"I'm sorry to have bothered you," Mariam said, weeping soundlessly into the phone. She
saw Jalil waving to her, skipping from stone to stone as he crossed the stream, his pockets
swollen with gifts. All the times she had held her breath for him, for God to grant her more
time with him. "Thank you," Mariam began to say, but the man at the other end had already
Rasheed was looking at her. Mariam shook her head.
"Useless," he said, snatching the phone from her. "Like daughter, like father."
On their way out of the lobby, Rasheed walked briskly to the coffee table, which was now
abandoned, and pocketed the last ring of jelabi. He took it home and gave it to Zalmai.