"Watching you go, Al watching you go, watching Al watching you go, and realizing I had to say you were a jerk to do that and not being able to make those words work." (11.68)
Sometimes when Min is forced to see her relationship with Ed through Al's eyes, she doesn't like what she sees.
We'd agreed, with more debate and diplomacy than that Nigel Krath's seven-hour miniseries on Cardinal Richelieu, that we'd have an early dinner or a post-coffee, post-practice snack or whatever you call it when it's sunset and you're really supposed to be home but instead you're having waffle-iron grilled cheeses and scalding watery tomato soup at a place of neutral territory. (12.2)
Ed and Min are from two different worlds, at least in terms of social circles. Their friend groups have zero overlap, making it difficult for Min to integrate Ed into her "real" life.
Or was I ashamed of my friends? Was that it, Min? I said you had practice and they said that was no excuse and I said of course it was and Lauren said maybe if we didn't invite you, like with Al's party, maybe then you'd show up. (12.2)
Is Min really ashamed of her friends? Or is she ashamed of Ed? Maybe she's ashamed both, or maybe she's ashamed of neither. What do you think?
"I'm free," Al admitted. "I have nothing, I'm the usual loser."
"You just wanted to make me suffer."
"What's the use of friendship?" he said, our version of What are friends for? (22.25 – 22.27)
What are friends for, anyway? What do you think is the most important thing Al does for Min over the course of the book?
I had a sudden question in my head there wasn't room for, a question about you, Ed. Al had just said it, You can tell me anything, and was waiting for me to say something…. But I couldn't ask it. […] My question didn't belong in Al's loyal kitchen with my friend wiping his hand on the towel tucked into his belt like always. (22.50)
Min's question, of course, is about sex—that is, whether or not she should have it with Ed. It isn't clear why Min thinks that question doesn't belong in Al's loyal kitchen. Could it be that, deep down inside, she suspects he has feelings for her?
This is how we were, Ed, me and Al. You never got it and I never really told you how it was, old married couple, Al's mom called it once and just laughed when Al said, "Well, Mamma, you should know." (22.65)
Ed and Min really are like an old married couple, finishing each other's sentences and wiping mustard off each other's faces. Do you think that means they have a shot at romance? Or does it reinforce the idea they're just platonic?
Ed, I'll tell you what's the use of friendship, because we never were friends. The use is racing off into the night, is what the use is. Rolling down the windows, the rained-out air in our faces all the way to the shop. The use is the good talking, and the not talking as we got there. (22.162)
Min's observation about the talking and the not talking foreshadows her falling out with Al, during which they give one another the silent treatment.
I stood alone with it in my hands in Green Mountain Hardware, quiet and lonely and trying to conjure Al beside me so I could ask him things only he could know. (27.1)
When Min and Al are fighting, he remains her constant companion in her thoughts. Aw…
"And that's not even counting the Al drama. Min, I really wish you guys would, you know, kiss and make up."
"He knows where to find me," I said.
"Yeah," she said sharply. "Basketball practice."
"He's my boyfriend," I said. "That's what he does."
"That and take money from my purse." (31.8-31.12)
Al's not the only one who isn't fond of Ed. Here, Lauren needles Min about the relationship. Yes, she's harsh, but there's also truth in her words.
"I do, Min, but Annette, you know, she lives right nearby. And you know we've stayed friends. I mean, you have guy friends, you know how it is, and I've never given you a hard time about it" (40.65)
Ed and Annette, his ex, stayed friends after they broke up. Turns out, they also stayed lovers. Whoops.
I loved you and now here's back your stuff, out of my life like you belong, is the simile. (2.2)
It's important to Min to give Ed back his stuff. She thinks it'll help her feel a sense of closure.
The thing with your heart's desire is that your heart doesn't even know what it desires until it turns up. (4.64)
Min never expected to fall in love with Ed, and he wasn't on her radar as a love interest until Al's birthday party. How quickly things can change.
