Chapter 11 Summary
Arriving in Lintonburg, they stop at a gas station where they run into Kram. Kram can’t believe that both Jude and his old friend Johnny have returned. He’s also surprised at Jude’s shaved head and his embrace of the straight-edge lifestyle. Kram explains that he delivers pizza now and that Delph is the manager at the record store. He also suggests they get their old band back together.
Harriet’s life is significantly affected by the arrival of Jude, Johnny, and Eliza. Since Jude has been in New York, her relationship with Prudence has deteriorated, as the once needy and well behaved daughter has discovered a sullen, rebellious new attitude. Harriet studies up on vegan cooking so she can feed Johnny and Jude, and she offers pregnancy advice to Eliza.
Johnny tells Eliza that Harriet wants them to sleep in separate rooms, even though Harriet has said no such thing. Eliza sleeps in Prudence’s room and Johnny in Jude’s. Even though they are married, Johnny and Eliza have yet to have sex. Eliza doesn’t know what to make of the delicate, cold way Johnny treats her; she thinks perhaps it has to do with Teddy. One morning while everyone is asleep, Johnny wakes Eliza up and asks her to take a walk with him. Eliza thinks Johnny is going to take her somewhere to make love, but instead he takes her to the house where he used to live with Teddy and Queen Bea. It’s Teddy’s birthday, the day he would have turned sixteen, and Eliza and Johnny sit quietly on a bench and contemplate the deceased boy who brought them together.
What Johnny hasn’t told anyone is that he feels partially to blame for Queen Bea’s desertion of Teddy on New Year’s Eve. Johnny thinks back to the chain of events that led him to leave Vermont two years ago. Although Queen Bea had always said that Johnny’s father (as well as Teddy’s) was dead, the family one day chanced upon Johnny’s uncle, his father’s twin brother, on the highway. This led Johnny to find his father, who lived in New York, and go there to live with him. Johnny’s father, Marshall, turned out to be a cruel, manipulative person who stole from Johnny and ended up in jail along with his brother for an insurance scheme. He realized then that Queen Bea had lied about Marshall in order to keep Johnny and herself safe.
In his last letter to Johnny, Teddy had expressed the hope to come to New York and find his father. Looking back and piecing together information, Johnny deduces the identity of Teddy’s father: an Indian man named Ravi. He believes this is what caused Queen Bea to desert Teddy—the fear that he would find Ravi.