Genuine tears!

Otis Huband, Legend of My Own Devising. 2017, oil on canvas. 48 × 65". Courtesy of Valley House Gallery & Sculpture Garden, Dallas.

I don’t know when exactly my fantasies and my opium habit converged. All I know is that one day I was on the Turkish border with a truck that had rolled over on its side while my pockets were empty. Everything I’d worked for to become an Iranian king of the road had fed the addiction. This included my wife’s jewelry. Now I sold the carcass of my 18-wheeler too, crawled back to Tehran, and tripled my habit.

From then on I was like a ball every passerby kicked for the hell of it. My wife saw it all and it destroyed her. Not long afterward she took a pair of scissors and stabbed our landlord. We’d been living in the sick son of a bitch’s basement.

Fariba had always been the dream of the neighborhood, tan skin and long dark curls. Eyes like diamonds and legs like the stems of an orchid. Men loved her and so they hated me. I’d scored with her in a big way, hanging around long enough until she finally discarded her useless husband and married me.

Our honeymoon lasted a couple of years. But soon after the twins were born I began my free fall. One day I opened my eyes and saw that there was a man in her life. Then another. And another. They gave her cash, jewels, anything for a full night with Fariba. The habit had made me as useless as her first husband. Opium won’t kill you. Instead it wraps you inside the spiderweb of your own misery until you suffocate. I had to do something. I went to an herbalist who helped me cut down. Hope was still not a total stranger. I still had something to prove.

All this time I’d been selling on the side to support the fix. Now I started pimping too. But not for Fariba. I wasn’t going to be my own wife’s go-between. I did it for others and told Fariba I was out all day working at some real estate office. I had a deal with several brokers who provided the space while I provided the goods. You might call this a version of turning over a new leaf. My plan was to get a down payment for another truck and get on the road again. Sometimes this meant not paying our rent on time, which the landlord used as an excuse to lean on Fariba. She didn’t have an issue with selling her body, but it had to be on her terms. She wasn’t going to be bullied by some haji. So the last time Haji came at her, he met with the wrong end of Fariba’s scissors. The things went clean through that vile skull of his.

Haji went to hell and my wife went to jail.

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