After knocking on all the doors in the building with a plate of halva, I returned to her flat. As I approached the door, women’s voices spilled out into the building. For a short moment, it sounded as if Ameli was still alive, in the middle of one of her ladies’ parties. I went in feeling like that shy schoolgirl stepping into the tea and perfume-scented world of my grandmother and her friends. Instead, I found my mother, aunts, cousins, and Ameli’s friends gathered around the antique oak table in the lounge preparing to have halva with piping hot tea from tulip-shaped glasses. Later that evening, when everyone had eaten, said their prayers and left, I stood in Ameli’s kitchen in the dark, leaning against the counter, watching the lives playing in the windows of the adjacent building. I wondered how many of these people had watched Ameli’s window before the curtain went down. I stood there for a long time before starting to talk to the silence and the darkness. I talked as if Ameli was there, sitting at the head of the old kitchen table, serving food and listening to me with more attention than anyone else has ever been capable of. I talked knowing that we keep talking with our loved ones even from the other side of eternity and that they talk with us too, if we know how to listen.
Flour Halva (Un Helvası) to talk with our loved ones: