Fiction ยท 08/07/2019

Real Estate

After his father died, and he became a father himself, Payam remembered his father’s excitement to tell him about the business of real estate, which was not so much an excitement about real estate as an excitement about life, which Payam knew, and which every once in a while he would tell himself to keep in mind when his father tried to explain to him about earnest money or some other aspect of the business that he had just gotten off the phone talking with someone about. But most of the time Payam listened to his father talk to him about real estate and felt that his father was shaping him, shaping him to accept the rules and workings of real estate as the way of the world, and he did not know if they were the ways of the world or not, but he knew that he had to find his own way of the world, and any one that was given to him simply could not suffice, nothing so ready and established could possibly suffice, and so at a certain point there was nothing to do but to hate real estate, which Payam made very sure never turned into a hate for his father. He hated real estate for making his father small, for making his excitement small, because his excitement gave a glimpse of the size of the things he could be excited for. Real estate was not the best his father could do, and Payam must have shown it on his face or in his manner somehow, because one day his father stopped talking to him about it, and even looked like he’d decided that real estate was nothing to get excited about in talking with anybody, and it was only after his father died and he became a father himself that Payam understood what that excitement was, that it had not been an attempt to shape him to accept the way of the world, that it had been a father who had tried for a very long time, longer than most fathers perhaps, to be excited when he came home and told his son, Here is what I did today.

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Siamak Vossoughi is a writer living in San Francisco. He was born in Tehran and grew up in Seattle. His publications include Glimmer Train, Missouri Review, Kenyon Review Online, West Branch Online, and Columbia Journal. His collection, Better Than War, received a 2014 Flannery O’Connor Award for Short Fiction.