I wasn’t sure how I’d respond to The Kite Runner. I hadn’t read the book and I had no concept of what the story was about. All I knew and remembered was a character named Hassan. If I give importance to the Oscars as a measuring stick for quality, I’d stop talking to the golden man. The Kite Runner was robbed, if you ask me. David Benioff was robbed of a Best Adaptation nomination, Marc Forster for directing, Chesse for editing, and Schaefer for Cinematography. Alberto Iglesias, the modern day Ennio Morricone, was the only nominated collaborator of the film. He was teased and then robbed.Now that that’s out of the way. This film did something to me I did not expect. It brought back some memories from childhood that I’d kept buried. It made me wonder who I want to be and how I’d like to be remembered. It made me ask if I’ll ever be able to cross that boundary that makes a child grow into a man. Because, to me, becoming a man is letting go of the child inside. And I can’t do that. I don’t want to do that.
Few years ago my mom sent me a birthday card. It had a picture of a young mother walking away from the camera holding her child’s hand. He was maybe 5 or 7. I couldn’t stop sobbing and I couldn’t explain why it fucked me up so bad.
I seem to romanticize loss. Losing someone special, losing someone, or losing. I romanticize being left alone, picking up the pieces that remain from the last thing lost. I guess you have the right to call it “feeling sorry for oneself.” Do I romanticize being alone, not loved, and rejected because it allows me to be prepared when it happens for real? That would be fucked up, would it not?
I have my own explanation for it. I am who I am today because of feeling left alone, not feeling loved (many would argue otherwise), and feeling rejected. It gave me freedom to go away and create a world for myself. A world where life’s cruel side took a break. You know why kids have imaginary friends? That’s because those friends are smarter than the real dumb asses that occupy spaces around them. I was fortunate to have parents who loved me. Yet the rest of the world’s behavior made me wonder about the same two people. I am the middle child. Did my mom love my brother, the eldest, more? Did dad love his little princess, my sister, more than he loved anything else? Did I get the left overs? I always wondered. Sometimes I think I wondered because it gave me a reason to dive back into my own little universe.
The Kite Runner made me remember a lot of that. I flew kites as a kid too. I wasn’t as good as some of the other kids who did battles from the roof. I didn’t spend hours preparing nylon strings with rice so it made the them stronger and the edges sharper – the term we used was “manja.” But I remember the sounds of the flapping paper in the evening sky of Dhaka.
Things work in mysterious ways. I wasn’t expecting the film in my mailbox this weekend but I couldn’t have seen it at any other time of my life, I think. The timing was perfect. There were two other times – as far as I can remember – when a film came to me at the right time: Cinema Paradiso and Wild Strawberries.
If you’ve seen any, or all three, of those films and wonder why they’re so special…then, my friends, you’ll never understand me.