Ed, it was everything, those nights on the phone, everything we said until late became later and then later and very late and finally to go to bed with my ear warm and worn and red from holding the phone close close close so as not to miss a word of what it was, because who cared how tired I was in the humdrum slave drive of our days without each other. I'd ruin any day, all my days, for those long nights with you, and I did. (11.105)
In some ways, Min and Ed lead a double life. When they're alone together, things seem perfect, but in the "real world," out and about among their friends, complications arise.
I stood in the doorway watching you sleep. I waited just to see you at that kind of peace, I wanted to be beside you, I wanted you to wake up slowly or startle, or just half awaken and turn over and go back to sleep or murmur my name. I wanted to watch you forever, or sleep beside you forever, or sleep forever while you woke and watched me, something forever anyway." (20.39)
Ed seems angelic when he's sleeping, doesn't he? Too bad he has to wake up and ruin everything. While Min doesn't use the word love here, her feelings for Ed are pretty clear.
Al looked around the room. The music waited. "I guess I think, Min, that when I think about sex, you know, I want it to feel good. Not feel good, shut up, but right. Happy, not just banging away somewhere. You know, you should not just do it to do it. You should love the guy."
"I do," I said quietly, "love the guy." (22.123-22.124)
Min tells Al that she's in love with Ed before she says anything about it to Ed himself. What she doesn't realize is that Al's secretly in love with her. Bummer, kid.
"Let's stay together, I want to be with you. Let's. Yes?"
"Because I don't care, virginity, different, arty, weird parties with bad cake, that igloo. Just together Min."
"Like everyone is telling us not to be."
"Because, Min, listen, I love you." (22.228-22.234)
Min falls in love with Ed quickly, though she waits for him to say the words first. Luckily for her, she doesn't have to wait long.
"I don't mean that," you said. "I mean, I love you."
Every time you said it, you really said it. It wasn't like a sequel where Hollywood just lines up the same actors and hopes it works again. It was like a remake, with a new director and crew trying something else and starting from scratch. (23.37-23.38)
Sounds convincing, right? Is Ed's love for Min just an act? Or is there some truth in his words?
And then marching into In the Cups, pushing the double doors wide slamming open, to proclaim that in penance for mistreating your true love, Min Green, you would like to buy a large coffee, extra cream, three sugars, for each and every patron of this fine establishment, which was one bewildered old man with the newspaper who already had a coffee. (29.153)
Over the course of the book, Ed makes some sweeping romantic gestures. Unfortunately, though, they're not just limited to Min…
And I stretched up to find your ear and whisper it just as you murmured it to me, like we too had practiced together, like we were a combo apart from the frantic of the world, a dotted line sneaking away from the clutch of the school and pressure, just loose and steady beating together in a place nobody else could ever find.
I love you, of course is what we said. (30.2-30.3)
Min and Ed sure do say the words I love you a lot. They must really mean it. Right? Anyone? Bueller?
"Why didn't you tell me?"
"Would it have mattered?"
I sighed shakily at the end of my rope. I said a thing, made some noise, in order not to say probably.
"Well, I'm telling you now, I guess."
"Now that I'm in love."
"You aren't," Al said, "the only one." (39.51-39.56)
The big reveal (or at least one of them): Al harbors romantic feelings for Min. She, however, isn't sure how to feel.
You looked strong, Ed. I guess you always looked strong, your shoulders and your jaw, your arms leading you through the room, your neck where I know now you like to be kissed. (4.43)
Here we have Min's first encounter with Ed. (At least, the first encounter where she really notices him.) Often, in the book, when she Min describes him, she focuses on his physique.
"I'm with Jordan," Lauren said, taking half the stack. "I know better than to interfere with the sexual tension festival you and Min have going on this morning."
"Every morning," Jordan said. (11.30-11.31)
The sexual tension fest Lauren's referring to is with Al (not Ed). This is one of the first clues we have that Al's feelings for Min aren't just platonic—and that maybe, deep down inside, hers for him aren't so friendly either.
