My Mother

By: Parastoo Alahyaari

Sunday 21 September 2008

Translated by: Sussan Tahmasebi

These days she says her prayers out loud. Maybe she is trying to convey to me that she is worried that I may have lost faith. Or maybe she only intends to remind me, remind me, remind…


She tells her daughter that: "you must overcome your fears. If you sit behind the wheel again, a third time, a fourth time, and even if you have an accident, then it will all become normal for you. You will get used to it. Then if you need to take your child to the doctor, you won’t have to plead with your husband for help."


Every day on several occasions, she curses out loud, those who made work for women mandatory. And the girl gives a bitter smile in response, and continues staring at the shape of the flowers on the hand woven rug. Again out loud, she says: "Every day there is a new headache and worry and it’s tiresome. And the housework has to be done as well." It’s not clear who she is speaking to, if anyone at all, maybe not even with herself.


She tells her sister: "yes it’s a good thing that you pray, but that’s not enough. Have you studied so that you can just stay at home, and just endure all the excuses that he offers you? Go and find a job, get busy, have some spending money of your own. This way, you won’t be forced to accept everything that he says to you. You’ll feel better too. You won’t need to take all these different drugs to overcome your depression."


She is full of contradiction. Like me. Or no! Maybe I am full of contradictions like her. I like her logic, despite the fact that at times, I fear her motherly scrutiny.


They all sign. My aunts, sisters, my father and brothers and…We exchange glances secretly. I am about to speak, but my words refuse utterance.

I take a deep breath. I concentrate. It is as if I am five years old, giving her an innocent look so as to ward off her anger. I look at her and ask: "Mom, will you sign?"

She responds by saying: "Yes, I’ll sign."

Read the original piece in Farsi.


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