Chapter 6 Summary
Sent away to a boarding school in New Jersey because she had been kicked out of her last two schools for drugs, Eliza finds herself committing to her studies and living a less chaotic lifestyle. Although she still regularly uses cocaine, she doesn’t socialize with the other students at school and channels all of her energy into her courses and practicing with the swim team.
Eliza’s roommate is Shelby Divine, a girl from Charleston, South Carolina who hangs a sheet in their bedroom for privacy and refuses to let Eliza see any part of her body beyond her wrists and ankles. One night Shelby sees the letters “TM” doodled in a heart on the front of Eliza’s notebook, and asks her what they mean. Eliza explains that the letters stand for Teddy McNicholas, and that he was a boy she knew who died.
Eliza wants to forget Teddy, but she can’t because she realizes that she’s pregnant with his child. One day she leaves school early and stops at an abortion clinic on her way back to New York. She goes inside but decides not to go through with the operation. When she arrives at her mother’s apartment, she learns that Jude is moving to New York to live with his father.
After Teddy’s funeral, Johnny returns to his routine—giving tattoos, riding his skateboard, playing with his band, going to hardcore concerts, attending Hare Krishna services at a temple in Brooklyn—and thinking about his dead brother. Johnny wishes he had more memories of Teddy from Vermont, but he spent most of his time there getting high with Delph and Kram and playing music. He feels some anger about what happened to Teddy but knows better than to blame Jude or Eliza.
Reflecting on his New York past, Johnny remembers how he used to go out every night drinking and taking drugs until he ended up at a straight edge show at CBGB, where he met a drummer named Rooster who became Johnny’s mentor and his entrée into straight edge culture. Johnny doesn’t take drugs or eat meat, and he plays in a straight edge band called Army of One with Rooster and a couple of other guys. Now he walks with pride through the run down neighborhood of surrounding Tompkins Square Park in Alphabet City. He knows all the bums and vagrants by name.
One afternoon, Johnny is on his way to meet some friends to play laser tag on the subway when he sees something he can’t believe: Jude Keffy-Horn.