SMILES FROM TEARS: A MEMOIR
Smiles from Tears is a collection of funny and insightful stories told from the perspective of a growing child, a young woman, and later, a loving mother.
My childhood was wasted away in the war between Iran and Iraq. My father was in the military so I’ve spent most of my time without him, just with my mother who was, at the time, sad and depressed. I think you’ll agree that this isn’t a pleasant childhood. Until recently, I was blaming others, especially my mother, for that.
Sometimes something would remind me of my childhood; without expressing the cause, I just turned to aggression or silence.
One day, when the bitter memories of childhood came to me again, unlike always, I felt the need to talk to my mother. At first I was complaining, as usual, and my mom tried to anxiously justify things. Her efforts to calm me only made me madder, and my tone became aggressive.
With eyes filled with tears, I asked her, “Why did you never respect my talents? I always loved literature and poetry, and what did you do? You just suppressed and humiliated me…”
As I was talking to my mother, Amir Reza was standing beside. He shook me while talking loudly to get my attention. His loud voice made me angrier as I kept speaking to my mother. “Why didn’t you listen to me ever? You think it was easy to be ignored by you? I had to call you a hundred times for you to answer me just once!”
My mother was about to burst into tears. She couldn’t say anything.
Just then, Amir Reza’s insistent voice finally got under my skin, and I burst with anger and yelled at him.
“What? What do you want, Amir Reza? Why don’t you leave me alone?”
My anger scared him and he began to cry. In a shaky voice, he told me, “Look, I drew this for you. I just wanted you to see how beautiful it is but you didn’t even look at it…”
For a moment my head swung and I felt like I was stuck up in the air. I looked at my mom. She had a bitter smile on her face as she said, “Why you don’t listen to your son now?”
In a moment all that anger was gone. I couldn’t stop crying as I hugged Amir Reza. My little boy turned up to be my answer again, a mirror to show me myself…
Nadia Tariqi is a poet and author. In 2016 Nadia Tariqi moved from her home country of Iran to Sweden. Despite having had to leave behind her family and friends, she is rebuilding her life and smiling again.