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A Thousand Splendid Moons by Khalid Hoseinni

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The old woman stared at the girl's plump stomach. She gently felt it, from under the girl's shirt. The girl cringed, as she lowered her èyes. The old woman's touch was coarse, rough and somewhat painful. "Is it your womb?" rasped the old woman, "That is destined to bring my family, a thousand splendid suns?" The girl's shoulders slouched even more. Enduring the presence of a foetus within ones self, was truly what one would call 'torture '. It was the agony of lying beneath someone way older than her. The foetus kicked again, as the fifteen year old girl wiped a tear of agony from the corner of her kohl rimmed eyes. She could feel a princess within her,unborn yet blissful. How she yearned for her princess to stay within her, and not be penetrated by the harsh glare of the real world.
A boy is a sun. A bright, bedazzling hero who brings this new aura of positivity wherever he goes. A boy strengthens relationships. A boy carries the family forward.
A girl is a moon. She glistens in the darkness. Yet, she is unnoticed. People are too busy grieving the disappearance of the sun, to even notice that moon.
I wonder what would have happened, if Mariam had given birth to a boy that day. Would Rasheed have been more cordial to her? Would the strikes and blows be less frequent? What if Tariq's unborn child was Zalmai and not Aziza? Would Rasheed have spat his name out, making it sound vulgar and unimportant?
Laila, Mariam and Aziza. They're all beautiful moons.
Unnoticed, and veiled by the absence of the sun, they aren't ordinary silver moons. They're pale moons. They're blue moons. They say , that even the act of murder is justified , when done gracefully, skilfully and with a believable reason. Mariam had felt Laila's soul slipping from between Rasheed's fingers, and had been forced to kill him. The one moment, between his sudden, astonished, yet softened gaze and the raised shovel suspended midair makes Mariam feel that, maybe, in the last moments of his life, Rasheed did soften down. Such is the heart of a woman. So forgiving and forgetting.
Mariam, Laila and Aziza. They're all moons
But, they aren't ordinary orbs of silver. They're in shades of blue. Such moons are rare. Mariam's blood stained the public square. Laila's tears moistened Tariq's pillow, and Aziza slept secure and happy, proudly cuddled up within the embrace of a good father .
Yet, somehow, the grime of the orphanage still streaks her palms. The moons maybe awe striking and bedazzling. They maybe rare. They maybe one of a kind.
Yet, somehow, they aren't crater free.
Their craters are very deep.





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