بخش 85

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بخش 85

توضیح مختصر

  • زمان مطالعه 7 دقیقه
  • سطح ساده

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Kimya

KONYA, DECEMBER 1247

Bride and groom—that is what we were supposed to be. It has been seven months since we got married. All this time he hasn’t slept with me as my husband even once. Hard as I try to hide the truth from people, I can’t help suspecting they know it. Sometimes I fear that my shame is visible on my face. Like writing on my forehead, it is the first thing that anyone who looks at me notices. While I am talking to neighbors on the street, working in the orchards, or bartering with the vendors in the bazaar, it takes people, even strangers, only a glance to see that I am a married woman but still a virgin.

Not that Shams never comes to my room. He does. Each time he wants to visit me in the evening, he asks me beforehand if it is all right. And each time I give the same answer.

“Of course it is,” I say. “You are my husband.”

Then all day long I wait for him with bated breath, hoping and praying that this time our marriage will be consummated. But when he finally knocks on my door, all he wants to do is sit and talk. He also enjoys reading together. We have read Layla and Majnun, Farhad and Shirin, Yusuf and Zuleikha, The Rose and the Nightingale—stories of lovers who have loved each other against all odds. Despite the strength and determination of their main characters, I find these stories depressing. Perhaps it is because deep inside I know that I will never taste love of such proportions.

When not reading stories, Shams talks about the Forty Rules of the Itinerant Mystics of Islam—the basic principles of the religion of love. Once he put his head on my lap as he was explaining a rule. He slowly closed his eyes, and as his voice trailed off into a whisper, he fell asleep. My fingers combed through his long hair, and my lips kissed his forehead. It seemed an eternity before he opened his eyes. Pulling me down toward himself, he kissed me softly. It was the most blissful moment we ever had together. But that was it. To this day his body is an unknown continent to me, as is my body to him.

During these seven months, I, too, have been to his room several times. But each time I visit him unannounced, my heart constricts with anxiety as I can never tell how he will receive me. It is impossible to predict Shams’s moods. Sometimes he is so warm and loving that I forget all my sorrow, but then at other times he can be extremely grumpy. Once he slammed his door in my face, yelling that he wanted to be left alone. I have learned not to take any offense, just as I have learned not to bother him when he is in deep meditation.

For months on end after the wedding, I pretended to be content, perhaps less with others than with myself. I forced myself to see Shams not as a husband but as almost everything else: a friend, a soul mate, a master, a companion, even a son. Depending on the day, depending on his mood, I thought of him as one or the other, dressing him up in a different costume in my imagination.

And for a while it worked. Without expecting much, I began to look forward to our conversations. It pleased me immensely that he appreciated my thoughts and encouraged me to think more creatively. I learned so many things from him, and in time, I realized, I, too, could teach him a few things such as the joys of family life, which he had never tasted before. To this day I believe I can make him laugh as no one else could.

But it wasn’t enough. Whatever I did, I could not rid my mind of the thought that he didn’t love me. I had no doubt that he liked me and meant me well. But this wasn’t anything even close to love. So harrowing was this thought that it was eating me up inside, gnawing at my body and soul. I became detached from the people around me, friends and neighbors alike. I now preferred to stay in my room and talk with dead people. Unlike the living, the dead never judged.

Other than the dead, the only friend I had was Desert Rose.

United in a common need to stay out of society, we had become close friends. She is a Sufi now. She leads a solitary life, having left the brothel behind her. Once I told her I envied her courage and determination to start life anew.

She shook her head and said, “But I have not started life anew. The only thing I did was to die before death.”

Today I went to see Desert Rose for an entirely different reason. I had planned to maintain my composure and talk to her calmly, but as soon as I entered, I started choking back sobs.

“Kimya, are you all right?” she asked.

“I am not feeling well,” I confessed. “I think I need your help.”

“Certainly,” she said. “What can I do for you?”

“It is about Shams.… He doesn’t come near me … I mean, not in that way,” I stuttered halfway through but managed to finish my sentence. “I want to make myself attractive to him. I want you to teach me how.” Desert Rose exhaled, almost a sigh. “I took an oath, Kimya,” she said, a weary note slipping into her voice. “I promised God to stay clean and pure and not even think anymore about the ways a woman could give pleasure to a man.” “But you are not going to break your oath. You are just going to help me,” I pleaded. “I am the one who needs to learn how to make Shams happy.”

“Shams is an enlightened man,” Desert Rose said, lowering her voice a notch, as if afraid of being heard. “I don’t think this is the right way to approach him.”

“But he is a man, isn’t he?” I reasoned. “Aren’t all men the sons of Adam and bound by the flesh? Enlightened or not, we all have been given a body. Even Shams has a body, doesn’t he?” “Yes, but … ” Desert Rose grabbed her tasbih and started to finger the beads one at a time, her head tilted in contemplation.

“Oh, please,” I begged. “You are the only one I can confide in. It has been seven months. Every morning I wake up with the same heaviness in my chest, every night I go to sleep in tears. It can’t go on like this. I need to seduce my husband!” Desert Rose said nothing. I took off my scarf, grabbed her head, and forced her to look at me. I said, “Tell me the truth. Am I so ugly?”

“Of course not, Kimya. You are a beautiful young woman.”

“Then help me. Teach me the way to a man’s heart,” I insisted.

“The way to a man’s heart can sometimes take a woman far away from herself, my dear,” Desert Rose said ominously.

“I don’t care,” I said. “I am ready to go as far as it takes.”

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