Study Guide

Timescape Chapter 13

By Gregory Benford

Chapter 13

January 14, 1963

  • Gordon shows up at his bungalow and sees that Penny is out. He decides to head out himself, take in the San Diego sights, and pick up some white wine while he's at it.
  • Watching waves break against the shore, Gordon is taken by the thought that time would "eat all this away; it had to" (13.6).
  • At home, Gordon sees Penny has an old friend over—Cliff—and he and Penny are talking about the good old days.
  • Gordon answers the phone, and his mother is on the other end; she starts giving him the what for.
  • When he hangs up, Gordon notices Cliff is crying in the other room, telling Penny about the horrors he saw in Vietnam.
  • Gordon is taken with the realization that Cliff and Penny's relationship used to have an intimate quality to it; when Cliff leaves that night, Gordon says he doesn't want her seeing him any more.
  • The inevitable fight that ensues ends when Gordon realizes he might be a tad drunk. Oops. He apologizes and heads out for a walk.
  • Two blocks down, he spies Lakin leaving the house of two graduate students, and the thought that Lakin might have some human frailty cheers him.
  • He heads home and remembers that the waves can't destroy the coastline overnight.