A Cup of Friendship by Deborah Rodriguez

By Deborah Rodriguez

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Yazmina struggled to open her door to get away, but she felt a heavy punch in her back that sent her sprawling to the ground. She could taste the blood in her mouth, feel the dirt sting her eyes. She felt the kick in her side, something hard and heavy hitting her head, her face pushed into the ground, then she heard the car speed away as everything went black. The woman’s name was Yazmina, she told the minister’s assistant, and she was from Nuristan, which Sunny knew was an area in the north that bordered the western edge of Pakistan.

Sunny laughed. Halajan was the only Afghan woman Sunny knew who spoke like that, who drank and smoked, a vestige of her life from the pre-Taliban days. How she must feel now, hearing the rumors of their return, Sunny could only guess. A table of regulars called Sunny over, but they were pains in the butt, so she deliberately walked slowly to take their order. One wanted his eggs over easy, but not so easy. Another wanted his hash browns extra crispy but not burned like the last time. And another was upset that the bread hadn’t arrived yet.

But the younger girl had started to cry herself, afraid she’d never see Yazmina again, knowing she could be next. From her pocket she pulled her prayer beads and put them into Yazmina’s hand, clasping it tightly with her two little hands, not wanting to ever let go. “Enough good-byes,” said the man with the brown teeth. ” Yazmina quickly put the beads into her own pocket, gathered her long dress, and sat inside, pulling her legs in after her. Layla ran away, back to the cooking room. ” she called.

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