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I Am the Cheese

Summary TAPE OZK013
Summary TAPE OZK013

Back on the tape's dialogue, Brint brings up Adam's father again. A third-person narrator describes how Adam remembers back to the various deceptions his father had to execute—wearing non-prescription eyeglasses and a moustache, and giving up smoking. His father said they never lived in Rawlings, but flew there once to get acquainted with it. Martha, he said, was a cloistered nun in Maine, his mother's only living relative, whom Grey had allowed contact with as a minimal risk.

Adam asks Brint why he only asks about his father, and not his mother. Brint replies that he has merely been a guide, and that Adam chose to fixate on his father. Adam says he wants to talk about his mother, but he temporarily had forgotten about her. Adam says he always thought of his mother as a sad person, but it turns out it was not sadness so much as fear about the "Never Knows." A third-person narrator reveals how Adam remembers back to one day when he confronted his mother for the first time since the disclosure of their past. His mother cries, and Adam comforts her while she tells him about the Never Knows—that is, never knowing what is going to happen. She says the people his father testified against were members of a huge organization with possible connections to other organizations, and that there is no guarantee that all his enemies are in jail. Adam's mother explains that the family's identities are in the hands of Grey, a man so cold he even has a special government number (2222). She says that she hates Grey, and twice they nearly defied him, planning vacations to New Orleans and Europe. Grey rejected both ideas and said that they were too risky. Adam's mother talks about the other Never Knows—never knowing who can be trusted or whether the next phone call will be from an enemy. Adam fears the Never Knows when he is not at home or in school. Adam's fear makes life's good moments that much more precious, and soon Adam finds that he and his parents are more intimate and loving than before.

Adam tells Brint that despite his father's advice to live in the present, Adam would often wonder about Paul Delmonte. One time, he says, his mother led him into the past.

The third-person narrator returns and describes how Adam recalls how easily his father slid into the role of David Farmer, while his mother was more defiant. One day, she takes Adam into another room in the basement where she had riskily stashed a few mementos of their former life—his father's old army jacket, a scarf he gave her one Valentine's Day, and Adam's baby effects. Adam fearfully answers the door, but it is only Amy, whom he has been avoiding. He wants to share his feelings with her, but knows he cannot betray his father's trust on this matter of life and death.

The book returns to the tape's dialogue. Adam tells Brint that a dark cloud occasionally cross his mind, sometimes instigated by memories, but more often by a lack of memories. Adam has an anxiety attack and asks where his parents are. Brint summons people to get Adam medication, and they end the session.

Analysis

The main focus in this second section of revelations is on Adam's parents' distrust of Grey, which is similar to Adam's distrust of Brint. Both Grey and Brint are authority figures in their respective organizations, and both possibly have ulterior motives. Brint acts suspicious in that he wants to know the details of Anthony Delmonte's testimony. Adam connects Brint's evil glare to the way Grey looked at Anthony when he probed him for details. It is unclear whether Adam does know the information that Brint seeks, since Adam is now more careful with what he reveals to Brint.