Okay Olivia has my dream teen job – working at a cinema. I envy her the constant surrounds of delectable scented popcorn and the deliciousness of new movies screening every week. It is my idea of heaven, if you discount the sticky carpeting and the stigma of attending a movie alone (I still argue that it makes no difference if you are accompanied or otherwise). Free popcorn? I would so be there, it’s one of the foods that I slot into the ‘smells better than it tastes” category even though it tastes pretty darned good. Olivia’s car sounds marginally cleaner than my own and I am glad to have company in the disgracefully maintained car interior club.
We meet Olivia’s little sister, Laney, a heavy set girl who is intent on running a 5K. Good on her but seriously, running is only an acceptable activity for me when someone is chasing you, not as a pastime. One of the reasons for me not running is the pain factor and the not breathing factor and the fear of having a coronary factor – all reasons people should do it regularly. Plus there is the whole sports bra issue which I won’t get into. Laney’s rationalism that “pain is part of running” is true and is also the reason I choose not to do it. It is a nice insight into Olivia’s family and her home within the trailer park. Money is just a big deal for her as family is for Ruby.
Ruby, stupidly gets dropped off in a part of the woods with two parked cars and I wanted to slap some sense into her. I wish Olivia would have called her on the recklessness of this action but her statement that “I’m not worried. I don’t even know you” summarises her reaction to a degree. I sense it is a front, she knew Ruby would do what ever she wanted to do and there was nothing she could say to change that.
After a couple hours getting stoned with the beyond thrilling Aaron, Ruby is completely out of kilter with her surrounds. This scares me, she is ripe for a bad situation. I cannot believe she has been this careless with herself. Actually I can. She’s reacting to the big truths of the previous chapters and she’s ac ting out in a way to numb the hurt, the pain and the betrayal. Then she reveals she has drunk a pint of vodka too and I really want to slap her. Australia uses the metric system, along with a propensity to populate our spelling with ‘u’s and remove the ‘z’s so I cannot exactly say how much a pint is but it sounds like too much to be drinking before lunch. In fact, a pint is a glass of beer here in Adelaide but I am guessing it’s more than 600ml in the US. So she’s acting like a complete lush (I agree with you there Aaron) and then decides she desires the company of The Douche. Could this seriously get worse?
I look back on my own teen years and think I wouldn’t ever have done anything like that. Partially because I was never invited to do those kinds of things and also due to the fact that I kind of had a stick up my butt about irresponsible behaviour. Before you think it, yes I am still like that and the stick is wiggling its way loose as I type. I am a black and white person. Shades of gray are an area I continue to work on. I am a big believer in the use of one’s common sense. Some people need to flick their common sense switches on already.
Now back to the novel. I cannot believe she even made it to Marshall’s place, let alone remained standing at the threshold. I find it amazing that Rogerson doesn’t even know if his housemate is present, I also know what my housemate is doing. The acoustics of our place insist upon it. She enters The Douche’s room and finds out what Peyton was hiding. She was hiding the fact that she was sleeping with her best friend’s kind-of-boyfriend. Labels aside, it was a douche-y move and henceforth Peyton shall be entitled The Douchess, kind of like Fergie from The Black Eyed Peas naming herself The Duchess but…not.
Ruby’s exit from the room is a bit like a live action version of a ping pong game as she bounces off each wall. She is having one crappy day. I love that The Douchess chooses to phrase her visit to Ruby’s new place to advise her of her cheating ways as “nice”. I have a whole litany of other four letter words that I could draw from to describe this situation.
“You don’t need anything. Not a boyfriend, not a friend. You were always so clear about that. And that’s what you got. So why are you surprised now?”
I find it reproachable that this now no-longer friend is framing Ruby as the bad guy in this story. I understand she is trying to justify herself but it is completely warped. That this girl would choose a guy over her friend is beyond insane yet completely standard behaviour in teen life. Yet there is a kernel of truth to what Peyton is saying. In keeping people at bay, in choosing to have an arrangement with a guy who didn’t care about her, Ruby thought she was avoiding being hurt. Boy was she wrong.
Ruby runs, it’s her way. I personally would have channelled a Jerry Springer-like performance and done some verbal damage (while keeping my clothes on of course). She collapses in the woods and is ensconced in the scent that has to be Nate. Ahh Nate, lord of the water, chlorine king and Neptune of her heart. Okay I think I went a little far there.
Dog breath – ewww – possibly the one thing slightly worse than morning breath after waking up from a booze fest. No wonder Ruby yakked up enough fluid to fuel the DeLorean and then realises she’s wearing Nate’s shirt. I assume he rescued her rather than took advantage of her drunken/stoned state.
Not only has Nate being looking after her, it’s been firmly established that he’s good at looking after everyone but she fortunately blacked out the copious amounts of spew she’s let forth into the world. Teen drinking is so glamorous. Olivia had actually done the friend thing and advised another person of Ruby’s whereabouts. That person was someone she knew would hustle in like a white knight. Nate is dependable.
“Look, what happened today is over. It doesn’t matter, okay? We’ll get you home, and everything will be fine.”
I get that he’s trying to be supportive but clearly everything is not fine. It says a bit about Nate’s chosen method of dealing with hardship. Push it away, deny its existence and there will be a blank slate tomorrow.
I think that Ruby’s attempts to justify her brokenness and her inability to be a friend were important. It was the first time she had admitted the abandonment verbally to anyone. She chose Nate. He is clearly a friend. The fact that he recognised the yellow farm house as her home and said nothing endears him to me. He’s no longer the cookie cutter, typical perfect boyfriend. However his fixation with smoothing everything over though is a little troubling. Roscoe and Nate’s acceptance of Ruby for herself is important, she needed that on today of all days.
Jamie is royally pissed off…and deservedly so. I am similarly shocked that Jamie is the pointman on the anger tirade though, like Ruby I was expecting Cora to go mental. Jamie is clearly not used to be disappointed by someone. I wonder if Cora has filled him in on the discussion she’d had with her sister that morning. I feel for Ruby though. Unlike many of use, she hasn’t had that ‘scary we care but we’re pissed’ parental screaming lecture that many of us have experienced. She is reminded of her similarities to her mother in that moment and it kills her. It is important to note that one of her first concerns is for their fertility appointment, her interpretation that the tears were due to disappointment there rather than her desertion. Of course Cora attempts to interject, to protect Ruby, that’s been her life’s role. It is another hard reality for Ruby.
I wanted to end with Nate’s definition of friendship-
“Friends don’t leave you alone in the woods. Friends are the ones that come and take you out.”
Ain’t that a universal truth?
A Note from Adele
YoungMomma – the little riff on Aussified spelling was for you J