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HOME > Classical Novels > A Thousand Splendid Suns > Chapter 30.
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Chapter 30.
Laila
The next day,Laila stayed in bed. She was under the blanket inthe morning when Rasheed poked his head in and said hewas going to the barber. She was still in bed when he camehome late in the afternoon, when he showed her his newhaircut, his new used suit, blue with cream pinstripes, and thewedding band he'd bought her.
Rasheed sat on the bed beside her, made a great show ofslowly undoing the ribbon, of opening the box and plucking outthe ring delicately. He let on that he'd traded in Mariam's oldwedding ring for it.
"She doesn't care. Believe me. She won't even notice."Laila pulled away to the far end of the bed. She could hearMariam downstairs, the hissing of her iron.
"She never wore it anyway," Rasheed said.
"I don't want it," Laila said, weakly. "Not like this. You haveto take it back.""Take it back?" An impatient look flashed across his face andwas gone. He smiled. "I had to add some cash too-quite a lot,in fact. This is a better ring, twenty-two-karat gold. Feel howheavy? Go on, feel it. No?" He closed the box. "How aboutflowers? That would be nice. You like flowers? Do you have afavorite? Daisies?
Tulips? Lilacs? No flowers? Good! I don't see the point myself.
I just thought…Now, I know a tailor here in Deh-Mazang. Iwas thinking we could take you there tomorrow, get you fittedfor a proper dress."Laila shook her head.
Rasheed raised his eyebrows.
"I'd just as soon-" Laila began.
He put a hand on her neck. Laila couldn't help wincing andrecoiling. His touch felt like wearing a prickly old wet woolsweater with no undershirt.
"Yes?""I'd just as soon we get it done."Rasheed's mouth opened, then spread in a yellow, toothy grin.
"Eager," he said.
* * *Before Abdul Sharif's visit, Laila had decided to leave forPakistan. Even after Abdul Sharif came bearing his news, Lailathought now, she might have left. Gone somewhere far fromhere. Detached herself from this city where every street cornerwas a trap, where every alley hid a ghost that sprang at herlike a jack-in-the-box. She might have taken the risk.
But, suddenly, leaving was no longer an option.
Not with this daily retching.
This new fullness in her breasts.
And the awareness, somehow, amid all of this turmoil, thatshe had missed a cycle.
Laila pictured herself in a refugee camp, a stark field withthousands of sheets of plastic strung to makeshift poles flappingin the cold, stinging wind. Beneath one of these makeshift tents,she saw her baby, Tariq's baby, its temples wasted, its jawsslack, it............
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