After the ceremony, Duardu’s many widows lined up to offer Mortenson and McCown their condolences. They pressed eggs into the Americans’ hdans, begging them to carry these tokens of grief to the faraway sisters they longed to comfort themselves, the windows of New York Village.
Mortenson looked at the pile of freshly laid eggs trembling in his palms. He cupped his large hands around them protectively as he headed back toward the Land Cruiser, thinking about the children who must have been on planes, and his own children at home. Now, he thought, walking through the crowd of well-wishers, over a carpet of cracked apricot husks that littered the ground, unable, even, to wave good-bye, everything in the world was fragile.