The Silver Linings Playbook

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Pat jumps right in with being visited by his mother and knowing summer had hit by the color of her painted toenails. She meets him outside whilst he was doing some exercising, explaining his reasons for doing so involving Nikki’s preferences, when his mother inquired. She then throws him for a loop when asking if he’d like to go home with her, he surprised by her truthful tone, but only if he didn’t go after Nikki, she and his father agreeing to job-hunt for him and ready him for his own place. Pat continues his push-ups, whilst she attempted to convince him to accept. Pat weighs his options, not wanting to deal with the downer institution he was in anymore, and agreeing to her terms until Nikki and his “apart time” was over. Pat packs his bag and sort of says goodbye to his roomie. When he meets his mother and doctor in the lobby, the doctor seems crestfallen when Pat mentions how much better he’ll feel when Nikki calls off their separation, Pat seeing this as the doctor’s inability to believe in positivity and optimism. When they’re driving, his mother shares of the process she’d gone through for him, and he states his gratefulness of all she’d done to get him out, and confirms his want to heal himself. They reach New Jersey, Pat’s hometown, the changes to the area making him breathe hard, his mother assuring his new therapist would be able to help him get over his anxiety.

When they get home, Pat is greeted by his new workout weights which he thanks his mother profusely for, and immediately puts to use, he mentioning how besides this, he wrote daily activities (of which this book is one) for Nikki’s perusal when she decided to speak to him again. The writing having started because of the drugs given to him whilst being institutionalized affecting his memory, this being his way of knowing what would be favored to share with Nikki, the doctors not returning his first entries, so he starting fresh. His mother then confesses of their house having been burgled and the pictures with he and Nikki having been taken due to the expensive frames they were in, Pat going along with this explanation (leaving me uncertain as to whether he truly believed this). Pat and his father don’t speak for awhile, he needing to accustom himself to Pat living with them, his visit during Pat’s sabbatical only ascertaining his father’s rage at his son’s situation. Pat also began reading literature for Nikki since she had English teacher friends, he beginning with The Great Gatsby. Pat’s firm belief in silver linings colors his irritated reaction with the book, Fitzgerald obviously not the bright-side kind, he instead focusing on being able to impress Nikki with reading her favorite book, and eventually planning on reading her American Literature syllabus, waiting for his moment to burst out a line from Gatsby which also applied to him when Nikki, her friends, and he had another dinner together.

During another workout, Pat’s mother informs him of his appointment with Dr. Patel, which he attempts to postpone until the evening, but is told of the times agreed being court-ordered, so he prepares to go. As he’s waiting to see Patel, a song comes on which agitates him into believing it had been played to set him off, his tantrum bringing out Patel, whom has the secretary shut off the music, as requested, Pat breaking down. Patel has Pat follow him into his office as his mother and the secretary attend to the mess he’d made of the furniture and magazines, Pat immediately warming to the pleasant, but oddly painted and adorned office. Patel offers Pat a recliner and request he call him Cliff, so as to keep sessions light. When Patel asks about his reaction to the song, Pat shows his resistance in answering by humming one note and blocking the memory, Patel moving on to ask about Nikki, Pat realizing his responding question sounded too sensitively protective of the topic, but Patel explaining his motives being to get to know Pat better, and since his goal was to see Nikki again, it being an ideal spot to begin.

Pat opens up about their temporary separation and the reasons she’d given, he also explaining his dedication to his job having over-shadowed his home life and neglecting her, Patel inquiring after how long the separation would last and Pat being told to not make contact with her until further notice which made the estrangement’s length uncertain. Pat then delves further on his reasons he believed she’d return, having to do with happy endings, and life being like a series of films, so his happy ending should be coming up soon. Also, he having sworn off watching movies to dedicate living his own movie until Nikki returned. Patel’s response is what convinces Pat he would get along well with this doctor, he not condemning his optimism. They move on to varying topics after, Pat asking about Patel’s family as a courtesy, and the subject turning to valuing the women in their lives whilst they were there, Patel informing Pat he was changing his medication and to share any issues he had going forward. On the ride home, when Pat mentions his idea of the likelihood Nikki would locate him more easily at his parents’ home rather than the institution, which again prompted him to voice how grateful he was, his mother breaks down, and when they get home, Pat continues his workout. When he prepares for sleep, he thinks of his disappointment of his father still avoiding him, and then of Nikki, in lieu of reading, since his mother hadn’t gone to the library yet, but looked forward to his expected dreams of Nikki.

