Tuesday, January 1, 2008
Running With Kites on New Year's Eve
I never thought I'd follow a post that touched on Pakistan with one on Afghanistan, but here it is. Since my deportation back to New York four years ago on New Year's Day, I've spent every New Year's Eve alone in contemplation. But not last night. Last night I had the excellent company of Khaled Hosseini's The Kite Runner, 371 pages that stayed with me for about nine hours, and then left calmly and quietly at 5:30 this morning. No raucous. No police. No hangover. Just a lingering, if not slightly painful, memory of Hassan and Amir, two Afghani boys whose friendship shattered at the age of 12; whose lives were then spent trying to put the pieces back together again. It was one of those stories I felt had been written just for me, that the author was trying to tell me: there really is a way to be good again. Since contracting HIV, I've counted too many days when I thought my life would never amount to what it once had been. And yet, somehow I also realized that I had to find a way to make my life useful again. To effect reconciliation within my family. To repay a debt to an old family benefactor. To bring hope and optimism to students who might feel otherwise. But I am still not a selfless person, not in the way that Hassan was. Far from it. There is still a great deal of ugliness and pettiness in my life. Insecurity. Longing. More than anything, I understood last night that I want to have someone in my life to whom I can say "for you, a thousand times over" and dare I hope for this new year, someone who would say the same in return.