Carefree and wandering ,Yavar strolled around in the house. The clock on the wall struck ten. He went to wake up Vahhab, passed the turning and knocked slowly on the door with one single finger. He touched the door knob and found out that it hadn't been locked. He entered the room. The breeze was blowing and he wrapped up the sheet on the bed. The closet door bumped to the wall. He was on edge and distressfully looked around:"May God help us! Where has he gone? He went to the triangle gate of the corridor and called :"Brother Quaqan!"
A man opened the door. He looked about fifty. He was wearing a pair of stretched trousers. A band was dangling over his top, his underwear clear, his chest hair appeared. His eyes bloated, his nose hooked and outsized. He went forth and backward, his moustache lousy shaded over his dried-up lips.
His voice was soothing and feminine:" Good Morning, Brother Rashid, let's light a cigarette."
Yavar nodded:"Get dressed quickly Brother Quaqan, I've got something to do with him."
Quaqan rubbed his eyes:" What's happened? I guess last night I was dreaming that I had been eating a mouthful of rice ( He left the door ajar) , over his top he was wearing a shirt and a coat. His poignant perspiration was a blend of milestone and sulfur. He tidied his hair and got out of his room . He wasn't wearing socks , he locked the door and explained something while whispering. My forty-piece quilt is under the bed. I've found it out of thousands of tapestries. It lasted for twenty six years. ( looked at the plaster-folding of the arch) . If only you could see the colours and patterns which could charm you. I'll make such a curtain for you which would last as a memorabilia.( his hands coarse full of callous). This would last after my death, see what these hands did.
The man lowered his chin:"Vahab has been lost."
The tailor stepped back, a bunch of dark and greasy hair passed by , his wrinkled forehead discoloured:" Who's been lost brother?"
One step forward, naked legs fell to march on the flat doormat of the turnining and left a strike of sweating smell spreading.Yavar uniformed his step with that .( nodded in pity) Mrs Edrisi's grandson, the only man in the family ( he spat on the floor.The band of brothers had set him free of courtesy.)This earthly life,he hasn't grasped anything about life.No amusements just books.(He lifted his eyebrows) only God knows."
Quaqan answered pantingly:" No use! It drives on my nerves. It takes your soul to the world of fancy and imagination. The firing squad-band have programmes. They select books and burn them , imagination is a sign of corruption."
Yavar touched his cheek with a finger:"Mr Vahhab would be miserable if they do it. As if they had thrown your forty-piece."
Quaqan hesitated:"That forty-piece quilt has a different story. (Scratched his back ear) everything's possible though.They're adamant, but it helps. My forty-piece quilt might be my sore eyes ,I cannot recognise it though."
Yavar puffed his lower lip :" People might be satisfied with trinkets . And do they know the morals and goodness better? Are they messengers of God?"
Brother Quaqan put his finger on his nose:"Hush up Daddy! They would report us."
They got to the corridor. A man with a crutch was standing in the corner, he was staring at the ceiling, Quaqan whispered:
"The frostbite of his leg in the mountains caused the amputation..." he looked into his eyes.
"When it gets dark, his eyes shine like the eyes of wolves!"
Yavar was scared and looked straight into the man's eyes, two azure gems in his hollow sockets were glimmering in a fading light under the glassy ceiling (The tailor went on). He had been up in the mountains for fifty years since the youth. He despises the civil life. While he was staying in a public house he got cholera. We never thought that he would survive . They said that he with his battalion was under siege, he suffered from starvation. They survived with the meat of reptiles and green grass. Yavar had a short look on him. The man's eyelids were bewitched. He asked Quaqan: " Why isn't he in the right place now?" Quaqan whispered:" The members of firing squad band say that he is insane. He doesn't have a sense of time to be adapted with."
"Hasn't he lost his leg for their sake?"
The tailor smiled:" It doesn't matter, goes back to many years ago."
Yavar with forehead furrowed took out his pipe and put it into the tobacco sack.
"Isn't he called Brother Quabad?"
"How did you get it?"
The old man blushed. He moved the leather sack :" Everybody knows him. He is a national champion.When we were young , they composed music for him."
"We went down the valley. We saw the flames of fire and it was promising."(inspected the old man from head to foot.)
"The world isn't faithful (Quaqan scratched his head. A pile of dandruffs splashed over his shoulders) Don't be picky, life has ups and downs."
Yavar got a distance. The tailor followed him : "Don't sulk , let's look for Vahhab."
Yavar's eyes blacked out.Returned the pipe and purse into his pocket. "O God! Seeing Brother Qobad, I forgot everything!"
A girl pulled Yavar's coat:"Are you looking for Vahhab?"
Yavar bowed and touched Golrokh's shoulder.
"You know where he is?"
"He has gone to the room at the end of corridor."
Quaqan touched the naked statues. Yavar whispered:
"Hush up! Keep it as a secret."
Golrokh looked down: "I see."
Quaqan joined them :"Where shall we go for an inquiry tomorrow?"
Yavar hesitated:"Let's go to the end of garden."
(Placed his hand on the girl's shoulder) "God bless you child!"
They got down the stairs. They turned round the trees.
They got to the lawn . Yavar was pointing to the distance :
"Oh , here's Mr. Vahhab; he's been a rambler!"
Quaqan followed his index finger.
"I can't see anything!"
Yavar hid behind the apple trees. He sat down on a piece of rock and pondered into the past. Brother Quaqan sneered:" He had been living in a luxury for a ling time, tell us the story!"
"He hasn't seen a good day, studied abroad. He knows a lot .In spite of all these, he is quite broken-hearted."
"Has he ever fallen in love?"
"Not of that kind. As if he doesn't see the most beautiful girls."
Quaqan rubbed his red tongue over his dry lips:"Never mind."
Yavar got agitated:"Don't blabber."
"Why have you hidden your face? What's his job?"
"What does he have to be flattered by? Such a decrepit doesn't have a place in our society."
The old man blushed: "He hasn't done any harm to anybody, never hurt an ant."
"Then spying is a job?"
"Where do you live? as if you are totally unaware of things, reports have been written. If the reports are precise, it'll show up the progress."
"How many secret agents do you have?"
Brother Quaqan placed his finger on the nose:
"Who knows ? How old is the old woman?"
"Which old woman?"
"Your previous land-lady, the lady of the house, the old Mrs Edrisis."
"There is no master and servant in this house."
"If you think so! They deceive you . They sacrifice you and millions like you for their royal blood."
Yavar looked down on the ground :" It hasn't happened yet!"
"If they let me marry that old spinster then I would believe in your words."
Yavar looked at him sneakily and he was annoyed.
"Keep off your evil eye, man ! Miss Legha is a cherub."
She dislikes men.She doesn't want to marry, she's had plenty of suitors."
He was aware that he was exaggerating and he stole his glance from the tailor. Quaqan burst into laughter:" All people in this house are retarded and handicapped. The royal blood has come to an end."
Yavar yelled:"Miss Legha has good morals."
Quaqan covered his lips with his tongue.
"Miss Legha is invalid."
The old man went to the end of garden.
Brother Qobad was sitting on a piece of rock, placing his hand under his chin . Yavar bowed and said hello. Brother Quaqan looked on the floor desperately.
THE HOUSE OF THE EDRISIS, a novel by Ghazaleh Alizadeh
Translated from original Persian to English by Rosa Jamali