Having reached the Badlands, Sal, Gramps, and Gram stop to look at the beautiful scenery.
We finally find out that Sal's mother wanted to go to Lewiston to visit a distant cousin of hers. She wanted someone to remind her of who she was/is.
Gram is having trouble breathing, so Gramps spreads a blanket for her to rest on.
Meanwhile, Sal sees a pregnant woman, which totally freaks her out. Pregnant women make Sal think of a painful memory. Are you ready for it? Okay, here goes:
One time, while her mom was pregnant, Sal was playing in the fields. She climbed a tree, but fell off and got knocked out. Her mom found her and carried Sal to safety, even though she probably shouldn't have be doing any heavy lifting in her condition.
Later that night, Sal's mom went into labor early. They called for a doctor, but the doctor arrived too late, and the baby died, choked by the umbilical cord around its neck. Sal's mother has to have a hysterectomy.
Sal is full of guilt. Is it her fault that her mother lost her baby? Her dad tells her it is not her fault at all, but she just can't shake her guilt.
Sal remembers a Native American story her mom used to read to her about Napi, the creator of human beings. Napi chose whether to let humans live forever or die by throwing a stone at the water. If the stone floated, humans would live forever. If the stone sank, humans would die.
Sal knows that, obviously, people die because, obviously, stones sink. But still, it's a hard thing to accept. We're with you, Sal.