I thought often of my father during that season of my loneliness, and I began to study French. I had picked up some vocabulary from my mother, mostly out of curiosity, but my curiosity became an obsession. With laborious effort, I translated most of the lines he had written in his diary. One of his poems moved me in a way that was difficult to describe. I suppose, for the first time, I understood the life of a foreigner in an unyielding land.


I lay upon a ridge

In the heart of Hindu Kush

And watched a single eagle

Glide silent over me

And on the restless draft

I joined my hermit brother

And drifted gently down

The lonely valley


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