Chapter 15 Summary

Now that the others have left to see Rodney and Chrissie’s friend, Martin, Tommy and Kathy begin heading in the opposite direction. Kathy calms down and Tommy begins to comfort her. He suggests that they try to find a copy of the old Judy Bridgewater cassette tape Kathy had so enjoyed and then lost while at Hailsham. They find a store selling old clothes and music, and they even find a copy of the old tape, which Tommy offers to buy for Kathy.

They begin talking about deferment. Tommy wonders why Miss Lucy apologized for telling him not to worry about his art; her previous statement had comforted and helped him. He wonders why she would have decided that it did matter, after all. Now Tommy thinks that it might have something to do with deferment. If it is true that Hailsham students can defer their donations conditional on their being in love, he wonders how the students would prove they are in love. Tommy thinks it might have something to do with the artwork they did while at Hailsham, particularly the pieces Madame took to the Gallery. However, because Tommy’s art has always been so awful, none of his work ever made it to the Gallery.

At first, Kathy thinks Tommy’s theory is wrong. However, she slowly starts to accept it. She thinks back to the time Madame caught her dancing to the Judy Bridgewater song “Never Let Me Go,” and she wonders whether Madame would not have thought she was dancing with an imaginary lover. Tommy informs Kathy that he has begun working on new art—imaginary animals—but that for once his art is good because he has discovered a new way to illustrate.

Tommy has another theory. He thinks Kathy looks at pornographic magazines because she is looking for her model. Kathy admits to him that sometimes she has an overwhelming desire to have sex and that she is ashamed of some of the things it has caused her to do. She has reasoned that this desire must come from somewhere, so she looks for her possible in pornography. Tommy listens to this with understanding, and he puts his arm around her. However, Kathy shrugs it off before they reunite with the others. On the way home, Ruth and Chrissie share funny stories about Martin, and Kathy reflects that it is almost like things are back to normal among them.