Like a Love Story by Abdi Nazemian Read Online (FREE)
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“It comes as a great shock around the age of 5, 6, or 7 to discover that the flag to which you have pledged allegiance, along with everybody else, has not pledged allegiance to you. It comes as a great shock to see Gary Cooper killing off the Indians, and although you are rooting for Gary Cooper, that the Indians are you.”
There should be a limit on how long any human being has to wear braces. Also, there should be another name for braces. Mouth invaders, maybe, or teeth terrorists. Although I suppose an Iranian boy these days shouldn’t even think the word terrorist, so I take that back. Maybe I should just call them friends. They’ve accompanied me as we moved from one country to another. But it’s been three years now, and I’m done. Tomorrow, I start my senior year of high school, in a new school, in a new city. This is it. My last chance to not be invisible.
I’m watching two television shows at once on the largest TV screen I have ever seen. Everything in this home, and in this country, is jumbo sized. It isn’t even a normal television. It’s a projection screen. Abbas says the quality of the image is a lot better. And the image can split, so you can watch multiple things at the same time. As if the split screen television weren’t stimulating enough, he also has an endless VHS collection and closet full of board games. The only games my dad ever played were called “How fast can I empty this bottle?” and “How many times can I leave my family and come back, only to leave again?” My mom wants me to call Abbas “Baba” or “Daddy,” but that’s never going to happen. No man with this many versions of Monopoly could ever be my father.
I’m watching The Golden Girls on the television, and in a smaller box at the bottom of the television, I’m watching The Neverending Story. I grab ahold of the edge of my braces, the part that digs into my gums, and pull. Hard. I yank on those braces like I am playing tug-of-war with them, and soon they start tearing off. I feel a sharp pain, and with it, sudden freedom. It feels right. Maybe freedom always comes with pain. That’s what my dad used to say about the revolution. There’s blood too, lots of it. I see it on my nails, now ruby red like my mother’s.
My mom, who is at her desk reading Architectural Digest, sees me and screams.
“Reza, what have you done?” she asks. “Are you out of your mind?”
I look at her as the taste of blood clogs the back of my throat. She removes a tissue from a gold box and approaches to help clean me. But as she’s about to touch my face, I push her away and grab the tissue.