Chapter 19 Summary

Rosemary leans over Jacob and wakes him from his sleep. She tells him that it is time to get ready, and Jacob is thrilled not only because he remembers where he is and who Rosemary is but because today is the day of the circus. Jacob tells Rosemary that he wants his good shirt and his bow tie, and she thinks his sense of style is quite funny. Rosemary helps Jacob get changed. When he looks down at his body, Jacob sees how skinny he has become. Once Jacob is dressed, Rosemary takes a good look at him and declares that the bow tie was just the right decision. She asks Jacob if he would like to look at himself in the mirror, but Jacob does not like looking at himself, so he refuses. Rosemary tells him that he looks quite handsome. She asks Jacob if he would like to wait for his family in his bedroom or in the lobby—it is two o’clock and the show begins at three. Jacob wants to wait in the lobby so he can leave as soon as his family arrives, so Rosemary wheels him in among a host of other elderly people who are waiting for their family members.

He is sitting next to Ipphy Bailey, and suddenly she turns to him and begins to cry, “Oh, Morty, you came back!” Ipphy thinks that Jacob is her dead husband, and Jacob wants no part of the drama, so he calls for a nurse. Ipphy grabs Jacob’s arm before a nurse can wheel him away. With a safe distance between him and Ipphy, Jacob wonders why there is not a separate wing for people like Ipphy.

Time goes on and people leave with their families. It is nearly three o’clock, and Jacob realizes that if his family does not show up soon, he will miss the Spec. Rosemary notices that Jacob is the only person left in the lobby, so she asks him if he knows who is coming to see him today. Jacob admits that he never knows who is coming, and Rosemary leaves to call Jacob’s family. Jacob is angry that his family is late. When Rosemary returns, she says that his family lost track of whose turn it was to visit. Jacob’s son Simon should have come, but he inadvertently made other plans. Jacob cries like a child.

Rosemary gets Jacob some tissue, and he tells her that he does not know what he would do without her. Rosemary then reveals that she is leaving the next day for Richmond to take care of her mother-in-law. Jacob is stunned—he did not even know she is married. Jacob thinks that Rosemary’s family is lucky—none of his children were able to take him into their home. Jacob considers how unfair life sometimes is, and he asks to have some time alone.