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Chapter Six

Chapter Six

Roya’s family is on their way to the farm. The days pass slowly, and Shireen does not write. Finally, Roya decides to write to her. She takes the letter to Reza and asks him to deliver it to her the next time he is in town. He asks her if everything is okay and she says she is just angry being so isolated and safe while thousands demonstrate their beliefs. He asks her if this is the influence of Mr. Elmi. She tells him he resigned and Reza is glad. He tells her not to get involved in anything and gets very angry. She says they wouldn’t touch Pedar’s children anyway, but he tells her to grow up and realize they’ll take anyone down who goes against the crown. They continue to argue and he tells her he will deliver the letter if she promises not to get mixed up with Shireen Payan and drives off. Roya stands there dumbfounded because she never told him her last name.

Zahra tells Roya she is to be married. Roya brings it up to her family and Pedar offers to throw her a big wedding, all expenses on him.

The Shah has presented a new land reform meant to help the workers. It will only allow land owners to own one plantation and any more land they have is divided up equally among the farmers. Pedar stops referring to the king as “His Majesty”, and calls him Shah, like everyone else.

The morning of the wedding Zahra gets henna done to her hands and arms. She is dressed in a colorful skirt, scarf, and jacket. She walks down the aisle to tribal music, and the women dance around her. Roya is happy and can imagine Zahra with a baby beside her man, never questioning her destiny.

The families arrive back home to find the garden in a state of chaos. Pedar asks where Mammad, the gardener, is and their aunt replies she gave him some time off because he is having troubles at home. When Pedar asks what is wrong she replies that SAVAK took his son. Pedar is outraged and tells Akbar to turn the car around and leaves. Roya asks her aunt what is wrong, but she gives a vague answer. Later that night, Roya recalls that Shireen had said he looked like a friend of Ali’s and her heart sinks.

Pedar calls to say he will not be home for dinner. Roya overhears the servants talking. The cook says three men in a jeep arrived and the son went to hide in the tool shed. They held a gun to his mother ordering her to hand him over. Upon hearing this, the boy turned himself in. They hit him with a gun and dragged him to the car. The mother screamed to wait for his father, but by the time Mammad got home it was too late.

In the morning, Mammad returns and Roya goes out to watch him clip hedges. He tells her after a while it should not have happened. All he expected of his son was to finish school and have a better life than his father, but he kept bad company. She is too afraid to ask Pedar what happened, but no one is talking about it. The next day, Akbar tells her he was released and sent to his mother. She asks how he is doing. Akbar replies he doesn’t know what they did to him, but he sure walks funny now. Roya never saw him again.


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