It must have been crippling for my mother when she had to leave my sister and me behind.Now and then I think about how it was for her and I can’t escape this truth: Mutilation. That’s how it would surely feel if someone told me I could no longer see Deaglan and Naveen every day, no longer inhale the nape of their necks whenever I needed to.
Mutilation with no hope of medical treatment.
Last night I stayed up late reading this and by the middle of page 45 I had to put it down. I cried noiselessly into my hands trying not to wake my family. It’s not surprising that his writing has this effect. I wept deeply in places when I read this and this. Khaled Hosseini’s storytelling digs beneath my surface everytime. I believe his words to ring true because essentially he tells the stories of my history too.He tells stories that push me to the brink of gratitude and guilt.
Last night I surveyed my life; my fortunate, easy life. I wondered for the thousandth time since coming to this country how much different it could have been if I was still in Bangladesh. I cried more. I saw no logic. I looked over at Naveen who was asleep beside me, his long dark lashes settled fanlike on his sun-kissed brown cheeks. Earlier in the day, at Costco, we’d indulged him and walked up and down the vacuum aisle three times so he could savor each model, each make, the different colors and sizes. I thought too of Deaglan, who stopped playing long enough that morning to lightly touch my big toe and tell me that he loved my toenail polish. His sometimes version of “I love you.”Last night I had to put the book down.
Those kinds of stories, the ones about real suffering and real sorrow weigh on me heavily. I find myself unable to process them for long stretches. It’s a weakness. Just like the way I am acutely aware that I have not yet ever written a letter to either of the girls we sponsor. I’ve never sent them the small gifts they are allowed to receive. Never sent them pictures of my boys or our life.I justify it.
I justify it by remembering how it felt for me in the orphanage when other children would receive photo albums from their new parents in Canada or America. Photos of large lavish homes. Cars. Televisions. I remember how it felt to suddenly want things you didn’t even know existed. Want things you didn’t even know you needed.
Last night. I read the book and thought of these things. I thought about how it must have been for my mother.