Hope is a skill and a muscle and a curse. But if you tell the truth enough, with enough strength, if you tell the truth until there's no more truth left, then they'll have to pay attention. Mia will hear it, in her voice and in the absolute honesty, and she will feel it in her body, and she will be there when Cathy is not. Mia is all the girls she'll never get to meet.
"Okay, that's it! Look forward to meeting some..."
Adam comes in, she hangs up and hands him his phone. He forgot it, and remembered. He came back home for it.
At the gas station Cathy presents Dr. Todd with a variety of road snacks: "Are you a sweet, salty or meatsticks snacker? I pegged you for savory." She pegged him correct, he admits; she always does. She makes him admit he's always wanted to go to Canada; he grins and admits that he's curious and worried about the beesting therapy, though he's trying to stay positive as he promised.
"I don't trust anybody called The Bee Man. He's got a website that plays 'Let It Bee,' with the sound of bees buzzing in the background."
Todd didn't tell Julie that he was going abroad with another woman; in fact Julie and Todd aren't really talking. "Todd!" Cathy whines. "Did you have a fight? Life's too short." He knows that; he should know that. "You'd better know that, it's your job." He sighs. That's a fight too.
Todd proposed and Julie wanted to think about it. This, Cathy opines, is clear evidence that Julie is a jerk. "What's to think about? You're a smart, funny, handsome doctor!" He tells her she's being sweet; she knows she's right. And what now? Maybe they'll both find answers in Canada. He smiles, but she can tell he's sad.
"Jesus! How many Agatha Christies does one person need?" Sean jokes about her books, about mysteries; she yells at him to leave her Reader's Digest collection alone and he asks if she has any quality reading material at all. "I said you could borrow a book," she says without looking up, "Not make fun." She smiles, though, to herself. The homeless man hates her reading material.
When Adam asks his uncle why he doesn't just visit a library, Sean explains that a library card is just the tip of the identity iceberg: "Next thing you know they're tracking you through the fillings in your teeth." He finds it: Flannery O'Connor.
O'Connor wrote the stories in Everything That Rises Must Converge while dying and it was published in 1965, after she was gone. The title story is about this hipster who's embarrassed by his mom, who tries to give a nickel to this black kid on the bus. In all his humanist glory, the guy freaks out on her and ends up looking about a thousand times more racist than his mom -- who was just trying to be nice, in her ignorant way, and had no idea of the historical weight behind her actions, or the inferences toward the boy's mother -- which leads to the same O'Connor place as always, which is that the story telescopes and implicates you: Mom's pretty racist, son's meta-racist, so what does that make you and me?