The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants
Chapters 9 and 10
Summary: Chapter 9
“Sometimes you’re the windshield: sometimes you’re the bug.”—Mark Knopfler
Carmen sees Krista having trouble with her summer geometry homework, but when Albert asks if she’s ready to go play tennis, Carmen leaves happily without offering to help. She writes to Bridget about Paul’s girlfriend, whom she calls “Skeletor.” She says Paul hates her because she tries to make Skeletor jealous.
Bailey comes to Wallman’s, and she and Tibby banter about Tibby’s smock. Tibby reluctantly agrees when Bailey asks if she wants to go out for ice cream later. However, she finds a lot to talk about with Bailey, who enjoys hearing about the documentary. Tibby spots Tucker Rowe, whom she’s been avoiding all summer. Bailey makes fun of his gelled hair.
Bridget proposes to her friends that they go to a bar in a nearby town where all the coaches hang out, and Diana, Ollie, and Rosie agree. There, Bridget begins dancing immediately. She finally sees Eric and knows he’s watching her. Eventually, Eric and the other coaches dance too. Bridget dances with Eric, who gives in to it only briefly before telling her they can’t be so close.
Lena is alone in her room when she hears her grandfather yelling. She rushes downstairs and follows her grandparents, who storm to Kostos’s house. She can’t understand what her grandfather and Kostos’s grandfather are yelling. Suddenly, Lena’s grandfather punches Kostos’s grandfather, and the men begin tussling. Kostos breaks up the fight.
Bridget writes to her father, asking him to send some of her nice clothes.
Summary: Chapter 10
“If you feel like you’re under control, you’re just not going fast enough.”—Mario Andretti
Carmen and Albert talk about the upcoming wedding on their way to the tennis court. He says that Lydia wants it to be perfect, since her mother died six weeks before her first wedding, and she’d been married in city hall. He tells Carmen that Lydia’s first husband was an alcoholic. Carmen feels sorry for Lydia, Paul, and Krista and vows to be nicer. But when her dad asks if they can watch Paul play soccer before heading to the tennis court, Carmen feels unhappy again.
Bridget goes swimming early in the morning, unable to sleep, and she thinks about dancing with Eric. During the day’s scrimmage, Bridget focuses on looking good for Eric. She shows off by hogging the ball, which angers her coach, Molly. Bridget doesn’t know why she can’t slow herself down sometimes.
Carmen writes to Tibby about Lydia’s elaborate wedding preparations and how no one in the family talks about anything else.
Carmen and Albert watch Paul play soccer. Albert is obviously proud of Paul, who’s an excellent player, which makes Carmen jealous. Lydia unexpectedly shows up, frantic because their reception hall has overbooked and she has to find a new place. Albert apologizes to Carmen and cancels the tennis game. He tells her that Paul will drive her home. After the game, Paul asks her if she wants to play tennis, and she beats him twice.
Lena does her best to keep to herself and stay out of the spotlight, but the more she tries to hide from Kostos, the more entangled with him she becomes. Lena goes out of her way to avoid Kostos, walking in the opposite direction on purpose, avoiding conversation with him, and acting cool toward him when they’re forced to interact, despite her interest in the things he has to say. She also spends a great deal of time just on her own, walking or painting and not talking to anyone. Even her breakfasts with her grandfather are spent in silence, both of them in their own worlds. Lena’s most isolated moment occurs at the pond, when she feels so solitary and safe that she goes skinny-dipping. However, this blissful moment leads to her most dramatic encounter with Kostos, when he violates her privacy and sees her naked. Lena, who has tried her best to avoid awkward encounters and even unnecessary interaction, is now at the center of a two-family drama that drives two elderly grandfathers to blows. Lena’s self-consciousness and silence lead to great confusion, but even in the midst of this severe misunderstanding, she is incapable of speaking up, capturing attention, and clearing up the mess. She silences herself, which leads to further problems and misunderstandings.
Bridget is extroverted and fun-loving, but she can also be reckless, putting herself in physical and emotional danger. Bridget is unafraid to take chances. She is the one always suggesting to her friends at camp that they do things just outside the scope of the rules, such as sleeping outside on the beach and riding their bikes to a local bar. She swims alone at dawn, far out into the ocean, unafraid. She pursues Eric even though relationships between coaches and campers are forbidden, and she seems to fall for him hard even though she hardly knows him. She allows him to be her motivation for playing soccer well, and he dominates her mind. Bridget seems to crave excitement, danger, and risk, and she is never content to sit back and wait for things to happen. Instead, she is always charging ahead, looking for the next opportunity to garner attention or pursue what she wants. She rarely stops to think about her actions. When she does slow down for a moment, such as when her coach takes her out of the game for playing too aggressively, she is uncomfortable with her behavior, and also confused by it, as though even Bridget herself isn’t sure sometimes why she does the things she does.
Both Tibby and Carmen struggle to reconcile feelings of pity with feelings of annoyance and anger. Tibby is annoyed by Bailey, who seems intent on making the two become friends, and Tibby is embarrassed to hang out with a kid so much younger than she is. Bailey is also direct to the point of being rude, which is irritating to Tibby but also kind of fun, since she can hold her own when it comes to witty banter. However, Tibby also pities Bailey because she has cancer, and so she tries to quell her annoyance and irritation and be nice. Tibby would probably not hesitate to avoid or ignore another assertive kid, but she feels tied to Bailey because of the cancer, as though the cancer obligates Tibby to become Bailey’s friend. Carmen struggles with pity as well, feeling a new kindness toward Lydia, Krista, and Paul after she finds out Lydia’s ex-husband was an alcoholic. Although Carmen is annoyed by Lydia’s excessive wedding planning, this new information makes her feel more understanding, if only temporarily. Carmen doesn’t want to pity this new family, since her feelings of anger are firmly in place. However, as Carmen learns more about Lydia, and as she recognizes how important her father is to Lydia and her kids, Carmen must work hard to keep that anger in check.
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