Last Updated on March 9, 2020, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 1309
Howie is standing in a suit at the front door of their home as Izzy walks in from the kitchen with a piece of torte. Izzy is over four months pregnant.
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Howie is running an open house, but he doesn’t think there are any serious buyers. Izzy says the reason people aren’t interested is because Howie keeps telling them what happened to Danny. Howie becomes defensive, but Izzy explains that people are suspicious about things like “house karma.” Howie doesn’t agree and thinks they need a real estate agent to close the deal.
Izzy asks Howie why Becca is angry with her, suggesting it’s her pregnancy. Howie says Becca isn’t angry, but Izzy won’t let it go. Howie tries to explain that there is more going on around the house that has nothing to do with Izzy, but she refuses to accept his response. She asks Howie if Becca blames her for calling that day to complain about Nat, but Howie says Danny’s accident has nothing to do with her or the phone call.
Izzy keeps pushing the issue of her pregnancy and says she feels like no one is supporting her. She feels like everyone thinks she can’t handle it. Izzy says she’s ready, and Howie says he hopes she is. Izzy doesn’t appreciate his “hopes” comment. Howie ends the open house early and grabs a beer from the fridge.
Izzy asks Howie if he remembers her friend Reema, and Howie says he doesn’t. Reema works at a restaurant Howie went to a couple of weeks ago. Howie says he hopes he didn’t stiff the waitress, and Izzy states that Reema saw Howie with a woman. Howie casually says that he was with a woman from the support group, but Izzy says they were seen holding hands. The more Izzy describes the scene, the angrier Howie becomes. Izzy makes it clear that she is protecting her sister and hopes that if things aren’t going well in their marriage, Howie will be honest and not sneak around behind Becca’s back. Howie is enraged by Izzy’s comments, claiming that he is not having an affair. Izzy ends the conversation by saying he did stiff Reema on the tip.
Becca and Nat are in the middle of an argument as they come through the front door with groceries. Izzy tries to interrupt by asking if anyone brought her an olive loaf, while Nat says if she hadn’t said something, someone would have called the cops. This comment grabs everyone’s attention. Nat says they had “a little scene,” and Becca tries to change the subject by asking about the open house. Howie, however, asks what happened. Becca says she doesn’t want to do the food shopping anymore, because all the foods remind her of Danny. In between Becca’s comments, Nat tells the story.
Nat says there was a little boy at the grocery store who reminded Becca of Danny. The boy was upset because his mother wouldn’t buy him fruit roll-ups. Becca told the mother to buy “the fucking fruit roll-ups,” frustrated that the mother was ignoring her child. The mother said she didn’t want to give her son candy, but Becca wouldn’t let it go. The woman became angry and told Becca to mind her own business. Trying to maneuver her cart around Becca, the woman ran over Becca’s foot. Becca slapped her in response. Nat got Becca out of the store and explained the situation to the woman, who was receptive to Nat’s explanation.
Howie and Izzy are shocked by this news. Becca sits on the couch, and Izzy snuggles up to her. Becca says she thought she had a couple of good days, but she let herself slip today. She couldn’t handle the sight of a mother ignoring her child.
Jason Willette approaches the house and asks if he can come in. Howie says it’s not a good time, but Jason doesn’t leave. He says he just wants to say hi and find time to talk with the family. Howie continues to explain that right now isn’t a good time, so Jason offers to leave his number. When Jason still won’t leave, Howie begins to lose his nerve and aggressively tells Jason an open house sign doesn’t mean he can just walk into someone’s home. Jason apologizes multiple times and leaves. Becca and Nat head to the kitchen.
Izzy and Howie are left alone in the living room, and Izzy brings up Danny’s room again. She says she can come help with another open house and that Auggie could renovate Danny’s room to help with the sale. Howie is ambivalent but agrees something needs to change.
A week after Jason shows up at the house, Nat helps Becca clean out Danny’s room. She holds up random items and asks Becca if she wants to “keep or toss.” Nat slows her pace when she finds a pair of Danny’s tiny shoes. Becca notices the shift in mood, so she quickly takes the shoes and tosses them in a garbage bag. She hands Nat a tissue and says they’ll never get it done if they keep stopping like this.
Becca breaks the silence by telling Nat that she started taking continuing education classes. She says the school is in another part of town, so no one knows her, which means no one gives her a “pity” talk when they see her. Being in class with strangers makes her feel “normal.”
Becca talks about how detached the women are in her literature class until Nat accidentally turns on a yapping dog toy. Becca says only people who want to punish parents give kids toys like this. Izzy originally gave Danny the toy, and Becca vindictively suggests that they give the toy to Debbie’s kids.
Nat asks about Debbie, but Debbie still hasn’t called. Nat says sometimes it’s hard “the other way,” too. When Arthur died, a friend of Nat’s came by the house every day. One day, Nat asked her why she was there. Her friend responded, “to share in your grief.” This angered Nat because nothing relieved her pain. Nat ended up exploding at her friend, telling her she wasn’t helping. Her friend never came back, and Nat thinks it’s a shame, because she was the only person who would listen.
As Nat finishes her story, she stops herself in the middle of saying Arthur’s name, but Becca chides her for doing so. Becca says Nat can talk about Arthur, but she doesn’t want to hear any comparisons.
Nat finds some papers on a shelf and shows them to Becca. It’s the science fiction story Jason wrote. Becca says she will keep it and that she’s been thinking about seeing him. Nat wants Becca to talk to Howie about it, but Becca doesn’t care what he thinks. Moments later, Howie enters the room and asks the women how it’s going. Becca replies in short answers until Howie says he’s taking Taz for a walk.
Nat recalls the time when Danny ate an entire bowl of chocolate-covered espresso beans at her house. Nat says she tells everyone that story, laughing about how Danny was up until three a.m. Becca doesn’t engage, but she does let her guard down for a moment. She asks Nat if “it goes away.” Nat says the feeling doesn’t go away, but it changes; it becomes bearable. That feeling of pain, even though it hurts, becomes the replacement for the person you’ve lost. Silently, they go back to cleaning, and the lights fade.