This is another thing I think of, turning it over, try to put together two pictures of it, but this time it's about me, it's myself I'm trying to figure. Because one sounds so disgusting, not even able to tell Al about it, win the big game, take the virgin to her first bonfire, feed her a beer or two, and then the two of us in someone's car with your hand between my legs.… Honestly it felt different then, different from that bad picture. (15.117)
Min's plagued by anxiety about sex and being perceived as, shall we say, less than ladylike. She craves physical intimacy, but she feels conflicted about it.
"I'm a virgin."
You almost spat out orange juice. "OK."
"I just thought I'd tell you."
"Because I didn't before."
"Listen, it's OK." You coughed a little. "Some of my best friends are virgins." (19.5-19.10)
Look at that—Ed made a joke. It doesn't really put Min at ease, but he gets points for trying.
They tell you, in the pamphlets they throw at us, they say talk to your parents or a clergyman or a trusted teacher or friend. But there is nobody acceptable on that list, parents part of the problem, a teacher who will say There are some conversations I'm not really allowed to have with you, and most friends squealing to their other friends just like a clergyman will tattle to God. (22.65)
Min wants to talk to someone about sex. In theory, she should have lots of options, but in practice, there's really just one. And his name is Al.
I've seen Now Calls the Wilderness on the big screen, Ed, I've seen a fully restored print of The Acrobats. I have never seen anything so very beautiful as you in your underwear like a little boy, then naked, hooting with laughter, the drink a streak on your chest, excited, looking at me in the living room. (22.253)
Min finds Ed physically attractive, in case you didn't get that from the ten thousand other passages like this one.
"I don't want to lose my virginity in your bed," I said.
You sighed at the napkin. "Do you mean that, like, not in my bed or not with me?"
"Just the actual bed," I said. "Or your car or a park. Somewhere, you'll laugh, somewhere extraordinary." (25.98-25.100)
Min craves adventure and intrigue, and often she finds it. What she doesn't realize is those qualities are innately in her—not her external surroundings.
My unguarded vengeance, unbuttoning my costume for the first time, showing the lining of my dad's forgotten coat and also what I was wearing beneath it. Which had been for you, Ed, my best bra." (29.196)
After a huge fight with Ed, Min finds relief in a wild dance with her ex-boyfriend, Joe. Does she want to make Ed jealous? Or is it not about him?
Criminy, I remember you saying. I was smiling because I didn't have to be guided like I thought I'd be, not as much. I could do some things. Some parts I was very good at. (34.1)
For all her anxiety about losing her virginity, Min's first time goes better than she had expected. We're glad for her, too, since Ed's ultimately such a bust.
I make out like an imbecile, I fool around foolishly, I lost my virginity and couldn't even do that right, agreeing to it and getting sad and annoying afterward. (40.93)
Up until now, Min never states explicitly that she felt sad after losing her virginity. Think back, though: Were there any subtle signs of these feelings? What were they?
And then I gaped, I really did. I had to show you, because it wasn't something you could see right away, a route to take to a place to go, an opening of the story that could make October 5 a movie as lovely as the one we'd just seen (5.36)
Min's relationship with Ed is built on a fiction, a plot about Lottie Carson (a film star) that she dreams up on their very first date. It all comes crashing down at the end of the book.
"I was too jitterbuggy happy to sleep, and the whole day kept playing in my brain's little screening room. […] Joan had to tell me what dailies are, it's when the director takes some time in the evening, while smoking, to see all the footage that was filmed that day. (7.3)
The evening after her first date with Ed, Min "replays the film" in her mind. She does that a lot. Do you think this is part of how she avoids the messier parts of her reality with Ed?
My face must have shown that I thought it was beautiful and gorgeous.
"I told you," you said. "I knew you would like this."
You kissed me and I let you think, wanted to agree, that you were right. "It'd be a great opening shot," I admitted, staring out. "Wish I had a camera." (15.2-15.4)
While Min doesn't actually enjoy the bonfire (where this scene takes place), she appreciates its beauty. What other beautiful things does she appreciate, but not quite enjoy? Related: Is it rude to refer to Ed as a "thing"?
