The Illusion

by: Shirin Tabibzadeh

Painting by: Freydoon Rassoul

That night I saw “Nothing’ sitting on his yellow winged bloody mouth horse of ego.  His beady eyes were shining with a sense of nefarious revenge, having it all under perspective of his eyes of owl, impatient to see the woman’s defeat.  He was tall but he looked like a dwarf.

All the readings of the recent months and years and the listening to the tapes of the initial animal farm’s shepherd’s dog and the chanting of his “master” disappeared under the hoof of his horse of ego.

His noodles, so carefully placed in his hat-rack, were turning stiff with the burning fire of desire of a mean spirit mingled with the sick malevolence of his sort.  The poisonous drops of sweat of hypocrisy of an egotistical “Nobody”, wishful to be “Somebody” were running down his yellowish puffy face, robbing shoulder with his squeezed lips.  His lips disappeared in intervals with every pulse of pleasure of at last having won a non issue trifle, his members trembling down from joy to his weak sick shaky core.

With every reaction of the woman, trapped in the cruel gaze of the crowd, feeling the injustice of the unnecessary accusations, the man’s antenna, would jump higher and higher to detect the least vibrations from the breath of the witnesses present in the room, wishing he could put his words in their mouths. The woman felt she was walking towards the most dreadful rocks and the deepest sea caves and the most carnivorous fishes.  “Are they going to crucify me or worse, stone me to death, because I am guilty of being a woman and superior to them?” she thought.

The parrots repeated and confirmed the accuser’s words, the deer, called the woman “dear’ and “good” and “excellent” and some other kind words.  The butterfly kissed the woman on the face, insisting on the value of her work.  The rabbits chewed on their teeth with rage and showed their love for the woman in a flaky way.  And that girl who had traveled with the woman and the woman cared for, had fallen in love with the man and remained silent.

Suddenly the woman sat erect and felt proud and remembered how she had always looked down at the lowly souls.  She felt she was sitting on velvety clouds, way up there, caressed and protected by their wings.  From there, the man seemed even more lowly and disappearing to become less and less, his face annihilating into something else.  The woman flew higher and higher.  She was now sitting on the lap of the motherly stars.  Looking down she saw many dirty lagoons with murky water, replete with double headed worms.  She also saw the cockroaches crowding the land and many sheep with their heads down, running after the shepherd’s dog. She saw the man who had now changed into a tiny black cockroach, trying to climb the rotten trunk of a dead tree.  “He would certainly reach the top, he would, in a million years”, the woman thought.

I looked back at the woman sitting on her chair, her eyes fixed to the window where the bare branch of a dead tree whipped over and over as if competing with the man’s hidden rage. The magpies’ scream in the darkness of the night was deafening.   I put my arms around the woman and caressed her on the head.  The room was empty and smelled of “trash and tobacco”, the silence was mischievous, and the air so stale.  We walked out of the room and when I looked back I saw a small black cockroach moving up on the surface of the window pane. The woman looked at me with a faint smile and we each went our way and disappeared into the darkness and the fog of the night.