Summary: Chapter 4
Nadia and Saeed have no way to contact each other. Their evening class has finished, Nadia’s flat doesn’t have a landline, and Saeed’s landline has stopped working. Saeed tries the burger place they used to frequent with no luck. The next time he checks the burger place, he finds it boarded up. Because he knows Nadia works for an insurance company, he spends time at work trying to call different insurance companies. He can only get the numbers through the phone operator, who can only give out two numbers at a time because of the high volume of calls.
Nadia panic-buys shelf-stable groceries on her lunch break, eschewing the vegetables she prefers. Eventually the government sets a limit on how much people can buy at a time. One weekend, Nadia goes to the bank at dawn to withdraw as much cash as possible. The line already is huge and the crowd oppressive. A man tries to fondle her through her clothes until authorities divide the crowd into men and women. Finally, after lunch, Nadia has her turn with the teller. When she returns home, Saeed is waiting for her. Heedless of the danger, she takes him upstairs. Saeed has brought Nadia a kerosene stove, matches, candles, and water purification tablets. He jokes that he couldn’t find flowers. Nadia asks him if he has a gun.
Nadia wants to have sex with Saeed to get the bank incident out of her head, but Saeed still doesn’t want to. They kiss for a while. Nadia asks Saeed if he wants to get married. He does, but Nadia isn’t sure. Saeed says okay. When Saeed leaves, Nadia gives him her work contact number, a spare key to her flat, and a robe so he can sneak in even if she isn’t there. After he leaves, Nadia hears gunfire in the distance.
That night, a brave man waits by the light of his phone’s flashlight. He observes a man appear from the blackness of a door. The second man carries an assault rifle. The brave man motions for the second man to go into the stairwell of the building and then continues his vigil. The second man soon joins the fighting. The militants now match the government’s strength. Neighborhoods quickly fall to the militants, and people start to disappear. Nadia passes by her family’s home only to find it abandoned. For a while, Nadia and Saeed’s neighborhoods remain under government control.
Saeed’s boss has to close the business. At Nadia’s office, the paychecks stop coming, so everyone leaves, often taking valuable items with them. Nadia absconds with two laptops.
Windows become things to fear because people can die from the glass shrapnel created when they shatter. Saeed’s family pushes furniture and bookcases up against their windows as shields. Nadia covers hers with tape and garbage bags. Rumors begin to spread about doors that can transport people anywhere in the world. Saeed and Nadia dismiss these rumors but still start looking at doors differently.
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