Section 14 Summary
Lelia and Henry travel to Henry’s father’s house. Neither of them has done much to get rid of Henry’s father’s belongings since his death. Once they arrive at the house, Lelia begins to cook a lamb stew, one of Henry’s favorite meals. Lelia used to make it often when they were still living together. Henry recalls how they used to make love while the stew cooked. The lovemaking would work up an incredible appetite for them. Afterward, they would fill their bowls and feed one another with big spoons. Then they would crawl under the sheets and fall asleep, their hungers well satiated.
Henry watches Leila cook. He notices more muscular definition in her arms as she chops vegetables and stirs a big spoon in the pot. Lelia tells Henry that she has been working out more. Then she turns the conversation to the task at hand. She suggests that after they are finished eating, they should begin sorting through Henry’s father’s papers. Henry complains. He says he is too tired to dig into the work that night. However, Lelia insists and Henry gives in.
The only other time they had attempted to clear out the house, Henry had not been there to help Lelia. He had been working on a case in Miami when his father died. After the funeral, he had to immediately return to Florida. At that time, Henry and Lelia were considering moving into the house. It would have been perfect had Mitt lived. Mitt would have had access to better schools, and back then Henry and Lelia were tired of living in the city. With Mitt’s death, however, everything changed.
After dinner, Henry slices a cake he had bought, and they go to Henry’s father’s study to eat it. There they find boxes filled with old photographs. They sort through the photographs, but Henry does not recognize many of the people. Most of them, he surmises, were sent from relatives still living in Korea—people he never met. Lelia finds pictures of Henry’s mother, who died before Henry was married, so Lelia never met her. Lelia points out physical traits Henry shares with his mother. She says Henry has the same expressions, too. The one to which Lelia pays most attention is the one she describes as saying “I’m immune.” With this description, Lelia implies that nothing can reach Henry emotionally. Henry tells her that when he was a teenager, he wished his parents showed more affection to him. He wished his parents were more like the fathers and mothers of his White, American friends, who were more expressive and open.
As they continue to work, Henry and Lelia draw physically closer to one another. Eventually they kiss. Henry is careful to go slow; he fears that he might scare Lelia away if he is too rushed with his gestures. They end the evening making love.