The Iranian pharmacologist was exactly where he wanted to be: in a windowless, acrid-smelling room on the 12th floor of Brigham and Women’s Hospital, delicately suctioning pink liquid from a dish of cells. His mind was elsewhere, though.
One moment, Soheil Saeedi was here, in Boston, pipetting chemicals, trying to figure out why a molecule went from cardiovascular boon to burden, and the next he was back in Iran with his wife, wandering in the shade of her father’s kiwi orchard. He’d be jotting calculations on a paper towel when suddenly he’d remember her face. That was enough to set him adrift, to remind him yet again that for seven months they’d only been able to see each other through a screen; that for seven months, theirs had been a marriage by smartphone.