He felt dizzy and decided to sit on one of the benches that lined this side of Bloor Street. He wiped the sudden sweat off of his brow. Overtaken by anxiety Illaam closed his eyes and tried to slow his breathing, to no avail. When he opened his eyes, he was no longer on a public bench breathing in Toronto fumes, no longer sitting amidst its turbulence. He blinked and wiped his eyes. I...I am in a hospital. A great desire for calm came over Illaam, and allowing himself to find peace at the apparent safety in the bleached white lines of the room, his eyes closed once again. This time he dreamt.
Illaam is running through the crowded Bazaar, occasionally getting tangled up in some of the women's hejabs. But he doesn’t mind. He’s playing hide and seek with his cousin Moyad and he is the one hiding. He passes the spice vendor, stopping a moment to take in a deep breath of what he has already decided heaven smells like; then spotting his cousin across the center aisle of the market, he plunges into his grandfather’s carpet shop nearly toppling over a customer in the process. A commotion ensues.
Illaam, born eight years ago in the province of his name-sake, burrows his slender boy body into one of the larger Persian rugs rolled up against the far end of the tent. His grandfather reaches in, grabbing his grandson by both arms with this one landing on his feet before the old man. Illaam is not afraid of him, but he apologizes out of reverence for his beloved grandfather. He turns then to the woman who doesn’t like children and bows to her in apology.
She leaves his grandfather’s shop uttering words he cannot make out and his grandfather resumes the weaving of delicate fibres, his gnarled hands homage to his life’s work. When the old man thinks the boy is no longer in sight, he smiles as if remembering the games of his own childhood those many years ago, when Reza Shah reigned over Iran.
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