I became what I am today at the age of twelve, on a frigid overcast day in the winter of 1975. I remember the precise moment, crouching behind a crumbling mud wall, peeking into the alley near the frozen creek. That was a long time ago, but it’s wrong what they say about the past, I’ve learned, about how you can bury it. Because the past claws its way out. Looking back now, I realize I have been peeking into that deserted alley for the last twenty-six years. Ch. 1
Ali and Sanaubar had little in common, least of all their respective appearances. While Sanaubar’s brilliant green eyes and impish face had, rumor has it, tempted countless men into sin, Ali had a congenital paralysis of his lower facial muscles, a condition that rendered him unable to smile and left him perpetually grim-faced. It was an odd thing to see the stone-faced Ali happy, or sad, because only his slanted brown eyes glinted with a smile or welled with sorrow. People say that eyes are windows to the soul. Never was that more true than with Ali, who could only reveal himself through his eyes. I have heard that Sanaubar’s suggestive stride and oscillating hips sent men to reveries of infidelity. Ch. 2
Then he would remind us that there was a brotherhood between people who had fed from the same breast, a kinship that not even time could break. Hassan and I fed from the same breasts. We took our first steps on the same lawn in the same yard. And, under the same roof, we spoke our first words.
Mine was Baba.
His was Amir. My name.
Looking back on it now, I think the foundation for what happened in the winter of 1975—and all that followed—was already laid in those first words (11). Ch. 2
Children aren't coloring books. You don't get to fill them with your favorite colors.- Rahim Khan Ch. 3
With me as the glaring exception, my father molded the world around him to his liking. The problem, of course, was that Baba saw the world in black and white. And he got to decide...
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