Chapter 13 Summary

Normally at bedtime, Lucky sits on Brigitte’s lap “the same way you would sit on a chair.” Brigitte hugs her, and they talk for a while. Lucky considers it “babyish” to sit on someone’s lap, but she likes it anyway. She likes the closeness and Brigitte’s clean smell. Also Brigitte seems to love this part of being a guardian, which makes “Lucky’s heart fill up with molecules of hope.”

When Brigitte gets home with the repaired parsley grinder, Lucky pulls on her pajamas and waits. Brigitte does not come, so Lucky goes to the kitchen trailer and sticks her head in the freezer. She says she is ready for bed, but Brigitte does not take the hint. She tells Lucky to close the freezer and let her study. To Lucky’s mind, it is weird for a grown-up to study and even weirder not to say why. Brigitte asks Lucky to stop interrupting, calling her, “ma puce,” which means “my flea.”

Lucky does not stop interrupting. She demands to know why Brigitte calls her “my flea.” She points out that she does not bite Brigitte, or suck her blood, or bother her, or make her itch, or make her skin all bumpy. They argue, and Lucky stomps off to her bedroom. On her way, she glimpses the booklet Brigitte is using for her studies. She is taking a course on restaurant management from the Culinary Institute of France. This, Lucky decides, is proof that Brigitte is going home.

In her bedroom, Lucky cries. She hopes Brigitte will come in, see the tears, and feel sorry—but Brigitte stays in the kitchen. Lucky resolves then to go through with her plan to run away. She is pretty sure that somebody will call the police, and Lucky’s father will find out. He will tell Brigitte to do her guardian job better. This idea pleases Lucky, who thinks that “by running away she [can] make people do things they wouldn’t do otherwise.”

Lucky decides that when she leaves, she will not just take what she needs to survive and keep from being bored; she will also take what she needs “in order to stay brave and not falter.” She will go to the miners’ dugouts and stay there for a week while she figures out what to do next. Then, maybe, she will sneak back into town and hide outside Dot’s place to listen to what people at the beauty salon are saying about her.

By now Lucky is almost asleep. Brigitte comes to the door, but it is too late. Lucky pretends to be sleeping and hopes Brigitte feels bad for being such a bad guardian. Brigitte is still standing there when Lucky falls asleep.