Boy Meets Girl (I)
In the neighborhood where I grew up, everybody knew everybody. I don't mean the next door neighbors or the neighbors down the street. Everybody knew everybody in the entire suburban neighborhood! To be exact, my father knew everybody and everybody knew my father and our family. This made a lot of things easier for us as children of that household, as people always greeted us by name and local merchants were always attentive to us. But it was also a hassle, as we couldn't really get too naughty and do things because we would be immediately recognized and reported to my parents! Going out with boys and being rowdy on the street, and engaging in mischievous behavior, therefore, was a bit awkward because my mother would soon get wind of it and I'd have hell to pay! Around the age of 15, then, I decided to tell my mother everything I did and everywhere I went. I knew half the time she wouldn't give me permission to go, but when she did for the other half, I was home Scott free!
Among the many boys in our neighborhood, there was a skinny boy named Mehrdad. At 16, one year older than me when I first met him, he was funny and brave, and drove a beat-up old Jian, even though he didn't have a driver's license yet. My mother was friends with Mehrdad's mother, so when I started talking to her about Mehrdad and occasionally hanging out with him on our street, she seemed unfazed by the friendship. Perhaps in her wiser state, she could see that this friendship was not a boy-girl type of relationship, the type that was seriously supervised and disdained by families at the time, but that it was a friendship without emotional (read physical!) attraction. So she allowed it to go on.
Mehrdad and I were basically up to no good, but in a good way! We would get together and smoke and talk about boys, girls, our friends, our incomplete and ignored homework, and about anything and everything under the sun. Mehrdad taught me how good it is to have a friend from the opposite sex, who doesn't want to hold you and kiss you and date you, and instead, just wants to talk to you to find out what you think. He taught me about how boys thought, what they felt and what made them do the things they did without any inhibitions or reservations, I guess because we had no stakes in each other. I learned then how important it is to have male friends who are just friends. I could ask Mehrdad anything and he would try to answer me, albeit in his limited wisdom and experience!
As years went by, our lives and experiences would change shape, also. Mehrdad was attending a co-ed high school in Tehran. His stories about his high school life were becoming a lot more interesting than mine, attending a comparatively boring all-girls high school! Sometimes we would meet up after school and go have lunch before going home together, talking about life all the time.
To Be Continued... (Sorry, this was all background. I'll tell you one of my Mehrdad stories tomorrow.)