On a night when the baby was active, I put my husband’s hand on my swollen belly. The evening was warm, and I was wearing a light cotton nightshirt. I could feel the heat of his huge hand as he spread his palm gently over my tummy. The child made a strong, sudden kick, and it startled him so much that he cried out and pulled his hand abruptly back. The revelation was instantaneous, and he roared with laughter. He laid his face against my stomach for nearly an hour, waiting for the slightest movement. And he wept. I did not want to embarrass him, so I lay still as his tears dampened my gown. I had never seen him display such emotion. It disturbed and excited me. I never mentioned it to him, and he never brought it up, but in that moment, I experienced such a deep tenderness for him and for life itself that I had no words.
I cannot express what I felt in that gentle evening. It was beyond tears, beyond joy, beyond any passion. I felt a mysterious calm, as if I were floating on Aladdin’s carpet on a magical journey across a vast, cloudy expanse.
I heard the deep, inexplicable call of eternity. I was a part of an ongoing itinerary and this little one was my contribution to a miraculous process. I had heard the teachings of the imams. I had read the poems of the Persian mystics. But something about a child growing within and the wonderful hope of that little life was moving beyond words. None of the mystics had captured what I felt in that enigmatic summer evening. Though I did not have the breathtaking solitude of my poppy field, I felt my language of expression returning, and I filled my diary with my buoyant dreams.