It was a magical thing, early enough for the park to hold a hush, the mood still and strange like With My Own Two Eyes, the scene where…a rustle comes from the bushes and slowly, slowly, carefully, a unicorn emerges and walks in a hushed calm across the misty lawn, and the story of the movie moves to some stranger place. I had that feeling in Boris Vian Park, that anything might happen. (17.1)
During their date in the park, Ed reminds Min of a unicorn in the woods. But he's not a magical creature—he's a real man with very real faults.
"You've made, Min, everything different for me. Everything's like coffee you made me try, better than I ever—or the places I didn't even know were right on the street, you know? I'm like this thing I saw when I was little, where a kid hears a noise under his bed and there's a ladder there that's never been there before, and he climbs down and, it's for kids I know, but this song starts playing…." (17.22)
Ed has picked up Min's habit of describing their relationship in fantastical terms. Luckily, instead of disapproving of this, their time together is a haven from the real world for him, too.
The world was getting worse I guess, like this Japanese remake of Rip Van Winkle called The Gates of Sleep that Al and I left early from, each time the hero awoke it was more depressing, wife dead, sons drunks, city more polluted, emperors more corrupt, the war dragging on more and more bloody. (29.42)
This montage of Bad Stuff foreshadows the terrible fight that Ed and Min will have later that night.
I have a feeling, I can see it, that if I struggled my way to the Blue Rhino again to find it, there would be no Blue Rhino. It would be a burned-out door maybe, or a brick wall caked with age and grime to show it had been a brick wall forever and the whole safe and sheltered afternoon had been some wish or dream taken back. Like the sad, sad scene in Sea of Souls where Ivan Kristeva revisits all the old haunts—haunts is how the subtitles put it—and we see that this happiness was some phantom now gone forever. (30.1)
Min feels sad when she remembers this perfect place, which was an oasis after the night of her big fight with Ed. Did it even exist? She can't be sure.
I had such, you would not believe the such a feeling I had. You couldn't film it, it couldn't be captured. It couldn't happen almost, but there it was happening anyway. (33.25)
Occasionally, Min has an experience that just wouldn't translate to film. In this case, it's when she loses her virginity to Ed. She's living fully in the moment, instead of lost in her thoughts.
There are so many movies like this, where you thought you were smarter than the screen but the director was smarter than you, of course he's the one, of course it was a dream, of course she's dead, of course it's hidden right there, of course it's the truth and you in your seat have failed to notice in the dark. I could see them all, every reveal that ever surprised me, but I could not see this one, or know how I could not have known. (39.40)
The movie of Min's life has a twist: Her best friend Al is secretly in love with her. As with the best plot twists, she never saw it coming.
It was an ocean, a canyon of awful. I couldn't see it, some scene in a flower shop. Stop gulping, is what I thought to myself. Your expression is moronic in the reflection of the glass door. And now she's going to say, I'd predict scornfully sitting through this movie at home, How long has this been going on?
And I said it. (40.51-40.52)
Even when she breaks up with Ed, Min sees the action unfold as though she's watching a movie. Is this a defense mechanism?
I should have seen it, Ed, as a sign that you were unreliable. Instead I saw it as a sign of charming, which is why I didn't break it off right then and there, like I should have and wish wish wish I did. (8.126)
Ed's flirting with another woman while he's shopping with Min. Did you find that charming? Yeah, neither did we.
"What about you, Min?" she asked. "Do you need a shower?"
"I'm good," I said. There was a vibration in the kitchen, Ed, that you left me alone with, that I wasn't catching. (20.9-20.10)
This is the one of the first of Joan's many attempts to tell Min that her brother is bad news. Needless to say, it doesn't work.
"Did Ed tell you? He can't hang out tonight, he has a family thing."
"He did not," I said, "tell me."
Hawk Davies ended. "Yeah," she said carefully, "that sounds like him not to tell you," and I did not know what was going on that I was feeling. (20.32-20.34)
Joan has all but spray-painted "ED'S A LIAR" on the wall, but Min's still not catching her drift. Or is she?
"Well, you went out with Joe for how long, and you never asked me anything about what would a guy think."
"Well, but Joe was like you. Us."
"No, he wasn't. Not to me, anyway."
