In the morning, Kathy and Adnan drive to the prison before eight and gather in the waiting room. They wait until one p.m., when Kathy is told to wait for Zeitoun outside.
The last step before Zeitoun’s freedom only underlines the senseless bureaucracy in his captivity.
Zeitoun is in his cell praying when a guard calls to him. Zeitoun thinks that the guard can wait until his prayers have finished. When he’s done, the guard tells him that he’s getting out today. “What?” Zeitoun says, and the guard tells him to hurry up.
Zeitoun has no way of knowing that freedom is awaiting him, and he’s reached the point where he embraces any minor possibility to rebel against his helplessness.
A white bus arrives at the gate, and as Kathy watches, her husband steps down onto the pavement. He’s lost twenty pounds and his hair is almost all white. Kathy begins to cry, cursing those responsible. When Zeitoun sees Kathy he smiles and they try to embrace, but a guard yells at her to stay put until a few minutes later, when he is free. As they embrace, Kathy notices how thin and fragile he seems. His eyes are the same, though they look tired and defeated.
The reunion between Kathy and Zeitoun is bittersweet, both joyful and frustrating, as Kathy sees physical evidence of how much Zeitoun has been mistreated and how much he has suffered during his imprisonment. Kathy has always loved Zeitoun’s eyes, so it’s particularly difficult to witness the defeat in them.
The three of them leave as quickly as possible, not trusting that the officers won’t change their minds. Ten minutes later, Ahmad calls Kathy’s phone and she tells him the good news, passing the phone to Zeitoun. Ahmad can only repeat, “Praise God.”
Ahmad has been the family member most directly involved in finding and freeing Zeitoun, but he too has little to say other than to express relief that Zeitoun is alive and safe.