Fiona explains at length how this is certainly not about Frank in any way; how this is actually about Monica, but not really about her either. Negative space; crimson wolves.
"This is about what you didn't do. It's about what I did. And you know what? I did a fucking great job. Debbie is Class President. She's on the Debate team, going to Nationals. And Lip, he's top of his class. He set the curve. Ian was promoted in ROTC, and he tested out of English. And Carl made something blow up for his science fair."
All the facts and figures of her little life, the things that were so necessary she couldn't even see them, until now, as anything to be proud of. They whirl, she almost breaks. The house, the family, the life Fiona built. The world she got forced into constructing and maintaining, until it almost killed her. Until she looked love in the eye and very nearly said, "Fuck you."
Fiona: "Liam doesn't even know who you are."
Monica: "I'm his mother!"
Fiona: "You were my mother."
Very close to shattering. Tell me to stop and I'll stop.
Monica, canny, goes to the youngest, the weakest links, Carl and Debbie, looking them in the eye. He twiddles his thumbs, she burns. Monica looks into their eyes, climbs onto their backs, runs her nails down their faces.
Monica: "Debbie and Carl, I am so sorry if I hurt you. I love you so much. Please, let me be your Mommy again..."
They fold into her hug, ungainly and unsure. Responding not to her now, on this couch in this strange house, but to a voice they can barely remember. They don't mean it, they're unsure, but the atmosphere is untenable and they can just about hear her, long ago; they can just about hear her, promising it's going to be okay.
Debbie's used to making allowances. She knows she can carry them.
They're unsure, and in a minute they will break away, but it's just long enough that Fiona nods, and takes the keys out of her pocket. Ginger's house, on nightmare row.
She sets them down on a side table, and takes the measure of her parents. All this time she thought she was pretending; she thought the rest of the grownups were alive and she was merely in disguise. "I knew you'd be fine with Fiona."
When did it happen, she wonders, that she outpaced them both?
Ethel started trying when she was twelve.