woman. Not today!

-My dear…, my dear character, May I ask you to go to the university only one day later?

The woman appears in the corner.

The woman: I need to find some Iranian friends, someone who can speak Persian.

Voice of the Writer: I know! But I am not asking for much,  just one more day ….

The woman: So what should I do today?

Voice of the Writer: Lie down under the delicate ray of the sunlight, close your eyes and try to concentrate on…On nothing!

The woman: OK!

Voice of the Writer: Thanka a lot. I really appreciate  your understanding!”

Darkness.

 

 

 

Day 6

 

Cemetery. A Stone cross in the middle of the stage.  The woman stands in front of the audience, looking at them for a few seconds in silence. Then, she goes toward the Cross and kneels down.

The Woman: Akh Baba! Baba! Forgive me for all my sins. Forgive me for failing to be a good daughter for you, for not praying  as much as you expected me, for not being what you wanted me to be, for not wearing hijab,. Forgive me for having a boyfriend …actually boyfriends…. Forgive me for telling you I would go to my friend’s house for studying for a week , but went to India. Forgive me for escaping and going to a distant country and not calling you for over two years. Forgive me for the red clock on the tower. Forgive me for the rude words I used against you in my nightmare. I called you “a liar,” and I am so sorry. Please forgive me.

Pause

For what else, do I have to beg your forgiveness?! There are lots and lots of other things…But maybe there is only one thing for which I should ask for forgiveness. Please, forgive me for not understanding what happened to you during the war. I was too young to realise how you suffered in the war and how the shell-shock disturbed your brain, your thoughts, your dreams.  Please, forgive me for not trying to speak with you. Please, forgive me for not trying to  love you. Please, forgive me for being scared of you more than loving you. Forgive me for being a girl and not a boy. If, as your last chance for having a son, I were a boy, perhaps you could talk to me, and I could understand you.

Oh father! father! Please forgive me…

Pause.

Oh! Sorry I forgot the most important thing…Forgive me for daydreaming so recurrently about killing you. Yes! Sorry! I imagined killing you a hundred times and every time in a different way…a knife on the back!… poison in your tea!… pillow on your deformed, sleeping face !…but at last I found a very unpredictable way to kill you.

I had a boyfriend in London, who was from Iraq, an Iraqi boyfriend. The country that you fought with for years… Can you believe it?…I thought that was the best way to kill you without approaching you. OK! That is very complicated: Half of the very first cell that made me was from you. So whenever he touched me, he touched you. Or better to say, half of you. That way I let your enemy touch you.

Pause.

In my own superstitious way, I thought it would work, and it did work. Eventually, the telephone rang and Aunt Aghdas, my fairy godmother, was crying:

AA-W: “Hi! My dear”

W:“Hi! Ammeh joon (Dear Aunti) Why are you crying?”

AA-W: “How can I tell you?”

W: “Please, do!”

AA-W: “I can’t”

W: “Did Something happen to my father?.. Ammeh joon, do you hear me?…Please stop crying for a second and tell me… is it about my father?”

AA-W:“When will you come back? You must be here.”

W: “What do  you exactly mean by ‘here’? Hospital or …”

AAW: “ OR!… OR!”

And then I realised that I was not happy about your death, that I would never see you again…,   that I was no longer angry with you … and that I could no longer live with my boyfriend.  I realised ‘I am Who am I ?’ nothing but an eternal question.

Pause

I have to leave you now. You are not here in this grave…but it doesn’t matter! A grave is a grave! The soil, the earth is the same earth! and the sky is the same sky!

Father! Please forgive me for not coming to your funeral. I couldn’t leave this country. If I had left I could have never come back. And If I could never come back…I don’t know!…I don’t want to …I don’t know the word…I mean… what a soldier does, when there is no chance to defeat the enemy… I mean ‘going back’… ‘re-… something’.

And something else…Please, forgive me for speaking in this language to you. I know that you don’t understand me at all, but I couldn’t say all these things in Persian. The only thing I ever did in Persian with you was to argue and fight with you. I could not beg for your forgiveness in Persian…and now…now I am happy  you could not  understand me. Why should I have reminded you of those horrible memories?  Why should I have…actually…why did I beg for your forgiveness at all? I was as right as you were, or even more…

I have to go now…

دلم برات تنگ می شه … و فکر می کنم … کاش می دیدمت قبل از این که بری

Bye!

Day 5

Singing an Iranian folk song, the woman– in a green coat– is sitting on a bench near the West Sands facing the sea. She has her coffee and cake. There are many seagulls, either flying or siting on the rocks. She is throwing small pieces of her cake for them. A man and a woman approach her. They are seagulls, but apart from some weird movements and attitudes, they show no other signs of being birds. They pick up the small pieces of cake that she is throwing. Then they sit on the  bench next to her. The woman looks at them and throws some more pieces of cake for them. She is staring at the sea and seems to hear their words as bird calls not as words.

