he’s fighting Hekmatyar, of course, who has the supportof the Pakistanis. Mortal 杭州按摩秀色丝足会所 enemies, those two, Massoud andHekmatyar. Sayyaf, he’s siding with Massoud. And Hekmatyarsupports the Hazaras for now.”As for the unpredictable Uzbek commander Dostum, Rasheedsaid no one knew where he would stand. Dostum had foughtthe Soviets in the 1980s alongside the Mujahideen but haddefected and joined Najibullah’s communist puppet regime afterthe Soviets had left. He had even earned a medal, presentedby Najibullah himself, before defecting once again and returningto the Mujahideen’s side. For the time being, Rasheed said,Dostum was supporting Massoud.
In Kabul, particularly in western Kabul, fires raged, and blackpalls of smoke mushroomed over snow-clad buildings.
Embassies closed down. Schools collapsed In hospital waitingrooms, Rasheed said, the wounded were bleeding to death.
Inoperating rooms, limbs were being amputated 杭州夜生活杭州百花坊 withoutanesthesia.
“But don’t worry,” he said. “You’re safe with me, my flower,mygul. Anyone tries to harm you, I’ll rip out their liver andmake them eat it.”That winter, everywhere Laila turned, walls blocked her way.
She thought longingly of the wide-open skies of her childhood,of her days of going tobuzkashi tournaments with Babi andshopping at Mandaii with Mammy, of her days of running freein the streets and gossiping about boys with Giti and Hasina.
Her days of sitting with Tariq in a bed of clover on the banksof a stream somewhere, trading riddles and candy, watchingthe sun go down.
But thinking of Tariq was treacherous because, before shecould stop, she saw him lying on a bed, far from home, tubespiercing his burned body. Like the bile that kept burning herthroat these days, a deep, paralyzing grief would come risingup Laila’s chest. Her legs would turn to water. 杭州桑拿经理 She would haveto hold on to something.
Laila passed that winter of 1992 sweeping the house,scrubbing the pumpkin-colored walls of the bedroom sheshared with Rasheed, washing clothes outside in a bigcopperlagoon. Sometimes she saw herself as if hovering aboveher own body, saw herself squatting over the rim of thelogoon,sleeves rolled up to the elbows, pink hands wringing soapywater from one of Rasheed’s undershirts. She felt lost then,casting about, like a shipwreck survivor, no shore in sight, onlymiles and miles of water.
When it was too cold to go outside, Laila ambled around thehouse. She walked, dragging a fingernail along the wall, downthe hallway, then back, down the steps, then up, her faceunwashed, hair uncombed. She walked until she ran intoMariam, who shot her a cheerless glance and went back toslicing the stem off a bell pepper and trimming strips of fatfrom meat. 杭州桑拿按摩全套地址 A hurtful silence would fill the room, and Lailacould almost see the wordless hostility radiating from Mariamlike waves of heat rising from asphalt. She would retreat backto her room, sit on the bed, and watch the snow falling.
* * *Rasheed took her to his shoe shop one day.
When they were out together, he walked alongside her, onehand gripping her by the elbow. For Laila, being out in thestreets had become an exercise in avoiding injury. Her eyeswere still adjusting to the limited, gridlike visibility of the burqa,her feet still stumbling over the hem. She walked in perpetualfear of tripping and falling, of breaking an ankle stepping into apothole. Still, she found some comfort in the anonymity thatthe burqa provided. She wouldn’t be recognized this way if sheran into an old acquaintance of hers. She wouldn’t have towatch the surprise in their eyes, or the pity or the glee, athow far she had fallen, at how her lofty 杭州龙凤信息论坛 aspirations had beendashed.
Rasheed’s shop was bigger and more brightly lit than Lailahad imagined. He had her sit behind his crowded workbench,the top of which was littered with old soles and scraps ofleftover leather. He showed her his hammers, demonstratedhow the sandpaper wheel worked, hisvoice ringing high andproud-He felt her belly, not through the shirt but under it, hisfingertips cold and rough like bark on her distended skin. LailarememberedTariq’s hands, soft but strong, the tortuous, fullveins on the backs of them, which she had always foundsoappealingly masculine.
“Swelling so quickly,” Rasheed said.”It’s going to be a big boy.
My sonwill beapahlawanl Like his father.”Laila pulled down her shirt. It filled her with fear when hespoke likethis.
“Howare things with Mariam?”She said they were fine.
“Good. Good.”She didn’t tell him that they’d had their first true fight.
It had happened a few days earlier. Laila had gone to thekitchen and found Mariam yanking drawers and slammingthemshut. She was looking, Mariam said, forthe long woodenspoon she used to stir rice.
“Where did you put it?” she said, wheeling around to faceLaila.
“Me?” Laila said “I didn’t take it. I hardly come in here.””I’ve noticed.””Is that an accusation? It’s how you wanted it, remember.
You said you would make the meals. But if you want toswitch-“”So you’re saying it grew little legs and walked out.Teep, teep,teep, teep. Is that what happened,degeh?’
