| Quote #10
I knew that Phoebe was convinced that her mother was kidnapped because it was impossible for Phoebe to imagine that her mother could leave for any other reason. I wanted to call Phoebe and say that maybe her mother had gone looking for something, maybe her mother was unhappy, maybe there was nothing Phoebe could do about it. (27.37)
What happens in Sal's own life and journey that makes her want to give Phoebe this advice? Hasn't she, too, been totally game to believe that Phoebe's mom had been kidnapped this whole time? What has changed?
| Quote #11
I wondered if Gram's snake bite had anything to do with her stroke, and if Gramps felt guilty for whizzing off the highway and stopping at that river. If we hadn't gone to that river, Gram would never have been bitten by that snake. And then I started thinking about my mother's stillborn baby and maybe if I hadn't climbed that tree and if my mother hadn't carried me, maybe the baby would have lived and my mother never would have gone away, and everything would still be as it used to be. (41.6)
Sal is still coping with the guilt she feels for the death of her unborn sibling at the very end of this story. This is how we know that this guilt is huge and that it's totally crushing her. In comparing this painful memory to Gram's snakebite, however, Sal does something very interesting. She inadvertently points out the fact that nature is uncontrollable and unpredictable. It wasn't her fault that her unborn sibling died. It wasn't Gramps' fault that Gram got bitten by a lethal snake. Nature happened, and life happened.