Pages 281-289 Summary

Sita does not enjoy having Mary and Celestine here, even wishes they would get sick and leave, but she sleeps far away from them on the pool table downstairs because she likes it. The recreation room is full of things from both of her husbands and serves as a kind of shrine to both of them and yet neither of them. Sita has moved all of her favorite things down here, so it is her room now.

She used to have her pills, “the little stockpiled prescriptions that were Louis’s legacy,” stashed everywhere; however, she kept forgetting where she hid them. No doctors will write her any more prescriptions, so these leftovers are invaluable to her. The room is always dark, and she can do nearly anything she wants by remote control, a system Louis designed for his own convenience.

She has been in less pain since the night Mary nearly hit her with a brick; something about the shock “shorted out a series of nerve connections.” One of the reasons she does not call the police to rid herself of the women is because she is afraid someone will take her pills, something she could not bear. Sita’s left arm is numb and useless.

Mary and Celestine want to take her to see Dot crowned princess at the Beet Festival, and Sita finally relents. They are making deliveries but will come back for her soon. Just getting up is an energy-sapping chore for her, and she involuntarily lands face-down on the floor. She manages to retrieve her pills from a waterproof box out of the toilet and is shocked to see how few she has left. She has a conversation with herself and knows that without Louis and without her pills, her fate is the state mental hospital. She swallows the remaining pills and turns on the water for a bath. The rush of the pills matches the rush of the water.

The pills block her pain and Sita is able to stand. She puts on Adelaide’s garnet filigreed necklace, something Mary has never seen but will probably not care about anyway. Once Sita was at the butcher shop and told Dot a romanticized version of her grandmother Adelaide’s life; the girl was mesmerized and Sita was thrilled that, for even a short time, she was able to steal the girl from Mary just as Mary stole Celestine from her.

Sita dresses all in white and does her makeup and hair the best she can before starting to climb the fourteen stairs to the main floor. She has to stop to rest and thinks about how much her parents would have loved having a grandchild. Now she wonders “how long it will take if the pills do work.” Sita ponders death and the after-life, something she has often thought about, as she waits for Mary and Celestine.