Chapter 26 Summary
Dolores and Dante begin divorce proceedings and split up their property via telephone. Roberta and Dolores spend much more time together; the relationship is mutually beneficial. Roberta suffers from Parkinson's disease, so Dolores helps her with chores her shaking hands cannot perform, such as doing the laundry. Roberta helps Dolores to overcome Dante's years emotional abuse, and she encourages Dolores to pursue a new life. Dolores takes the remnant she had salvaged of her mother's painting and has it framed, replacing the wedding picture of herself and Dante that had hung in the stairwell.
A short time later, Dolores gets a job at a gift shop. She helps Roberta make her home lighter and airier. Roberta continues her part-time job as a disc jockey. She has been given a “polka hour” several days a week. Dolores enjoys listening to her friend as she works, but one afternoon, an odd thing happens. The broadcast is repeating; something is wrong. Eventually Roberta returns to the air but Dolores can tell by the sound of her voice that something has happened. She is right. Later she discovers that Roberta had passed out and fallen.
The probate court finally settles her divorce. Dolores is awarded her grandmother's house and $3,100. Roberta urges her to buy a car with the money, but Dolores is entering a state of depression. Instead of a car, she purchases a big screen television and a satellite dish. She loses interest in her job and gets fired.
Soon she gets another job at a bakery, but her depression does not subside. Her housekeeping become slovenly. Two goldfish that she buys for company, but forgets to buy a bowl for, die in the kitchen sink in putrid water. Dolores resigns from the bakery.
In late August, she receives a letter from her father's wife informing her of his death. Dolores is frightened by her “absence of grief.” She does cry, but she knows her tears are for herself and not for him.
For the next few weeks, Dolores anesthetizes herself with non-stop television watching. Expecting Roberta one afternoon, Dolores is surprised to find Dante at her door instead. He is bringing a television from their home that Dolores had asked to be returned. With him is a very young woman he introduces as “Janice.” After they leave, Dolores decides she has had enough of the numbing television. She gets rid of both it and her satellite dish.
With the money she recovers from the sale, Dolores finally takes Roberta's advice and buys a car. Shortly thereafter, Roberta moves in with Dolores.