We were in Daryakenar – literaly meaning near the sea- as every summer. I was 2 years old at the time. My mum took me to the beach and she said “let’s throw your pacifier to the sea for a baby fish”. With my wet eyes I took the pacifier out of my mouth and threw it inside the sea and hence I said adieu to my babyhood.
Vaheh and I were both 4. It had been a long day at the beach and our parents were getting ready to go home. He had an apple in his hand that suddenly fell down. I picked it up and I stood inside the Caspian sea to rinse the sand off the red apple. I was watching the fish swimming around my feet when suddenly a big wave came and took one pair of my cute little orange flip flop off my foot. I ran after the lonely slipper in the water, but the wave was faster than me and the slipper disappeared in the foams of the wave. That night, my mum had to tell me stories about how the fish were using my slipper as their house to ease my pain.
At 10 or 11, I found my best friend Melanie at the same beach town. She and I were the inseparable sisters. Every year we would impatiently wait for the Norooz vacations or the summer vacations to spend 2 weeks of full-time playing. Those days would pass as a short dream for both of us.
At 14, during the climax of Iran-Iraq war when Tehran was being hit constantly, we all found refuge in Daryakenar. Melanie and I went to school in the nearby city. Our hobby was to get home as soon as possible form school, change our cloths and go out to watch the handsome guys parading in their cars! We all had our preferred ones, mine had a green golf.
The same year my little cute grey cat, Pishi, found herself a shomali (northern) boyfriend. I was not happy to see the big blonde, three times her size, mingling with her. But, I was for nothing and she got pregnant! Few months later she had five kittens! Something very unusual for first pregnancy according to the vet.
Over the years we grew up and added to our group of Daryakenar-goers. As a ritual we had several birthday to celebrate, first Melanie’s boyfriend’s on 22 of March, then my aunts and Odet’s joint birthday on 27th, then others. We loved going to SeaSide, a famous café, to drink Capoglassé (cappuccino with vanilla ice cream) or french fries. Daryakenar was one meeting place where everybody was happy.
Today I am visiting Darakenar without my buddies. While I am writing these lines in my room, I look at the exact same location that once Melanie tried to use her expertise in hypnosis on me and Odet, another close friend of ours. The memories are passing one by one and I miss my friends.
Life turned such that we all got spread out in the world, but we all share one sentence Yadesh bekheir (what good memories) when talking of Daryakenar. We try in vain to find a town that could replace our dreamland. We exchange phrases like “the sand is like Daryakenar”, “the houses remind me of Daryakenar”, “trees are like …”, etc. What we don’t realize is that our 30+ years of good memories are what have made this place unforgettable. Nonetheless, I love this place. Tomorrow, I will be going to see Melanie’s house and check if the new owner is taking good care of their trees!