I can just imagine a nerdy looking Gervais sucking down chocolate milk through a straw whilst trying to inspire a downcast Ruby. Exams are horrible. I can still remember having to do three of my five exams within a thirty-six hour period. I bombed out on the third, not finishing it as I was plumb tuckered out. Your last year of high school is so full on with the focus on getting the right grades that it overshadows everything. Now almost ten years later I know that they really didn’t mean anything. No one asks what score you received on your exams a few months on. It in fact ceases to matter. And yet that period of sitting exams was the most horrifying of my life because I thought it dictated my future. It didn’t, it only dictated the immediately present.
While I can see some logic in the Gervais theory of the Zen mode, it really doesn’t account for the blankness that sweeps over one’s brain when panic hits. That being said I would have loved to have had such an organised tutor to hold my hand and give me a much needed confidence boost.
The thought of Nate has been distracting her though. There has been an immediate change in Nate that seems familiar and scary to her but she cannot pinpoint why.
The Vista 5K race is about to take place and Harriet and Reggie discuss the benefits of different vitamins. Ruby scores a bonus from Harriet which I think is only fair as her necklace and the initial sale with Kristy were the inspiration for the KeyChains. Not only that but her boss finally decided to give Reggie a chance and seems a little smitten. I love that Olivia and Ruby cheered Laney home, that the race wasn’t about winning but the actual journey. Sure it sounds corny and cliché but Laney now knew that she could do it, she achieved her goal.
“I was beginning to wonder if you didn’t always have to choose between turning away for good or rushing in deeper. It’s in the moment that really counts, maybe it’s enough – more than enough, even just to be there.”
I like that much better as a personal philosophy. Uswim is great but it doesn’t seem to be working all that well for Nate. I prefer Ruby’s epiphany. As she watched Olivia hug her cousin in congratulations, Sarah wrote an even more beautiful brainwave for her protagonist-
“…We can’t expect everybody to be there for us, all at once. So it’s a lucky thing that really, all you need is someone.”
Undeniably true. During an impossible situation last year I was geographically separated from friends and family but my new friend, Matt, was there for me. He was my pillar when I needed strength, my pillow when I need to cry and my faith when I couldn’t see past the now. One person can make a difference. So the question is, is Ruby going to be that one person for Nate?
This passage summarises this novel –
“What is family? They were the people who claimed you. In good, in bad, in parts or in whole, they were the ones who showed up, who stayed there, regardless. It wasn’t just about blood relations or shared chromosomes, but something wider, bigger. “
It’s an opinion that incorporates aspects of what Cora, Nate and Olivia have volunteered about family and friendship. She found something that worked for all of them, but was uniquely hers. I love how she discussed each member of her family;
Cora – the one who had really been there all along.
Jamie – who took me in without question and gave me a future I once couldn’t imagine.
Olivia – who did question, but also gave me answers.
Harriet – who, liked me, believed she needed no one and discovered otherwise.
Nate – who was a friend to me before I even knew what a friend was.
Now that is poetic.
Once Ruby had decided that she needed to be there for Nate and crossed the boundary of her home into his, she realises why Nate’s former actions were familiar. Nate’s distant and distracted demeanour was her clue that he had finally broken free … and away from her.
“Nate was gone”.