I really love the way Katy reacts when she finds out that Brian cheated on her. I like the one-word sentences, like “I.” And I like the way this news totally changes her perception of the things around her, like her sweaters: “I hate them, I hate wool, for Christ’s sake what is the POINT?” This is such a random and ridiculous thing to be thinking about in a moment like this, but I think it is precisely the kind of thing a person thinks about as they’re going through a traumatic event. The everyday objects that surround them on all sides and that they take for granted suddenly look different. I think it is especially interesting that Katy feels hostility for these objects. I’m pretty sure I can relate, although I can’t remember specific moments from my own life when I’ve thought this way. But I do think that when I am upset I almost start to resent all the objects I’ve accumulated, all my books and records that usually I’m pretty fond of, all the dishes and furniture and other stuff I’m stuck with. If I’m really upset then I want to damage these things somehow, throw them off my balcony or against the wall. I wonder why people react this way? In this case, Katy should hate Brian, she should want to throw him off the balcony. (Well, she doesn’t have a balcony, but I think she has a fire escape that would work just as well.) Maybe we direct our anger at inanimate objects in order to avoid accepting the fact that animate people we love have hurt us.
I understand the way Katy reacted to the news that Brian cheated on her, but the fact that this is news to her makes me confused about why she left him in the first place. I’d assumed it was because of something like infidelity. Already she has talked about how much she loves him, and why would you move away from someone you love? Brian, too, assumes that she left because she knew what he had done. I can’t believe she just up and left without telling him why. I don’t think I would ever leave a relationship without talking about it and probably trying to salvage it, partly because I generally don’t like change and because I’m pretty patient and willing to wait for things to get better, and partly because I’m just not that impulsive. But the thing is, Katy was right. She did have a very good reason to leave, even if she didn’t know it. She must have sensed that something was wrong, and probably it’s way better that she just ditched instead of giving Brian the chance to lie and sneak around on her while she tried to figure out her feelings. Again, this is a feeling that I’m familiar with, and it’s one of the worst ones: when you know that your relationship with someone – it doesn’t have to be a girl- or boy- friend, it could be a best friend or even a parent – has changed for some reason, has shifted in a way that isn’t good. I’ve often regretted not having the courage to act on that feeling, to go away the way that Katy did.
Of course, she has said she still loves him, so I’m not expecting this is not going to be a clean break. I have a feeling that she’ll go back to him for a bit, or else will just keep thinking about him and miss out on the things and people around her. That’s normal though, and I think that by the end of the book she’ll have found a way to be happy without Brian (maybe involving a fire escape).