R came back to our table with a Starbucks cup of hot chocolate without whip cream, regular American coffee, and a slice of chocolate cake topped with melted marshmallows. I looked at her exotic, slanted eyes that were looking to the distance. She said she was neither happy nor sad. This expression has been on face for a while now, occasionally disappearing. I told her I felt the same when I first came to Virginia, alone, lost, a complete stranger. It took a while, but they eventually went away, those ugly feelings.
“I know you feel little,” I said. “I felt this small,” I said and pressed my thumb against my index finger.
“I don’t even feel that; I’m more like a dot,” she said.
We both laughed.
She put her face down, her hair covering her face. I looked around me, searching for words. I wished I hadn’t been the lucky one.
She said I had come with a future. She was right. I’d been only eleven. But I still think she could have a future too. She just needs time to realize aging doesn’t mean it’s too late. It doesn’t mean you can’t go after the things you want. It doesn’t mean you should give up.
For most of us who leave our countries behind, America is our last stop, our heaven. Sometimes we lose our identities and personalities; we look for ways to blend in, even dye our hair blond. We try so hard to portray an American attitude, ignoring each other in the streets, switching from Farsi to English. At home, we speak broken Farsi, thinking and dreaming in English. Iran becomes a map of the past, a country on the far side, a shadow we try to erase forever. I’m not saying this is everybody’s point of view, but it definitely is a good portion of the Iranian/Persian population in the U.S.

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