Chapter 14 Summary
After their conversation about deferment, it is clear that the excitement of the trip is gone. Chrissie and Rodney propose to go buy some birthday cards in bulk, and after they enter the store, the five break up. Before long, Kathy sees Chrissie talking to Ruth; she cannot help overhearing Chrissie pressing for more details about deferment. She particularly wants to know whom they would contact. Ruth continues to dodge her questions, suggesting that Chrissie does not understand how things were because she never went to Hailsham. When Ruth sees that Kathy can hear her, she breaks off. As they leave the store, she gives Kathy a dirty look.
They leave the store and finally head to the office to see Ruth’s possible. Rodney points her out and Kathy can see the resemblance; she reflects that “Ruth could take encouragement from what she’d seen.” They walk away and sit near a wall. The possible walks past, and the five decide to follow her. The woman leads them to an art gallery. When they enter, the possible leaves, and they begin talking with the curator, who asks whether they are art students.
As they leave the gallery, Chrissie declares that everyone can agree that the possible is not Ruth. Everyone takes a turn comforting Ruth, and Kathy tries to communicate the sincerity of her feelings as opposed to the superficiality she detects behind the veterans’ condolences. Ruth does not respond to her. Tommy takes things a step further by suggesting that the experiment was nothing more than a bit of fun, which irritates Ruth. She maintains that he would care if it were his possible. Tommy disagrees. Finally, Rodney suggests that they go to see Martin. However, Ruth is not quite ready to move on.
Ruth explains that the entire experiment was stupid. There was no way she could have been copied from a model like the woman in the office. There is no way they could walk up to such a woman and ask whether she was a “clone model” because
we’re modeled from trash. Junkies, prostitutes, winos, tramps.... You look in rubbish bins. Look down the toilet, that’s where you’ll find where we all came from.
Rodney again proposes that they go see Martin, and Chrissie agrees. Although Ruth agrees to go, Kathy decides to stay behind. Ruth taunts her and says she is sulking. As the others are about to leave Kathy behind, Tommy decides to stay as well. Ruth leaves with the veterans.