"You liked him, I thought."
Al put the ladder away. "Min, Joe was a manipulative dick." (22.168-22.172)
Min has a history of dating jerks. It is happening again.
We stayed like that listening to Joan close a closet and come down. Ed, it's ridiculous, but I loved her too. And could goddamn kill her for not saying something. Though what she could have said that I could have heard I cannot for the life of me see. (32.48)
Min is angry with Joan for not explicitly telling her that Ed cheated. Still, Min recognizes that Joan made an effort—and to be fair, Ed is Joan's brother, and Min even admits that Joan probably couldn't have convinced her of his terribleness anyway.
Lauren told me when we hung out that weekend that you must have wanted to be found out, that you wanted it over and that's why we ended up at Willows after practice. I think and think about it. But what I think is you were just outmaneuvered. (40.2)
Do you think Ed wants to be found out in the Willows scene? The text suggests that he is ready to take his relationship with Annette to the next level, so the timing of revealing his infidelity does seem awfully convenient.
"Those aren't for her," you said suddenly, and this was also, Ed, the wrong goddamn thing. (40.44)
Worst. Breakup. Line. Ever. Ed is talking about Annette's flowers, which indeed are not for Min. Dumping someone via text message seems almost gallant by comparison.
"You—did you sleep with her?" Nights I began to add up, when we didn't talk on the phone, or did but quickly. Joan mad and evasive answering, stomping upstairs to fetch you. I was a good listener, I am one. I was listening to all of it. (40.70)
Short answer: Yes, Ed has been sleeping with Annette. Finally, the exact nature of his treachery has been revealed.
You had every scrap of skin, and I had a handful of petals in one hand, somebody else's flowers, and this in the other. How many times had you been in Willows, seen it right there tacked to the wall next to a picture of kittens hanging from a tree, all bug-eyed sad, with a stupid caption everybody's seen a million times? (40.78)
It gets worse: Ed didn't just lie about Annette—he also lied about Lottie Carter, who is dead. Like a fool, Min has been planning Lottie's birthday party.
I talk shit about everybody and then sulk when they don't call me, my friends fall away like I've dropped them out of an airplane, my ex-boyfriend thinks I'm Hitler when he sees me. (40.93)
Ed's not the only hypocrite in Why We Broke Up, and here, Min admits that she herself is no angel.
The thunk, I admit it, will make me smile. A rare thing lately. (2.2)
Right off the bat, Min's tells Ed she's been sad about their breakup. Sorry, girl—smiling won't be so rare soon, Shmoop promises.
She told me it would be hard dating her brother the basketball star. "You'll be a widow," she told me, licking the spoon and turning up Hawk. "A basketball widow, bored out of your mind while he dribbles all over the world." (4.55)
"Widow" is an interesting choice of word, no? It foreshadows the way in which Min will grieve the relationship.
"Take them back, Ed. Here they are. Take back the smile and the night, take it all back, I wish I could." (4.111)
Min says she'd change the past if she could. No doubt about it, she's got a raging case of regret.
And my umbrella, lost that day, where is it? I know I had it that morning. Give it back, Ed, if you have it, I'm lost without it on rainy days, although it's December now, so it's they say snow, and an umbrella in a snowstorm is ridiculous, a seat belt if you're not in a car, a helmet if you're not on a bike, like a fish needs a bicycle or however they say it, like coffee needs to be black, like a virgin needs a boyfriend. So many things I'll never get back. (21.1)
Another regret? Losing her umbrella and her virginity. Same diff.
But everything else is gone. I mean, I love you is gone, and your dance upon the stage, and all the perfection for the party. Even the party would have been gone, had we ever had it." (23.68)
Eat your heart out, Lifetime movies—it doesn't get much more maudlin then this.
But these are here, Ed. Look at them, weighty now and heavy-making on the heart when I open the tin and rattle them in my hands sore from writing you. They've been made indelible, Ed, because everything else has vanished, so you take them now. Maybe if you're the one keeping them, I'll be the one feeling better. (23.69)
Min's not feeling better… yet. But it looks like her plan to dump the breakup box on Ed's doorstep has helped Min see that she'll feel better eventually. Little victories, yo.
