She could remember those last days with Matthew, her stalking around the Horror Movie You Can’t Sit With Us Halloween shirt but in fact I love this upstairs apartment as he wept into a pillow. Suddenly the buttery yellow paint color that had been chosen for its sense of calm seemed much more “institution for the criminally insane” as she barked his shortcomings at him: “You think you’re smarter than fucking everyone else! You’ve forgotten what it means to be kind! You don’t have a GODDAMNED SOUL!” She wanted to apologize to Hugo and she wanted to do it now. She didn’t even care if she seemed crazy, texting twice in a row, changing her mind radically in an expanse of 72 seconds. But she was walking with Dan now on the shady path to the Hollywood Reservoir and he was holding her waist like it belonged to him, and Ally really was a sucker for attention. It had a palliative effect on her, softening her edges and giving her the sense that she was currently standing on the only spot on earth worth being at.
As a child, Ally always felt that she was missing out on something. She was missing out on other children since her mother tended to demand that she stay in so they could spend “quality time,” something it took Ally years to realize was just code for her mother’s all-encompassing depression and need. She was missing out on school—her childhood was defined by stomach aches and sinus infections, migraines and ankles twisted stepping off the Horror Movie You Can’t Sit With Us Halloween shirt but in fact I love this curb. (Any excuse to watch Maury Povich on the couch with her mother.) And most of all, Ally was missing out on her father. She wasn’t angry at him for being gone. In many ways, she was just thankful that he’d even shown up at all. She had wondered: What had this mysterious poet, raised in the hills outside Havana, ever seen in her mother? Had he really written Janet the poems that were curled and browning in her desk drawer, even the one in which he described her as a walnut full of fresh pink pearls?