Summary: Chapter 15: The Mediterranean Diet

Father Mike checks on Desdemona on the third day she refuses to get out of bed, and Desdemona explains that she doesn’t like being left behind on Earth and that a woman’s life is over once her husband dies. Father Mike reassures the family that this happens to widows often, and it will pass. However, Desdemona stays in bed. She asks Callie to pray for her to die so she can be with Lefty.

While on vacation in Pomerania, Cal and Julie start talking in hypotheticals about moving there together. On the drive home, Cal thinks with dread about the next phase of the relationship becoming sexual and starts acting cold toward Julie. He refuses to answer her calls. Now, like Desdemona, he has no plans for a future.

Desdemona insists she’s ill, but Dr. Philobosian can find nothing wrong with her. Desdemona begins to make funeral preparations. She tells Tessie to get rid of her clothes and asks Milton to ensure she gets the burial plot next to Lefty.

Meanwhile, Milton plans a new business venture involving hot dog stands. These eventually become a fast food franchise called Hercules Hot Dogs. Chapter Eleven figures out a way to make the hot dogs flex when cooked, and this becomes their branding gimmick.

As a pre-teen, Callie is arrestingly beautiful. Everyone stares at her, from Milton’s Sunday guests to her own brother. She finds the full force of everyone’s gaze upon her unnerving. However, she does like looking at herself in the mirror.

Because Chapter Eleven is older, Callie hears the word “puberty” often and finds it frightening because she doesn’t know exactly what it means. Neither Dr. Philobosian nor Tessie feel up to explaining sex to Callie. In 1972, at summer camp, she sees another girl get her first period while wearing white shorts and is shocked and horrified. When school begins, Callie starts sixth grade and notices that the other girls are starting to grow breasts. She doesn’t mind still having a flat chest, but she’s terrified of starting her period and throws out all her white clothes.