Summary: Chapter 5

Because of the danger, Saeed and his father can only hold a small funeral for Saeed’s mother, and although people visit them during their bereavement, they cannot stay long. Nadia sleeps on the floor in Saeed’s room. Saeed sleeps on the floor in the sitting room. Saeed’s father sleeps in his own bed, alone for the first time since he was married.

The militants have taken over Saeed’s neighborhood, and the bombing continues. The utilities in the neighborhood go out. One night, as Saeed and Nadia sit together under a blanket for warmth, Saeed remarks on how natural it feels to have Nadia there. 

When Nadia’s neighborhood falls to the militants, she returns to her apartment to salvage some of her belongings. She takes necessities like food and clothing, plus her records and the lemon tree from her porch. On the way back to Saeed’s, militants stop her at a checkpoint, but she bribes them with canned goods. When Saeed’s father sees the lemon tree, he smiles.

Nadia must hide her records because the militants forbid music, and she knows they periodically search citizens’ apartments. One night, militants wake them up to check ID cards. Saeed’s upstairs neighbors have names associated with the religious denomination the militants are hunting, and they are executed. A bloodstain appears on the sitting room ceiling where the neighbor’s blood has dripped through. A few nights later, Saeed sneaks into Nadia’s room and they fool around without having sex. 

Although things become calmer after the militants take the city, the constant presence of bombing drones and public executions remind the citizens how far from peace they are.

Saeed’s father visits his family members every day because their memories of Saeed’s mother helps him feel connected to her.