A Thousand Splendid Suns

(Nancy Kaufman) #1

orphaned by a rocket as she was. Laila cannot bring herself to say it. It's hard to rejoice. It
seems hypocritical, perverse.

That night, Zalmai wakes up coughing. Before Laila can move, Tariq swings his legs over
the side of the bed. He straps on his prosthesis and walks over to Zalmai, lifts him up into
his arms. From the bed, Laila watches Tariq's shape moving back and forth in the darkness.
She sees the outline of Zalmai's head on his shoulder, the knot of his hands at Tariq's neck,
his small feet bouncing by Tariq's hip.

When Tariq comes back to bed, neither of them says anything. Laila reaches over and
touches his face. Tariq's cheeks are wet.

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