One Rainy Afternoon (Page 269 Kindle)
This stock photo makes me laugh. Completely unrelated to anything happening in the book.
He keeps coming up in my searches, and I was going to write a story about him, but I'm feeling uninspired. I suppose I still can. I'm going to call him "Gary." Gary is a mans-man, he's not a beta soy boy cuck, he likes to forge metal and drive a truck. He's the guy that Donald Trump aspires to be, despite his disproportionately small hands. After Gary makes a metal ring, he flexes his muscles and ... I can never be a 4Chan porn writer. I'm looking at this photo like "you are unsafe! Put a shirt on! Put eye protection on! Why is that forge just a random pile of burning ash? Where are your gloves? Are there kids running around making those chalk marks? What even is the giant circle of metal?
Right. Back to the book. Chris is holding open the tapestries, which are heavy. Please take them down and wash them in a washing machine, Concrete Boobs. As you can tell, it's raining. Chris is waiting for the four o'clock train. Cathy is sitting "cross-legged" on the bed she shares with Carrie. I actually wonder if "cross-legged" was in the original edition, or if the common 70s term for that position got switched. If someone is editing 37 year old books for non-offensive language, then we should definitely be concerned with 35 year old allegations of sexual assault.
Cathy is scrapbooking. She's scrapbooking her wedding, to be exact. Pre-Pinterest life must have been hard. Cutting and pasting with scissors and glue. Eww. No Thank You. Her life is mapped out. Career, husband, children when retired. This is a side note so she can describe her future bathroom. She lives in an attic with three siblings so I'll let her have this dream. Which, after looking up "emerald glass" I may actually share. Her description of the bathroom leads into a long description of how she will smell and how she will feel getting out of the tub without anyone bothering her. It's almost touching, if a bit dramatic and self-centered. I suppose she's allowed to be a little selfish, she's been raising her siblings for literally years by now.
She tries to talk to Chris about escape. He's gripping the curtains and angry. Her impulse is to run and kiss him, and cuddle his head on her breast. Dear god, you have to get out of this room. Momma's been ghosting them for two months. They talk about where she would go if anywhere. This is a conversation I've had a lot in my life. Cathy would like to go somewhere warm, like a sunny beach, which she describes in excruciating detail, because no one has ever been to a beach before. I'd go to Hawaii, specifically the same VRBO we were in before. Except I can't, because it's now literally a pile of lava rocks. Next option would be to find a very similar place but not in the lava flow zone, buy it, and stay there forever and forget about the rest of the US, while still reaping the small benefits of being a citizen with a passport that can go most places? I don't know, maybe Belize or Mexico or Canada? I would love to live in a warm place but I also like the cold. Chris wants to surf and describes it oddly.
She tells him to get away from the windows and he throws a hissy fit, which includes whining about the food. Cathy says that it's not worth it to suffer like this for money. Chris's face is red and he yells at her about his education and how if they run away he'll never be an MD, and how the only jobs he can get to support them would be "fruit-picker," dishwasher, short-order cook. (Is that the same as a line cook?) He's in a tight spot, but duh, if you don't leave the attic you'll never get into med school. Also, you'll never get in because you missed 4 years of secondary ed that you can never get back. Cathy yells back that she can work too, and she tries to helpmeet him.
"Between us, we can manage. Chris, when we were starving, you brought me four dead mice, and you said God gives people extra strength and abilities in the time of great stress. Well I believe He does. When we leave here and are on our own, somehow or other we will make our way, and you will be a doctor! I'll do anything to see that you get that damned MD behind your name."
Chris, being a neckbeard, questions what she can do in a way that I am reading as "what can a girl with no skills do?" But before the fight heats up, duh duhnnnn dum! Grandmother enters the
battle room. He refuses to move from the window and berates his elder for calling him boy. Concrete Boobs tells Christopher that she HATES the name Christopher! SHOCKING. She's spitting out some plot points.
Stress can cause illness, but to say that your daughter caused her father's heart disease is a bit much. There are genetic markers and besides, Corrine is the victim here! She's the one groomed by her creepy uncle Christopher.
Chris points out that they are not to blame for their parents sins. Concrete Boobs retorts that they ARE to blame for what they did. He wonders what is sinful about being locked in this room. He yells at her, Cathy tells him to stop, Concrete Boobs (CB) slams the door as she leaves. Chris tells her that they can hide from her in the attic as she's scared of the stairwell. (Did this come up before? I'm sure it must have. I know it came up when they were arguing over Cathy's hair, but do we know why CB is scared of the stairwell? Is it normal for grown people to be scared of stairs? Is she a horse?)
Grandmother comes back with a switch. I bet none of you saw that coming.
She grabs Chris's arm and hisses that if he hides in the attic, no one will eat for a week! Oh, and she'll whip Cathy as well.
We cut to a calendar. Chris will be 17 in a month. He is small, compared to the huge frame of O'le Concrete Boobs. The twins are clinging to each other. Grandmother drags Chris into the bathroom, where she demands that he strips and lean over the bathtub. Carrie pleads for Cathy to make CB stop. Carrie, it's time you understood power.
Cathy monologues about how they are "like one" and blah blah blah. She screamed everytime the whip hit. How soundproofed is this room? Cathy keeps screaming as Chris comes out of the bathroom in a towel swathed around his hips. Cory bites Grandmother's leg, she kicks Cory, Cathy is told to go into the bathroom and strip, and Cathy goes with:
"I'm going to get even one day, old woman."
"There's going to come a day when you are going to be the helpless one, and I'm going to hold the whip in my hands. And there's going to be food in the kitchen that you are never going to eat, for, as you incessantly say, God sees everything, and he as his way of working justice, an eye for an eye is his way, Grandmother!"
Grandmother with the knife slashed mouth says "Never speak to me again!" which is not what I call great grandparenting. Then again, your daughter was groomed by an older uncle whom she married so maybe it's not just a Grandparent Fail. The twins are screaming, Cathy's curled up trying to protect her breasts (I think VC or the editor just wanted to squeeze in yet another use of the word "breasts") After calling CB a monster, Cathy is knocked unconscious, soap opera style. In real life, this generally means a brain injury, but this is fiction, so she'll be fine. Concussions, lingering effects of malnutrition, being stunted educationally and socially, eh, they'll all be fine as long as Chris goes to Med School. I don't think I'd be comfortable with my doctor being married to his sister. but that's me. She wakes up from being knocked on conscious in yet another grandmother fail, and she cleans up Chris' back while he cleans her cuts and bruises. Sleeping Beauty just happens to be playing on the record player in the attic, which does not drift into the rest of the house at all.
They are in the same bed, on their sides, under a sheet, with their eyes locked. Caressing each other softly. Singing (?) and kissing, and talking about how it's wrong. There is bitter laughter. It's gross. Gross language, lots of swelling and turmoil. Then there is the forced Sleeping Beauty Aurora metaphor.
Next Chapter: "To Find a Friend" Will they get out of the attic? (no) Will they meet a housekeeper who promises false hope? (no.) Where are the twins? (who knows, probably in tupperware.)