Wednesday, 18 November 2009
By Jila Baniyaghoob
Today, it is exactly eleven years that I have been with you. It was exactly on such a day that we began our life together. On that day, we had a simple and small ceremony to celebrate that beginning. You were as simple as ever. You did not even put on a suit. You were wearing the same pair of jeans and the shirt that I liked and you liked. It was only when were taking pictures and our friends and relations insisted that you also put a jacket on.
‘We’ve never seen such an unpretentious bride-groom,’ everybody was saying. Like me, you also did not have the patience to sit on the special chairs for the bride and bride-groom for several hours. Instead, you kept walking up and down.
Upon arrival, the guests would ask about the bride and bride-groom: “Where is she? Where is he?” Eventually, they would find me with my friends in a corner of my mother’s small apartment. But you were nowhere to be seen! You were either in the court-yard helping prepare the dinner, or in the kitchen, or somewhere else, doing something.
Today, I am looking at our pictures – at the same informal clothes and the smile that adds to your kind spirit. I am writing for you and try not sob or weep. I have promised both to you and to myself to remain strong.
Bahman, I am writing after eleven years for you who on our wedding anniversary are in a corner of a cell in solitary confinement. You must also be thinking of the same day, remembering that I could not put up with the formal dress either. After a couple of hours, I managed to change my white wedding dress with a simple shirt and a pair of trousers. ‘That’s better,’ you said, after seeing me in the informal clothes. ‘Those clothes don’t suit you. The simple shirt and pants suits are much more elegant on you.’
It was so funny at dinner time, when everybody was eating, except you and I, because there was no food for us. It seems food had run out, just for you and me.
‘Attention! Attention!’, I said, addressing the guests. ‘I have an important piece of news for you. The bride and the bride-groom are noted only when they wear formal clothes. Since Bahman and I are not wearing such clothes, everybody has forgotten to give us food!’
Everybody laughed. My lovely auntie brought us a plate of food. ‘May God take my life away,’ she exclaimed. ‘The bride and the bride-groom should have dinner before anybody else.’
‘But that’s for distinguished brides and bride-grooms,’ you said, ‘not for me and Jila.’
And now, what are you doing in solitary confinement? Which image of our wedding are you remembering? Maybe you are thinking of Saied Leylaz (a journalist colleague who is also in Evin prison), who was your witness to the wedding and was busy singing the marriage book. As always, Saied was energetic, telling jokes and making everybody laugh. Now, both you and the witness to your wedding are in jail. Who would have thought of that?
I know that my loneliness is one of your biggest worries these days. But I am not alone. You don’t know how good our people are. The Green Movement has opened people’s hearts to each other and brought them closer together.
When you come out, I will tell you that our good friends have become even better friends these days. Even those who had been upset with us once for one reason or another are so kind and supportive these days. When you come, I will introduce you to my new friends, all of them gifts that were given to me by prison, and gifts given by the Green Movement.
There were lots of good things about prison, but perhaps the most important of all are the new friends that I have made. Some of these friends have been freed from prison and some are still there. I am proud of all of them and their friendship.
I also have unseen friends whose only contact with me is through their very kind emails. You don’t know what good companions they are for my sorrows and joys. Every moment, they worry about you and about me; they worry about all the prisoners and their families.