You came down fully dressed and started slicing the cucumber and kissed me on the top of my head. I stayed there loving you, though the love made me, not sad but I guess melancholy, for a reason I couldn't point to. (32.4)
Why was Min feeling melancholy pre-breakup? Unclear. It's like her heart knows what's going to happen before her brain does.
Here we are at the bottom, almost empty. It's like confetti, these dried remnants you find in the street for a party no one invited you to. But they used to be, I can admit, part of something beautiful. (40.1)
There's no bummer quite like cleaning up after a party you were never invited to. Not that we'd know…
Wish it was the last time I found you beautiful, Ed. I could have let you go then, pushed back your kisses and toppled us into traffic instead of the way you haunt my hallways now. (40.31)
Ed's a ghost that haunts Min at school—and not the good kind, like in Harry Potter, either.
"I know," I said. "I know, I know, I should have broken up with him on Halloween." (41.9)
Agreed. Not dumping Ed on Halloween was a missed opportunity. That said, she can't go back in time to change it, so we advise acknowledging and learning from her mistakes, then moving on.
I wasn't supposed to be looking, not for me. It wasn't my birthday, is what I thought. There's no reason I should have been out here like this, in the yard, on a limb. You were Ed Slaterton, for God's sake, I said to myself, you weren't even invited. What was wrong with me? What was I doing? (4.45)
Min barely recognizes herself when she finds herself flirting with Ed. What on earth is going on?
"He's not going to call me. He's Ed Slaterton."
"I know who he is, Min. But you—what are you—?"
"I don't know." (4.106-4.108)
We all know who Ed Slaterton is: He's co-captain of the basketball team. But who's Min? Al asks this question of his best friend, and even Min doesn't know.
"If it's her," you repeated. "But how can you be sure?"
"There's no way we can be sure," I said. "Not now. But, you know, I had a feeling in there." (6.14-6.15)
On Min's first date with Ed, she mistakes an elderly theater patron for the film star Lottie Carson. This botched identity will cause Min much distress at the end of the book.
"If you were with me after the game, it would be more like girlfriend."
"Girlfriend," I said. It was like trying on shoes. (8.53-8.54)
For Min, dating Ed is like trying on a new identity. What kind of shoes does a girlfriend wear?
"You know, I hope you don't mind, and no offense, but you don't look like a sidelines girl."
"You're more—" chop chop she searched for the chop chop word. Behind her was a rack of knives. If she said arty—
Min's interesting—all the other characters keep telling us so—but as we later find out, she doesn't think of herself as interesting at all. Joan's all over how interesting our main girl is, though.
In the bathroom mirror there was even a smudge of dirt on my neck, and I wiped it off in a hurried flush, the cheap paper towel so rough against my skin that I looked for a scrape in my reflection and then, meeting my own eyes, stood for a sec and tried to figure, like all girls in all mirrors everywhere, the difference between lover and slut. (19.1)
Why do you think the "lover-or-slut" dilemma applies to "all girls in all mirrors everywhere"? Why do women everywhere struggle with this question of identity?
I was tired of it, I never liked it, but of course I was going, just like you were going to the All-City Halloween Bash, the Ball and the Bash, and everybody chooses sides. (25.22)
The Ball and the Bash are rival Halloween parties. The Bash is for Ed's friend group—the popular kids, the mean girls, and the jocks—while the Bash is for the goths and the drama nerds, with whom Min seems to feel an affinity.
"You must be Annette." (40.39)
The florist thinks that Min is Annette. She is not.
"Look, Min, I know you don't believe me, but this is hard. For me, too. It's awful, it's weird, it's like I was two people and one of them was, yes, Min, really—really really happy with you. I did love you, I do. But then at night Annette would knock on my window and it was just like something else, like a secret I didn't even know about—" (40.71)
Ed tries to explain himself. When he cheated on Min, it was like he was another guy. Do you buy that?
