Moose's dad is up when he wakes the next morning. Moose walks by Natalie on his way to see his parents, and greets her as he always does. He says that she never responds, which used to bother him, but since that one time he ignored her and she spent the whole day crying—something she never does—he's remembered to acknowledge her ever since.
Natalie is leaving for boarding school. As a special treat, their mom is making her lemon cake, something Natalie asks for daily but is rarely allowed to have. Meanwhile, Dad is reading the news.
Moose wonders if Natalie knows that she's leaving, even though they've talked up school a lot.
As they walk out the door to take Natalie to the boat, Moose remembers a trip he took as a kid, separate from Natalie. His grandparents said that it was a bad idea to leave Natalie alone without her brother, though, so they brought Moose right back. Now Natalie's the one who's leaving.
Dad starts reading the index of an animal book to Natalie to calm her down. Since she loves numbers, reading indexes is one of her favorite pastimes.
Natalie starts to really get what's going on when their mom starts crying. Just like that, before they can get her on the boat, Natalie curls up in a ball and refuses to move.
Moose gets an idea: He starts reading the index to her—incorrectly. She immediately notices and starts reciting the correct animals and page numbers back to him; while he's reading, Moose walks onto the boat, and she follows.
Moose has a sick feeling in his stomach. He tries to tell himself that this is a good idea for Natalie, but he doesn't believe it. Nonetheless, he keeps walking her onto the boat.