Shadow of Solitude
By: Maliheh ziaei fashami
Shadow of Solitude
The office was busier than ever that day. A few holidays had passed and the visitors were waiting for answers with baited breaths, as was the pile of letters. The flood of clients had made the company’s hall look like a busy street, it was everyone for himself. They were in and out fast after their work was done. I was extremely hungry. I looked at my watch, it was mere moments before office hours ended. I waited a few minutes for Amin to call me. Although I had never seen him, I had concocted a dream in my mind that was a mere fantasy. I ran out of the office a few moments later. I really wanted to see him up close. His name was the only thing I knew about Amin. That day I happened to be wearing a very stylish sky blue dress with a white purse and shoes that were in strange harmony; but inside I was depressed, sad, and devoid of life’s thrills and excitement.
The weariness of everyday work had weighed down my heart. The elevator was occupied, but I couldn’t wait. I ran up the stairs until I reached the ground floor. I couldn’t reach it no matter how long I kept going! It was as if there was no exit. While my head was twirling from seeing all those stairs, I was suddenly thrown down. I opened my eyes and found myself on a hospital bed! As my hands were tied to my head, one of the nurses that were coming and going informed me that I had regained my consciousness! The attending physician asked me questions. After all the questions were asked, I became silent. I was still in shock and disbelief. I prepared my answers a few minutes later.
I said, “Who brought me here, doctor?”
“One of my friends happened to witness your fall and brought you here in his car,” the doctor said. “I will ask your family to come, there is a series of test that need to be done to make sure that the incident wasn’t serious,” he continued.
“Okay doctor, do what you have to, I’ll be right here. But I live alone and the rest of my family are not in Iran. I own a company, if there is something important, please inform them.
“You will probably be hospitalized for a few days.” I said, “It doesn’t matter, I will inform the office.” They were taking such good care of me that I thought the doctor’s friend had put in a good word for me. They were kind to me to the day they said I had visitors.
“Who is it?” Minutes later, a very tall and elegant young man entered the room and said hi, and I lost myself! I said, “I wasn’t expecting a visitor, perhaps you’re looking for someone else?”
“I’m the same person that brought you here the day of the accident,” he said. “Don’t worry…” “Are you the doctor’s friend?” I interrupted him. “Yes.” “You’ve done me a big favor; I will never forget it.” Somewhat upset, he said, “You don’t have to say that!” “If it was anybody else, they would do the same when these things happen. It was nothing.”
“I’m still grateful.” The stranger continued, “If you need anything about your account, I’m here to help.” “No thank you, I have bothered you too much already.” I said, drowning in shame with my head turned down. “I’ll handle the rest.”
He was very friendly and cordial. I became enamored with his chivalry and valiance. I thanked him, and he saw in my eyes that I was satisfied. He left respectfully like a gentleman. I was completely enchanted by him! I was so touched by his manners and personality! I tried to gather myself and conceal my emotions to not cause any problems. I was getting ready to leave the hospital. I had a good feeling, with a joy that I didn’t know the cause for. I went to the accounting. The woman in charge answered me. “Your account has been settled, you may leave.” I asked myself “how, and who did it?” I thought to myself, “What are you asking? It’s obvious, it couldn’t be anyone but him. Why had he done this?” I thought as I was leaving the hospital, “How would I repay him?”
A pleasant air had filled the city and the bright sun was showering life with light. I was overcome with a strange excitement. I couldn’t find a sign of him no matter where I looked; perhaps I would never see him again to repay my debt. This incident transformed me profoundly. I took that incident as a good omen, and I know well that nothing happens without a reason. I have heard and seen such experiences. Now I see the city, the streets and alleys clearly, I see that my friends and fellow citizens faces has become more beautiful. I sense deep in their eyes their love and affection to each other, why couldn’t I before? That honorable man’s altruism had started a revolution within me. He had given warmth and love to my tired and wandering heart. I was always weak when faced with people like him; I fall in love with them very quickly. The city’s big, however, and seeing him again seems impossible. “He’ll forget me after a while; maybe I will too, I don’t know…” I was standing in a corner, immersed in my thoughts, when a taxi pulled in front of me and I got in. I wanted to going back home. The busy, traffic jammed streets were exhausting and beautiful at the same time. I looked at myself in the mirror and saw a smile at the corner of my lips, my eyes sparkling with happiness! I finally reached home. This not so interesting event had a good outcome. I went back to work and with lots of excitement. I felt light footed, so much so that it socked my friends at work! “Are you okay,” They asked. “What happened to you in the hospital?”
The phone rang. I didn’t want to answer at first, but then I paused and thought that it was probably a client and had important work to do, so I picked up reluctantly. “Yes, who is it?” It was Amin. “Hello, Aram, how are you? I heard you had a problem.” “Tell me what happened!” he continued. I went silent. I didn’t want him to know about that incident or the man. “It wasn’t important.”
“Are you okay now?” “I’m alright.” “You sound better than ever!” He said, “Your voice says as much. You don’t want to say why?” I had no answer for him. I had not seen Amin before, I had only heard his voice. He insisted we meet in person, but we never had the chance. I was too busy with work and my own life. I said nothing, then hung up. “Who was that man, really? How did he get into my life and save me?” I looked at the table for a moment. The work had piled up on my desk and the thought of that stranger meant I couldn’t work. I didn’t even know his name. Amin was calling constantly, curious about everything. He was the only one that could listen to me! “I’ll relieve myself If I tell him. “But how can I open up to him about another man?” Amin was beginning to sound like a close friend over the phone, and I wasn’t seeing anything except him, so I started talking. I asked him about himself. He said nothing, only to assure me that he would keep my secret. I was content after I sorted my work and found out that the bunch of letters that were gathered on my desk for a few days were only there for a signature. I quickly replied.
I seized the opportunity and waited for Amin to call me. He was an unknown friend that I had never seen before, but he sounded very familiar! His voice resonated old times in my ears. The ice began to melt away. I talked about the chivalrous man that brought me to hospital after falling down the stairs and then paid all the expenses. Amin was listening to me the whole time quietly and carefully. He then said, trying to conceal his discomfort, “Well, If it was anybody else, they would do the same.” I detected a hint of jealousy in the way he said it!
“So why are you thinking about him?”
I said, “Honestly, I don’t even know his name.” “Aram, I know you’re telling the truth, but you’ve been talking about him all this whole time!”
“Why am I even spilling my heart out to you?” I hit back. “Maybe God wanted that nice man to be there at that crucial moment.” Trying desperately to hide his feelings, he said,
“No, it’s okay, dear. Say whatever is in your heart.” I hung up immediately and continued with my work. Office hours would end soon and we were supposed to organize all of our work and then wait for the necessary order to be issued to leave.