Chapter 28 Summary
In the twenty-eighth chapter, “The Last Stop,” Julie continues her relationship with Cal, though she asks whether she might be his last stop. He says that she is more like his first stop. When they return to his apartment and enter the bedroom, Cal asks whether he is her last stop, and Julie admits that he might be.
Chapter Eleven meanwhile flies Cal back to Detroit. The charges are removed from Cal’s record and they do not prevent him from getting a job with the State Department. The two brothers drive through the city once more, and Cal notices that black people look at him as though he is “the Man,” which he supposes is a part of the male experience. Chapter Eleven accepts Cal as his “bro,” and they begin teasing each other. When Tessie asks whether it would have been easier to stay how he was, a girl, Cal replies that “this is the way I was.”
Cal goes to see his grandmother, Desdemona. He explains that she has not been present recently in the story because “in the dramatic years of my transformation, she slipped out of my attention most of the time.” At first, Desdemona does not remember Cal, or even Callie, at all, but she eventually realizes, crying out “Calliope.” She explains to Cal that her mother had once told her about children that were born girls, but when they became teenagers they no longer looked like girls. Desdemona confesses that the church and later Dr. Philobosian warned her against marrying anyone closer than a second cousin (and even marriages between second cousins should be approved by the archbishop), but she married Lefty anyhow. She says that Cal resembles Lefty, and then notes that her spoon was right after all. Cal promises not to tell anyone the truth about her and Lefty until after she passes away.
Milton is buried and is given a full Orthodox funeral, which is no doubt against his wishes. None of the people from Hercules Hot Dogs show up, and the family realizes that Milton never had friends—only family and business associates. Cal does not attend so that he will not have to explain how he has changed to the family. However, he does stand guard at the house, an old Greek tradition that no one remembers but one that only a man can perform, so that Milton’s spirit cannot reenter the house. Father Mike is charged with grand larceny and Zoë divorces him. She and Desdemona move to New Smyrna Beach, where they will later be joined by Tessie. As Cal stands guard on the door, he thinks about how happy he is to be home. He weeps for his father and considers what is next for him.