Story By: Laleh Chini
Back then in Bushehr, there weren’t any big supermarkets or grocery stores. There was some local small shops or sellers on the sidewalks to sell vegetables, fruits, meat, poultry, baked goods, etc. It was common for maids to do all the grocery shopping. Therefore, my mother never went out to buy produce.
However, Once a week my mother drove us to downtown Bushehr. We went to the bazaar to purchase personal needs or just to have fun. Bushehr is located south of Iran and has a desert climate. Its coastline is more than 700 kilometers in the Persian Gulf and is known for its old architecture.
It is home to a Nuclear Power Plant, and also one of the important harbours for imports and exports of trading goods. Many foreign engineers and technicians lived there to work in the Nuclear Power Plant. One day as we were shopping in downtown Bushehr, mother suggested ice-cream. Even hearing the word ice-cream made us cheerful. We walked towards an ice-cream shop and waited in line. We asked for ice-cream cones and the sales person handed us our cones one by one.
I got mine first as I was the youngest and mother was busy paying and counting. I held the cone and looked at it with eagerness to taste it, when I realized that a boy about my age with no shirt, ripped shorts and no shoes was staring long and hard at my ice-cream. I could see his mouth was watering and I could feel his deep desire to have it.
Without any hesitation I walked towards him to hand him my ice-cream. He got excited and dropped the the scoops on the dirty and muddy floor.
He bent and picked up what he could and in the moment that I was going to say “It’s alright, I will ask my mother to buy you another one,” he had already devoured the ice-cream with mud all over it.
In that moment I felt so sad for him and burst into tears. My crying got my mother’s attention and I told her what had happened. She smiled at me, showing me she was proud of me and handed her untouched ice-cream to the boy and said, “Here you go my son.” She then proceeded to get two more ice-cream cones for me and her.
That was a friendship with a boy who I never said word to nor knew his name, but would never forget for the rest of my life.