“I’m saying…” Laila said, trying to maintain control. Usually,she could will herself to absorb Mariam’s derision andfinger-pointing. But her ankles had swollen, her head hurt, andthe heartburn was vicious that day. “I am saying that maybeyou’ve misplaced it.””Misplaced it?” Mariam pulled a drawer. The spatulas andknives inside it clanked. “How long have you been here, a fewmonths? I’ve lived in this house for nineteen years,dokhiarjo. Ihave keptthat spoon inthis drawer since you were shitting yourdiapers.””Still,” Laila said, on the brink now, teeth clenched, “it’spossible you put it somewhere and forgot.””And it’spossible you hid it somewhere, to aggravate me.””You’re a sad, miserable woman,” Laila said.
Mariam flinched, then recovered, pursed her lips. “And you’rea whore. A whore and adozd. A thieving whore, that’s whatyou are!”Then there was shouting- Pots raised though not hurled.
They’d called each other names, names that made Laila blushnow. They hadn’t spoken since. Laila was still shocked at howeasily she’d come unhinged, but, the truth was, part of her hadliked it, had liked how it felt to scream at Mariam, to curse ather, to have a target at which to focus all her simmeringanger, her grief.
Laila wondered, with something like insight, if it wasn’t thesame for Mariam.
After, she had run upstairs and thrown herself on Rasheed’sbed. Downstairs, Mariam was still yelling, “Dirt onyour head! Dirt on your head!” Laila had lain on the bed,groaning into the pillow, missing her parents suddenly and withan overpowering intensity she hadn’t felt since those terribledays just after the attack. She lay there, clutching handfuls ofthe bedsheet, until, suddenly, her breath caught. She sat up,hands shooting down to her belly.
The baby had just kicked for the first time.
MadamJbarly one morning the next spring, of 1993, Mariam stood bythe living-room window and watched Rasheed escort the girlout of the house. The girl was tottering forward, bent at thewaist, one arm draped protectively across the taut drum of herbelly, the shape of which was visible through her burqa.
Rasheed, anxious and overly attentive, was holding her elbow,directing her across the yard like a traffic policeman. He madeaWait here gesture, rushed to the front gate, then motioned forthe girl to come forward, one foot propping the gate open.
When she reached him, he took her by the hand, helped herthrough the gate. Mariam could almost hear him say,”Watchyour step, now, my flower, my gul.”They came back early the next evening.
Mariam saw Rasheed enter the yard first. He let the gate goprematurely, and it almost hit the girl on the face. He crossedthe yard in a few, quick steps. Mariam detected a shadow onhis face, a darkness underlying the coppery light of dusk. Inthe house, he took off his coat, threw it on the couch.
Brushing past Mariam, he said in a brusque voice, 杭州足浴特殊服务 “I’m hungry.
Get supper ready.”The front door to the house opened. From the hallway,Mariam saw the girl, a swaddled bundle in the hook of her leftarm. She had one foot outside, the other inside, against thedoor, to prevent it from springing shut. She was stooped overand was grunting, trying to reach for the paper bag ofbelongings that she had put down in order to open the door.
Herface was grimacing with effort. She looked up and sawMariam.
Mariam turned around and went to the kitchen to warmRasheed’smeal.
* * *”Irs like someone is ramming a screwdriver into my ear,”Rasheed said, rubbing his eyes.He was standing in Mariam’sdoor, puffy-eyed, wearing only aiumban tied with a floppyknot.His white hair was straggly, pointing every which way.
“This crying. I can’t stand it.”Downstairs, the girl was walking the baby across the 杭州江干区足浴店可啪 floor,trying to sing to her.
“I haven’t had adecent night’s sleep in twomonths,” Rasheedsaid. “And the room smells like a sewer. There’sshit cloths lyingall over the place. I stepped on onejust the other night.”Mariam smirked inwardly with perverse pleasure.
“Take her outside!” Rasheed yelled over his shoulder. “Can’tyou take her outside?”The singing was suspended briefly.”She’ll catch pneumonia!””It’s summertime!”‘What?
Rasheed clenched his teeth and raised his voice. “I said, It’swarm out!””I’m not taking her outside!”The singing resumed”Sometimes, I swear, sometimes I want to put that thing in abox and let her float down Kabul River. Like baby Moses.”Mariam never heard him call his daughter by the name thegirl had given her, Aziza, the Cherished One. It was alwaysthebaby, or, when he was really exasperated,thai thing.
Some 杭州桑拿全套信息披露 nights, Mariam overheard them arguing. She tiptoed totheir door, listened to him complain about the baby-always thebaby-the insistent crying, the smells, the toys that made himtrip, the way the baby had hijacked Laila’s attentions from himwith constant demands to be fed, burped, changed, walked,held. The girl, in turn, scolded him for smoking in the room,for not letting the baby sleep with them.
There were other arguments waged in voices pitched low.
“The doctor said six weeks.””Not yet, Rasheed. No. Let go. Come on. Don’t do that.””It’s been two months.””Sshi.There. You woke up the baby.” Then moresharply,”Khosh shodi? Happy now?”Mariam would sneak back to her room.