Register Saturday | June 15 | 2019

My Man from Kazakhstan

On Day Seven of the Toronto International Film Festival, Celia finally finds true love

As I sat in the bar at Sutton Place Hotel and took in my surroundings for the very last time, I could feel my eyes welling up. The Toronto International Film Festival had been a wonderful experience; I had met so many darling people that it was going to be terribly hard to say goodbye. My hand was trembling as I set to work on the entry for this blog.

"It's going to be OK, Celia," whispered my new friend at the next table, proffering a Marlboro light.

I looked up and smiled gratefully.

"Thank you, Mr. Penn."

Sipping wine and chewing the end of my pencil, I looked out the window to see the sky was appropriately grey. I started and stopped writing a thousand times, unable to find the words to summarize this life-changing week of close encounters with the stars. I did not resent my editor for sending me back to the literary circuit. I did feel that the threat of dismissal if I stayed a minute longer in Toronto was quite uncalled for.

A Fed-Ex messenger boy interrupted my thoughts by dropping off three hardcover tomes with me in the bar. "To be reviewed by Friday," read the note inside the envelope. I let out a sigh. Reluctantly, I tossed my People, Hello! and Star magazines in the recycling, and stuffed the books into my carpet bag for the long journey home.

Minutes later, I felt a tap on the shoulder. My ride had arrived; I looked up and smiled.

"Celia, how arrre you?"

"Bearing up, Borat...better now that you are here."

I first met Borat earlier this week at the gala screening of his instructive new documentary: Borat: Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan. When the projector broke down 15 minutes into the screening, and Michael Moore hopped up on stage to see what foul play the Kazakh government had engaged in, we got talking. Sadly, Borat was whisked away before long to speak to the audience.

We did not bump into one another again until today in the lobby, where I was adjusting the tops of my stockings. On seeing him, it dawned on me that, over the past week, I had been so preoccupied with Hollywood's most handsome that I had almost missed out on this fine bearded specimen of a man. Remembering me from the gala, he came over to talk. Borat told me all about the old world values of his country, and I was moved by the simple pleasures his people enjoyed. As well as loving animals, he said he was very close to his family-especially his sisters. It all boded well for me as his new woman.

From the Sutton Place Hotel bar, Borat took me by the hand and lead me outside to where our carriage was waiting. I felt like Cinderella stepping inside; I was living the dream. But then once we got onto the highway I noticed something most alarming.

"Darling!" I cried, pointing before us. "Why is your carriage being pulled by three women?"

Borat looked out of the carriage, then returned his gaze to me.

"What the prrroblem?"

"This is just so wrong!"

He looked from them to me and grinned sweetly.

"You arre right, Celia," he said. "This all wrrrong."

He took my hand and led me down from the carriage, where he appeared to be unbridling the women. But before I could stop him he had pulled me over and attached me along with the others to a leather harness.

"Go fasterrr with fourrr women!"

It is with blistered feet and a heavy heart that I complete this farewell message from a stable in Belleville, where we will spend the rest of the night before getting back on the highway to Montreal at first light. My stable mates smell like overripe Camembert and I understand not a word they say. I can see Borat through the window, pressing up against a buxom blonde barmaid inside the local tavern. As Oscar Wilde would say, "The secret of life is to appreciate the pleasure of being terribly, terribly deceived."