Seagull 1 (woman): What is this song?

Seagull 2 (Man):  I don’t know.

Seagull1:  What is this language?

Seagull 2:  I have never heard anything like that…

Seagull 1: Let’s listen carefully.

Pause. She is still singing.

Seagull 2: The song is soft and captivating, but depressing. I guess she has been left behind or has left someone behind.

Seagull 1: I think she is lost.

Seagull 2: I wish I could understand the words.

Seagull 1: I guess these are magic words from a very ancient forgotten civilization. Do you notice how soft and simultaneously angry and moving the words are. They evoke a feeling of being lost, a feeling of unfulfilled  love…

Seagull 2: …  a kind of death wish, an unspecified or unfulfilled desire for demise …

Seagull 1: Now not that, you cannot use ‘unfulfilled’ there, ‘unfulfilled desire for demise!’ Freud does not mention such a thing; he just talks about ‘death wish’!

Seagull 1: I don’t think she is singing; she is chanting. And I assume she didn’t sleep last night. See her bloodshot eyes.

Seagull 2:  Then, maybe, she is the Green Lady.

Seagull1:  No, she is not! She is chanting in a magical language, but she is not in the Crathes castle.  She has to be there to be the Green Lady. she is sitting here near the West Sands in St Andrews… And she is not a ghost, a ghost can’t be lost. She seems lost.

Seagull 2: Then, … she is a Selkie. She used to be a seal before transforming into human shape and become a woman. She has unearthed this magical song from the abyss of the North Sea.

Seagull1: Oh, you and your obsession with myths. No, she is not a Selkie. If she were, once you looked at her, you would become love sick for ever. Do you feel love sick?

 Seagull 2: No! I don’t.

Seagull1: I know! Otherwise you would never want to  leave me here near the North Sea and go to the Black sea for ever.

Seagull2: Perhaps, this would be the last chance to find my ancestral links and origins.

Seagull 1: I wish your feathers were the same colour as ours.

Seagull 2: But they are not. I am what I am and my feathers are blueish; yours are white. I have to go. Ever since my parents left, I have lost the sense of who I am, and with the new regulations coming into place from March, I will have to apply for citizenship.

Seagull 1: What if you see a Selkie on your way there?

Seagull 2: I will close my eyes to avoid seeing her and feeling love sick.

Seagull1: If you close your eyes, you may crash with an airplane.

Seagull 2: I won’t fly that high. I never do.

Seagull 1:  What if the Green Lady puts a spell on you with her song?

Seagull 2: I am going east not north. I will not fly over the Crathes castle.

Seagull 1: Are you sure you want to go?

Sea gull2:  Have you not read that part of the old testaments of Gulls?

Sea gull1:

“One day,

Not far from now,

Nets on the skies

Walls on the ground,

No one goes

No one comes”

They sing together. Their song is mingling with the woman’s song.

 

Day 4

The woman is sitting  on a bench. It is a cold night. She is writing a letter using her laptop. Her writing is projected on the wall behind her. She does not read the letter, but we can read it. The sound of seagulls can be heard.

The Woman Writing: ‘Who am I?’ I kept asking this question when I was a little kid, and the answer from my parents  was always the same: ‘you are you!’ It meant, for them, I was I, which for them it actually meant I was them because they had continued in me. So they were me… I heard this answer several times, many times. Then I grew up, but still I had the same question. In my trip to India, a young Japanese boy, Who was a traveler by nature, answered my question in a very materialistic way, which, in any case,  convinced me … He said,

JB-W: You are what you eat

JB-W: You are what you read

JB-W: You are what you listen to.”

I accepted his opinion:

-I am what I eat

-I am what I read

-I am what I listen to.

So before meeting you in London, I was partly chicken sandwiches, partly Fesenjoon– you know what it is, don’t you? — Partly lemon Cheese cake…and cheese, cheese…all kind …yes, I can say that I am 67% cheese, plus 10% traditional Iranian music and…some Indian Folk songs, and then…What else was I? …  I was partly what I was teaching at that time in the university: the history of philosophy.

Plus, my favourite novel: The Name of the Rose.

I was all those things before I met you, sitting in the library with the book of One Thousand and One Nights open in front of you, a huge one! You were not my dream type or any silly concept like that. You were you. Very much in the present. And I became you because that was one of the very rare moments in my life when I was in the present time. You took me from the past to the present, and I found myself in you. How many people do you know who can take you away from your thoughts, memories, dreams and ideas to the present time, just the present time?

And then -in a click of fingers -I became you.

“-Who are you?

-I am you!”

That was the first conversation we had.

“-Who are you?

-I am him.”