Pat reiterates his unfailing faith in silver linings, he beginning his run, which tended to happen at sunset to see if there were clouds in the sky to cover the sun, so he could view the actual silver lining which reinforced his hope of seeing Nikki again. Pat had lost so much weight, he was close to the amount he was in high school, this also being the time Nikki first met him, he hoping the change back would aid Nikki’s ease for believing he’d changed for the better. What fuels Pat’s run is imagining he’s jogging to Nikki, helping the notion the amount of time left apart is also decreasing.

Pat’s request for a book when his mother is going to the library was a romance story by Hemingway, so he could learn from it for Nikki, and when she returns with A Farewell to Arms, he enjoys it until getting to the depressing ending (I swear, Quick better not be ruining books I plan on reading), he unable to comprehend why she’d teach this to high schoolers. Pat is now angered with Nikki, vowing to not read Hemingway ever again, and isn’t surprised by his suicide.

When Pat’s next at Patel’s office, the secretary shuts the stereo off when seeing he’s entered, and when seeing Patel, shares how his medication is treating him. Pat hadn’t been taking them regularly, so not actually noticing anything. Patel then makes certain Pat hasn’t had any odd visions and has him promise to report to his mother if he does see anything strange. Pat is certain the combination won’t affect him so drastically due to having good command of his perception.

Later, during a break between sets, he smells crab snacks his mother is cooking, as well as pizza and buffalo wings. He asks why she’d done so, noting this usually meant guests were expected, he then thinking of how Nikki would devour crab snacks and usually he’d react invalidation when she spoke of her guilt of having stuffed herself, Pat now deciding he would do the opposite and state how it would be fine, since she needed more flesh on her bones. His mother instead informs of his brother, Jake coming to watch football with he and their father, Pat stressing a bit since Jake had reacted similarly to how his father had, saying some terrible insults about Nikki. Pat returns to the basement to do another set of push-ups and takes his jog early due to the family get-together.

Ronnie, Pat’s old best friend, recognizes him whilst he’s out, but Pat doesn’t stop due to his tight schedule, Ronnie not ever having visited him whilst he’d been with Nikki, only sending letters about his daughter during his stay in the hospital. When getting back, he sees Jake’s car, he seeming to be doing okay in the money department (I’m getting a bit tired of hearing Danny’s ghetto-like phrases interspersed in Pat’s thoughts), going in for a shower, and after changing, heading in the direction of conversation, Jake surprised by Pat’s physical change, he not pulling away when Jake checks his muscular arm, still a bit pissed about Jake’s comments about Nikki, struggling with also feeling glad to see him. Pat sort of gives Jake a response of forgiveness, which Jake looks impressed by, and seems to Pat, nearly emotionally overwhelmed, but instead gives Pat a gift of an Eagle’s jersey, Jake explaining whom the number belonged and spoke of a stadium Pat hadn’t heard of before in regards to whether he planned on continuing attending games with him and another dude, Scott. Pat also learns Jake plans on spotting him for the tickets since he’d relinquished all finances to Nikki.

Their father doesn’t appear until right before the start of the game, not acknowledging Pat at all, their mother suggesting he attempt some kind of interaction when they were both in the kitchen. Conversation is clipped, but Pat is focused on noticing most of the players he’d rooted for were gone and the Vet stadium they used to go to had been torn down, he disbelieving this the most, even after being shown footage, and when speaking with his mother in the kitchen to suggest the possibility of what he’d seen being in his head, she reluctantly shares what year it was, Pat unable to cope with this and shrieking his disbelief, and then demanding to know how long he’d been away, Jake supplying it had been almost four years, Pat still unable to grasp this and then fainting.

