The Guilty

by Hassan Hayati
(Tehran-Iran)


It is a June summer day afternoon and the weather is going to be a bit better as the son is going to set. Mom is preparing my favourite dish for dinner. She sighs, “This was your father’s favourite, too” as if she wants to say “I wish he were here”. I also sink to my thoughts again - how were his attitudes? How has he been talking, laughing and behaving towards mom?


Mother has always said he had been great. I like to ask mommy again, but I know she starts crying again, she feels guilty even after twenty years. To tell the truth, I feel guilty more than mommy.
Mommy starts, “He was tall and handsome, and almost all the girls in our class wanted to be loved by him.”

Again I see her eyes are full, full of tears, love and regret.

Mommy and daddy were university classmates twenty-five years ago. And the relation starts from the occasion of the day my father was absent for a session. During the next session mommy gives him the notes and points of the missed class, he found that she is the person whom he has known for years. And gradually they loved each other more than the day before.

Mommy says they married after they finished university and they got their BA in English language translation.

Father was accepted as a teacher in a famous English language training institute and mother found a part time job in a local newspaper agency as a translator.

Mommy goes to her deep thoughts.
I always saw mom’s memories got an outcome for myself, I never dare to ask her more about dad, I have a sort of feeling like being shy, or maybe I don’t like her cry.

As usual, she starts: ”It was around two years passed off our marriage that I recognised that I am pregnant and after I had shown the pregnancy test result to your father, he was on cloud nine. Our happiness was growing more and more every day. Especially the days I longed sour foods as a pregnant woman and your father prepared that for me. I received worlds of love when he brought the demanded substances.

It was near the end of October, and a soft rain was dropping. I called your father and told him to buy sweet pies for me; he laughed and said how come sweet for today? I answered I don’t know why. But I have strong desire for sweet cookies. He confirmed and said alright.
When he came home, I went to welcome him just as I did every day. When he saw me, he said: “Oh my god, I forgot the cookies”.
I told him never mind and we entered home. And I told him we would have tea in an hour. He took a deep look at me as if he knew this is the last one. And said, “By the time the tea is ready I come back with the cookies…” and I accepted as I had a strong desire for the cookies.

"I waited for hours, no news from him. It was near the next day morning that the hospital announced his death.

Since the rain had made the roads slippery, a driver could not control the car and exactly at the confectioners he had an accident. The driver was afraid and nervous and unable to move when he was taken to the hospital by another car it was very late.
The world was over for me. I died many times after his death. But I had a duty, and that was the safe keeping of you, I had been entrusted to give birth to you."

Mother cleans her pretty face by her sleeves and goes to the dining room and turns the TV on, is she still feeling guilty?
Who is the Guilty? Mommy?
The driver? The rain?
Maybe me, as I had made those physiological changes in mother’s body and caused the strong desire for sweet substances that day.

***

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