Red Shoes

(The Call to Prayer sounds the city. It's 1982 during the Iran v. Iraq war. Setting: Abadan, Iran)

Am I alive Baba*? I’m too scared to open my eyes. Can you hold my hand? Why are your hands so cold? Were you trying to fix the refrigerator again? Baba, the Iraqi soldiers broke that down. You can’t fix something that was broken by army batons. They’re stronger than you and me put together. Okay, okay I’m getting up, I just have to run through my checklist. Okay, the windows aren’t shattered. Check. The door isn't broken down or have bullet holes. Check. My red school shoes? Wait, where are my school shoes, baba?! Baba they were right here! Right here! Oh. Haha. I see them. I don't really know what I would do without   those red shoes. I'm not materialistic or anything. It's just that, I feel safe in those red shoes. You know? Before mommy joon was captured by the soldiers and taken away, she bought me those shoes. She told me as long as the bright red leather was still shining, everything was going to be fine. Wait, you pitched in too?  You’re usually so frugal with your money. I’m kidding, baba! I love you. Is the breakfast ready? Oh yeah, I forgot. Um, it's fine we don't have to get anything. No, no! I'm not hungry, don't worry baba. I would have been late for school anyways. We both know how Principal Zahari gets when I’m late. Let’s just leave now. 

Can we take the shortcut today since I don’t have that much energy? No? Why not? Why don’t the Iraqis go back to their own country!? This is Iran! Not Iraq. I HATE THEM. Don’t try to cover my mouth baba! Baba take your hands off my mouth! Get off! (pause) So what if they hear me? They’ve already taken and killed a fourth of the kids in my class. They can take me too. I don’t even care if they kill me.  At least I would be with Mommy. Then what do you think they did to her?! Took her to a prison and let her starve. STOP DENYING IT BABA. THEY KILLED HER. THEY TOOK HER FROM US AND KILLED HER. THE SAME WAY THEY DID TO AGHA* HOSSEINI NEXT DOOR AND KHANOOM* PIROOZI 4 DOORS DOWN FROM US. *Sound of her father’s slap* Go baba. I said go! I don’t need you to walk to me to school. Just go home. 

(Leila screams from a few blocks away)


(Sound of a air raid/strike warning siren) This can’t be happening. Baba where are you! I’m sorry please walk me to school. Baba! I don’t know what to do baba! I can’t find a ditch to lay in. How do I, ugh, baba I don’t know! Baba please tell me you hear me. I can’t run any faster BABA!

(Air raid hits and air becomes dusty)

Baba there’s blood everywhere! What do I do? I can’t raise my head there’s something on me. Baba where are you? Baba help me! 

(Leila realizes the thing over her is her father)

Baba? No baba please! Please wake up! I didn’t mean anything I said. C’mon baba joon I need to get to school. Principal Zahari is going to get mad at me, wake up! *restless tone* Baba joon lotfan beedar sho*. Please baba joon wake up. 

(Leila looks down at her feet)

Baba my shoes aren’t shining anymore. *starts to cry* Baba what happened to it’s shine?

*Farsi Language Key: 

Baba- dad

Khanoom- Mrs.

Agha- Mister

Lotfan Beedar Sho- Please wake up

Joon- Honey; dear


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