Elaine wants to leave both Jon and Toronto. Worried that she will commit suicide and leave Sarah motherless, Elaine buys a train ticket for Vancouver. Jon catches her on her way out but admits that he can’t stop her.
Elaine gets a job restoring furniture. The women artists in Vancouver welcome her because the ink-throwing incident has made her notorious. However, Elaine finds these women even more intimidating than those in Toronto. They discuss the ways men have hurt them, but Elaine doesn’t think she has anything worth sharing. She believes she and Jon hurt each other equally. Elaine begins to avoid these gatherings, convinced the women gossip about her and want to improve her.
Elaine’s artwork becomes fashionable and starts to sell.
Eventually she meets Ben, whom she finds charmingly conventional. They get married. Ben helps her with the financial side of her business, and eventually they have Anne.
In the present, Elaine wakes up late, anxiously killing time before the retrospective. She follows her old route home from school. She watches the girls walking home in their jeans, and thinks they sound quieter than they did in her day—though she acknowledges she might be too tall to hear them.
Stephen died five years prior to Elaine’s present because of someone’s idea of justice.