That was the first conversation I had with myself.

I was you for about a year. It is not just a metaphor of love. It is a fact. A real thing. You know what I mean, don’t you? A real thing… I was you when I was looking at the mirror. I was you when I was ordering the food. I was you when I was sleeping and when I woke up. I was you when I was me!

I know how exciting this  was to you at the beginning, and how disgusting it became at the end. It gradually made you impatient, but I was happy to be you from the beginning to the end.

That morning my phone rang, and someone told me something. I cried for hours, and then I suddenly realized that I am not you anymore.

That was what enabled me to pass you, to pass the stage of being you.

I am still in love with you, but I am not you anymore. So…

-Who am I?

Now I feel this question much more deeply. It is moving in every corner of my brain like lava, melting everything in its way. I feel I will never be as attached to this question as I am now. I feel  that at this very moment, I am “Who Am I?”

Complicated. I know. You loved me because of this complicated mind. It reminded you of the complicated structure of  One Thousand and One Night. But  you gradually got tired of me… Of my poor English, although I was getting better…. Of my numerous questions…. Of how I was attached to you…. Of my constant philosophizing in a language that I didn’t know that well. Of how love sick I was. …Of my being you…. Whatever!

Do you miss me? Are you trying to find me? Are you thinking of me? Do you sing the song that I taught you? Do you hug a pillow instead of me?

I miss you so much. I try not to be found. I am thinking of you. I sing the song that I taught you. I hug a pillow instead of you, but I am no longer you.

I am nobody, a nobody ready to evaporate, but can I really evaporate in this cold night?

It is cold tonight. I must go home.

Oh! What a pity that you will never read this letter. Because I am going to delete it right now.

She deletes the letter; all the words disappear. The wall behind her is blank.

Day 3

The Father is sitting in a rocking chair. He is 75 years old. No emotion in his face. The woman is sitting in front of him. She looks uncomfortable and restless.

The Woman: How did you find me?

The Father: How did you escape me?

The Woman: You know everything.

The Father: How do I have to know everything?

The Woman: Because of the news.

The Father: What news?

The Woman: The news I have heard.

The Father: What news have you heard?

The Woman: You know that better than me, father.

The Father: I don’t.

The Woman: I am not going to tell you.

Pause

The Father: Where are you now?

The Woman: You should know everything.

The Father: I know you went kharej! (abroad)

The Woman: I did. I went to London.

The Father: How did you go? I was always watching you, with open eyes. Every night, I slept after you, and every morning I woke up before you. But one day, I opened my eyes, and you were not in your bed.

The Woman: Did you get angry?

The Father: At first I was shocked. Then, I got angry and called your sisters one by one, the three of them. They all came to my home pretending they don’t know anything. But I know that they knew everything.

The Woman: No, they didn’t!

The Father: So, how did you escape without their help?

The Woman: With the Help of my ex-boyfriend.

The Father: What is ex-boyfriend?

The Woman: Don’t you know the meaning of ex-boyfriend? Or just the meaning of ex?

The Father: Neither of them.

The Woman: Liar!

The Father: I am your father!

The Woman: Why don’t you leave me alone? Why did you chase me here to this town?

The Father: I wanted to know where you live now.

The Woman: I live nowhere.

The Father: Where is nowhere?

The Woman: Everywhere I am is nowhere.

The Father: Where is this everywhere now? Are you in London?

The Woman: No! I am in St Andrews

The Father: Are you in the belly of a holy man?

The Woman: I wish I was. Then I could stay there forever…I remember you once told us the story of a holy man who never shat. And I thought that food waste remained in his belly forever.

The Father: I didn’t tell you those stupid things.

The Woman: Maybe! I had this wild dream of escaping your crazy limitations. Any way… St. Andrews is the name of the city. Years ago, a king established a monastery in a village near the sea. The village then became a town which was named after a saint whose body parts were apparently buried here. But one day the town will shit me out. One day, perhaps less than one month from now.

The Father: How is it like? The town I mean.

The Woman: Like a doll city. I don’t feel this is real. 3 main streets, some narrow alleys, and a ruined castle and cathedral. The town has everything but in a small scale. What I really love about the town are four big red clocks on a tall tower.

The Father: What is interesting about the clocks?

The Woman: The interesting thing is that you hated clocks and the colour red …Oh! I am so lucky that you can’t speak Persian here. If you could, you would curse me here and now. But now you have to leave. Listen to the sound of the old red clocks. It is morning now, and you have to go… you have to go.

The Father: Why can’t I speak in Persian? Why did we speak in English when, in fact, I don’t even know how to say a single word in English?

The Woman: Because we were in my nightmare, which is now over… over. Good morning father! Time, to go.

Darkness

Day 2

Bathroom. The woman is in the bathtub behind the shower curtain. Her shadow can be seen.

