Maryam and I were walking down the street and talking about what type of guys we liked. As we emerged from "Razaneh Junubi" and stepped onto "Mirdamad" I looked to my left toward the bus stop and among the men & women who were waiting for the bus, one stood out to me. He was tall, dark, handsome, and delicious looking. I pointed him out to Maryam and said to her "there he is, that is exactly the type of guy I like... een khoobeh" as an example of my ideal guy. He looked reserved, shy, confident, and most importantly beautiful. She looked at him and I was satisfied that now she knows, and we continued on our walk. As the topic of our conversation continued we had to refer back to my ideal guy from the bus stop, so we naturally called him "khoobeh". Eventually this noun became part of our vocabulary as we referred to him or "khoobeh" as the face of a perfect guy... for me.
A couple of days later as Maryam and I were walking in our neighborhood we saw "khoobeh" again! How unlikely it is that we would run into this person, the one I had picked out in a crowd, again! I was in the the state of complete and utter excitement, yet keeping my cool and calm demeanor to save face in public. Eventually we realized that he lived in the same neighborhood as us, therefore taking the same routs as us. Now it was a daily project or excitement for me to step out and hope to get a glimpse of those enchanting and dreamy eyes, the dark wavy hair, and the absolutely adorable shy look he had.
As time went by we obtained more information about him, such as which street he lived in, who his friends were, at what times he can be spotted out in the evening, and that he noticed me too.
One day Maryam and I were walking from her house to mine and of course we took the long way to do that in order to run into "khoobeh", which we did. This time some thing amazing happened, he and his friend walked as well. They walked all the way to the end of the street as we did, they took the turn to the next street as we did and they continued to walk the same path as Maryam and I, they walked with us, only about 15 feet appart. We arrived at my street which was a dead end where "khoobeh" and his friend stopped and refrained from entering. They continued to remain standing at the entrance of our street and continued to wait for us to walk all the way to the end of the street, ring the door bell and enter the house.
It was evening time, when the sun had gone down and the city was starting to cool down from the torching summer heat. That is when all the boys and girls would come out of their homes and into the streets, each of them hoping to run into their own "khoobeh". So Maryam and I left the house as well.
That night we were rushing home after being out for too long when we saw "khoobeh" at his usual spot leaning against a car talking to his friends and looking adorable. He looked so good that once again my heart started to lose its patience and I had to contain it in my chest. He and his friends walked again, following us, but this time one of the friends, a very tall funny guy walked up to me and started a conversation. Maryam completely ignored him as she believed in appearing very angry in the streets in order to avoid the losers who try to approach you. I on the other hand had to try very hard not to lose my cool, I had a very hard time keeping my senses in tact. From what I was able to perceive from the friend through the loud beat of my heart and shaking of my hands was that his friend ("khoobeh") "likes me" and would like to provide me with his phone number, however he is too shy to come forward and converse with me personally, hence sending his friend to do the job for him. The next thing I knew I was handing the friend a notebook in order for him to trace "khoobeh"'s phone number for me. It was all so surreal to me, out of this world. How often do you have the one person who you had picked out of the entire city as an example of your ideal guy to be interested in YOU? Well, at least it had never had happened to me before, and at that time I was walking on clouds! Somehow I managed to walk the rest of the way home pretending to be calm and collected. Maryam and I ran up all of the 62 stairs to my house. We ran into the bedroom, held each other's hands and started jumping up and down, "whisper screaming" and laughing... celebrating! Later Maryam told me that her older and very protective brother had seen us do that through the window reflection of the bedroom, we had forgotten to close the door!
That was the start of my phone conversations with "khoobeh" (who had a name now, but we continued to call him "khoobeh"). The whispers over the phone that would go on for hours when no one was looking. All I could think about was how to find time to get to a phone with out being caught, when my parents leave the house, when I can hide in Maryam's room, etc. I stopped eating because the excitement was too much for my body. I even missed family gatherings which were given in our honor by relatives who I had not seen in years, because I could not miss one day of seeing his long eye lashes. One day when I passed by him very close up, I spent the next few days replaying those 5 seconds in my head over and over.
We talked and talked about every thing, and when I called him, each time he would start with "salam azizam" in a very low and soft voice which would make my heart skip a beat, or five! He said the most romantic things to me, words that girls love to hear such as "how am I going to live with out you after you leave". Even though deep down I knew the validity of them were highly improbable, I went along with the utterly satisfying romantic lines, both for his sake and mine. The phone conversations went on, but the extent of our face to face contact was passing each other out in the street. Although one time we walked together, but each one of us on different sides of the street!
One day I had to go from Maryam's house to mine to get ready for a big family engagement party. Before hanging up the phone with "khoobeh" he told me that he was home alone. So I did what every girl in that situation would NOT do, a very bold thing for being in that setting. I headed over to his house! I rang the door bell and proceeded to go inside. I was in such state of anxiety that my body was actually shaking, both for the fear of getting caught and for seeing and talking to "khoobeh" in person. It was the first time that we were looking at each other close up, he seemed like a stranger to me. We sat in his formal living room about 10 feet apart, and my head scarf remained on the entire time. I left his house after 10 minutes. When I think about the risk I took that day now, it gives me the chills. The entire engagement party I went over every detail of what happened and what was said, with Maryam and in my head.
The time had come for me to go back home to America, meaning having to say good bye to every one including "khoobeh". As much as I loved hearing him ask me to stay with him and not to leave him, I never gave it a second thought, knowing the reality of things, the reality of every thing.
It was our last night in Iran and all of our family and friends were over at our house once again. And I, not being as proper as I should have been, was out with a friend again. I had to see "khoobeh" and say goodbye to him in person. I had arranged to see him before we arrived home, at the entrance of our dead end street. This is the picture I have in my mind when I think about that night: It is dark, "khoobeh" and I are hiding on the side of the street behind a big old truck, my friend is out in the middle of the street alone, as Maryam's brother drives by on his way to our house when he stops to ask my friend what she is doing there and where I was at. But all I cared about and all I could see was "khoobeh" kneeling in the dirt by my side and whispering. I asked him to write in my memory book, and he did. We said our goodbyes, and during the entire encounter we did not get close enough physically to even brush up against each other! That was the last time I ever saw "khoobeh". When I checked the book to see what he had written later that night my heart sank as I read "I love you".
Later when I came back home to America I sent him a letter through Maryam and I received a letter back from him. In it he wrote about how much he missed me and how it felt like a drug had been taken away from him. He also informed me that he had been accepted to the University for Engineering and was very excited. That was the last time I ever heard from "khoobeh".
15 years has gone by and life has gone on with it's twists and turns, but the memory of that summer and "khoobeh" always stayed with me. The innocence of that time, the pureness of our ages, and the simpleness of it all. It is amazing how we remember such details from that time of our life, such as the dirt that was smeared on my memory book from his fingers. Maybe it is because every feeling is so much more exaggerated and new, where as now it is hard to even reach those feelings again. These are the memories that you can never re-create, so you hold on to them in order to sweeten up your life during hard times. These are the memories that fill up the happy pages of your story book. I some times wonder where "khoobeh" is and what he is doing now, but deep down in my heart I know that I do not want that information, because I want to save my memory of him as it is and not ruin the ending to my sweet little story.