Sorry for the break people but my grandmother had an unfortunate surgery and I also attended an unfortunate hen’s night. Life happens sometimes.
I like the concept of the fish in colder climates too-
“…just disappearing, then laying low ad waiting until the environment was more friendly to emerge.”
It sounds an awful lot like my philosophy when I am agitated – avoid the world until I have cooled down thus avoiding another Chernobyl. I like that Cora is the one to tell Ruby that she will have to be the one to approach Jamie. That after Jamie initially making approach after approach, it is her time to return the favour. That even the nicest man on the planet (including all the black holes) has a limit of how much he can withstand. The concept that disappointment is worse than anger isn’t new to me. Having taught for five years now, quiet disappointment usually works a lot better than fiery anger. I almost feel bad for Ruby.
The moment where Cora and Ruby connect over how much worse Jamie’s disappointment is than anger was touching. It was the first time they have spoken without a fight erupting and the undercurrent of understanding was nice. The flashback to Cora leading Ruby up the stairs, stripping her and watching over her was a strong image. As an older sister I can relate. Cora would have been furious but her need to see to her sister’s wellbeing trumped everything. Typical, selfless Cora. The Ice Queen is melting. Her refusal to allow Ruby to explain was telling also. There were more important things to concentrate on, like staying conscious until she reached her bed. The image of Cora watching over Ruby for hours was strong. This woman was scared when Ruby disappeared, the teary red eyes were a testament to that. She pushed it aside as soon as her sister reappeared. She understood what drove the behaviour too well and decided to deal with it in a way that she wouldn’t have with her mother. The reminder of repeated behaviour is present but Cora chose to manage it in a different way. Ruby is far from being a lost cause.
“It’s okay. You’ll guys will work this out. He’s just hurt right now.”
“I didn’t mean to hurt him,”
“I know…But you have to understand, this is all new to him. In his family, everyone talks about everything. People don’t take off; they don’t come home drunk. He’s not like us.”
Like us. I think Ruby is beginning to feel like there is someone there for her now. She’s not a full convert yet but her tears over Jamie’s dismissal of her, plus her sister’s calm understanding is really hammering the point home that she may actually have a family now. I love that the understanding was quickly followed with consequence talk. She was so not getting off the hook on this one.
Cora’s discussion of the terms of Ruby staying with her had never really crossed my mind. I had thought about their expectations but not the courts. That simply by getting caught doing drugs or drinking she would be shoved back into Poplar House, an extremely unfitting name for such a place. Cora’s distress at Ruby’s behaviour could have had as much to do with Ruby’s potential removal as her safety.
Cora blames herself. I was waiting for this. Her admission that she could’ve done more was a long time coming and completely wrong. From all accounts she had done everything within her power. Had she rocked up to the house and taken Ruby from her mother, her sister would never have forgiven her. The mother needed to break ties to enable Cora a chance back into Ruby’s life. I love the mention of Cora’s last words to her mother before her departure for college.
“I told her that if I found out she ever hit you, I would call the police. And that I was coming back for you as soon as I could, to get you out of there. ..I believed that, Ruby. I really did. I wanted to take care of you.”
It makes me think she’d be a tough broad in the courtroom. Kind of like a cross between Ally McBeal (without the food issues) and Denny Crane (without the insanity issues). The turn in the conversation is an interesting one, from Cora consoling Ruby to visa versa. Both feeling they need to be forgiven for things they perceive they have failed to do. More startling is Cora’s note that she feels this is a chance to make it up to her sister. Familial ties are forever strong. Even to a mother who had been abusive and neglectful. Blood is blood. This helps me to understand my brother’s fascination with flannel shirts without having to wear them myself.
“You get what you give, but also what you are willing to take. The night before, I’d offered up my hand. Now, if I held on, there was no telling what it was possible to receive in return.”
That’s karma in a completely non-Mike Myers interpretation.
Ahh Nate, in my mind you are beginning to resemble that very well built Kirby from Lipstick Jungle. Abs like a cheese grater and a smile to die for. Okay a guy compiling gift bags? How very Queer Eye. Oh how I miss that show with the hetero guys looking befuddled as they try and perform some useless and unrelated task for a party. Nate is almost dismissive of the apology when he well and truly earned it. I loved the opening interchange-
“You look like you are feeling better,”
“Well, you’re upright. And conscious.”
Sounds like the two reasons Paris Hilton is apparently famous.
“You swim” is a fantastic personal philosophy, much better than “you sink” and the whole half glass analogy. I wouldn’t have given the shirt back, I would have claimed that heinous spewing started decomposing the t-shirt so I’d have something well worn and nice smelling for pyjamas. I don’t like his excuse for quitting the swim team, sounds like bunk to me. You don’t just give up a pastime that you are awesome at and received a scholarship for without an injury or a serious addiction problem.
Chocolate houses, mmmmm. Guaranteed to leave a smile on your face and a smear across your face. Queen Homes? A shout out to The Truth About Forever, I felt smarter just for knowing it and dumber for realising there has probably just as many that I have missed (aka Emma’s mention of Rogerson in the comment section of a few blogs past). It was great that Ruby opened up to Nate about the scariness of living alone and how hard it was. I doubt she’d ever reveal that to Cora, now she knows her sister is carrying so much guilt. She’d needed a sounding board and Nate fit the need. Although I feel that Nate needs one too but isn’t reaching a hand out like Ruby had.
I feel like all the yelling from Nate’s dad was trying to send me a message. It contrasted greatly to Cora’s way of dealing with her “child rearing issues”. It also clues me into the idea that maybe Nate’s life isn’t perfection. Especially if his father is a would-be-dog-killer with anger issues. Way to be a great dad, Mr Cross.
I laughed when hearing Harriet’s take on family. “Not speaking”. Perfection. Her description of her family as “passive-aggressive people” made me chortle. I can see the whirling dervish that is Harriet being sired by some very WASPish individuals with a love of beige. It explains a lot about Harriet.
Just when I thought this chapter couldn’t have got any better along come Kristy and Bert. I am delighted. I love these two. I wasn’t a hundred percent sure until their clothing was described. I think I want a Bert – Armageddon Expo ’06: Are You Ready For the End? t-shirt almost as badly as I want a Landry – Crucifitorious t-shirt (FNL). This could have just been an easy thrill, mentioning two fun characters but Kristy’s attention to Ruby’s necklace was important. That necklace is a touchstone and for it to be an attractive ornament is another thing altogether.
The Heron. Daunting sounding bird. Fish killer. Symbolism for her mistake messy with the equilibrium of someone else’s home maybe? In the end it was the scene of Jamie’s forgiveness of her, acceptance with one single word.
A Note from Adele
The fantabulous Sarah Dessen has granted me an interview at the conclusion of my Lock and Key blog series. If you have any questions you would like me to ask please send them into sddiarist@gmail.
I know I am only half way through but submit your suggestions for Book 2.
Thanks for the ongoing support, I appreciate it muchly.