Last Updated on April 16, 2020, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 1004
Unable to sleep that night, Layla takes a walk. She is surprised when Compass Tattoo finds her and merely escorts her home instead of reporting her for being out. Gathering the courage to question why he is not turning her in to the Director, Layla is further surprised...
(The entire section contains 1004 words.)
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Unable to sleep that night, Layla takes a walk. She is surprised when Compass Tattoo finds her and merely escorts her home instead of reporting her for being out. Gathering the courage to question why he is not turning her in to the Director, Layla is further surprised that Tattoo knows her name. He tells her that “Things aren’t always as they seem.” He identifies himself as Corporal Reynolds and warns her not to venture out again, because there are guards who will shoot her if she does.
Layla shares her concerns with Ayesha that the president will not free them, because he sees Muslim Americans as threats. She compares their situation to that of fish caught in a net, drowning but not aware. She intends to escape.
She shows Ayesha her infinity necklace, a present from David, and ponders the idea that perhaps David could help them.
Ayesha wonders if David has thought of converting to Islam to be with Layla, who says they’ve never discussed the issue. Many people of David’s father’s family were victims of the Holocaust, and his mother’s family were refugees from Yemen. They have endured so much in the past in order to continue practicing their Jewish faith that Layla does not expect David to convert. She reminds Ayesha of how dangerous that would be and points out that there are no white people at Mobius. The two agree that the darker one’s skin or the more foreign-sounding one’s name, the more bigotry and hatred one has to endure in today’s society.
Later, as she walks with her parents, Layla searches the area for a way out. Turning to observe the guards, she notices Corporal Reynolds looking at her, and he turns away.
Layla thinks about her new life at Mobius: five-minute showers, rationed food, cameras and guards, no freedom. She misses David and still intends to contact him. People have begun to disappear from the camp, so Layla knows she must act soon.
Ayesha has been spending time with Soheil, and Layla is happy for them.
Seeing Corporal Reynolds, Layla forms an impromptu plan. Instructing Ayesha to comfort her, she begins crying. Corporal Reynolds immediately inquires about the problem. Ayesha explains that Layla misses her boyfriend and badly wants to talk to him. He brings Layla to a phone and instructs her not to tell anyone.
Unfortunately, David is in class and does not answer the call. Reynolds notices Layla is angry, and when he asks what’s wrong, she launches into a tirade about the camp, the president, and the guards who let it all happen. Suddenly realizing her mistake, she steps back, expecting Reynolds to turn her in. He doesn’t.
Layla notices a pained look in Reynolds’s eye. He lets her finish her rant, then escorts her home.
Trying to give Soheil and Ayesha some privacy, Layla sits away from them in the garden. When it’s time for dinner, she tells them to go on ahead and sits alone thinking.
Reynolds approaches, and Layla is afraid that he has told the Director about her. He reassures her by touching her elbow, which frightens her. Apologizing, he gives her an old flip phone to call David on. He escorts her to her trailer, and she walks to her room to get away from the cameras. David agrees to come to Mobius.
Layla thanks Reynolds and asks why he is helping her. He responds, “I have my reasons.” He tells her to call him Jake and warns her not to make trouble. He cautions that if she’s planning something, she must stop, or she could be killed.
No news from the outside reaches the camp, and no news from within reaches the outside. The government censors everything.
Layla’s parents are upset because someone saw Layla walking with Reynolds. She explains that he only helped her to call David, and she was not in trouble. They are concerned and warn her to keep a low profile. Layla argues with them, accusing them of giving up. She does not intend to live the rest of her life in prison. Sophia tells her she is too young to understand, but they have lost their rights and power, so they have no choice. Ali tells her silence does not equal weakness. He reminds her of a line from one of his poems:
Only when you open yourself to the heart’s silence can you hear its roar.
Although she does not say it aloud, Layla is determined to talk to David again.
Layla tries to get Jake’s attention by tripping and pretending she hurt her ankle. He comes to help her and agrees to allow her to call David again. Instructing her to wait in her trailer, he returns with a phone.
David is angry that his father refused to help Layla’s family, even though he has State Department contacts who could have assisted them. His father will only help those who are willing to work with the government. David warns Layla about trusting Jake, but she is convinced that he is trustworthy.
At midnight, Layla makes her way to the garden, where Jake is to meet her. He has sent the other guards away, so David and Layla will have five minutes together.
Layla balks at David’s suggestion that her family help the government in order to be released from Mobius. Layla and her parents will never save themselves at the expense of others. David apologizes, explaining that he only suggested the idea because he loves her and wants her safe and with him. They will find another way to freedom.
Jake interrupts, stating that Layla must return home or risk being detected. He tells Layla that he heard everything they said. He understands David’s desperation and divulges that protesters are actively organizing against Mobius. When Layla asks if there is hope, Jake whispers, “Insha’Allah.”