Marie is poking at a few hundred cloves of garlic she is roasting in the oven when Madeline comes into the kitchen.
“Are you mad at me?” Madeline asks her.
“No,” Marie says, in a tone of voice which successfully imparts the following: “I’ve considered whether I should be angry at you; and whether I really am angry at you but am fooling myself into thinking that I’m not; and whether I have a lot of very complicated feelings but none of them seems to be anger. So – no.”
“Is your sister mad at me?”
Marie pokes at the garlic. “You know, Madeline, everyone has told Savannah her whole entire life that she can’t do stuff. That she’s not good enough.”
“She’s been made to feel like such a piece of shit. From day one. Bounced back and forth.”
“I know,” says Madeline, feeling like a piece of shit.
“It felt like more-of-same to her. Like you’re just one more person who’s telling her that she’s a total fuck up. That this is yet another thing that she can’t do.”
Madeline considers for a moment just how much Marie is talking about her sister. “But she can’t do it right, Marie. Not because she’s a bad human being. Because she’s fifteen. Because no fifteen-year-old can do this.”
“She really really believes that she can.”
“I completely agree that she really really believes that she can. I agree that she really really wants to. With all her heart. She believes that this baby will land in her arms, and she will magically be able to give him every single thing that he may ever need in his whole entire life – that’s what I know she wishes. But she is fifteen fucking years old.”
“Well I for one am going to do everything I possibly can to help her.”
“Runaway train never going back/Wrong way on a one way track” – that’s what lurches through Madeline’s mind as Marie says those words. Great, she thinks; on top of everything else, fucking Soul Asylum stuck in my head.
“And I think we should all be completely committed to that,” Marie adds. “All of us. To help her as much as we can.”
“There isn’t enough help in the whole world, Marie, not enough to make this work.”
Photos from the film “Stand by Me” (top and middle)
from the film “Lone Ranger” (bottom)