First published: June.27.2019
When I was a little boy, I always played house with our neighbor’s daughter, Zari.
We were 5 or 6 and had two dolls that we pretended were our children.
Since I was the father and had to provide food for my imaginary family, I brought many snacks from home for Zari and the kids. Zari used to kindly plate the snacks and feed us. She always kept saying “you will become a good father.”
My father sold our house and we had to move. That was the saddest thing that could have happened to Zari and me. I asked my mother to buy a doll as a goodbye gift for Zari.
When I gave the doll to Zari, she cried a lot and I cried with her. In our game, men were allowed to cry. I asked Zari to name her doll Darya, and she will be our daughter.
Years passed and I never saw Zari again.
One night when I was invited to a party, I saw Zari’s face on a tall woman. She was cleaning the tables and serving tea and pastries to everyone. She was taking care of the guests.
I asked my friend who was the homeowner; “Who is this lady?”
My friend said: “Her name is Zari. When her husband got injured at work with no insurance, she had to make a living. She works at people’s houses. She is a very nice lady and sometimes she brings her daughter, Darya with her.”
I walked out of the house, couldn’t let Zari recognize me, and feel embarrassed or sad. I cried out loud. Zari named her daughter Darya, the name I made for our doll daughter, she didn’t forget us.
I wiped my tears and told myself: “Zari, you always said that I will be a good father, but you are a good mother, you are the best.”