Mehdi did not wait

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I had breakfast in a little place:

breakfast in Khomam

Omelet. Bread. Tea.

Then I continued walking down the path through the fields:

fields near Khomam

Everything was quiet. There were not that many people around and not that many buildings, either. Some of the houses that I saw looked like their owners were preparing to shoot arrows from the roofs:

medieval castle near Khomam

Once I noticed a humble shrine on the way:


And a lucky charm in a car window:

lucky charm

It occurred to me that she – the blonde lucky charm – was free to not wear the hijab. Good for her.

I saw plants that had soft little nets spun around them, apparently by caterpillars:


And then there was Mehdi.

His face was everywhere, staring at me from many pictures and posters left and right of the road:


I understood that he had died.

A shop keeper told me that Mehdi was his cousin, and that a traffic accident had taken his life a week ago. I tried to calculate: where had I been a week earlier? I had just arrived in Lahijan, after a day of looking at tea plants and drinking tea on the road. Mehdi had died somewhere around that time.

And he had died right here on this quiet road, the shop keeper said to me. I looked around: the road seemed almost impossible to die on. It was just too quiet and peaceful.

When death comes for young men in Iran, it is often when they are on their motorcycles.

A little while later I arrived at a mosque, and I noticed that there was a fresh grave with flowers. The face on the pictures was familiar:

Mehdi's grave

It was Mehdi.

One of the photos showed him with his motorcycle. He looked proud, or rather: he looked like he was trying to hide some kind of adolescent insecurity behind a proud look, just as many young men are prone to do.

If he was still among the living, I thought, I would have probably met him here on this road. I most likely would have cursed his motorcycle for the noise and the exhaust and the danger it brought, but that would have been a passing feeling. We would have probably taken a picture together, Mehdi and I.

But alas, he had not waited.

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