Chapter 14 Summary
Leonard goes home to England at Christmas for the first time since moving to Berlin. He tries to convince Maria to come with him, but she insists that his parents will be less than impressed with a divorcee from Germany. Before he heads off, Leonard gets a Christmas gift from Glass—a high-end ballpoint pen. When Leonard arrives home, he soon realizes that Maria’s assumptions were correct. His parents barely register anything he tells them about Maria as if she didn’t even exist. Coming home, Leonard realizes he has grown up a lot during the past year abroad, but his parents still see him as an overgrown child. His mother fusses over him and his father tells him what to do as if he were still a teenager. He is soon stiflingly bored and aching to go back to Maria as well as the warehouse. He is surprised by how much he likes his work and misses it on holiday. He writes to Maria every day and cannot wait to return home to her.
In the period following Otto’s attack, Leonard and Maria alter their schedule to avoid another run-in with Otto. The two begin spending more time at Leonard’s flat than Maria’s apartment. In addition, when they do meet at Maria’s flat, Leonard makes sure to get there first. When they go out, they tend to choose out-of-the-way places and sit in secluded booths. Although it is not explicitly stated, Leonard knows that they are making these changes because of Otto. Although it is not rational, he is angry at Maria for having married him.
Maria met Otto just after the war; she assumes he served from about 1939 to 1946. When pressed by Leonard to explain their union, Maria can only say that Otto found her at a particularly low point in her life. She was on the outs with her parents, and thus more susceptible to Otto’s charms (which were more prevalent before alcoholism consumed him). During a walk, Leonard ponders his feelings for Maria, noting that she comes with baggage. Leonard is also haunted by another nagging feeling: a lingering worry about Glass and Maria. Glass’s interrogation of Maria to clear her was lengthy, and occasionally stories of the interrogation from Maria differ from the accounts Glass gives. Although it is hard to think of Glass as a friend in the traditional sense, Leonard realizes that aside from Maria, Glass is the person to whom he is closest.