Cathy smiles, and calls him bold. "Waltzing into my class in front of a student, with a brush in your hand." He laughs, they remember the Bahamas; Lenny spots the ecstasy on her desk. "I wouldn't take these all at once," he grins, "Unless you want to spend the rest of your life feeling like you're living in a bad Disney movie."
Cathy asks him what it does; she's already decided to take one. "How do you think I paint those murals?" he asks, and she chuckles. "It makes you feel euphoric, uninhibited. They take them at raves, and people dance all night. Makes you escape reality for a while." Cathy Jamison was always afraid of drugs. A little pot, cigarettes, but "the hard stuff," she says. "Too afraid I'd end up feeling like I was living in a bad Disney movie." She looks down at the bottle with a new eye.
Adam can't get his uncle's hair quite straight, hacking at it with the sewing scissors, and finally, frustrated, suggests it would be "sick" to shave the whole thing off. "And give up my just-been-fucked look? Just trim it and cut anything knotted or matted." Sean crosses his eyes as Cathy comes running in, shouting about Xanadu -- more music, less ecstasy, something fun, explaining disco -- but stops when she sees the hair all over the floor.
"Why does my kitchen floor look like it's going through puberty?" Sean, in the interest of getting his hair cut, has decided to teach Adam the perversion of money: They'll barter, a haircut in exchange for Sean's hemp choker. For the big night. There goes Xanadu, she thinks, and asks what kind of a party Adam's going to on a Monday, even in summer.
"Is it a rave? People do weird things at raves." Sean and Adam laugh at her, not cruelly, and she smiles to herself. There will be adults, it's a birthday, he'll crash at Brent's house. And the clincher: "Off your list of three survival meals I have to make before summer's out -- and one romantic dessert -- I give you chocolate mousse." One of her more heartbreaking plans, a drive-by for today but one of the most inspired. Survival, and one romantic dessert.
A solution to every problem, organized: If he's alone, he will survive. If he is dating, he will survive, and flourish. If he is married, he'll be able to cook now and again. A boy needs his mother to teach him things like this. Paul will not survive. Her brother eats out of the garbage. By summer's end Adam will be able to drive to the store and buy his ingredients and make three survival meals and a romantic dessert. All she can give him are things, tools, strategies. Burdens, now.
The moment she tastes the chocolate mousse, she nods her head, sharply. "You can go." Sean laughs; Adam is proud. It's the kindest thing she's said in a while.
Marlene arrives, complaining that her refrigerator isn't keeping her Fresca cold, and without cold Fresca, she can't eat her dinner. A taste for Fresca is a sign of goodness. She asks to borrow ice cubes, and Sean suddenly asks how old she is. His friend Earl, he says, she might like. "Why? Do you think all old people are soul mates?" Sean laughs, flirts. "You want to sit around making ice cubes, be my guest. Be 79 years old and picky. Good luck with that." She gives in; she was always going to give in. "Set me up, Cupid."
Before she can emote all over the scene, Cathy's phone rings and she leaves the room, quietly; turns on the sink and lets it run.
Dr. Mauer is listed in her phone under a single letter.