Chapter 21: Skid Row

Taylor, Barbie, and Turtle are living in a coastal town in Washington State, which the reader will soon find out is Seattle. Taylor has a job with the Handi-Van company, a driving service in the city, and the three of them are living in a low-rent, dismal apartment. One of the few decorations Taylor has is a photograph holder in the shape of a cube. Inside she hides money that Alice has left for her.

When the chapter opens, Taylor is driving a blind woman, who tells her about how she has forgotten what colors look like. One day, Taylor goes on a date—a picnic—with a man named Kevin from the Handi-Van, and takes Turtle with her. They buy ice cream cones, but Turtle refuses to finish hers. Kevin reveals his rude, ignorant qualities. He brought one apple on the picnic, for himself. Taylor shares tuna sandwiches with him, resenting that she splurged on tuna fish, instead of peanut butter, for this guy.

Once at home, Turtle has a stomachache. When she goes to lie down, she and Taylor realize that Barbie has left. Turtle asks if Barbie left because of something she did. Suddenly, Taylor realizes that her photo cube is gone as well.

Chapter 22: Welcome to Heaven

Alice is in Sugar's house, on the phone with Taylor, who is explaining that her electricity was turned off when she could not pay the bill. Since Barbie left, Taylor now works at Penney's where Turtle can hang around till her mom gets off work. Alice criticizes her for buying Turtle school clothes instead of paying the bills, but immediately feels bad when she realizes that Taylor literally can hardly keep a roof over her head.

Alice and Sugar go out for a walk to the water hole. On the way, Sugar shows Alice the mulberry tree her husband has planted and the long string of trailer houses that belong to her children. When the finally get to the water hole called "Heaven" one of the many young people there crosses the creek to bring them a string of fish. He politely tells Alice about the fish and snapping turtles they find in the creek.

Talking to Sugar about old times reminds Alice of a gospel singer who Alice used to hear sing at the "colored church." Alice thinks that it's easy to shake and scream like people speaking in tongues, but this woman felt real. Alice thinks "it's peacefulness that is hard to come by on purpose."