Section 15 Summary
Lelia moves back into her and Henry's apartment. There she sets up a studio, working as a freelance speech therapist. Her clients are usually younger than six. As she teaches, Henry reminisces about his youth, when he attended speech classes. He had trouble distinguishing between "L" and "R" or "B" and "V" and "P" and "F." His parents spoke Korean at home; their English was heavily accented. Henry could only work on proper pronunciation at school, where boys often made fun of his pronunciation.
Most of Lelia's students are Asian. Some have problems with their ears or mouths, but most are not native English speakers. Two boys are from Laos, and Henry enjoys hearing them speak their language. He also admires how Lelia teaches them. For instance, she draws pictures of the mouth's anatomy rather than using clinical illustrations that sometimes frighten young children.
Henry vividly recalls his own speech therapist, a twenty-something white woman who encouraged her students to press their fingers on her throat to feel the vibrations of various vocalizations.
One weekend, Henry and Lelia take the Staten Island ferry. Henry claims the boat tour is New York's cheapest vacation. The ride only costs fifty cents and goes across the harbor to three different islands. Henry likes to lean against the railing, watching as they roll past Manhattan.
Henry and Lelia talk about Korea. Lelia wants to know about the racist term "gook." Henry imagines that when U.S. soldiers were in Korea during the Korean War, people greeted them with the Korean term Mee-gook, "American." Soldiers probably thought they were identifying themselves as "gooks."
When the ferry reaches Staten Island, Lelia insists they find a place to stay overnight. A cab takes them to a small motel. In their room, they search for a weather report on television. Lelia says if the forecast is good, they might stay another day. They also listen to the news. The top two stories are a cab driver's murder in the city and the burning of Kwang's campaign headquarters. The fire still burns. Details are sketchy; initial reports state the fire is suspicious. Neighbors heard an explosion and a witness saw two men wearing ski masks run away. There is no report of casualties yet.
Henry is not worried about Kwang's safety; Kwang and Sherrie are in Washington, D.C., for the weekend. Lelia, however, is disturbed. Henry could have been there and been killed.