According to generally agreed-upon history, Hallie and I were home with a babysitter. This is my problem—I clearly remember things I haven't seen, sometimes things that never happened. And I draw a blank on the things I've lived through. I told Doc Homer many times that I'd seen the helicopter, and I also once insisted, to the point of tears, that I remembered being on the ship with the nine Gracela sisters and their peacocks.

On her first night in Grace, staying in Emelina's guest house, Codi takes a walk by herself, wondering if she can still find the path to Doc Homer's. As she wanders, she ponders her childhood memories, focusing here on the night her mother died. Codi's confusion surrounding the memory points to the great problems of memory and invention, history and myth, and secrecy and revelation, that run throughout the novel. Codi thinks that her memory of her childhood is completely unreliable. While her memory of the nine Gracela sisters is truly the result of an overactive imagination, this is not the case with her memory of her mother's death. The secrets and prohibitions of the community have only led Codi to believe that the two memories are equally unreal. Similarly, Codi's belief that she has almost no real memories of her childhood will slowly be revealed to be only the effect of such sustained separation from the community where she grew up.