Aasiya held Diaab's hand as they walked to the fenced-in desolation that used to be their school's playground.
"The survey man was at our house yesterday."
Aasiya held her breath, fearing what would come next.
"There was the party member with his suitcase and two heavy men. I recognized the party member, he usually smiles at me in the street but he wasn't smiling yesterday. Mother ushered me outside while they spoke with Father."
She let out some of it, grateful so far.
"Mother told me not to tell the men that I'm gay if they asked."
"You're not gay, sweetheart." She stroked his hair as they sat on a makeshift bench in one corner of the razed playground. "You like me remember?"
He pushed her hand away. "I can't keep pretending!"
"Hush." She planted a finger on his lips, and then followed it by her own lips. "You can't tell them that you're gay."
"But why not?"
"You saw those two heavies, didn't you?"
"So? They're just there to keep people from lying and attacking the party member."
"No, sweetheart. Do you remember what the President said? 'There are no homosexuals in Iran.' You can't be gay because there aren't any gays here."
"Then what am I?"
"You're mine, sweetie."
"And those men?"
"How many gays do you know, sweetie?"
He shook his head.
"That's because there aren't any. Those two men are to keep people from saying they're gay. That's a lie, because there aren't any gays here. If you claim to be gay, those two men will rape you. Everybody knows gays have sex by sticking their penises in other gays' butts. Those men will do that to you, and your mother, and your father. That's how people lie."
"What about you, Aasiya?"
"What about me, Diaab?"
"You dress like a girl and everything, but--"
"But nothing, silly boy. I'm a girl." She stuck out her tongue at him.
"What about that thing betwe--"
"I told you about that," she said suddenly, with a strange, deep, dangerous tone in her voice, "because I trust you. It's a growth. Cancer. My twin sister had it too and she died. I was lucky. Remember that."
He nodded, frightened even more.
"Stop shaking, sweetie. Nobody's going to hurt you as long as you're with me. Now get over here and kiss your tragic love connection." Her sweet voice was back and he leaned forward and kissed her on the lips.