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Chapter 233

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Christopher awakens at Mother’s apartment. While he eats breakfast, Mr. Shears and Mother argue over how long Christopher can stay. Mother takes leave from work to care for Christopher. She takes him shopping for items he needs, such as pajamas, but she has to take Christopher home when he becomes frightened in a store. Christopher tells Mother he must return to Swindon to take his A-level math test, but Mother says she doesn’t know if that’s possible. That night, Christopher can’t sleep, so around 2 a.m. he goes out into the street and takes a walk. Mother comes out of the apartment shouting his name, scared that he has run away. She finds him and makes him promise never to leave the flat on his own again.

A few days later, Mother is fired from her job for taking leave. Christopher demands to be taken to Swindon to take his A-level test. Mother insists the test can be postponed. The next morning, Christopher tries to forecast the day by looking out the dining-room window. He sees five red cars in a row followed by four yellow cars in a row, invalidating his system. Mother takes him to watch the planes take off and land from Heathrow airport. She says she has phoned Mrs. Gascoyne to postpone his A-level test till next year. Christopher screams at the news.

Every night Mother and Mr. Shears argue. Christopher takes the little radio from the kitchen and leaves the tuner between stations so that the white noise drowns out their arguing and keeps him from thinking about the A-level test. One night Mr. Shears comes into the spare room and wakes Christopher up. Christopher can tell that Mr. Shears has been drinking. Mr. Shears accuses him of not caring about the people around him. Mother pulls Mr. Shears out of the room before he can say anymore.

The next morning, Mother and Christopher leave for Swindon, taking Mr. Shears’s car. Mother explains that if they stayed in London any longer someone would get hurt. In Swindon, they go to Father’s house. Christopher plays Minesweeper in his room. He hears Father arrive home from work, so he pushes his bed up against his bedroom door to prevent Father from entering. Mother and Father argue in the living room. Father leaves to stay with Rhodri for a few weeks. Christopher again begs to take his A-level test, but Mother has already postponed it. Christopher compares the feeling he gets at hearing this to holding your thumb against a hot radiator. That night, he does not eat and has trouble sleeping.

The next day, Mother takes Christopher to school. Siobhan tells Christopher that Mrs. Gayscone still has his A-level test sealed on her desk, and that they are going to try to get Reverend Peters to come over so Christopher can take his test after all. Christopher feels excited but also tired from not sleeping the night before. That afternoon, Christopher begins his first section of the exam. He reads through it and has trouble thinking of the answers. He feels so frustrated that he wants to stab someone with his Swiss Army knife, but he counts prime numbers in his head to relax. Then he rushes to complete the test. That night, Father comes to the house again, so Christopher hides in the garden until Father leaves.

The next day, Christopher takes part two of the exam. That evening, Mr. Shears throws a large box of Mother’s belongings on the lawn, then gets in his car and drives away.

Marketing Management / Edition 15

Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5®) / Edition 5