Summary: Chapter 2

Unlike Saeed, Nadia doesn’t get along with her family. Her parents are religious, and encourage her to be quiet and obedient. Nadia’s father is often angry with her for her constant questioning, but he’s never violent. Despite being an unmarried woman, Nadia decides to move out after graduating university, which leads to estrangement from her family. Her new life as a single woman living alone is challenging, but she works at an insurance company to support herself.

Saeed and Nadia go on a date at a Chinese restaurant whose immigrant owners recently left the country for Canada. The food remains good, and the decor feels exotic. Saeed asks Nadia where she would go if she could travel anywhere. She wants to go to Cuba because it makes her think of music and the sea. Saeed would go to Chile to see the Atacama Desert, where the stars are so clear, you can see them move with the earth’s rotation.

After dinner, Nadia invites Saeed over because there are not many safe places for couples to be alone after dark. She adds that they won’t have sex, and Saeed feels shocked at the insinuation that they could have. As they ride to Nadia’s, Nadia on her motorcycle and Saeed on his scooter, they pass by refugees sleeping in the street. They pass through a police checkpoint and a military checkpoint. 

Nadia’s flat lies on the top floor of a building belonging to an old widow. Saeed waits in an alley while Nadia goes upstairs and puts a black robe in a bag. She drops the bag out the window to Saeed, and he puts on the robe to disguise himself as a woman so that he doesn’t arouse suspicion when entering the flat. The pair sit together and smoke marijuana.

In the Shinjuku district of Tokyo, a man sits in a bar, drinking Irish whiskey. He’s never been to Ireland but likes the idea of it. People keep far away from him, as if they sense that he’s a violent man. As he leaves the bar, he notices two Filipina women emerge from an always-locked door behind the bar. He doesn’t like Filipinos in his part of town. His hand goes to his knife, and he follows them.

Nadia’s sense of security shatters when she hears that her cousin died in a truck bomb blast. She doesn’t visit her relatives because she knows her presence will cause a scene. Nadia plans to visit his grave alone, but Saeed offers to go with her. She allows him to come with her early one morning. Saeed offers a prayer, and Nadia puts her hand on the grave without praying. Afterward, they have breakfast at a café, and Nadia feels their relationship has become solid.