The Heart is a Lonely Hunter Part 2: Chapter 2 Summary
Biff is having increasingly confused feelings toward Mick – he feels very protective of her and wants to take care of her.
He's also worried about Alice, who looks sick and starts acting strangely. She starts forgetting things and making mistakes at the cash register.
Then in October, Alice is rushed to the hospital. She has a tumor in her stomach and after having emergency surgery, she dies. We weren't expecting that, that's for sure.
Biff is stunned: he thinks of the dreams he had of having children one day and he mourns the loss of those would-be kids.
Alice's sister Lucile helps Biff with the funeral arrangements and he goes to her house the day of the funeral.
Lucile is like a show-business mom in training, and she fills Biff in on her plans for her daughter, Baby Wilson's "career." Biff is horrified by all this since Baby is only four. Toddlers and Tiaras, anyone?
Lucile complains about the local kids and Biff defends the Kellys.
The two discuss their screwed up marriage. Lucile married an abusive guy named Leroy Wilson twice. She still loves him, but Biff encourages her to dump him once and for all, if only for Baby's sake.
During this conversation, Biff and Lucile solidify their relationship as friends and companions.
"'You know how we always been – we nearly all the time understand each other pretty well [...] Well, that's the closest I ever want to be to any man again.'
'I feel the same way,' Biff said." (2.2.76-7)
After the funeral, everyone comes to the Café for the wake.
Biff observes Mick for a while, which is borderline creepy. Then he goes to his back room where he has a collection of newspapers dating back twenty years.
For a while, he remembers Alice and their life together. Then, to distract himself, he goes back out and watches Jake and Mick watch Singer. Ah, second-degree people watching.
He wonders what's going on and what is up with Singer.