“How the hell did we ever get married? Did you just say ‘I do’ because the minister said ‘repeat after me’? What would you have done with your life if I had never married you? Did it ever occur to you?” This was such a big leap in logic. . . . But now I realize Ted knew what he was saying all along. He wanted to show me the rift. Because later that evening he called from Los Angeles and said he wanted a divorce.
I see him standing by the wall, safe, calling to my father, who looks over his shoulder toward Bing. How glad I am that my father is going to watch him for a while! . . . Shouts erupt. Someone has thrown sand in Luke’s face and he’s jumped out of his sand grave and thrown himself on top of Mark, thrashing and kicking. My other shouts at me to stop them. And right after I pull Luke off Mark, I look up and see Bing walking alone to the edge of the reef. In the confusion of the fight, nobody notices. I am the only one who sees what Bing is doing.
Three days after watching The Ed Sullivan Show, my mother told me what my schedule would be for piano lessons and piano practice. She had talked to Mr. Chong, who lived on the first floor of our apartment building. Mr. Chong was a retired piano teacher and my mother had traded housecleaning services for the weekly lessons and a piano for me to practice on every day, two hours a day, from four until six.
Waverly looked at me and shrugged her shoulders. “You aren’t a genius like me,” she said matter-of-factly. And if I hadn’t felt so bad, I would have pulled her braids and punched her stomach. But my mother’s expression was what devastated me: a quiet, blank look that said she had lost everything. I felt the same way, and it seemed as if everybody were now coming up, like gawkers at the scene of an accident, to see what parts were actually missing.