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  • When I was six years old, my dad took my older brother and me to Pearl Harbor. I remember the hole where the bomb fell. I remember the ship and the ocean. But most of all, I remember the warmth, the sun, the salty smell of the sea and how special I felt to have been taken along on a boys' trip to a military relic.

    During that vacation to the States (from Iran) there was F.A.O. Schwarz on Madison Avenue and Disneyland in Anaheim. But it’s Hawaii that I can still smell and feel. It’s in Hawaii where I felt closest to him. It’s Hawaii that takes my breath away and it’s the memory of that morning that breaks my heart.

    I’ll tell you another story. My dad died two years after that trip. For a long time, afterwards, I looked for him. I searched the faces of many men. I envisioned a future where we’d pass each other on the street of some foreign land—fate having brought us there—and I wondered if we would recognize each other.

    Now I’m simply too old to believe that he might be somewhere in this world. But I still look for him.

    I’ve heard that when someone dies there are always three—and only three—visitation dreams, more vivid and alive than any other dream.

    So far, I’ve had two.

    In the first, a week after his death, I saw him in the landing of my grandmother’s apartment. He was a floor below me, his arms outstretched towards me at the top of the stairs. I tried, but could not reach him.

    I had the second dream 15 years later. He called and I asked him if he had forgotten about me. I was angry and sad, but also happy that there was still the possibility of him. He said, “I’ve been sending you letters all these years.” He told me to look beneath the couch, where I found hundreds of unopened letters.

    I am still waiting for the third dream. I think, maybe we can go to Hawaii together, where I can smell the sweetness of the air and feel the warmth of the sand beneath my feet and run towards the ocean with him once more. It’s bittersweet, of course. I can’t wait to see him, to hear his voice. Yet, the next dream will be the last in which he might still be alive.
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