Though there had been moments of beauty in it Mariam knew that life for most part had been unkind to her.But as she walked the final twenty paces,she could not help but wish for more of it.She wished she could see Laila again , wished to hear the clangor of her laugh , to sit with her once more for a pot of chai and leftover halwa under a starlit sky. She mourned that she would never see Aziza grow up , would not see the beautiful young woman that she would oneday become ,would not get to paint her hands with henna and toss noqul candy at her wedding . She would never play with Aziza's children. She would have liked that very much , to be old and play with Aziza's children.Mariam wished for so much in those final moments. Yet as she closed her eyes , it was not regret any longer but a sensation of abundant peace that wshed over her. She thought of her entry into this world , the harami child of a lowly villager , an unintended thing , a pitiable , regrettable accident. A weed , And yet she was leaving the wolrd as a woman who had loved and been loved back.She was leaving it as a friend , a companion , a guardian.A mother. A person of consequence at last. No. It was no so bad , Mariam thought , that she should die this way. Not so bad.This was a legitimate end to a life of illegitimate beginnings. pg. 360
I found it idiotically distressing that a sharp finger whistle could no longer summon them outdoors into a playful twilight. An ancient discovery was now mine to make: to leave is to make nothing less than a mortal action. The suspicion came to me for the fist time that they were figures of my dreaming, like the loved dead: my mother and all these vanished boys. And after Mama's cremation I could not rid myself of the notion that she had been placed in the furnace of memory even when alive and, by extension, that one's dealings with others, ostensibly vital, at a certain point become dealings with the dead.
I will always remember the moment I turned to head off down that road [...], the moment of my leaving: it was the first, and maybe the last feeling of true freedom I've ever known. [...] I couldn't help smiling. It was like my whole life was opening up before me. Then I swung my pack on to my back and just started walking.
But that was all bravado. Already - how had it come about so quickly - desire had begotten need. A few whispered words (perhaps he didn't mean them) and I was ready to follow. It was worse to think of staying behind, to grind one day upon another. Nothing to hold me here. None to regret my leaving, save Az.