A Storyby Katayoon Zandvakili
The night before my husband Davoud’s arrest, I dreamt I was with him in a palace in the middle of the night. Maman was there too, but she left. I was reading a book, which I had covered in pink plaid wrapping paper so no one would see it.
The next day, February 6, 1996, a Tuesday, Davoud spent the morning fixing the TV in our Albany apartment and then checked his voice messages and laughed. He laughed so long that I finally asked, “What’s so funny?”
“I was just checking Dr. Voests’s messages,” he said. “Old Sully’s got another lawsuit on his hands.” Dr. Voest was Davoud’s former partner in an ophthalmology practice, and Davoud hadn’t respected him because he was senior to Davoud, and at the time, I believed Davoud was the better doctor of the two.
“You still have the password to his voice mail?”
Davoud furrowed his brow and didn’t answer.
“You shouldn’t do that,” I told him.
“You shouldn’t do that,” he mimicked. “God. Say,” he added, changing direction like a sparrow in midflight, “I have a patient to see at St. Luke’s, so I’ll drive with you when you go to work.” He was still a consulting physician at St. Luke’s.
At noon, we took my car and drove into San Francisco so I could put the finishing touches on a project at McKinsey, the management consulting firm where I worked. It was sunny and windy in the city, and when Davoud stood next to my door in his gray suit and lemon-colored tie, waiting to climb back into the driver’s seat, he looked so beautiful and light I thought I could never deserve him.
“I was thinking, sweetie,” he said casually, “since you’re already researching companies for your brother to send his résumé to, would you look into some pharmaceutical companies I can send mine to? It wouldn’t hurt, while I’m interviewing with all the hospitals, to have that as a backup.”
I was surprised that Davoud, after months of resisting my help, now wanted it. But I nodded happily and said, “Sure.” Perhaps the subtle rivalry with my brother accounted for the change?
“Great, thanks. Pick you up at three,” Davoud said. We kissed good-bye, and I went upstairs feeling focused and geared up to work.
At three, I came down to the street, but there was no sign of Davoud. I waited twenty minutes, then went back upstairs, left him a voice message with his answering service, and continued working.
At four, I came downstairs again and watched all kinds of people go by while I waited. I sat on the steps of the Bank of America building, reading my copy of Henry Miller’s The Time of the Assassins until I got too cold.