I shook hands with each man in turn to seal the deal. The exchange was a little more formal and solemn than I’d expected it to be, and I had to clench my jaw to stifle a laugh. And those attitudes, their gravitas and my recusant impulse to laugh, registered the difference between us. For all that I liked Salman, Sanjay, and the others—and the truth was that I loved Nazeer, and owed him my life—the mafia was, for me, a means to an end and not an end in itself. For them, the mafia was a family, an infrangible bond that held them from minute to minute and all the way to the dying breath. Their solemnity expressed that kin-sacred obligation from eye to eye and hand to hand, but I knew they never believed it was like that for me. They took me in and worked with me—the white guy, the wild gora who went to the war with Abdel Khader Khan—but they expected me to leave them, sooner or later, and return to the other world of my memory and my blood.

« I shook hands with each... »

A quote saved on Nov. 5, 2015.


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