"You question our ways, our personal conviction, even the way I have my baby..." Amanda apologizes again, her mouth a thin angry line, a terrified silence, that she thinks like a doctor. She's trying, to get from there to here. To believe the way the Willows do. Mar-Beth says she won't have time. "I don't want you in my house." She looks at her deeply, opens up to her, stares at Mar-Beth. Wills it true.
"You're wrong about one thing, though: I don't think you're crazy, about how you're choosing to have your baby, I don't. I'm jealous, actually." Mar-Beth is intrigued. She floats upon the conversation. She doesn't know how much is lies, she floats and her absolute conviction reels it in. "Zoë was an accident. I wasn't planning on having a child. I was busy building a practice, Daniel was obsessed with his career, I mean, we weren't prepared. I kept thinking that that was what I should want, and I thought that eventually instinct would just kick in and everything would be fine. But every time someone touched my belly, I would cringe. And when she was born, I didn't want to hold her."
Mar-Beth knows. Postpartum depression. Amanda swears she got over it, of course she did, she loved Zoë. But the fear -- she says, to the woman standing before her only days from giving birth, terrified and holding onto faith so hard she'd kill to protect her family -- is still that Zoë, babies, children: Maybe they can feel it. "Those... Early feelings. Sometimes I think that's why Zoë and I fought so much. I think that might even be the reason that she drifted." Mar-Beth can't look at her anymore. This isn't Terror Mom or a lightning rod. She's a fresh sheet of paper, for a moment. A new kernel of a person.
"Mar-Beth, I see you here in this house, with this big, beautiful family, and the noise and the chaos, and I know that maybe you take it for granted, but I don't. I feel very, very lucky to have been able to share this time with you, even if it's just a little while. So thank you, Mar-Beth."
She plants the seed and waits and watches. And whether it is real or not real, whether she honestly blames that glitch and debug of her hormonal code for the way Zoë treated her later, is moot. In this house, in the noise and the chaos, she is telling lies simply by being there. Our memories are shaped by shared experiences. If those experiences are false, if they float, then our memories themselves are real. Mar-Beth will remember this as a moment in which Amanda was honest, and opened herself beyond all reckoning, and could be trusted. But what's Amanda really done? Applied a social networking model, to a terrified devout pregnant woman. She's cast a wider data net, the better to destroy a family.