There’s another new part. I’m not very surprised at this. They are surfacing pretty rapidly, and I had an idea there was someone else who saw Laila’s body. I have remembered it as if from a distance. There was someone who felt close.

Anyway, he says his name is Dariush. He says maybe he’s 3, then he remembers my birthday was last week. He’s four. Okay. He’s small. He wants a mommy. It’s scary to be alone all the time—he seems to have no awareness of me, and little of the other parts. And he wants C.

He has this terrific imagination, and he decides that C has agreed to be his mommy. Which would probably seem more weird, except that she is about the right age to be his mommy. The girls he knew were 15 and 16 and 17 years old. They were children. But a lot of them had already borne children of their own. They were mommies, and they took on the role of being his mommy. He doesn’t have the same cognitive dissonance about it that I do. Mommies of small children are naturally teenage girls to him.

This is useful, because there’s nothing else much to give him in terms of comfort. He is very scared of the bed—bad things happen in beds—and that makes sleep difficult, but he hugs a blanket and decides C has come and he sleeps. Without C, I don’t know what I would do, because he doesn’t know anything about the rest of my life that might be comforting to him.

So that is Dariush. He is small and he wants a mommy and he seems to understand bits of many different languages.

And I think he saw a murder. I don’t know whose. I knew the girl, but I don’t enough of the memory to know who it was.

I was in her room, and there was a knock at the door—it was Yuri—and she told me to hide under the bed. I think she told me to hide under the bed and not look and not make a sound and not come out until Yuri had left.

In a literal sense, I don’t think I saw anything. I think I heard a murder, and I am remembering pictures I made in my head to explain the sounds. I heard a murder and then I heard a rape, and then I heard Yuri leaving, and then I went to the body of the girl he had murdered.

It seems to me I tried to take her pulse. There wasn’t one. I don’t know if I could have found one if there had been one, but there wasn’t one anymore. I think I did something to her face. I smoothed the hair out of her face and maybe I kissed her, and then I folded her arms across her chest and straightened her legs and her clothes. And then I went to get someone.

I think it was Homeida. I think it was the girl who looks like C, and I think Dariush looks at C every day and hopes that Homeida is not really dead.

 

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