Farshideh tied back the curtains with the frayed silken cord, letting in the dim morning light that would have to suffice until her mother allowed her to light the small lamp she kept by her bed. The soft gray sky held little promise for warmth, but it let in enough light for Farshideh to begin the laborious process of dressing all of her dolls. Each night, before placing them in the drawer below her bed, she would unbutton and remove their pants and untie the robes that covered them, before sliding the small cotton nighties over their heads and securing their night scarves. She would then kiss them each, bid them a good night, and slide the drawer closed. At dawn, she would slide the drawer open and take them, one by one, until she reached the number six, and lay them across the thin coverlet that she had already dressed her bed with. Gently, she removed the nighties and the head scarf, and pulled their pants on, then tied the robes over each body. When she was done, she would line the dolls up at the head of her bed and say, "Good morning, Adileh, Nilgoon, and Horshid. How are you today, my little Nashid, my Roshan and Asal. I love you today and I will see you tonight." Farshideh then gave each doll a kiss and bade them farewell one more time before she left for school.
One doll, one kiss, one fond farewell each day for the babies her mother had lost since before and after Farshideh could remember.
22 November 2013