Pat mentions how he’d had the misconception of Kenny G being solely heard in the hospital, he currently readying to sleep in the boiling attic so he could lose more weight, but this night bringing the auditory hallucination of Kenny G, which then manifests to visual. Pat has an irrational fear of the man, hearing a song start and as he’s begging for Kenny G to desist, his yells get louder and he begins banging his hand on his head, his parents now attempting to keep his arms down, which unfortunately brings the fall of his mother. His father kicks him, ending the music, but the punch to the face, bringing him to tears, his father deciding Pat would be put back in the institution, his mother staying to comfort him as he drifted to sleep. He awakes with her still with him, he apologizing profusely and begging to be allowed to stay, his mother reassuring him of he not going anywhere and then making him breakfast, he then getting straight to working out after, due to sleeping late.

Ronnie ends up appearing in the basement, Pat finishing a set of bench presses, and reading into Ronnie’s excuse of not being able to stay long because his wife didn’t know. Pat doesn’t confide the truth when Ronnie takes notice of his facial bruises, but accepts when Ronnie offers to return to workout with him sometime, Pat not holding his breath. Then when Ronnie invites him to dinner the next night, Pat is surprised by his specifying a time frame. Ronnie had figured Pat thought his wife, Veronica didn’t like him, whilst Nikki had despised Veronica, and Pat seemed to adopt her negative view of his best friend and wife.

Pat is over-thinking what he would wear since Veronica was obsessive-compulsive about her fancy dress parties, his mother letting him know to get ready to see Patel. When Pat confesses his anxiety about seeing Veronica and noting Nikki’s opinion of she not being a nice person, Patel then suggests he wear his jersey and new khakis, Pat reassured. When Patel mentions the Kenny G incident, Pat blocks out the name. Patel then brings up how he hadn’t been treating his mother well, and Pat feeling terribly, he breaking down, and agreeing to want to be a better person. Patel then relates to changing his prescription for higher doses to stave his outbursts, which if isn’t remedied, Pat would need to be readmitted, Pat declaring he’d be better.

Once Pat gets ready, his mother confirms he looked fine, but wondered why he couldn’t wear one of his new shirts, Pat sharing how Patel had encouraged he wear his jersey, she then giving him a bouquet and wine to give Veronica and Ronnie. When he arrives, Ronnie is impressed with his jersey, they meet Veronica and Emily, their little girl, in the kitchen, Veronica noticing, but not mentioning his bruise, and greeting him warmly. When Pat officially meets Emily, he understands her cuteness factor, and Ronnie gets him a beer, Pat inquiring whom else was coming, Ronnie revealing Veronica’s sister, Tiffany was the fourth guest, Pat surprised to learn her husband had died, she then coming in before he could learn how. When Tiffany and he waited in the living room whilst Ronnie put Emily to bed and Veronica finished dinner, Tiffany asks about what happened to his face in reply to his compliment of she looking nice, he thinking the makeup was too much, but wanting to practice for Nikki.

Tiffany eventually leaves him alone once he asks about her job and why she’d lost it, he awaiting Ronnie. Dinner is immaculate, but weird due to only Ronnie and Veronica making conversation, they focusing on Tiffany and Pat, one complementing either of them on their accomplishments and pastimes. When dessert is barely finished, Tiffany declares of being weary and asks backwardly if Pat would walk her home, Pat taking the opportunity of practicing his kindness skills. When they reach her parents home, she states of living in a guest house and stating how he could sleep with her if he wanted, she breaking down when he doesn’t answer, Pat surprised into silence. When she hugs him, he’s thinking about how she’s crying makeup onto his shirt, but then begins getting teary himself, eventually the two parting, and when Pat gets home, is told to phone Ronnie, instead he laying down until sunrise.

