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Breath, Eyes, Memory

Edwidge Danticat


Section Three: Chapters 30–31

page 1 of 2


Chapter 30

Joseph rushes out of the house to greet the car as Sophie and Brigitte arrive. He retrieves Brigitte from the car and runs up the steps with her, leaving Sophie to carry her own bag. Though he loves Sophie very much, Joseph was angry and frightened by her sudden departure, and worried about its effect on their daughter. Still, he is committed to making their marriage work. Telling Joseph about her trip, Sophie unthinkingly calls Haiti home for the first time.

In her absence, the house has become a mess. As she rummages for a clean drinking glass, it suddenly occurs to Sophie that she is the maitresse de la maison, at home with her husband and child, in her own house. Joseph comes up to her, asking her to reassure him that they will get through this together. He promises to do all he can to understand about her problems with sex. The evening settles into a comfortable domesticity.

The next day, Brigitte's paediatrician gives her a clean bill of health. To celebrate, Joseph cooks a large frozen dinner. Sophie forces herself to refuse the urge to purge.

After dinner, Sophie telephones her mother. Martine is worried because she feels that the baby is becoming more of a fighter every day. Meanwhile, Martine has begun to see the rapist everywhere, in every man she sees. While Marc loves her, he does not really understand her pain. Marc thinks that her body is simply in shock because the pregnancy has so closely followed chemotherapy. Martine tells Sophie that she tried to go for an abortion, but the clinic made her think about it for twenty-four hours. Now, the thought of abortion is horrifying, and is triggering Martine's visions of the rapist. Sophie promises to come with Joseph to visit Martine and Marc the next weekend.

Joseph and Sophie make love. She closes her eyes and begins doubling, imagining herself lying in bed with her mother, consoling her, freeing her from the nightmares, convincing her that it is a child in her stomach, not a demon. Sophie feels that she has found her mother's approval, that she is safe, that the past is gone, and that she is her mother's twin, her Marassa.

When Joseph falls asleep, Sophie goes into the kitchen, eats all the leftovers, and then goes into the bathroom and makes herself throw up.

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