2 IX Leprosy - Grace’s fall from grace I can’t account for my own savagery.Base treacheryShe was adored by all of us…And in Cordelia’s version, now, she never was.
3 Mean Mouth (Chapters 42-43) Grade 11I want all my hurts to be intentional.Uses Cordelia as target practice.Elaine tells stories - vampire, twins: “I’m really dead. I’ve been dead for years.”Since the ravine? “Born” again?Energy has passed between us, and I am stronger.
4 Murder in the Ravine A girl is found murdered, down in the ravine. The girl is our age.This murdered girl troubles me…she goes to that place where all things go that are unmentionable.she stirs up something, like dead leaves. I think of a doll I had once, with white fur on the border of the skirt. I remember being afraid of this doll. I haven’t thought about that in years.A reminder of what almost was?
5 Elaine tutors Cordelia on the atom for the Physics exam. Stephen says an atom looks like a lot of empty space…you can only say it has a tendency to existStephen’s verdict on Cordelia – has a tendency to exist.Stupid/thick?Like an atom, perhaps no one really understands her?
6 DATING Something about Cordelia makes boys uneasy. It’s as if she’s too attentive to them, too polite, studied and overdone.Put off by her artificiality?Occasionally, Elaine organises double dates.Cordelia tries to look at them sincerely, head-on; they are blinded by the glare, and freeze like rabbits in a headlight.Is too forward in the back seatIs trying to win affection. Is picky of boys because it is better to reject than be rejected?
7 The Earle Grey PlayersMacbeth – Cordelia is a serving woman, soldier in the final battle scene.Many roles, but this seems to be something she genuinely lovesThe rotten cabbage is replaced – Macbeth’s head bounces, “bumpity-bump” tragedybecomes laughter. Cordelia’s attemptto be helpful turns into an excuse forElaine to taunt Cordelia, who isalmost in tears.
8 Zoology tutoring Cordelia is becoming mushier and mushier. Does that mean Elaine is getting harder?I do the frog for her. I’m good at this.Smart, disconnected.Cordelia had no problems with bullying a friend, but takes issue with dissecting an animal in the name of knowledge.
9 Cordelia’s father Parallels between him and child-Cordelia: He can make you feel that what he thinks of you matters, because it will be accurate, but what you think of him is of no importance.Too frightened of him.She’s frightened of not pleasing him.her dithering, fumble-footed efforts to appease him.How can she be so abject? When will she learn?What is being echoed here?Cordelia fails mid-year Zoology test – doesn’t seem to care. Why not?
10 EPIPHANYIn midst of Biology exam, like a sudden epileptic fit, not going to be a biologistI am going to be a painter.My life has been changed, soundlessly, instantaneously.Cordelia rings to see her. Needs Elaine more than Elaine needs her.Cordelia is a wreck looks like Haggis McBaggis.
11 Falling apart Has tutor for summer school papers. Only accomplishment is deluding the tutor.I sleep a lot.Maybe I am a cretin.She’s acting like a jerk.Lack of will-power.Elaine lacks empathyAn epiphany/purpose evades Cordelia.
12 X Life DrawingPreoccupied with the name Cordelia – Heart of the moon, jewel of the sea, the third sister, the only honest one.ExpectationsThe stubborn one, the rejected one, the one who was not heard.Elaine thinks of her name as tough but pliable now, like a well-worn glove.
13 Jon Potential has a shelf-life. Always made a fetish of lateness. Last saw each other 4 years agoHe’s up to the smart remarks.Split from his second wife, Mary Jean. She left.She said she couldn’t get through to me.Forgiving men is so much easier than for women.Why?
14 Falling WomenFallen women were women who had fallen onto men and hurt themselves.Recalls the men in the ravine?Is the fall inevitable? A consequenceof interaction?
15 Mr Hrbik Art teacher – in his mid-30s, Elaine is almost 18. Looks at her folio. You are a complete amateur.You can draw objects very well. But as yet you cannot draw life.You are an unfinished voman…but here you will be finished. Ewwww.Elaine – “letting herself go” dressed in black. Switching identities (again).
16 Growing Up Aware of Susie’s affair. Sets up ersatz squalor in cellar. Dad feels betrayed by Uni politics, Mr Banerji back to India.Stephen, in California, studying Astrophysics – arrested for being in a Military testing zone. Oblivious to all but science/quest for knowledge.Does not even mention it in his letter (written as he is up a tree, watching football game for free).
17 Josef I’m in love with his need. Susie wants to marry him. Is this an unfair desire?Elaine fancies herself a bohemian: I’ve put myself beyond marriage. I can see it back there, innocent and beribboned, like a child’s doll: irretrievable. Instead of marriage I will be dedicated to my painting.Double standard: (There is of course the spectre of pregnancy. You can’t get a diaphragm unless you’re married, rubbers are sold under the counter and only to men...[but these things have] nothing to do with Josef and his experienced mauve bedroom. They also have nothing to do with me, wrapped as I am in dense minor-key enchantment. But I make little check marks on my pocket calendar, all the same
18 Cordelia reinvented Run away from home, hunted Elaine down. Gaunt, thinner, over her days of sloth and overeating and failure.She is a bit-part player for Stratford Shakespearean Festival.Explains the shoplifting: It was something I could have.Elaine makes a special trip to Stratford to see Cordelia in The Tempest – can’t tell which one is her. She is fading away.
