بخش 80

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بخش 80

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متن انگلیسی فصل

Kimya

KONYA, MAY 1247

Bearing a mysterious gaze in his eyes and a distance in his demeanor that he’d never had before, Shams of Tabriz came back into my life. He seems to have changed a lot. His hair long enough to fall into his eyes, his skin tanned under the Damascus sun, he looks younger and more handsome. But there is something else in him, a change I cannot quite put my finger on. As bright and reckless as ever his black eyes might be, there is now a new glimmer to them. I can’t help suspecting he has the eyes of a man who has seen it all and doesn’t want to struggle anymore.

But I think a deeper transformation has been taking place in Rumi. I had thought all his worries would diminish when Shams came back, but that doesn’t seem to be the case. On the day Shams returned, Rumi greeted him outside the city walls with flowers. But when the joy of the first days somewhat abated, Rumi became even more anxious and withdrawn than before. I think I know the reason. Having lost Shams once, he is afraid of losing him again. I can understand as no one else can, because I, too, am afraid of losing him.

The only person I share my feelings with is Gevher, Rumi’s late wife. Well, she is not technically a person, but I don’t call her a ghost either. Less dreamy and distant than most of the ghosts I have known, she has been moving like a slow flow of water around me ever since I came to this house. Although we converse about everything, lately there is only one topic between us: Shams.

“Rumi looks so distressed. I wish I could help him,” I said to Gevher today.

“Perhaps you could. There is something occupying his mind these days, but he hasn’t shared it with anyone yet,” Gevher said mysteriously.

“What is it?” I inquired.

“Rumi thinks if Shams gets married and starts a family, the townspeople would be less set against him. There would be less gossip, and Shams would not have to leave again.” My heart skipped a beat. Shams getting married! But to whom?

Gevher gave me a sidelong look and said, “Rumi has been wondering if you would like to marry Shams.”

I was stunned. Not that this was the first time the thought of marriage had crossed my mind. Now fifteen, I knew I had reached the age to marry, but I also knew that girls who got married changed forever. A new gaze came to their eyes, and they took on a new demeanor, to such an extent that people started to treat them differently. Even little children could tell the difference between a married woman and an unmarried one.

Gevher smiled tenderly and held my hand. She had noticed that it was the getting-married part that worried me, not getting married to Shams.

The next day, in the afternoon, I went to see Rumi and found him immersed in a book titled Tahafut al-Tahafut.

“Tell me, Kimya,” he said lovingly, “what can I do for you?”

“When my father brought me to you, you had told him that a girl would not make as good a student as a boy because she would have to marry and raise her children, do you remember that?” “Of course, I remember,” he answered, his hazel eyes filled with curiosity.

“That day I promised myself never to get married, so that I could remain your student forever,” I said, my voice dwindling under the weight of what I was planning to say next. “But perhaps it is possible to get married and not have to leave this house. I mean, if I get married to someone who lives here …” “Are you telling me you want to marry Aladdin?” Rumi asked.

“Aladdin?” I repeated in shock. But what made him think I wanted to marry Aladdin? He was like a brother to me.

Rumi must have detected my surprise. “Some time ago Aladdin came to me and asked for your hand,” he said.

I gasped. I knew it wasn’t proper for a girl to ask too many questions on such matters, but I was dying to learn more. “And what did you say, Master?” “I told him I would have to ask you first,” Rumi said.

“Master …” I said, my voice trailing off. “I came here to tell you I want to marry Shams of Tabriz.”

Rumi gave me a look that bordered on disbelief. “Are you sure about this?”

“It could be good in many ways,” I said, as inside me the need to say more wrestled with the regret of having said too much. “Shams would be part of our family, and he wouldn’t ever have to leave again.” “So is that why you want to marry him? To help him stay here?” asked Rumi.

“No,” I said. “I mean, yes, but that’s not all.… I believe Shams is my destiny.”

This was as close as I could get to confessing to anyone that I loved Shams of Tabriz.

The first to hear about the marriage was Kerra. In stunned silence she greeted the news with a broken smile, but as soon as we were alone in the house, she started to ask me questions. “Are you sure this is what you want to do? You are not doing this to help Rumi, are you?” she said. “You are so young! Don’t you think you should marry someone closer to your own age?” “Shams says in love all boundaries are blurred,” I told her.

Kerra sighed loudly. “My child, I wish things were that simple,” she remarked, tucking a lock of gray hair into her scarf. “Shams is a wandering dervish, an unruly man. Men like him aren’t used to domestic life, and they don’t make good husbands.” “That’s all right, he can change,” I concluded firmly. “I will give him so much love and happiness he will have to change. He will learn how to be a good husband and a good father.” That was the end of our talk. Whatever it was that she saw on my face, Kerra had no more objections to raise.

I slept peacefully that night, feeling exultant and determined. Little did I know that I was making the most common and the most painful mistake women have made all throughout the ages: to naïvely think that with their love they can change the men they love.

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