The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time Chapter 157
By Mark Haddon
Six days later, when his father goes out, Christopher finally has another opportunity to go back to read the other letters.
There are forty-three letters in all. He picks one at random and starts reading it.
His mother recalls a time two Christmases ago when Christopher got a new train set as a gift, and refused to go to bed because he didn't want to stop playing with it. Nice memory.
How about another one? This time, his mother tries to explain why she left Christopher and his father. She admits she wasn't a very good mother and that Christopher's father is much more patient than she is.
Then she recalls a time when she and Christopher went Christmas shopping. Christopher had a meltdown in a store and shouted and smashed things, and eventually they had to walk home because Christopher refused to get on the bus.
She tried talking to his father but she had a tough time making him understand her struggles. Eventually, things got so strained that they stopped talking altogether.
This is when she started spending more time with Roger, evidently. Roger told her that he and Eileen weren't in love with each other – he was lonely, too.
Is anyone else wondering why she's spilling all this out to her long-distance son?
In any case, she continues on to write that she and Roger fell in love. Roger suggested they run away together, but she said she could never leave Christopher.
But then one day, she and Christopher had a big argument, in which they both threw things and she ended up with a few broken toes.
This led to another big argument with Christopher's father.
Since his mom couldn't walk for a while, Christopher's father had to take care of him alone. And according to this letter, Christopher seemed to be much happier around his dad.
And so she decided that everyone would be better off if she simply wasn't around after all.
Roger applied for a job transfer, and the two of them moved to London.
She wanted to say good-bye, but Christopher's father was incredibly angry after she left, and told her she could never come back to see him.
Almost over, we promise. She just repeats how sorry she is, and says that she never ever meant to hurt him.
She concludes the letter by writing how much she thinks about him. She wonders how he's doing, and asks him to please write or call.
(Considering he never got the letters, he clearly didn't do that.)
On to a third letter. In this one, Christopher's mother writes about her new job and she asks him if he likes the present that she and Roger sent him.
Finally, he opens a fourth one. He starts to read about his mother's trip to the dentist, but he can't finish it because he starts to feel sick.
He realizes the truth: "Mother had not had a heart attack. Mother had not died. Mother had been alive all the time. And Father had lied about this" (157.19).
He tries to think of another explanation, but can't come up with any other possibility.
That's a tough one to swallow.
He starts feeling dizzy, and his stomach hurts. He gets into his father's bed, curls into a ball and passes out. When he wakes up, there's vomit on the sheets and his father is calling his name.
As he hears his name being called, he can see it written out in his mother's handwriting on the envelopes.
At first, his father is angry that Christopher has been going through his stuff. But then he notices the letters, and realizes that Christopher knows the truth: that's a way bigger deal than just snooping.
He freaks out a little bit, and then he starts crying and says, "I did it for your good, Christopher. Honestly I did. I never meant to lie [...] It was so complicated. So difficult " (157.38, 42).
Then he takes Christopher into the bath to clean him up. And even though he's being touched, Christopher is okay with it.