It’s Monday. The old clock on the wall is dead but still making a noise. It stopped at 12:50. The fog outside has slightly touched the windows. I’m sitting on the couch and writing. There is some stuff on the couch; a few blankets, a local musical instrument that is very similar to an Iranian instrument, Vladi’s jean coat, and maybe a pillow. He is sitting on a sofa next to me, answering his messages on the phone. Maria enters. Greet us for the morning and then leave for work. When I look out of the window, I see nothing but green fields and beautiful mountains. Everything seems calm. The only thing I can hear is the wind that shakes the windows sometimes. Everything seems fine, maybe. I look at my phone, and a violent storm creates within me. My WhatsApp is full of unseen messages. I have asked mom and dad how they have been doing, but there has been no response. I don’t remember how long it has been without the internet in Iran. I’m worried about my family and friends back home, whom I have no way to contact.
It’s Tuesday. The grocery guy in the village drives his car to our house. He sells fresh fruits and vegetables at low prices. When he saw me, he asked for my name and then made Valdi a few jokes, asking if I was only a friend or a girlfriend. I can’t understand much Italian, but I try to communicate. Vladi told me to pick whatever I wanted. It reminded me of my dad. He used to do the same thing back home whenever we went grocery shopping together. We used to go to the fruit section, where he usually picked apples or grapes. And if I complained about that, he would tell me that I wouldn’t catch a cold if I ate an apple a day. He would always buy me an ice cream or a snack after we finished shopping. I picked a few peaches, oranges, and bananas. The salesman humorously said that if I paid for them, it would be cheaper than if Vladi did. The grocery guy put everything in a plastic bag and handed it to me with some grapes. “This is my gift for you,” he said with a big smile on his face.
It’s Wednesday. Maria has made some homemade lasagna, just like the one that Italian grandmas make in the movies. It looks so tasty. I guess it’s called the miracle of lasagna. There are many layers on top of each other, with the delicious sauce in between. She put the salad bowl on the table and said: “now that you don’t eat meat, take some salad.” She has made it with lettuce and cherry tomatoes and seasoned it with olive oil and vinegar. Maria and Antonio remind me of my parents. I miss home. On the weekends, my mom would make the best cuisine she could make, and we all ate together. My dad would then give us some speech about the economic and political situation of the society or share a memory of his younghood. Sometimes mom would give us ice cream for dessert. Maria takes the ice cream out of the freezer and then serves it in tiny cups. It tastes like honey, nuts, pistachio, and something else I couldn’t guess. I feel a lump in my throat. There is still no news from my parents. My phone is full of videos of Tehran. I know these streets and have been there a lot of times. I take a spoon of my cup and then try to gulp it back with my tears.
It’s Thursday. Maria has made pasta with shrimp pieces. She put a big bottle of wine on the table and then started to talk with Vladi. I don’t understand much, but I keep smiling. When I finished eating, they asked me to eat more. Their house is full of kindness and love, like mine back home. My mom came to my room holding a plate in her hands and said: at least eat something in your bed if you’re not coming to eat at the table. I took the plate and began to eat. Then she continues: “Don’t worry, my love, you will get your visa, and you’ll go to Italy. Don’t worry about it.” I put some veggies on a piece of bread and began to eat. Antonio looked at me surprisingly. I guess I was not supposed to eat them that way. He then told some Italian jokes, maybe to cheer me up. This time I try to send an SMS. My SIM card does not have enough credit to do that. I ask an Italian friend of mine to do it for me. I wrote him a Persian text: “hello, my beloved sister, are you all fine? I’m so worried about you.” And then, I touch the send icon.
It’s Friday. Any of my Iranian friends abroad have already participated in protests in a different part of the globe. Last night I started to breathe heavily while sleeping. It was a bad dream. My palms were sweating when Vladi woke me up. “Hey, you’re having a bad dream. Wake up.” He said. When I was in Iran and had a nightmare, my sister used to come to my bed and wrap me tightly in her arms, keeping me calm. I got really relaxed, wishing to freeze that moment forever. Vladi said: “It’s ok. I’m here.” I opened my eyes and closed them again. I wish I could put a warm hug into my suitcase and take it wherever I go.
It’s Saturday. I ordered four-cheese pizza. Maria, Antonio and the others were waiting for us in the restaurant. I was wearing my plaid dress. My mom made it for me. She thought that I needed a new dress for going to the airport. I was wearing my blue plaid dress, and mom was hugging me in front of the gate at the airport. She was crying and still didn’t seem to understand that I was leaving. Dad kissed my forehead, and I passed the gate. I love my dress so much that I didn’t want to wear it during these years abroad. I think I looked beautiful. I felt that people were looking at me. Or perhaps they were wondering what this middle-eastern girl was doing here. There was red wine on the table. I was sure the wine bitterness could wash away the bitterness of all the bad news coming from the home. I look at myself in the mirror. My chick seems reddish. It makes me seem like a rural girl. I can’t recognize myself. I get angry and feel like an alien here. Pizza is not tasty anymore, and I don’t get fascinated by the Italian village anymore. I can’t understand what I’m doing here. My anger finds an excuse to attack Vladi: “why are you on your phone this much?” I said to him angrily. Then we go to Maria and Antonio’s. They gave me a bottle of sparkling wine and asked me to open it. I open it with fear and take a few sips. It makes me nauseous. I tell them that I feel sleepy and want to leave. I lied. I felt a big lump in my throat; that’s why I wanted to leave. I want to go somewhere to vomit all this negativity and sorrow within me. I jump on the bed and start to cry. Then he comes. I heard his footsteps on the stairs. I tried to pull myself together. But I have no control over my feelings. My tears are touching my face like a flood coming from my eyes. He hugs me and tries to make me calm. He tells me that he understands me. I get relaxed and close my eyes.
It’s Sunday. My phone is full of news about Iran. The internet is still down back home. My sister has told me that everyone is ok and that I shouldn’t worry. The old clock on the wall is dead but still making a noise. It stopped at 12:50. There is fog out there. I looked out of the window. Everything seems calm.