I was a bit sleepy after a long day of teaching English, but I didn’t want to say good night that soon. Karen, my same age cousin, had come from France to meet his childhood best friend, me.

We talked about his three failed relationships, his adopted daughter, and his successful bookstore in Paris.

“You know, Saman, I have always been jealous of your progress in studying and getting all those degrees. Are you still a bookworm?”

“I think you can call me a bookworm as I read more than twenty new books every month, but I can’t understand why you feel like that. You are ten times wealthier, and for God’s sake, you’re the guy who sells books to me. I’m making you richer.”

He burst into laughter, drank his beer, and said, “You’re right, man. You’re right.”


I asked Karen to sleep in my bed, but he refused, so I gave him two blankets and a pillow to lie down on the floor.

“Karen, do you think it was worth it to migrate and live among the French all these years?” I asked, almost whispering.

“Why? Are you jealous of my life? Of course, it was worth it. If I’d stayed here, I would have become a loser like your dad and mine.” He answered my question after a long pause and humming.


We both got up early the next day. It was the weekend, so I could stay home and entertain my guest.

“Yum! Having breakfast with the best cousin in the world is something I was looking forward to after my long journey to Tehran.”

We had whole-grain bread, fresh cream, rose jam, and English breakfast tea.

“My daughter, Julia, wants to give you a video call in an hour. She misses her uncle Saman.” Karen grinned cheerfully.


Julia called on WhatsApp at ten. Her innocent face was even more beautiful this time, and she sounded like a mature woman.

“I miss you, uncle!” She knew how to melt my heart.

She kept talking for an hour, and I just sat there listening to her quietly like an infant who can’t say even a word but goggles at his mom’s pretty lips.


When Julia hung up, I felt something was missing in my life. Why didn’t I talk with her more often?

“Karen, do you think I could make a good father?” I asked.

He smiled and embraced me. “I do believe you can be a perfect dad, my friend. I do believe that!”

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