"It says here," he said at length, "that you have several siblings. I'm curious. Why haven't any of them opened their homes to you?"
"Oh, they're all friendly enough, and they don't mind a visit now and then, but they're also under tremendous pressure to conform. Having me in their homes would open them to all sorts of accusations about their moral judgment, and that could cost them their jobs. They have their children to consider, and would prefer not to take such risks. As a result, I'm pretty much on my own."
"I don't understand. Why would their judgment be questioned?"
She stared at him as if he were a backward child. "Because I am a single woman."
Green drew a blank. "So?"
"If I may ask, sir, have you been in my country for very long?"
"Not really. I was assigned to this station shortly after I volunteered."
"I see. Well, it is still highly unusual for a mature woman such as myself to be unmarried in my country."
Green smiled contentedly. "But then, that's why we're here. Our mission is to provide safe sanctuary to any woman who needs it, regardless of her marital situation."
"And I am grateful for that. My former employer was not so open-minded."
"Speaking of which," Green said, raising a forefinger, "our objective in offering sanctuary to destitute women is to help them find work. Being productive in God's eyes in very important to us."
"It is not God's eyes that I am concerned about, Mr. Green," she said with enforced calm. "It was not God who fired me, after all."
Green subtly winced. His brow furrowed briefly, and then he shifted the subject. "We" can also offer assistance in reconnecting shattered families. You didn't mention your parents earlier. How do they feel about you?"
"My parents? I don't see how this is relevant to my having a place to sleep tonight."
"We believe that it is. When you walked though our door, it was as if God had led you to seek us out. Our mission is to help you, but in order to do that we need to understand your situation. Your life, indeed your soul, is sacred to us."
Rahila pressed back against her chair. "Sacred," she said.