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HOME > Classical Novels > A Thousand Splendid Suns > Part Three Chapter 27.
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Part Three Chapter 27.
MadamDo you know who I am?"The girl's eyes fluttered"Do you know what has happened?"The girl's mouth quivered. She closed her eyes. Swallowed.
Her hand grazed her left cheek. She mouthed something.
Mariam leaned in closer.
"This ear," the girl breathed. "I can't hear."* * *For the first "week, the girl did little but sleep, with help fromthe pink pills Rasheed paid for at the hospital. She murmuredin her sleep. Sometimes she spoke gibberish, cried out, calledout names Mariam did not recognize. She wept in her sleep,grew agitated, kicked the blankets off, and then Mariam had tohold her down. Sometimes she retched and retched, threw upeverything Mariam fed her.
When she wasn't agitated, the girl was a sullen pair of eyesstaring from under the blanket, breathing out short littleanswers to Mariam and Rasheed's questions. Some days shewas childlike, whipped her head side to side, when Mariam,then Rasheed, tried to feed her. She went rigid when Mariamcame at her with a spoon. But she tired easily and submittedeventually to their persistent badgering. Long bouts of weepingfollowed surrender.
Rasheed had Mariam rub antibiotic ointment on the cuts onthe girl's face and neck, and on the sutured gashes on hershoulder, across her forearms and lower legs. Mariam dressedthem with bandages, which she washed and recycled. She heldthe girl's hair back, out of her face, when she had to retch.
"How long is she staying?" she asked Rasheed.
"Until she's better. Look at her. She's in no shape to go.
Poor thing."* * *It was Rasheed who found the girl, who dug her out frombeneath the rubble.
"Lucky I was home," he said to the girl. He was sitting on afolding chair beside Mariam's bed, where the girl lay. "Luckyfor you, I mean. I dug you out with my own hands. Therewas a scrap of metal this big-" Here, he spread his thumb andindex finger apart to show her, at least doubling, in Mariam'sestimation, the actual size of it. "This big. Sticking right out ofyour shoulder. It was really embedded in there. I thought I'dhave to use a pair of pliers.
But you're all right. In no time, you'll benau socha. Good asnew."It was Rasheed who salvaged a handful of Hakim's books.
"Most of them were ash. The rest were looted, I'm afraid."He helped Mariam watch over the girl that first week. Oneday, he came home from work with a new blanket and pillow.
Another day, a bottle of pills.
"Vitamins," he said.
It was Rasheed who gave Laila the news that her friendTariq's house was occupied now.
"A gift," he said. "From one of Sayyaf s commanders to threeof his men. A gift. Ha!"The threemen were actually boys with suntanned, youthfulfaces. Mariam would see them when she passed by, alwaysdressed in their fatigues, squatting by the front door of Tariq'shouse, playing cards and smoking, their Kalashnikovs leaningagainst the wall. The brawny one, the one with the self-satisfied,scornful demeanor, was the leader. The youngest was also thequietest, the one who seemed reluctant to wholeheartedly............
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