Last Reviewed on January 8, 2020, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 980
Part II: Reenactment
The next morning, the boy enacts his plan to embark on a quest to find Manuela’s girls and Echo Canyon. He packs his bag with useful birthday presents he received, such as the camera, Swiss Army Knife, and compass. The boy realizes he forgot to put some of Ma’s things back in the car, so he stuffs them in his bag instead. Next, he packs water and snacks, along with a map he found in the cabin. Lastly, he empties the girl’s bag, leaving only her book so as not to be too heavy on the trek.
The boy gently wakes up the girl and prepares her for the trip. As they walk away from the house, the girl asks if they have permission to leave, and the boy lies and weaves a tale that comforts her. As they walk in silence, the boy contemplates getting lost and never being found, but he decides that it would be better to be lost together than forced by their parents to separate at the end of the trip.
Having used up their water in the first hours of the trek, the kids find a river and rush toward it. During this break, they realize they are truly lost and begin to call for their parents. The boy looks at the map and marks out a path to get them to a town close by. The girl asks him to read something to her, so he takes out the elegy book. The boy reads the Seventh Elegy, which describes the children jumping onto a moving train as it switches tracks.
The next morning, the kids awake to the sound of a motor from a nearby tractor. They approach a man, and the boy asks to take his picture. Using a prepared story, the boy tells the man they just moved here from France and live down the street. He tells him French kids are independent and asks if the man can give them a ride to the Big Tank down the street. The man agrees and takes them there. After he leaves, the kids run toward the water to cool their parched throats. The boy checks the map again, proud that he is on the right path, and realizes it’s only ten miles to the next town, where they can catch a train to Echo Canyon.
The kids reach the Lordsburg train station, which is surrounded by abandoned motels and stores. Hungry, thirsty, and exhausted, they see a diner, and even though they are afraid to get caught, they decide to go in for water. Without telling the girl, the boy decides that after they drink the water, they will run away from the diner and sleep on top of a train, just like the kids in the book.
The kids receive their glasses of water, and the boy dumps packets of sugar in them. The boy also steals two chicken wings from a man’s plate when he heads to the bathroom. The boy is becoming concerned; he knows they need to leave or people will become suspicious. By some act of fate, the man with the chicken wings puts “Space Oddity” on the jukebox, the song they have been singing for days in the car. They use this distraction to slip out of the diner unnoticed. Once they are out the door, they run. After some time, however, the boy realizes the girl is nowhere to be found.
The boy, lost and scared, climbs on top of a train car as planned. He recounts how the girl earned the name Memphis when the family was in Tennessee and how she sucks her thumb and falls asleep on command. He decides to stay put as a lookout, assuming the girl is...
(The entire section contains 980 words.)
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