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A Very Mature Person

"A very mature person is left to take care of children"

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The 27-year-old Maryam has been left alone with her young cousins. Soheila, Maryam's aunt, left her children there and then went away with Maryam's mother in haste. Several hours later, Soheila calls Maryam's house.

Ring... Ring... Ring.

Maryam picks up the phone.


"Maryam, it's Soheila. Listen, I have some bad news. Your grandmother wasn't feeling well, so we had to take her to a hospital. Your mother and I are going to stay with her until she gets better, but I need you to take care of Nastaran and Arash for the night. Can you do that?"

"Is grandma okay?"

"Yes, we were worried at first, but she is getting better. It's nothing to be worried about really. We are merely staying to make sure she doesn't feel alone."

"Is there anything I can do?"

"No, thank you, dear. Just prepare a simple dinner. Your mother said you don't have any dinner ready at the house. Perhaps you can prepare some eggs, an omelet, or something?"

"But I don't know how to cook."

"You don't have to cook a hard dish dear. Simple eggs will suffice."

"I don't know how to make those either."

Soheila was very disappointed, but didn't want to argue over the phone.

"Okay then, order something from a restaurant for yourself and the kids."

"But where should I call? Do you have a phone number?"

"It's not important, call any place you like."

"I don't know any place."

"Oh, for goodness' sake, Maryam! It's not like you're in the middle of a desert! Just find a number and call it. Anything will do. Nastaran and Arash are not picky about food."

"But how can I find a number? Where should I search?"

Soheila sighs, clearly exasperated.

"Maryam, I remember your mother kept the menus by the phone, are they there?"

"There are many things by the phone. I have to search."

"Okay, Maryam. Just find the menus and look for a restaurant that has something you and the kids like. Call them, order some food. We'll be back as soon as we can."

"But how can I pay for the food?"

"What do you think?!" Soheila asked in frustration, "You have a bank card, don't you?"

"I have one, but I don't remember its password."

"Oh, for heaven's sake, Maryam! Just try to remember it! They must have given you the password when you opened an account. It must be written on a note from the bank. Have you kept it?"

"I... I don't know."

"Ahhh! Do you have cash?"

"I have some, but I don't think it's enough."

"How much is it?"

"Let me count it."

Maryam kept Soheila waiting for five minutes, while Soheila was desperate to go check on her sick mother. Finally, she spoke again.

"I have 17000 tomans."

"But that's not even enough for a pack of gum!"

"It's all I have."

Soheila was about to go crazy, but managed to hide her anger.

"Fine. Listen, I can order something online myself. I'll pay for it using my own bank card. But I need your house number. I can't remember it."

"I don't know it."

"What do you mean you don't know it? Every house has a number."

"I know every house has a number. I'm saying I don't know the number of our house."

"Maryam, have you lived under a rock all your life?! You went to university for how many years?! Yet you are unable to do even the simplest things! Perhaps I should..."

Soheila was about to unleash her anger, but realized it was the worst time and place. She was standing in a hospital, and since she had raised her voice, people were staring at her.

"Forget it. I'll ask your house number from your mother. I'll order something for you and the kids."

"Nastaran and Arash don't need anything. Just me."

"What do you mean?"

"They went out an hour ago. They said they'll eat something outside."

"You let two kids go out by themselves at this hour?! What were you thinking?!"

"I didn't let them. It had nothing to do with me. They just left themselves."

"But where did they even go? The streets are not safe for two preteens at night."

"They didn't tell me."

With that response, Soheila didn't see any reason to continue the conversation, yet felt a strong need to unleash her anger before hanging up the phone and running back to Maryam's house to search for her children.

"You know what Maryam? It's my fault. I thought you could take care of the kids for a single night. But now that I think about it, it would have made more sense if I had asked the kids to take care of you!"

Written by Leila
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