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Written by Fariha Islam
He made me think of home—perhaps home is not a place but simply an irrevocable condition.
For David, home has always been something to escape from. Home, for him, signifies a situation which has no remedy; something out of one’s control. He feels that a passerby sailor made him think of home. It could be a romantic statement but sadly for David, home is something quite the opposite. He wished he could be more like the sailor which would have made his father very happy but he was nothing like him and that made him want to run away just like he ran from home.
He seemed—somehow—younger than I had ever been, and blonder and more beautiful, and he wore his masculinity as unequivocally as he wore his skin.
The passerby sailor in his uniform stood before David as an epitome of masculinity which he himself fails to acquire. The handsome sailor’s beauty, youth and masculinity makes David envy him, perhaps. He looks at the sailor and sees all the things he is not and has never been but were always expected of him. Always being torn between his feminine and masculine side, David envied the man who rocked his masculinity effortlessly and was comfortable with his own skin.
And I resented this: resented being called an American (and resented resenting it) because it seemed to make me nothing more than that, whatever that was; and I resented being called not an American because it seemed to make me nothing.
Giovanni doesn’t seem to like Americans very much. So whenever he was angry with David, he would blame his American-ness and whenever he was happy with David, he praised his lack of American-ness. David resented being reduced to merely his nationality but he was bothered about it offending him too much as well. Being labelled an American meant he was only as good as any other American and being praised as a non-American seemed to strip him off his very identity. None of which particularly amused David.
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