I particularly remember walking through this neighborhood. It was my first time seeing snow. I was clearly unprepared, sporting boots that were guaranteed wet after a few minutes of walking across snow covered paths with you by my side. We spent hours walking. Exploring. Got coffee and drank it inside of your car with the heat blasting, trying to defrost my feet. We walked into a museum. We walked under a bridge and into a park where there were people walking their dogs and taking their afternoon jogs. I stepped up on a ledge and walked on it to give my wet feet a break from the snow piles. You laughed. I laughed between my chattering teeth. You were wearing a red hat and you looked like a sailor. I took a picture of you with mostly white in the background. Everything was so white it was almost comforting but I somehow knew. I knew enough to put my head down while you drove home. I knew enough to cry silently with my face hidden while Honey Bunny was playing on repeat. I knew I would never be your honey bunny. I just knew.
I miss eating on the floor and using my hands to scoop rice and vegetables into my pita bread. I miss drinking tea at least twice an hour. I miss the call to prayer even though I never participated. I miss my grandma asking me if I’m hungry every thirty seconds. I miss sleeping on the floor. I miss my hard headed father and my giggly cousins. I miss walking to the bazaar at midnight to get baklava and walnuts for a midnight snack. I miss being surrounded by at least twenty loving souls at all times. I miss the cats that roam around the streets scared to death that the neighborhood kids will throw rocks at them. I miss the sound of goats being slaughtered outside my window.
Zhiar is my aunt (pura) Nazanin’s son. I felt a bond with him like no other when I went to visit my father’s side of the family in Kurdistan this summer. He was the sweetest and goofiest kid and I loved being around him. Although he’s just 9 years old, I was content with spending my days with him. I miss the simplicity of it. Our favorite thing to do together was play dominoes (domina). Over and over and over and he would sometimes cheat and I’d always catch him and he’d give me this cute little smirk that said “shhh, don’t tell anyone” and most of the time I wouldn’t. We’d go for walks onto the roof of my Nana’s house and he’d tell me random stories as we looked onto the surrounding mountains. He always wanted to be next to me or around me and it made me feel so special. Everyone over there made me feel so special. If you were to walk into a house in Kurdistan you’d see that every person (old or young) carries prayer beads with them. Zhiar gave me one of his and showed me how to use it. Allah, Allah, Allah and you repeat it each time you move the bead along the string.
Although I was unable to have full conversations with Zhiar, he is one of the people that made the most impact on me during the trip. His warmth and compassion which I could feel not by the words we shared but by the looks he gave me and the hugs and kisses he’d give me- is something I could never forget and something that I miss every second that I can’t be around to share my bread with him when I’m not hungry or teach him how to say things in English or even play bootleg video games with him on Playstation. I miss this little boy something fierce but what I miss most of all is when he’d say “you my sister” with the biggest smile on his face.
i thought kurdistan would make me feel good about myself and help me discover things about myself i never knew but instead i felt all that towards everyone but myself. about me i felt so confused. as confused as i’ve felt in years. i had some of the lowest points i’ve had since ninth grade. but i learned so much about others that i can’t even remember all of it. everything there revolves around family and it felt awesome- but i missed my mom and i missed my brother and my cats- i dont know i was being a bitch but my dad wasn’t helping. i was sick and he didnt give a fuck- if it wasnt for certain cousins and aunts i wouldve been sick every week of that trip not just 2 weeks out of 4. i had conversations with my nana and gave her back massages and asked her xosha? [good?] and she said ahhh [yesss] and by the end she said i was way better and she could tell a lot of people had showed me which was true- when i was sick everyone would give me back massages. if i had a headache- head massage, it felt so good. you’d put your head on their leg or or thigh and they’d press down on it with their hands softly but i’d tell them to do it harder and it felt so good. in the morning they’d ask me nan ahoyt? and i’d shake my head like saying no - id rather sleep. not hungry. thanks. but for lunch and dinner it would be so much food. same thing rotating in every meal. no dr. pepper. they have coke, sprite, and orange soda. i read a really religious book while I was there. one of the first spanish books ive finished in a while. i saw a goat get massacred in the garage. the head was off and it was still baaaah‘ing.