I should have written this earlier but this one goes out to you Pops. Because of you, I read and understand the following. And am unafraid to be touched by it. Greatest gift you ever gave me and I thank you for it. Happy Father’s Day. I hope the grandkids made the day one to remember. Also, I watched The Majestic tonight. You were right. Good stuff. Thanks for the suggestion. I love you.
From The Kiterunner:
Hassan popped a mulberry into his mouth. “It’s coming,” he said. I could hardly breathe and he didn’t even sound tired.
“How do you know?” I said.
“How can you know?”
He turned to me. A few sweat beads rolled from his bald scalp. “Would I ever lie to you, Amir agha?”
Suddenly I decided to toy with him a little. “I don’t know. Would you?”
“I’d sooner eat dirt,” he said with a look of indignation.
“Really? You’d do that?”
He threw me a puzzled look. “Do what?”
“Eat dirt if I told you to,” I said. I knew I was being cruel, like when I’d taunt him if he didn’t know some big word. But there was something fascinating – albeit in a sick way – about teasing Hassan. Kind of like when we used to play insect torture. Except now, he was the ant and I was holding the magnifying glass.
His eyes searched my face for a long time. We sat there, two boys under a sour cherry tree, suddenly looking, really looking, at each other. That’s when it happened again: Hassan’s face changed. Maybe not changed, not really, but suddenly I had the feeling I was looking at two faces, the one I knew, the one that was my first memory, and another, a second face, this one lurking just beneath the surface. I’d seen it happen before – it always shook me up a little. It just appeared, this other face, for a fraction of a moment, long enough to leave me with the unsettling feeling that maybe I’d seen it someplace before. Then Hassan blinked and it was just him again. Just Hassan.
“If you asked, I would,” he finally said, looking right at me. I dropped my eyes. To this day, I find it hard to gaze directly at people like Hassan, people who mean every word they say.
“But I wonder,” he added. “Would you ever ask me to do such a thing, Amir agha?” And, just like that, he had thrown at me his own little test. If I was going to toy with him and challenge his loyalty, then he’d toy with me, test my integrity.
I wished I hadn’t started this conversation. I forced a smile. “Don’t be stupid, Hassan. You know I wouldn’t.”
Hassan returned the smile. Except his didn’t look forced. “I know,” he said. And that’s the thing about people who mean everything they say. They think everyone else does too.
“Here it comes,” Hassan said, pointing to the sky. He rose to his feet and walked a few paces to his left. I looked up, saw the kite plummeting toward us. I heard footfalls, shouts and an approaching melee of kite runners. But they were wasting their time. Because Hassan stood with his arms wide open, smiling, waiting for the kite. And may God – if He exists, that is – strike me blind if the kite didn’t just drop into his outstretched arms.
And, of course, a memory song for you.