I still remember when they first separated us from each other during our childhood when we played, only because you were a girl. You left the game with teary eyes and I still crave to sit and watch you as we play student and teacher.
My Dearest, this inattentive student in your classroom, in the midst of the tumultuous nationwide security scheme, is still craving to hold your hands in public while mumbling forbidden words of love and flashing many smiles, much like our childhood days. It is as if your childhood playmate does not feel the passing of years. It is as if they have not carried out all these projects to separate men from women.
Your childhood playmate is craving for equality in the decades of much oral and written warnings, handcuffs, courtrooms, and black veils. It is as if he doesn’t know that in a century where people of your gender are traversing space and are hugging the stars, we have [religious] men who wear green and dictate the type of shoes you must wear and measure the tightness of your pants to ensure the security of your land!
Your calm childhood playmate never grew up. Here, from behind the prison walls, he is craving the narrow alleys of the warm and quiet summers of our town, while the residents were all asleep. He is waiting for another opportunity to come to you as a guest where you will share your plate of watermelons with him.
My dearest, these days, your playmate is terribly wanting to get away- as if he still doesn’t know that you have reached the age when you can receive inheritance! As if he doesn’t want to believe that some women are awaiting their stoning sentences. He doesn’t want to believe that in a world where thoughts, rights, freedom, dignity, humanity, and the motherland are on sale, a woman still does not own her own body.
By the way, how did all this inequality and separation begin?
Did it begin when Eve’s “ferocious craving” led her to ignore God’s orders and chose Earth as a place of her suffering? Or was it when for the first time a little girl let her hair loose in the wind? The wind ran through her hair and took with it the secrets of her loose hair from town to town and whispered them in the ears of the mountains and the trees. Did this “great travesty” cause the wrath of the tribe? Maybe not! When the spring water saw the reflections of a beautiful little girl in itself and fell in love with her and whispered about her beauty in her ears? And the river, mesmerized, told of this love story to the seas. Maybe all these stolen glances did not go down well with the “men of honour” who grounded the little girl in her home.
Or was it that when we shook hands with nine year old angels, the foundation of our beliefs were destroyed? And the traditions were used as a justification to make you a second class citizen.
Or no, maybe when your beautiful smell took me, your playmate, to the back alleys of my memories and chased my childhood friend Sara in order to find traces of love in the first glances and the last tears. Clashing with the unwritten “laws of nature”, we became [religious] strangers to each other.
I don’t know. I don’t know where it all started. But in my dreams, I whisper a thousand times the unfinished sentence that I was supposed to recite to you at our first dawn together- at a time when you were going to stare into my eyes with your ever innocent look and I would be mesmerized and tell you, “Congratulations on becoming a woman.”
They didn’t let us see each other even one last time. Now, from behind prison bars, I am not able to see the grandeur of the love of life in your eyes. While under their heavy and watchful eyes, you are still squeezing your little doll as a sign of your love and faithfulness to your childhood playmate, and you are not denying your love.
But now, as a sign of gratitude for the thousands of years of being a woman and as a sign of gratitude to thousands of memories and unfulfilled dreams, I join the “Campaign for Equality for Women” with a single signature: one signature to honor your womanhood and being a women.
Sara’s childhood playmate,
Infectious Prisoners ward Rajai Prison of Karaj, Iran
February 10, 2008