It was a little past 9:30 pm. Small streaks of light fell into the hotel room through the half covered window, a few cascading on Amir Agha’s sleeping face. A few lining up with the door to the dastshooi. Bathroom.
I could still feel the tears on my face, dried up by then but still there, still reminding me of what he had said. He had tried to dress it up, calling it a home for kids. A home. A home is where my father and mother raised me. A home is where things are happy and clean and free of the Talibs, of men in suits, saying something disappointedly in English. A home is free of violence, of terror.
I wanted then, desperately, to go home.
I thought about how he was going to send me away, how he broke his promise, lacing it with lies to make it seem better. His voice so soft and sure of itself. Telling me that this orphanage would be different. That he would visit me, make sure there’d be no pain, no dard. I asked him, I begged him to promise not to. To find some other way, any other way, the whole time memories of the orphanage flashed in my mind. Dirty floors, hunger, hands all over me. I couldn’t live through it, even if what he had told me was true, even if he could visit me, even if it’d be for a short while. Because, in hell, a short while is an eternity.
I kept watching my half uncle sleep, trying to wipe away the tears dried on my face. I felt lonely in his company. His breathing, rough and uneven, might have once been a comfort. He was a guardian, giving me light, giving me a sense of peace in what he offered: little things about my father, assurance of a new life in America, a way to maybe move on and feel like I belonged in the world so forcibly unjust.
But each staggered breath filled the hotel room in an uneasy, lonely way. Amir was not my protector. I knew that then, sitting in the dark, watching him sleep. He was nothing more than a man in a procession, leading me back down into hell.
Though my eyes were now dry, I was filled with deep, dark sadness. I could feel the orphanage calling my name, I could feel Amir’s hands escorting me back into the pit of despair. We’ll go home together, he said. You’ll see. It’ll be alright.
When my father looked out the window and saw the black car of the Taliban pull into the drive, he looked down at me with his kind, green eyes, and said “It’ll be alright, Sohrab. Just wait here.”
I noticed, again, the hint of light fallen over the hotel room. My eyes lingered on the strip of bright yellow, illuminating the door to the bathroom. It was a glowing, golden stream in midst of a dark abyss.
I stood up, tiredly, and walked over to it, stepping through pools of darkness, wading my way through the dismal reminders and memories, and made my way to the flaxen haven.
I closed the bathroom door, turned the light on. It clicked with a warm buzz, and soon I was immersed light, feeling like a moth when it approaches a street lamp.
I touched the cool end of the razor sitting on the sink. I noticed it yesterday after Amir had taken it out and used it. The blackness in my chest fluttered with a palpitation of hope mixed with uncertainty.
While I waited for the bath to fill with warm, liquid bliss, I took out the polaroid in my pocket, the one Amir gave me, the one of his half brother, of my father. I studied the picture, my hands starting to shake, the dark, lifeless feeling in my heart growing, expanding like a sponge in water.
Soon father. I whispered aloud. I will see you and mama soon.
I took the razor and got into the warm bath. My hands were shaking so violently, I wasn’t sure if I could do it right. One of the children at the orphanage had told me how. Warm water. A sharp blade. The vein under your thumb. Wait.
I can’t remember much. It hurt, not as much as I thought it would, but enough. I left the arm in the warm water, watched the red life escape into the pool of purgatory. With the life left all the badness, all the pain, all the hands on me, all my sins, all the gunfire, all the lies. It seeped into the water, clearing out everything that so consumed me, that made me so dirty and dark. I felt the life leave, cleansing itself as it mixed into the warm saturation.
Maybe, I thought, Amir Agha was correct. Maybe it would be, finally, alright.
As I let the blood seep from my body, I felt the dejecting feeling slightly dismiss, lifting me up out of this disgusting world of darkness.
That was when, finally, I felt clean, and not dark, but, noor.
This is my final project for a class I’m taking called “Eastern Studies”. We read contemporary literature in order to better understand the problems facing the Middle East. We have just finished The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini. There were several project options; I chose the creative writing one. My task was to write a section of the book in another character’s point of view, keeping Hosseini’s style… so obviously I chose the suicide scene. If you haven’t read The Kite Runner, I suggest you give it a go. It’s pretty spectacular.