In Shindand, Kandahar, and Bagram a heavy stone burdens our heart.
Soviet soldiers' song
I WOKE UP in the dark, altogether tired: hands empty and light. Outside shouting over burble of truck engines. Wahidi and Hakenberg were gone, and the Afghans kept making signs that we were leaving. But…Someone led me out of the courtyard and pointed down the hill. “The small house.” I used my mini-flashlight, they yelled after me, I turned it off and found my way in the dark. My boot laces flopped around desperately…no time to tie them. The outhouse: no board, no hole, rocks scattered on the floor. There was no toilet paper here, no water. They used rocks. That was standard. And actually they weren't bad—especially if they were river rocks, smooth and clean. There was a certain pleasure.
When I got back I heard my name being called in the darkness; I followed Wahidi's voice to a large truck and climbed up the side—it was a stakebed—and made out Wahidi and Hakenberg sitting on a big jumble of dim geometric forms. The boxes and bales of cargo had been thrown on, not carefully packed and loaded. The truck started moving. We were underway; everything was OK. 5:40 AM April 10.
It was a cold morning, and Wahidi and Hakenberg were dull and unenthusiastic, huddling up to keep warm. My army coat was a definite advantage here. They motioned me to sit down, though I couldn't see any reason to; it was dark and we were still in Pakistan, but I made myself a comfortable spot. I sat and tied my boots, grinning the whole time. The first lick of light touched the sky now, what the Persians call a wolf tail sky, according to Burton. I was cold and tired and but exultant. We were on our way!
We lurched around crumbling hills toward the border along a track that may or may not have been as good as an Oregon logging road; our average speed was only twenty or twenty-five. After an hour or so the sun came up and pale blue sky stretched from horizon to horizon without a cloud. Wahidi and