Three Weeks in October (II)
Kerry and Mark's friend, Todd, had been cat-sitting Ray that Sunday morning. He left after Mehran got there to help me with the setup. I told Mehran and all the people who came in after him that both front and back doors to the house had to be closed at all times to make sure Ray won't get away. My cat, Asghar, was allowed to leave our apartment in Ghaytarieh all the time. Even so, when he was supposed to be in the apartment we all made sure he wouldn't bolt for the door. Out of habit, I guess, I was overly cautious about Ray who never showed any interest about leaving the house. Ray is a house cat which means he roams the house, living like a king, but is never let out. Even so, it wouldn't hurt to be cautious, I thought.
Mehran and I set out the food, the plates, the backyard furniture complete with a hooka (ghelyoon), and the drinks. I was in jeans and a T-shirt, keeping it casual for the casual gathering. Mehran asked me if I wasn't going to change into party clothes. I was surprised he would ask that! I asked him why he thought we should dress up and at this point he said: "Well, because it's your birthday party and everyone will be dressed up!" Say what?!! It was not my birthday party, and I hate birthday parties and even worse, I hate surprise birthday parties!! I won't let this go! I kept asking him whose idea this was and what was this all about and whether the friends who had called to join the party were all in on this, too? As it turned out, Leva and Jahanshah had arranged for everyone to come ready to celebrate my birthday. Yikes! I went and changed. The guests to my small party started arriving. Bloggers, writers, journalists, artists, and activists, my friends are some of the smartest and most professionally-accomplished people you would know. They are just a fabulous bunch. Everybody looked really good and was in a very happy mood. By the time Jahanshah showed up with the cake, I had stopped being mad at the lot of them! We were so happy to be together, as is always the case when we get together, talking and laughing and eating and having a good time. Ray came down to check out the scene, but turned around and went upstairs to be by himself, I guess! I felt bad for him because he was probably looking around and not recognizing anyone but me, missing Mark and Kerry. I went to check up on him twice during the evening, and both times he was sitting on the bed, alert and awake. Mehran suggested I shut the bedroom door on him, but I felt kind of bad locking him in for the whole night, so I let him feel free to move upstairs between the bedroom and Kerry's den, where she and Ray spend most days together. We were having such a good time, jaaye hamegi khaali! We were celebrating not so much my birthday or Jahanshah's sendoff, but our friendship. As I made the rounds to check on my friends who had broken into small groups all around the house and the backyard, I could hear them talking about politics, telling jokes, and catching up with each other. Joy!
(To Be Continued...)