Summary and Analysis
July 1988 (I)
David now lives in a duplex with Rosemary and Jack, her five-year-old son. For the past few months, David has helped Rosemary by watching Jack while she goes to night classes. He lets Jack try things on his own—within certain limits of reason and safety. David and Rosemary have never had a romantic relationship. Paul visits sometimes but keeps a safe emotional distance from David.
David runs a medical practice open to all patients; he left his old job when a longtime patient was turned away for not having insurance. Rosemary is getting married, graduating, and moving to Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, for a job. She urges David to tell Norah the truth about Phoebe. A while back, David hired a private investigator, who found out where Caroline and Phoebe live. David went to their house and watched them through their windows. He’s opened savings accounts for Jack and Phoebe, which they’ll receive after he dies.
He runs to Norah’s house to fix a dripping kitchen faucet and almost writes a confession letter. Instead, he writes a note that he fixed the faucet.
This chapter shows the results of David’s new life with Rosemary. It seems that David has overcome his attachment to distanced control. His new medical practice breaks all the official rules of modern medicine: He’s paid in food, services, and other non-standard valuables, and he provides care to anyone regardless of their insurance status. He’s also helping raise Jack in a completely different way than he raised Paul, allowing risk-taking and danger, curbing his impulse toward protectiveness.
On the other hand, when David fixes Norah’s faucet, is he holding on to the imagery of control, which stops the flow of change, or is he simply stopping the leak that has dripped for the past 20 years? David has changed a lot, but his continued reluctance to tell the truth about Phoebe shows that he hasn’t yet changed completely.