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Updated: Apr 2, 2020

I am lying on my bed watching YouTube on my phone. “We had an aspiration of Easter.” Trump says before the video is paused because of an incoming call. It is Simin. Simin, is more of Sara’s -my wife- friend than me. I haven’t talked to her in quite a while. My first encounter with Simin was around 2012. We were having a party at my uncle in law’s apartment. The apartment is excellent for throwing parties. It has an insane view of Tehran with a big enough balcony to hold around eight people. Sara was my girlfriend at the time, and I remember she was looking stunning in a long black dress that glittered with sequin. It matched her eyes.

Simin and her husband, Parviz, just got married. Parviz was tall and sturdy. Later I found out that he is a member of Iran’s Archery national team, which explained his physique. They were happy. They had that aura of newlywed couples, the smile, the kindness, the anticipation for future. They were in love.

Parviz's goal was to be friends with his wife’s friends, so he would always asking if there’s anything that he could help us with, and each time I would hand him a drink. “You can help by drinking more.” I would say. We danced, we laughed, we screamed, we were having a good time.

I was a bit tipsy but totally in control and was handing drinks to people continuously. One time while traveling from the bar to the living room, someone called me from across the room. I turned my head and missed the big glass table, which was right in front of me. I hit the table and lost my control. As I was falling down, I remembered just a few hours before when Sara and her sister were moving the table to that spot to open up space for people to dance, I told them it can be dangerous, and now I am the victim.

I fell right in the middle of the table, and the glass shattered in a million pieces. There was a silent pause for a second, and then blood jetted out from both hands. I became languid right away. I could see everyone gasping, running around frantically. Sara was almost crying. A moment later, I felt a steady hand picking me up, helping me to stand on my legs. It was Parviz. I looked at him. He still had the same smile on his face. I felt calm immediately. “I’ll take you to the hospital,” Parviz said with the same gentle and peaceful voice that he had the whole night. I just nodded. He helped me walk to the elevator. “Don’t worry. I take care of him.” Parviz continuously uttered, calming Sara and everyone else. He didn’t let anybody else to come with us.

We drove to the hospital. During the ride, Parviz asked about me and how I met Sara. I felt he is genuinely interested in me. He invited me to go to some of his Archery practices, and I promised I’d go. He did everything in the hospital and made sure they took good care of me and drove me back to the apartment. I thanked him, and we said goodbye.

A few months later, I came to the US and never saw them again until around 9 months ago, 7 years since our first meeting, when I went back to Tehran. Now married to Sara, we met at the same exact location. We were having a party again. I said hi to them, but they were not the same people that I knew. Parviz still had the same smile on his face, and Simin was still very charming, but I could tell that they were preoccupied. Parviz made a small joke about the table incident. We passed a short laugh. They didn’t drink at all and didn’t dance. They just sat there at the corner of the room quietly and left the party pretty early. They felt like strangers. When they left, I asked Sara what is up with them. “Simin is pregnant,” Sara said. “They just found out.”

I let the phone ring for a few seconds. I don’t feel like talking to Simin after our last awkward encounter. I remember Sara showed me a picture of their daughter on Instagram a few days ago. She just turned three months old.

“Hi, Simin! How are you?” I pick up the phone. “How are you, Farzad? How’s Sara?” She replied. “We’re fine, Simin, thank you. We are self-quartine, because of all these Corona shenanigans, you know. How about you guys? How’s Parviz? How’s your beautiful daughter? Sara showed me a picture of her recently.” Angry with myself for not remembering the daughter's name.

She pauses for a second. “Can I talk to Sara? I called her. She didn’t pick up.” “Sara is in the shower. I’ll tell her to call you back.”

She pauses again. “Farzad... Parviz passed away.” Simin inhales deeply.

Now I pause. I don’t even want to ask why or how. I know death doesn’t need justification. This is the only real truth I learned in life.

“It was Corona,” Simin says as if she read my thoughts. “I’m sorry, Simin. I don’t know what to say.”

What can I say?

Is there anything I can do? Anything.” I continue. “Yes... please tell Sara. I can’t.” She hangs up.

The YouTube video carries on. “We had an aspiration of Easter.” Trump continues. “But when you hear this kind of numbers and you hear the potential travesty … That was an aspirational number.” I pause the video. I can hear the water running in the shower.

I look at the time on my phone. It’s 4:12 PM in LA, 3:42 AM, in Tehran.

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