Cathy was disgusted. "He's twelve years old! He has cataracts! No one's going to adopt him!"
But the women nod. He would have died soon, anyway.
Dog dead, friend taken apart in fits and starts, fish tortured. Cathy felt it coming up through her veins and her stomach and her trembling hands and suddenly she spoke, a plate of cookies for the women still cooling in her hand.
Not loud, not soft. Hard. Full of love. Burning with it.
"On behalf of Thomas and myself, get the fuck out of our house. Marlene might have been a little rough around the edges, but you're downright cruel. You kill Marlene's fish, you send Thomas off to die? And maybe your mom didn't leave you the house to teach you a lesson, or maybe she just didn't like you. But either way, she left it to me. So you take whatever you want, and you get the fuck out. Because it's mine now. And if you want to fight me on it, that's great. Because I just got in a fighting mood."
The women stared. They still didn't understand. She didn't care anymore. They'd pulled the trigger.
It's time to start.
Cathy drives to the shelter and claims Thomas; comes home to Paul's latest plan: He wants to hit the Venice canals for the six months before the trial begins. She likes that, she likes this better:
"I want to do interleukin."
But he's already given in, and won't hear it: "I was reading a blog about it. It sounded awful! They had horrible hallucinations. They couldn't even finish!"
She shakes her head. It was wrong of Marlene, to check out early. Or if it wasn't wrong, it wasn't beautiful. Not choosing is choosing but it's choosing cowardice. And she hurts, Marlene has hurt her, in a way that has nothing to do with those fish or that dog or the gratitude or the hope: She has hurt her all the way down. She is hurting. And standing around waiting for your willpower to come in is so much less difficult than taking the plunge.
Not when you've heard that first shot. Not when everybody knows the moment is here. Not when your choices are to die beautiful, before you should, or hold onto life with both hands, no matter how ugly it gets.
"Maybe she didn't feel that she had enough support around her, but I do. And Sean's going to have a baby, and I hope it's as cute as he was as a kid, he was so cute, and Adam, I... Oh God, who knows. But if he's not ready to grieve, then I'm not ready to go. And I am loving the new us. So maybe this treatment will make me look all scabby and weird-looking -- which is going to be harder on you than it will be on me because I can just avoid mirrors -- I'm gonna hang on as long as I can."