Artwork by Niki Zarrabi
Story by Elnaz Moghangard
Roya is a coming-of-age fiction novel about a young Iranian-American woman navigating loss, love, identity, purpose and renewal. Generational differences have distanced Roya from her more traditional parents. A recent heartbreak has left her feeling like an expat in her own body. Unwilling to face the responsibilities and decisions of her present reality, she finds herself trapped in a mental limbo. As she embarks on a trip to Iran for the first time with her grandmother, Roya experiences a country that is undergoing its own transformation ––a rich culture in the midst of navigating tradition and modernity. A vacation that Roya believes will be an escape from her problems turns out to become the antidote for her awakening. But before she can begin healing, she must first face the generational wounds of her past with the help of some unexpected encounters.
The next afternoon, they walk past the burgundy albalootrees and enter the covered patio. Roya grabs the pitcher of pomegranate sharbat, pours some in a cup and addswater. The dense syrup is still too sweet for her taste buds.
“Would you like to help me in the garden for a bit before we eat?” Khanoom Jaan reaches for a sparewatering pot.
“Sure. I’d love to.” They walk around the patio back under the open air.
“So Roya, what are you studying in school?
“Well, I’m in my third year of undergraduate school.”
“Yes, university. Right now I’m studying pre-medicine.”
“And then I become a doctor.”
“Then, I spend the rest of my life as Dr. Roya”
“Well, then I get married, have kids and wait until they’re teenagers so they can tell me I’m being annoying.” Roya lets out a playful laugh.
The old woman smiles with her eyes amused by the young girl sitting before her. “Sounds like a wonderful plan then!”