Date of publication: 2017-09-05 04:26
Suddenly, the metal door rattles. A guard signals me to clean my room and gather my belongings. I am prepared for this. The floor is already immaculate sweeping the floor with my hands is one of my favorite activities. I grab my book and three dried dates stuffed with pistachio nuts to share with Sarah and Shane. I wasn 8767 t crazy. Day 85 is for real.
8775 We never walked into Iran, 8776 I say, then stop myself. I know our interrogators wouldn 8767 t want us to answer that question. I feel an overwhelming need to self-censor. 8775 We can 8767 t really talk about that, 8776 I say.
When I 8767 m with Shane and Josh in hava khori, I almost feel worse. Every touch reminds me of the absence of touch. Their situation seems heavenly to me they 8767 re out of solitary! What could be better than sharing a leisurely game of chess, listening to endless stories about each other 8767 s lives, being able to connect without the fear of interference? They are halfway there, halfway to sanity and normalcy, halfway to freedom! I want to feel happy for them, but I don 8767 t know how much longer I can hold it together alone in this cell.
In this prison, guards don 8767 t hide their faces like they did in the last one. Some even talk to me. One guard, who speaks a little English, taught me the Farsi word for the courtyard we go to, hava khori. He told me that it literally means 8775 eating air. 8776
Friend shows up at my cell to escort me down the hallway to hava khori. 8775 Do you know what a honey is? 8776 He smiles goofily. 8775 Do you have a honey? 8776 8775 No, 8776 I say dismissively, 8775 and I don 8767 t want a honey in here. 8776 I regret talking to him about English expressions. Why is he asking me about a honey? Why did he give me a bed last week? I push away the thought these questions raise.
Zahra and I decide to hide our notes in the trash can in the bathroom. She balls hers up in toilet paper and I stuff mine inside soiled-looking maxi-pads places the guards will never look. When one of us has a new note waiting, we will let the other one know by three hard knocks on our common wall.
8775 They never let me see anyone, 8776 I tell her. 8775 I don 8767 t know what 8767 s happening. I 8767 ve had no court, no trial. They won 8767 t let me see my lawyer. 8776 8775 Yes, I know. They are liars, Sarah. Don 8767 t believe anything they say to you. I am your friend now, I love you. 8776 I try to imagine her, hurt and alone, being taken out every day for beatings and interrogation and then put back in a cage. 8775 Why did they arrest you? 8776 I ask.
In my mind I am already running. My feet patter quickly on the brick floor. All day, my energy is dammed up, but in the courtyard, energy courses through me. They take me for two half-hour sessions per day. I 8767 m allotted a single lane next to other blindfolded prisoners. It 8767 s the only time I feel alive all day when I 8767 m out here and thinking about escaping.