A man's heart is a wretched, wretched thing, Mariam. It isn't like a mother's womb. It won't bleed, it won't stretch to make room for you. I'm the only one who loves you!
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Then I think of all the tricks, all the minutes all the hours and days and weeks and months and years waiting for me. All of it without them. And I can't breathe then, like someone's stepping on my heart, Laila. So weak I just want to collapse somewhere.
I'm so afraid. Because I'm so profoundly happy, Dr. Rasul. Happiness like this is frightening. They only let you be this happy if they're preparing to take something from you.
Years later, I learned an English word for the creature that Assef was, a word for which a good Farsi equivalent does not exist: sociopath.
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