Russ Wesley was buried up to his shoulders. The cold sand pressed hard against his chest and squeezed him tightly. He gasped for breath, afraid his lungs might collapse. Around him the angry mob flowed, screaming, their faces distorted by hate. Arms lifted up rocks then a sharp thumping began as the stones hit his neck and face and head. He tried to run his way out of the ground but his legs couldn’t move. Why are they attacking me? He heard someone scream. A woman’s voice cut through his chest like a knife.
His eyes snapped open. The ceiling fan was a dark, slow whir thumping in the ceiling. Another bad dream. The same bad dream that visited him every night, the same dream that robbed him of joy. A darkness pressed down. It was as heavy as the sand that had surrounded him when the mob had tried to kill him.
Russ rose from his bed and looked out the window at the central London street. A heavy fog made it hard to see anything. Cars and trucks rumbled into sight only to be swallowed by the mist again. He was back in the country where he had lived most of his life. Again he was speaking the language he had spoken since childhood, yet he felt strange. Why am I feeling this way? He wondered. Is it my depression?
Looking at the fog-covered road, he remembered the sunshine and the colorful roses in his Shiraz home. The mountain there held snow on top and red wild anemone spread over the foothills. The sky was sharply blue, and at night the stars were like thousands of brilliant diamonds. He had first seen her in the square where a circle of women young and old danced around a fire. Their colorful clothes, streaks of red and yellow and green, danced around it, too. Just outside the dance circle, young men were doing the Tarkeh bazi and swinging wooden sticks as if they were swords.
When the gaze of one beautiful woman had fallen on his face, Russ had shivered. Her smile had been as beautiful as the stars.
He stepped back from the window in his flat, shrugged and tried to brush the memory from his mind. I need to forget. I need to erase the good and bad memories of that land from my mind. Could he? He wasn’t sure. How could he erase the past ten years of his life? The deep feelings, the good and bad memories tangled together day and night.
Russ’ mind was numb. We invaded Iran and deposed her ruler and now she is our ally? Immediately he thought, let’s face it…if not for the Iranian invasion, there might not be any victory for the Allies. After all someone, he couldn’t remember who, had said, “Iran is the victory bridge for Allies if they win the war.”
Russ told himself to forget the past. He needed to enjoy the present and set goals for the future. To achieve any goals, he needed to put aside the past and act. After so many years away, he had to adjust to London’s lifestyle, he had to overcome his numbness, and he had to find a job in one of the hospitals. His missionary work, his background and his experience should make finding another job seem easy…but first he had to apply. He wasn’t able to do that on this day. He was too depressed to do anything.
He had to forget about her. He wanted a cup of tea. He looked around the clothes-strewn flat unconsciously searching for Hussein to bring him a cup of tea. But Hussein was thousands of miles away. Russ had to make his own cup of tea. Until he found another butler, perhaps? He laughed. He set the kettle on the stove, grabbed his tar, and started playing. The music took him back to Shiraz, the land of wine and poetry.