Jumping ahead two years to January 1989, Laila is almost 11 years old. She, her parents, and Tariq watch as the last Soviet soldiers leave Kabul. Both she and Tariq have matured, and Tariq's father has suffered a heart attack, leaving his family feeling anxious and downtrodden. On the bus ride home from watching the convoy, the adults discuss their feelings about the political climate and suggest that the current leader, Najibullah, is just a puppet for the Soviets, and that nothing substantial will change. Later that day, Laila and Tariq go to the movies. During a wedding scene, Tariq says he'll never get married and Laila tries to hide her disappointment, as she's developed deeper feelings for Tariq. They watch a kissing scene and both feel awkward and tense after it ends. In two succinct scenes, Hosseini establishes that both Afghanistan as well as Laila and Tariq are at a
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