Mumtaz lifts my head from the pillow, places the pills on my tongue, then brings a glass of water to my lips.
I swallow, and for a moment, I love her.
I love her like a mother, for giving me the medicine that will stop the fever and the sweating and the chills and the shaking. I love her for not throwing me out on the street, for caring for me. ((128.TheCostofaCure.19-21)
Lakshmi is sick, probably because of an STI (sexually transmitted infection), though we never really find out. And only Mumtaz has the power to help or harm her. Why does Mumtaz choose to help Lakshmi? Does she really care about Lakshmi, or is Lakshmi just imagining the concern? And why might Lakshmi say that she loves the woman who has forced her to do unspeakable things?