I danced with you, you bitch. That's what I'd be thinking.
Truly: "I thought we would get married. I just wanted to call you Mom."
Fanny folds her up tight in her arms, holding her close. Enough force behind her words and her eyes to push Michelle out the door and through the garden and onto the lane. Like the wind sweeping away all the other nannies that day Mary Poppins showed up:
"Oh, honey. You don't need a ring to call me Mom."
So I guess it's fair that, on that nasty little note, Michelle wanders into my favorite part of the whole episode. She's just walking, you know, walking it off, walking it out, trying to stop being fuzzy and muzzy and confused long enough to think about putting her airbrushed fox-faced t-shirt back on and starting her third life, thinking about leaving Paradise, when an old man catches her eye.
Old Man: "You takin' a walk."
Michelle: "I guess."
Old Man: "You want to walk my dog?"
I don't know why, but that part made me tear up well more than anything else that happens. Just the open-handed sort of neighborly way it all goes down, like, in the middle of this awful day, with cobwebs all around, this random old guy asks her for a favor, and of course she does it without thinking... I don't know, there's a poetry there. This is one of my favorite lines in a book, and I think it applies (beyond the dog part, obviously) to why I loved that little moment so much. I am no closer to explaining myself, but here it is:
"A pockmarked boy with a scraggy ponytail and four tiny rings in his right ear leaned against the wall of the armory, holding his dog on a leash, a sign hanging from his neck: PLEASE FEEL FREE TO PET MY DOG. IT MAY MAKE YOU FEEL BETTER."