19 MEN Josef is rearranging her. She is out-growing him. Can’t imagine Susie surviving without him.She is limp, without will, made spineless by love, as I am.Jon reappears.Still treats Elaine like an honorary boy.Holds onto Jon as if I’m sinking into mud.Does she turn to him, or fall onto him?
20 XI Falling Women Killing is endless now Woman convinces her to give money.Her hands smooth, Elaine’s the skin of an incipient toad. Another sign of aging.Endless need.
21 Susie’s abortionElaine’s devotion to Josef makes her unsympathetic of Susie’s weakness.Elaine called to bloodbath.Elaine’s persistence gets room opened and Susie to hospital.Prejudices exposed. “What’d she use, a knitting needle?”“Stupid kids. You’d think they’d have more sense.”Josef thinks he’ll never get over it.
22 Elaine dumps JosefSmall voice It serves her right. Because she hasn’t “fallen” as far, Elaine feels superior?The experience has hardened Susie.Elaine feels inadequate to cope with Josef on her own.I see him as weak now, clinging, gutted like a fish.He leaves Toronto forever.Elaine enjoys walking away. It’s enormously pleasing to me, this act of walking away. It’s like being able to make people appear and vanish, at will. Who else has she walked away from?
23 Dreaming of Susie Page-boy haircut Holding a skipping rope Licking an orange popsicle“Don’t you know what a twin set is?”I know I have done something wrong.What is the significance of the dream? What does it mean/reveal?
24 PaintingI want objects that breathe out light; a luminous flatness.
25 Pregnant Afraid to tell Jon. Refuses to end up like Susie. Now I begin to paint things that aren’t there.These are objects she fixated upon when she was being bullied: toaster, coffee percolator, wringer, deadly nightshade.They are suffused with anxiety, but it’s not my own anxiety.Or is it anxiety she has forgotten?
26 Paints Mrs SmeathNeeds to feel pain, to attach herself to daily life. Bites her nails again.My body is a separate thing... I am disgusted with it.Mrs Smeath - now 3 dimensional - smiles her half-closed smile, smug and accusing.Whatever has happened to me is my own fault, the fault of what is wrong with me.Just like it was with the bullying.
27 Nearly 30 - & over the hill Sarah - 2 Gets married. Oldest reason in the book.Fights.Feminist meeting.Sisterhood is a difficult concept for me.Paints Virgin Mary descending to the earth – looks tired. “Our Lady of Perpetual Help.”Why does she look tired?Does she give help or need it?
28 The opening Grace Smeath lookalike. You are disgusting...You are taking the Lord’s name in vain. Why do you want to hurt people?Is that a tear? I am aghast, and deeply satisfied. She is making a spectacle of herself, at last, and I am in control.Ink flies at “White Gift”Henfighting – Feathers Fly at Feminist Fracas” reads the headline. A great many people come.
29 999 QueenCordelia in a discreet private loony bin. The Dorothy Lyndwick Rest Home.OD’d on pills.Get me outI guess you’ve always hated me. Elaine can’t understand why Cordelia would say this.Elaine takes Cordelia back.Dreams a mannequin statue, ends at neck , Cordelia’s head under arm.Significance?
30 XII ONE WING Winter Sarah sick. Jon away. Elaine sick, doesn’t paint at all anymore.Slashes wrist.Hears voice of a 9 year old child - Do it. Come on. Do it.Recalls bullying; infer that it is Cordelia’s voice
31 Vancouver Divorces Jon. Meets Ben in supermarket – offers to carry her shopping bags.10 years older & divorced.Marry, have Anne.In awe of her paintings.His “normality” balances out her own more artistic nature.
32 XIII Picoseconds Stephen killed – an eye for an eye Elaine spent 15 hours in Airports and planes to get to identify him.I will get older. And he will not. The death of the most important man in her life.Her parents fade after Stephen’s death.Mum reminisces about the girls giving E. a bad time.What she wants from me is forgiveness, but for what?Finds the marble and remembers: I look into it, and see my life entire.
33 XIV Unified Field Theory Elaine analyses Mrs Smeath again.Went for vengeance. Has learnt the lesson from her brother’s death.An eye for an eye leads only to more blindness.
34 One Wing Painted for Stephen after his death. Triptych World War 2 airplane – style of cigarette card.Large pale green luna moth.Central panel – a man falling from the sky.This is the kind of thing we do, to assuage pain.Misinterpreted by Charna as being about men and war.
35 Cat’s Eye Self-portrait. A pier glass hangs in empty sky. At a distance, condensed by the curved space of the mirror, there are 3 small figures, dressed in winter clothes of 40 years earlier.They walk forward, their faces shadowed, against a field of snow.
36 Unified Field Theory Last painting’s title. The Virgin of Lost Things, positioned just above the railing of the bridge in winter – snow.Opening a success.Goes home: exhausted, cryingCordelia has a tendency to exist. As a ghost, a figment, a banshee.Having only remembered the torment five years ago, Elaine never got to confront Cordelia over the torment.
37 XV BRIDGE Faces childhood demons. Sees Cordelia. There is the same shame, the sick feeling in my body, the same knowledge of my own wrongness, awkwardness, weakness; the same wish to be loved; the same loneliness, the same fear. But these are not my own emotions any more. They are Cordelia’s; as they always were.The snow in my eyes withdraws like smoke.Has reached some sort of understanding of what happened and why.
38 Final chapterTwo old ladies: contrast with the teenage Elaine and Cordelia at the beginning of the book.This is what I miss, Cordelia: not something that’s gone, but something that will never happen.Has absorbed the past and found meaning in it. It’s old light, and there’s not much of if. But it’s enough to see by.