Chapter 20 Summary
When the twentieth chapter, “Flesh and Blood,” begins, Cal explains that she never did end up menstruating. Instead, she faked it and maintained a cycle, claiming to do “cramps the way Meryl Streep did accents.” Cal admits that this deception was a relief to Tessie and even to Callie herself, who was no longer “at the mercy of nature.” The summer trip has been canceled, as has the appointment with Dr. Bauer.
In the living room at Middlesex, the Stephanides family and their friends continue to discuss the Turks’ invasion of Cyprus. All of the guests are furious about the invasion. Milton, however, sympathizes with Nixon, and he detests the liberals and the left-wing media that is so focused on Watergate. When the guests begin to criticize Nixon over his foreign policy, Milton argues that the Americans need to look after their own interests and finally declares “to hell with the Greeks.” All of the guests, except Father Mike and Zoë, leave with great indignation. Tessie is distraught and Father Mike takes her out to the deck. Zoë and Callie go outside and observe the way Father Mike is looking at Tessie as he comforts her. Zoë proceeds to get drunk.
Callie drives to the Object’s summer cottage with “Mr. Object.” When she arrives, Jerome shows her around and informs her that she will be sharing a bed with the Object. But when she walks downstairs, Callie is surprised to discover Rex Reese and the Object: it appears they have been spending time together. Jerome, meanwhile, appears to be just as interested in Callie as Rex is in the Object. That night, the four of them hike through the woods to a hunting cabin. They break in, smoke a joint, and drink some beer before Rex and the Object begin making out. Jerome and Callie soon follow suit. Callie keeps one eye on the Object throughout and she soon becomes "ecstatic" like the Oracle at Delphi. Cal explains that "ecstasy" actually refers to an out of body experience, and once she finds herself out of body, she puts herself into Rex’s body. She can sense what it is like to kiss the Object, though occasionally "checks in" to see what Jerome is doing to her.
On one of these glances, she realizes that Jerome is inside of her. It feels wrong, and Callie realizes that being inside of Rex had felt right. Callie pushes Jerome off of her and thinks that “it’s all over now.” Jerome will tell Rex, who will tell the Object, and before long everyone will know. However, Jerome does not react as Callie expects. Instead, lying on the floor
Jerome had the smile of a boy who, on a summer night, had gone all the way. He had the smile of a guy who couldn’t wait to tell his friends. Reader, believe this if you can: he hadn’t noticed a thing.