Chapter 22 Summary

Dolores schedules an appointment for an abortion, but she does not want to go through with it. She is sure that the baby is a girl and has even named her: Vita Marie. She thinks that maybe Dante would love the baby if he actually saw her. She tells him that she has made the appointment one night as they prepare dinner. She hopes that he will take this last opportunity to change his mind. He says nothing about it. Instead, he tells her he has been invited to go skiing with a friend that weekend, but he will not go if she wants him to stay. He says he should be with her and help her through it, but his words are hollow and Dolores knows it.

Dante leaves for his ski vacation. Dolores cannot bear the thought of going through with the abortion completely alone. Tearfully, she approaches her landlady, Mrs. Wing. Mrs. Wing is sympathetic. She accompanies Dolores to the clinic and waits for her to come out. She gets Dolores's pain medication prescription filled and buys her some licorice.

The following Monday evening, Dante returns from his ski trip, looking healthy and windburned. Dolores is resentful. He claims that he too is “in mourning,” but minutes later is whistling as he unpacks his suitcase. Irritated, Dolores asks him why exactly he calls her “Home Ec.” He says it is just a teasing thing, but Dolores is not convinced. She asks him if she means more to him than just being a maid. Dante says what she means to him is love. It was the answer Dolores wanted, but somehow, “it wasn't enough.”

In January, despite her sense of doubt, Dolores and Dante decide to get married. Dolores, however, cannot be her old self. She fantasizes that Vita Marie has somehow survived the abortion. She begins smoking again. She finds she cannot have intercourse with Dante and not think about the vacuuming device that sucked out her baby. For his part, Dante becomes very angry when a literary magazine rejects his poem, “Love/Us.”

Dolores cannot get over her lack of desire for sex. Dante becomes sick of it, telling her he cannot stand this “pity party” every night. Dolores resolves to hide her grief from Dante and to try to live up to her new role as a bride-to-be.

Dante's parents arrive for the ceremony, as does Dolores's grandmother. The bus trip has been difficult for the old woman. She looks frazzled and tired. But later that evening, she makes her way to Dolores's room to give her two gifts: a cameo locket on a gold chain and two thousand dollars cash. The locket had been given to her grandmother by her grandfather on the occasion of their second wedding anniversary. She tells Dolores more about her life with her husband than she had ever before revealed.