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Meena sighed. "Ah, Zulaikha, the beautiful princess. How you've grown."
"I'm only a girl." I covered my mouth with my filthy chador. "I'm not beautiful."
"Only a girl?" She reached toward me and gently pulled the shawl away from my face. "Nonsense. There's nothing 'only' about being a girl. You must give yourself time. 'Every triumph from patience springs, the happy herald of better things.'"
I had always thought those words were something my mother had shared only with me. How could Meena know them? "That's what my mother used to say."
"Yes." She smiled. "I know. It comes from Yusuf and Zulaikha. Your mother adored the poet Jami. And you. So you will forgive me, Zulaikha-jan, if I cannot accept that you are, as you say, 'only a girl.'"