Study Guide

My Heartbeat Chapter 8

By Garret Freymann-Weyr

Chapter 8

  • As it turns out, Ellen's a pretty good runner; Link says she's free to join him anytime she wants.
  • Saturday, after she runs with Link, she joins James for an Iranian film festival. It's mostly because she lacks anything better to do, but she also wants to prove to James that she can be an intellectual companion like Link was.
  • She finds herself in over her head when it comes to critiquing the film, and she confesses to James that she wishes she thought more like Link. He convinces her that she has her own interesting qualities.
  • James decides he wants to "work on her visual vocabulary," so he asks her to join him at a hospital. He wants her to "learn how to see." Ho-kay‚Ķ
  • James likes to go to the hospital cafeteria to people-watch. He often draws the people and creates a whole backstory based on what he thinks they're like.
  • He and Ellen play a game: You have to make a list of the things someone in the room owns, and the other has to guess who you're referring to.
  • This becomes a regular thing. Every day that week they go to hospital cafeterias after school to see which has the best people. After they play their game, Ellen does her homework and James draws.
  • James gives Ellen a drawing he's done of her. She's a storybook princess observing a party, and in the folds of her skirt he's woven words describing her "interesting qualities."
  • It's the only drawing he's ever let her see, and it's also the only one he's ever given away.