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Chapter Sixteen

Chapter Sixteen

Mitra returned from England with a job waiting for her at the university. Occasionally she and Roya get lunch together. At one particular lunch she brings up to Roya there’s something she needs to tell her. She asks Roya if she ever gave Mr. Elmi any gifts. Roya recalls the painting. Mitra asks if she was in love with him. Roya scoffs. She replies she worshipped him, but as a teacher, not in a loving way. Mitra says he bragged to one of her colleagues about how in love with him Roya was. Roya protests this telling her about Kyan. They talk of the damage Mr. Elmi did way back then, melding students minds in the way he did. Mitra agrees he changed after his bout with SAVAK, but thinks that it happened because of the capture of his son. His son was Fadaiyan and was arrested, so Mr. Elmi became an informant for SAVAK in exchange for his son's freedom.

Later in the library, Nasrin finds Roya and tells her she has something from Shireen. It's notes and transcripts from her visits to Shireen. Nasrin is scared to keep them at her house, and that Shireen wants Roya to read them. Roya says she will take them. The next day Nasrin takes a taxi to her school. She leaves a package of the notes a little at a time on the seat of the taxi and Roya takes the same taxi after she gets out. After dinner, Roya opens it to find transcripts of Nasrin’s visits with Shireen, and little scraps of paper with Shireen’s handwriting on them. They tell broken stories, of the capture, the torture, and the questioning. They are brutal and Roya reads them over and over again, not knowing what to do about them.

Mitra announces her acceptance of a marriage proposal to a colleague and this makes Pedar happy. He has begun showing signs of aging, having terrible coughs at night, and not walking well. Their doctor stops by for a house call and tries to convince him to stop smoking opium. Roya overhears and interrupts, agreeing with the doctor, but Pedar refuses.

Kyan’s letters keep Roya in good spirits. She notices often during her late night shifts young boys will be admitted with terrible wounds with the chart stating they were in a “street fight”. Sometimes they aren’t even formally dismissed. She knows why they are there.

She receives more notes from Nasrin and learns Shireen has seen Behrang, but feels disconnected from him.

Mitra gets married. On the way home from the wedding, Pedar slips some tears and says a girl needs her mother to give her away. Roya comforts him, and Pedar asks her if she felt her presence at the ceremony. Reza replies that he feels her presence all the time, and Pedar is saddened, but proud for this.


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