And the truth is that I'm not, Ed, is what I wanted to tell you. I'm not different. I'm not arty like everyone says who doesn't know me, I don't paint, I can't draw, I play no instrument, I can't sing. (40.93)
Min reveals her deepest darkest secret: She does not find herself interesting. Shmoop doesn't think it's a matter of interestingness, though. Instead, Min is clearly insecure.
So it all went into the box… Every last souvenir of the love we had, the prizes and debris of this relationship, like the glitter in the gutter when the parade has passed, all the everything and whatnot kicked to the curb. (2.1)
There's an old saying that goes something like this: Life is a parade, so don't let it pass you by. Well, a few pages in, Min tells us the parade is over. So you can guess how she's feeling about life.
I'm dumping the whole box back into your life, Ed, every item of you and me. I'm dumping this box on your porch, Ed, but it is you, Ed, who is getting dumped. (2.1)
Min often speaks of losing her virginity as coming of age. Here's an alternate theory, though: Min becomes an adult by letting her first love go.
"Well, I want to be a director."
"Really? Wow. Like Brad Heckerton?"
"No, like a good one," I said. "Why, what did you think?"
"I didn't really think," you said.
"And what are you going to be?"
You blinked. "Winner of state finals, I hope." (8.78-8.83)
Min dreams of being a film director when she grows up, while Ed seems to have a hard time envisioning his life beyond state finals.
"But, Min, I know it's lame, but those were my saddest times. I'd cry my eyes out when I realized, beg my mom in the middle of the night to take me back here to find them. Nobody got it, it's just a toy or you have plenty of cars or it's your responsibility to take care of your things. But I was so lost without them, those times when I lost them." (15.99)
Ed clings to toy trucks, which are relics from his childhood. So that's where he is with the whole "growing up" thing.
I thought how I only wave at Joe if I see him in the halls, how that can't even count as still talking to him, let alone staying friends like we promised we would when we ended it. But most of all, in the blaze and clatter of the park, I tried to put together how I saw it then and how I saw it before…the way it's different again now with you, with your friends gone from my Fridays and no more bonfires lighting up my eyes in the park and you just an ex-boyfriend about to get his stuff thrown back on his doorstep." (15.69)
Min has a hard time reconciling the past and the present. But that's what she's going to have to do to move forward. Spoiler alert: It's what everyone has to do in order to move forward at some point.
"But before, not so long ago—my own rose from prom still OK on the mirror, dried but not a corpse—you were just Ed Slaterton, jocky hero, handsome in the student newspaper and star of a million strands of gossip. Now…you were something else fierce and fiery in my chest and I tried to put it together in my head, the print and the negative, the boyfriend and the celebrity shadow." (15.69)
Min thinks that Ed is not the same man that he used to be. With their breakup, he comes full circle, fading back into the shadow he was before.
"Am I," I asked, "is it OK not to be a virgin?"
Al sat up straight and put the beer on the coffee table. "So you're telling me—?"
"No," I said. "I am, still." (22.90-22.92)
Min sees losing her virginity as a huge milestone in her life. It is, but that's not the point in the book where she loses her innocence—she loses her innocence when she finds out that Ed cheated and Lottie Carson is dead.
"Shut up. You're not missing me."
"Not really," he said. "Though we did say we'd stay friends."
"We're friends," I said. "Look, we're having an awkward conversation. If that's not friendship—" (29.193-29.194)
Min and Joe, her ex-boyfriend, said they'd stay friends after they broke up. The depth of that friendship is pretty clear from this snippet of conversation, though, the first they've had in ages.
"Pizza." I was fierce with the thought of it. My first grown-up meal, I couldn't help thinking, and what I want is kid stuff. (36.3)
Min ponders the irony of wanting "kid stuff" right after losing her virginity. She also spills her first "grown-up meal" all over her shirt, suggesting that maybe she hasn't really grown up yet.
He'd been sitting on the right-side bench, our usual spot, which I hadn't touched since you and I had started smacking my life around. It looked like a relic, too, relicky Al with relicky Lauren and a spot for me grave-robbed empty. (39.1)
Nothing marks the passage of time quite like spotting metaphors for your own death.