Pages 230-232 Summary

Adelaide has been brooding for days and Omar knows she is “building up a fit of anger.” He understands that her rages have little to do with him but are the accumulation of her feelings which are damned up for a time but will eventually burst. When the dam brakes, Omar stays out of Adelaide’s way as she pounds and beats and curses until she finds some peace.

Omar wakes up alone in bed, so he sneaks downstairs to “spy on her mood.” Adelaide’s skin has turned white with age but her throat and waist are still supple; her red hair stands out like an electric shock and she regularly snaps at customers who come to examine their birds. She is now subdued, sitting at the kitchen table with some hot chocolate.

Omar watches the birds in their silver-domed gazebo, thinking that he and Adelaide are viciously tied together, as he feels her pain “like it is inside him” but is unable to help her heal. As he feeds the birds, Omar hears Adelaide throwing glassware. He is not upset at the cost or worried that she will hurt herself; he is oppressed by the waiting. He imagines how they will hold hands, play cards, and laugh once Adelaide returns to herself.

The house is now silent except for the swish of the broom as Adelaide cleans up the mess. Finally Omar enters the kitchen to find Adelaide standing in the middle of the room, her feet “smeared with blood.” Her face is pale and pinched as she looks directly at him with frightened eyes. Adelaide pours herself a cup of coffee. Omar reaches to grab it before it spills.