In this chapter, the book shifts from the past tense to the present tense.
Laila and Tariq are now married. They live in Muree and enjoy a comfortable life with Zalmai and Aziza. Tariq's goat Alyona provides food, and his home even has hot water and modern plumbing.
Laila, Zalmai, and Aziza accompany Tariq while he works at the hotel, helping him with small tasks.
Tariq and Aziza bond immediately, but Zalmai is still distant after the loss of his father. Everyone is happy, but they're still emotionally weary after what they've gone through.
That September, Tariq learns that Massoud, one of the original leaders of the Mujahideen, has been assassinated.
Two days later, Tariq and Laila are at the hotel when they see a group of people surrounding a TV, watching a news broadcast. It's a BBC report on the September 11 terrorist attacks.
Soon, the reporters begin talking about the Taliban and Osama bin Laden. Laila and Tariq learn that the US has declared war on Afghanistan.
One night, Tariq suggests that Afghanistan might be better off after this war. Laila is too scarred by her experience with war to agree.
Things are beginning to stabilize in Afghanistan in 2002. The Taliban is out of power, and the presence of the ISAF gives citizens some degree of security.
Things are good in Murree as well, but Laila is restless and tells Tariq that she wants to go back to Kabul help rebuild. He agrees. Laila has one more request, however: she wants to visit Herat, Mariam's hometown, on the way back.
After an emotional goodbye and a long bus ride, they arrive in Herat. Tariq spends the day in the city with the kids while Laila takes a cab to Gul Daman, the village where Mariam was raised.
First, Laila visits the home of Mullah Faizullah. She meets his son, Hamza, who tells her that the Mullah has passed. Laila tells Hamza what happened to Mariam.
Hamza leads Laila to the house where Mariam grew up. Laila walks through the now-abandoned home alone, imaging what it would have looked like when Mariam lived there.
After Laila's finished, Hamza gives her a tin box. He says that Jalil gave it to him in the hopes of getting it to Mariam.
Laila opens the box back at the hotel. There are several things inside. There's a cassette copy of Pinocchio. There's also a letter to Mariam from Jalil in which he apologizes for his lack of courage and tells her how much he truly loved her as a daughter.
The last item in the box shocks Laila—it's Mariam's portion of Jalil's inheritance.
Laila and her family now live in Kabul. Laila used Mariam's money to fund Zaman's orphanage, where she and Tariq now also work. There is still the threat of war in Kabul, but things are improving.
At the end of the book, we learn that Laila is pregnant with a new child and that the whole family regularly debates baby names. They know better than to debate girl names, though. If it's a girl, Laila already knows that her name will be Mariam.