Boy Meets Girl (III)
View from the 29th floor Boardroom, 44 Montgomery Street, San Francisco, today at 3:00 p.m.
One day Mehrdad called to see if I wanted to have lunch the next day after school. Things were a bit easier for me now with my mother, so she gave me permission to go out for 2 hours after school. The next day, when he picked me up 45 minutes late in his banged up Jian, I was shocked to see Mehrdad! His left eye was shut, swollen, and black; his lips had a gash in them and his clothes were crumpled and soiled. “Oh My God! What happened to you?” I asked! He wouldn't say, as he started the car, driving fast and recklessly. I decided to play it cool and wait. Taking a deep breath, I asked where we were going. He said: "Somewhere where nobody knows us." So we went to Baghcheh Evin, an old-fashioned tea house in Northwestern Tehran, where the only food served was deezy. I ordered food and tea, and got Mehrdad a wet Kleenex and handed it to him with a mirror, telling him to check out the blood on his upper lip. He did and returned the mirror to me, saying "If my lip didn't hurt so much, I would laugh right about now!" So, that was a good sign for me to ask him what had happened. He said it had all started with Vahid's telling him yesterday morning that he had had a brainstorm and had come up with a brilliant idea to finally "meet" that girl and start talking to her, except that his plan needed Mehrdad's help. Mehrdad had listened intently when Vahid explained his scenario to him. "Mehrdad, I think girls like heroes. How about if something happens and I come to her rescue? She's got to start talking to me then! I have a brilliant plan. How about if as she gets close to the bus station tomorrow, you approach her very quickly, run into her, and make her lose her balance and drop her books? I can then arrive on the scene, push you around a bit, then bend to collect her books and hand them to her, and then I will introduce myself and we can start our friendship together." Mehrdad told Vahid it didn't sound like a very good idea, and there was no way he was going to be "pushed around!" Vahid kept begging Mehrdad and Mehrdad eventually agreed, in return for 20 toomans and Vahid's promise that he wouldn't be too rough to him when "pushing him around." Mehrdad and Vahid waited by the school that day. The minute the tall girl appeared, Vahid gave Mehrdad the orders to start walking toward her, with Vahid following him a few steps behind. Mehrdad was heading straight for the girl at a fast pace, gaining speed and force as he approached her. He aimed and hit his shoulder against the girl's opposite shoulder, startling her, and causing her to lose her balance, her books and bag flying out of her hands and falling strewn all over the sidewalk. Several bystanders saw this and stood frozen with the shock of the event. At this time Vahid descended on Mehrdad, grabbed him by the collar, and slapped him hard across the face twice, punching him in the stomach. Dizzy with the shock and pain of the strike, Mehrdad looked at Vahid perplexed and confused for a minute, doubling over with pain. He looked at Vahid and yelled: "Vahid, namard, to keh gofti yavash mizanam!" (Vahid, you S.O.B., I thought you told me you won't hit me hard!). The crowd gathered around the spectacle hissed with surprise and dismay at hearing this. Vahid who had bent over to pick up the girl's books looked up and saw the girl's anguished and angry face. When he stood up to hand her her books, he was faced with a slap across the face from her. Some other people bent over and picked up the girl's remaining books, handing them to her, and she took off toward the bus station, shaken up and pale, without a word. Vahid turned around and looked at Mehrdad who was in pain and anguished, too. But Vahid had no sympathy for his friend at this time; he saw him as the cause of his loss of that girl forever, so he got busy, beating poor Mehrdad up! That's how Mehrdad got the black eye and the bruised and cut lip. Add to that his bruised ego and his disappointment in the way his best friend had treated him, the young man was a sight, above and beyond consolation. Our food and tea arrived, but it was quite evident that Mehrdad was in no shape to eat and drink anything. So, I encouraged him to drive us home and go have someone take a look at that lip. As he started looking and feeling better several weeks later, and for years to come, every time I saw him, our inside joke was for me to whisper to him: "Vahid, namard, to keh gofti yavash mizanam!"