The Woman: Ms Carmona, can you hear me? I can’t use the shower…I don’t mean I can’t use it, I mean it doesn’t work. There is a small box here, with a ‘turn on’ button, but I can’t turn it on…Can you hear me?

Her right hand extends from behind the shower curtain. She takes the towel. A few seconds later, she draws the shower curtain and steps out of the bathtub wrapped in the towel. She speaks loudly to someone behind the closed door.

The  Woman: Can you, please help? What are you doing? Are you changing your clothes? OK, I wait for you. [turning to the shower box and pushing the buttons again] It is so strange, what’s wrong with this? I know you are also unfamiliar with this house. Naghmeh told me you came to St Andrews last week for a residency. She told me you are a writer. I wish I could speak with you more last night, but you looked so busy with your writing.

W: “Hi”!

C-W: “Hi”!

W: “I am Naghmeh’s Friend.”

C-W: “I know! That is the kitchen, your bedroom is on the second floor, and those are the extra keys…Anything else?”

W: “Are you from England?”

C-W:“I am from nowhere! Anything else?”

C-W: “So many things else!”

C-W: “What?”

W: “Nothing!”

C-W:“Good night then”!

And then you disappeared. Oh! I appreciate that you let me stay with you for the whole month that you are here. I really need a place to stay. A place far from London. This town was the best place to hide. OK! A long story. Don’t bother yourself to listen to me. It is not your problem that I need to speak to someone. It is not your problem that I am bursting with words. I just heard something. The worst ever … you will never hear it from me. It is not because you are busy with your writing, but because I can’t speak about it in any language except Persian. I received a news that made me crazy, but you will never hear it from me. How can people marry with foreigners?  Even if they find a way to express their love, how can they fight in another language? I need to fight. I need to shout. I need to shout at my boyfriend in Persian. But I can’t! I need to speak in Persian. Do you know anybody who can speak Persian in St Andrews?

No! My English is not so good. I left Iran only two years ago…That was so hard. Not because I was rejected the first time I applied for Visa. Not because I had to apply again from Turkey. It was hard because I was escaping from my father…Don’t worry! I am not going to tell you the story…I know how busy you are.

Are you still changing your clothes? I feel a bit cold. Let me check it again!

She goes into the bathtub, behind the shower curtain.

The  Woman: No! No water from the shower.

She comes out of the bathtub again and opens the door carefully.

The  Woman: Ms Carmona, can you hear me? Are you there? Are you gone? I am freezing.

There is no answer.

Day 1

Airplane. The Voice of the Flight attendant is heard.

We will shortly be landing in Edinburgh. Please keep your seat belts on during the landing until the seat belt light is off.

A 35 years old Iranian woman is sitting next to the window. She turns on her mobile phone and checks her messages. She records her voice. She speaks English well with occasional mistakes that become more frequent when she gets emotional.

The Woman: 35 Messages! Are you crazy?!  I have not read them yet, and I won’t! I can imagine you, sitting in the classroom, writing messages for me while your students are trying to read A Thousand and One Nights in Arabic. Yes, I can see you pretending to listen to them carefully while doing something else. You are the master of pretending any way!

OK! Let’s speak about the main thing. I left you a few hours ago. And now I am somewhere in the world that you never know. In a couple of hours, I even won’t be here. I am going to be nowhere, so don’t even try to find me. Don’t …Oh what was the word?… Don’t try to follow me…is that the right word? Or don’t chase me? … whatever it is…please , please, don’t try to find me. I have no plan for the future. So please, even don’t try to predict me. You used to call me your predictable beloved! Was that admiration or humiliation , or both? Humiliation because you knew how I hated to be called predictable, and admiration because, because… you know this better than I do, so no need to repeat it. Actually, I was predictable because of English. With you I felt always like a child in front of her father who knows all the words. I was stuck in words … or … what is the better word?… I was imprisoned by words!

But now you know by practice that I am not predictable. Iranians are not predictable at all because they, I mean, we haven’t grown up in predictable conditions. The last unpredictable condition was what I heard yesterday morning. I wanted to tell you, but, how could I? I cried all the morning, and when you came back home everything was as usual: dinner was ready, TV was on, and I was sitting in front of the TV with an IELTS textbook in my hands…I even dropped some Arabic words to make you happy… Why did I do that in the worst day of my life?  I don’t know…Maybe because I wanted to avoid the fact that I had to leave you…

Oh! Now I have to go. People are leaving the airplane, and I have to go…I took your violet wool scarf. Don’t look for it. I also took the hairdryer. You don’t need it. You look better with curly hair. I will send them all back once I afford to buy new ones for myself. Don’t laugh to my…, at my English…

How can I live without you?

I Must live without you.

Bye!