Mariam hardly leaves her bedroom the first few days after moving into Rasheed’s home. She arises for early morning prayers and gets back into bed while Rasheed washes and prepares for work. On some days, after Rasheed leaves for work, Mariam goes downstairs to the kitchen and looks at the grease-stained counters and stove. She feels “like an intruder on someone else’s life.” Mariam paces the house and feels the nausea associated with homesickness. Her anxiety increases near the evening of each day when she knows that Rasheed will be making his way home. He enters her room, and Mariam pretends to be sleeping. When Rasheed persists, Mariam acknowledges him, and he sits to tell her about his day at the shoe workshop. One week later, Rasheed tells Mariam that she must unpack her suitcase and start behaving like a wife.
The next morning, Mariam unpacks and begins cleaning the house and cooking meals. She leaves the house to go to the communal tandoor to bake bread, and along the way, she listens to the chatter of the neighborhood women as they talk of family life and responsibility. In the tandoor line, Mariam notices the other women staring at her, and she becomes nervous. Then one of the women, Fariba, approaches and asks if she is Rasheed’s new wife. After a brief introduction, the other women then overwhelm Mariam with questions, and Fariba must pull the women away. Mariam runs off, tripping in the street, unable to find her own house.
When Rasheed returns home after work, he does not notice the cleanliness of the house, but he compliments Mariam’s cooking. Rasheed offers to show Mariam around Kabul the next day, and he also tells her that he believes it honorable for a woman’s looks to be her...
(The entire section contains 478 words.)
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