Chapter 2 Summary

When Lucky arrives home, she sees Brigitte’s shoes on the front steps and her dog, HMS Beagle, hiding in the shade under the front porch. Lucky knows this means her guardian is cleaning the floors. Brigitte always cleans floors barefoot, leaving the dog outside, so the floors do not get dirty again while she works. Lucky steps inside, drops the survival backpack she carries everywhere, and takes off her hat. She ponders Brigitte’s bare feet, which are strange and bony, not at all like Lucky’s sturdy, thick ones. Lucky is pretty sure that if Brigitte ever had a baby of her own, it would have bony feet too. It would probably also have great posture, as Brigitte does.

Brigitte is on the phone with her mother. She pauses to greet Lucky and offer her some iced tea. She calls Lucky mon choux, which means “my cabbage” in French. Lucky sighs and thinks that if Brigitte had a baby, she would probably call it by a sweeter and nicer nickname. While Brigitte talks to her mother, Lucky drinks cold sun tea, which is the best kind of tea because you can make it without using the stove and making the whole kitchen hotter. Lucky runs her fingers through her hair, feeling how sweaty and crusty it is. She wishes that Dot, the hairdresser, could get it to look like the pictures Lucky finds in the magazine. Instead it always looks “like some kind of mushroom-colored garden hedge.”

When Lucky is finished with her tea, she slurps ice cubes and wishes she knew French so that she could understand Brigitte’s side of the conversation with her mother. Brigitte’s mother is a selfish woman who is “working on a secret, sinister plan to lure Brigitte back to France.” She is always sending little packages that make Brigitte homesick. Last week, for example, she sent a little tube of mustard, and when Brigitte tasted it she smiled and cried because it reminded her of home.

When Brigitte gets off the phone, she says her mother has sent Lucky a bisou, “a big kiss.” She tells Lucky they will have a cold salad for dinner because it is too hot to cook. Lucky asks hopefully if they have the kind of olives she likes. Brigitte looks through the fridge and says no, they will just have to “make it do” with the canned black olives from the local store. Lucky corrects her, saying they have to “make do,” instead. Brigitte sighs and agrees.