My landlord

My landlord was a haji originally from Yazd.  He was also the nafti, meaning he sold kerosene in an open vat on the first floor. The smell of kerosene permeated my apartment. i would carry twelve liters of kerosene up three flights of stairs to my apartment.  It had an ab o bargh number , i.e., water and electricity number, but no street address number since it had failed to pass the licensing inspection for safety.  The bricks were of low grade with insufficient cement and too much granualr pebbles.  Thus, the outside of the three story building was never faced with facing stone.  I could see right through between the bricks. it was difficult to keep warm in thw winter.

When I paid my monthly rent, the landlord would open the door about a 1" crack and i would pass my money through.  Once, the door was open a few inches and i could see his daughters in pants and a tunic seated on pillows.  They giggled.  The door was slamed shut.  During the fourteen  months i lived there, I was never invited in to his apartment.  Meeting the culture halfway was difficult.  I subsequently moved to another apartment where the Iranian Armenian Christian landlord was very hospitable.


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“Sunset at the Railroad” by PCV Nicholas Baylor Hall. Namibia, 2011.