Feature > Short Stories > TEHRAN NIGHTS PART 4 BY SANAZ KHALAJ
'If I was able to identify the scent of this smooth-operating-uber-trendy-brand-junky-Persian-male, I knew that Roya was already in love.'
It was a Thursday night, which is the equivalent of a Friday or Saturday night in the US. There’s one “weekend” day in Iran, and most of the Middle East, instead of two days. Friday is the day that’s considered to be the day off. So naturally Thursday nights happen to be the busiest time for the young and hip to hit the streets.
“Honk!” One car screamed for a while when our driver forced himself in the left lane as if it was his last chance, ever.
'Take a left at the next exit. We want to go through Jordan Street to get there.' Roya said to the driver of our stretch black Mercedes 600 with tint so dark we could barely make out the streets and people from inside the car.
Wearing our manteaus and headscarves in tandem with the windows and car interior, we were 'black on black' in its truest aesthetic for a night on the town in Tehran.
'Yes, Madame of course we will.' Replied the driver, as he prepared to get in the exit lane of the expressway we appeared to be on. This took a lot of skill, considering that most traffic signs, signals, and lights are for decoration in Tehran. It works out rather well when you're hastened but, not so much when you're just cruising, or when you're a pedestrian. That's when it becomes really hard to cross the road at intersections.
“Wow. I remember you warning me about the traffic situation and driving style here baby-doll, but I had no idea it was this bad.” Rob chimed as he moved his hand and firmly grabbed the back of my neck, in a semi-choke hold. I love when he does that. I in turn gave him a peck on the lips and smiled big for him.
“Excuse me, but there seems to be too much traffic entering Jordan Street. If you would like to get to the engagement party on time, may I suggest another route Madame?” The driver looked a bit flustered as he said this.
“No!” Screamed Roya at the same time I chirped, “Yes!”
We looked at one another. Roya was showing me a confused face.
“No, stay on this path and stop banging on driver.” Roya quipped in her intellectual-sounding British tongue. She grabbed a Davidoff Light carton out of her monstrous Fendi spy bag, which probably costs about eight-thousand EUR. She proceeded to take one of the remaining boxes out of her almost empty carton of thirty.
She has the most beautiful hands. Although I knew this habit of hers would kill her sooner than she may have originally been destined to leave this planet, I couldn’t help but be mesmerized by her long and graceful fingers. She pealed off the easy-to-grab plastic wrapped around the box by pulling the protruding tip, hastily. Then moving onto the almost thinner-than-paper foil wrapper, and slipped it off, almost perfectly. After that, she grabbed the pre-folded, and now the size of a pomegranate seed, plastic wrapper, placed it in the middle of the rectangular two-inch-wide foil wrapper, and folded them both into a ball the size of a 6-carat round diamond . She dropped the foil-engulfed-plastic-ball into the ashtray in the side door on her right.
She looked incredibly chic as she did this. Suddenly I noticed that she was becoming increasingly jumpy. I couldn't place where her arousal trigger was stemming from. Her perpetually black nail polish juxtaposed to the cigarette that fit provocatively between her suntanned fingers, distracted me too much to give it any more thought.
“You know this helps prevent major fires from happening, when you’re smoking a fag.”
“What do you mean?” Rob turned away from the window and gave his attention to Roya.
“It’s simple really. The foil prevents the plastic from catching on fire in the automobile ashtrays. I know it’s brilliant isn’t it?” She asked consciously.
I could tell she was feeling good about her chance to “spread some knowledge” as she often liked to quip. She got the know-it-all gene from her mom’s side of the family, that’s what her dad says anyway.
“Sure. OK. It’s good to know how much thought you put into everything.” Rob retorted and went back to his street gazing through the dark windows.
It sounded like the cars were honking from every direction. We were sitting in gridlock on the heavily crowded and trendy Jordan Street strip. Roya put her window down. She took a drag of her cigarette, before realizing that it wasn't lit.
She started rummaging through her dark and obnoxiously pricey yet enviably-lux handbag for a lighter when all of a sudden a handsome man sprouted in front of her window.
“Hey beautiful lady.” He said as he courageously reached into the window to light her cigarette with his wind-breaking Mont Blanc monogram emblazoned lighter.
The smell of his Facconable cologne was heavy, as if he had showered in it, but attractive as his hand movements created a tiny wind that blew some in my direction.
If I was able to identify the scent of this smooth-operating-uber-trendy-brand-junky-Persian-male, I knew that Roya was already in love.
“Finally, a gentleman.” Roya managed to say with the most libidinous smile she was capable of. “Come in why don’t you?” She said shamelessly flirting with her doe-like eyes while trying to open the car door from the inside.