Chapter Thirteen: The Spaces In Between the Houses
In this edition of the book, Chapter 13 is pages 214-237
We're back in spinny-camera mode as Grace is walking home. It's really cold and she dreams of dying of hypothermia.
Apparently, Jonathan loved cold places. He was reading a book about the Klondike the night they met, had a poster of Gold Rush pilgrims in his dorm, and loved Jack London stories.
This seems relevant, but of course Grace doesn't dwell on it.
She thinks about how the police precinct reminded her of an emergency room at a hospital—everyone was exhausted and unhappy.
She remembers that Henry is still at Grandpa and Eva's. She lied and told them one of her patients was in crisis and she needed to go to the hospital.
Whenever she sees Jonathan again, she plans to ask him when they both became so good at lying—because lying about talking to the police is definitely the same as lying about getting fired nine months ago and killing your mistress.
She imagines that Jonathan might be protecting them from danger, leading somebody or something away from his loved ones.
"Stop, she told herself" (13.216). Finally, her common sense is showing signs of life.
Apparently, she said "Stop" out loud because a taxi pulls up right on cue. She gets in and directs it to her home.
When she walks in her apartment, she immediately feels nauseated.
She hasn't eaten anything, so she scarfs down some cheese to force herself to get sick. Ew.
Tidbits from the police interview rush back to her mind: an ATM card, a secret bank account, and Jonathan's corduroy pants.
She wills herself to get up and start packing a bag for herself and Henry.
She notices a copy of Lord of the Flies resting on Henry's desk, open to the scene discussing (spoiler alert) Piggy's death.
Hmm, we wonder if Korelitz mentioned the moment when all social order falls apart in that book for any particular reason.
Grace packs Henry's things and puts the bag by the door so she'll remember it in the morning.
She walks down the hallway, past her collection of vintage art school portraits, which all seem to be judging her.
What a weird thing to collect.
Grace searches through the hall closet looking for clues. She bought everything except a green scarf that Jonathan brought home a few years ago. It looks handmade but very nice. She throws it on the floor.
Moving into the living room, she takes note of her two paintings of the same young man. In one, he looks very straight-laced; in the other, extremely sensual. Again, our symbolism senses are tingling.
There's nothing abnormal in the linen closet, but she sees all her old fertility drugs and thinks about how hard it was to conceive Henry.
Finally, she heads to their master bedroom. She remembers getting rid of Jonathan's frat-boy wardrobe and taking him shopping for button-down shirts and corduroys.
Mixed in with Jonathan's dry cleaning, she finds an ugly rust-and-orange patterned shirt that reminds her of a navajo blanket. She hates it.
The scarf feels familiar, but she can't remember why.
Then, in the pocket of a heavy jacket Jonathan hardly ever wore, she finds a condom.
Yikes. She's come up with passable excuses for the scarf and the ugly shirt, but she can't excuse this.
She starts looking through their bookcase and remembers that one of her patients gave her a hollowed-out book with a safe inside on his last day of therapy.
It's supposed to contain Jonathan's good watch (her wedding gift to him), her father's cufflinks, and some of her nice jewelry...but it's completely empty.
Horrified, she turns to her mother's vanity, checking for all the big sentimental pieces her dad gave her mom over the years. The vanity's empty too, including the earrings Grace wore to the Reardon fundraiser.
Have we mentioned that Jonathan is the worst?
Grace goes into the third bedroom where Jonathan kept his office things. Somehow she refrains from setting it on fire.
She sees a big box of patient files in the room and realizes it's the type of box you might use to clear out your office when you've been fired.
Instead of snooping around in here, she thinks about Jonathan's phone.
His phone is totally dead, and she considers charging it because deleting something incriminating might be her last chance to "help" Jonathan.
Then she remembers the police know about his phone already, so they'll come looking for it and be able to tell if she tampered with it.
"And that would be a very, very bad thing for her, and also for Henry. She had to do everything right now, for Henry" (13.235).
She realizes that looking for things that are there but don't belong (the scarf, shirt, and condom) won't give her answers.
Focusing on what's not there and does belong (the jewelry) might be a better strategy.
As we all do before we fall asleep, she thinks of the poem "A German Requiem" by James Fenton.