I told my father about my divorce after midnight on a bus from Chicago to Iowa City. There was no sense postponing it; he was calling from Isfahan, Iran, and we spoke only every few months. He struggled for a response, his deep voice faltering. “Will you be O.K.?” he asked. “Do you have money?” In Iran, a divorced woman in her 30s might never marry again, and if she does, she may not do as well. She probably won’t have children, and if she already does, they are legally her husband’s. Her property might vanish. The notion of the happy divorced woman just doesn’t compute.
He quoted Rumi, telling me I would be happy again. I could almost hear the little clicks of his green counting beads as he rotated them between thumb and forefinger. This chain, which he carries everywhere, contains 33 beads — the number of arches under Isfahan’s Si-o-Seh Bridge; the age of the inhabitants of heaven, according to some Muslims; and my age at the time of my divorce. To read more from DINA NAYERI, click here.