Pat has a single picture of Nikki, a head-shot he didn’t get to tell her he liked, and had been a birthday present. Pat then remembers his wedding video, and goes to his parents’ room to ask after it, but when his mother doesn’t answer, he announces knowing where they keep them and is off to look, but when he doesn’t locate it, and sees his mother standing behind him, she tries to play off it having gotten lost, Pat losing his temper, but reigning himself in to leave the room and do a bunch of sit-ups, push-ups, and stationary biking, he then going to sleep in the attic, doing his hum-counting due to his uncertainty of Kenny G possibly returning, but makes it through the night in peace.

Pat was now reading The Scarlet Letter and relating how he’d called Hester’s baby daddy by the eighth chapter, he wondering if Nikki played up the risque bits to the class she taught. Pat continues his thoughts on the story and idea of which sin would be greater in God’s eyes: the coveting of another man’s wife or leaving Pearl fatherless. He finds he could sympathize with Chillingworth at first, but gave up when the man continued to mess with Dimmesdale. Instead, Pat shined to Hester’s character overall, due to her outlook on silver linings, and again finds similarities to her story and Patel’s advice to treating women well. Before the moment passes, he considers whether if he’d understood this sooner whether it would’ve changed the outcome of his relationship apart or whether it was one of those lessons which must be learned firsthand. He then hopes for the chance to publicly apologize to Nikki and show her his knowledge of the Old English classic.

When Pat next speaks with Patel, he senses his mother had spoken with him of the dinner party by the way he’d inquired about it, Pat not sweating he knew something about the dinner and instead glad to report of the shirt he’d suggested working well, Patel changes the topic to Tiffany, though and asks whether he’d slept with her after Pat divulged believing she was a slut, Pat irked by Patel’s question at first, until realizing he was only gauging his loyalty to his wife. Then Patel gives insight as to why Tiffany had offered to sleep with him being about obtaining a friend rather than sluttiness, he having Pat go over how the night had ended, Patel stating how kind Pat had been to her, which gets his happy agreement, but has also led to her trailing him on his jogs, even after he told her to stop. Patel asks whether Pat thought Tiffany was sexy and Pat agrees, but states of this not mattering since he was taken, Patel then questioning whether Pat truly believed he hadn’t seen Nikki for only a few months, Pat becoming angry, but apologizing, Patel allowing he should’ve taken Pat’s answer seriously. He then gives an example of going out to do something he didn’t care for with his wife and to possibly allow Tiffany to run with him, date her a few times and perhaps after a little while, she’ll get bored of him, Pat at first dubious, but taking Patel’s word for it.

Pat inquires after his mother’s thoughts on whether dating Tiffany will get her to leave, she posing the idea of he needing all the buddies he could get, which he doesn’t respond to since she seemed to hope he’d take a shine to her, this making him uncomfortable. She was also the single member in his family whom didn’t loathe Nikki, she having remarked to Pat of noticing his “friend” tagging along on his run on days she watched after him, giving her own version of a wink-wink. Later, Pat psyches himself up to ask Tiffany out, but instead only starts his run, with her trailing him. When he gets to a diner, he asks her out, and they make plans to meet there later, Tiffany finally biffing off, to Pat’s surprise, he then running longer and getting the good sign of multiple clouds lined with brightness. When he returns, he informing his mother of his plans, she suppressing her pleasure, and when he’s ready to go, she advises him to wear a belt and tuck his shirt in, which seemed pointless to him with this only being a way to end Tiffany’s attachment, but he reminds himself of being in his mother’s debt, and does as she asks, she then having him put on some casual shoes she’d gotten him.

When Pat meets Tiffany outside her parents’ home, he complements her outfit, she regarding his shoes as she walks off; the two walk in silence for a half hour. After they sit and order drinks of water and tea, Pat is so busy stressing over how much money he’d have so he’d be able to over-tip like Nikki had taught him, he misses Tiffany’s order, and when asked for his own, gets raisin bran, learning Tiffany had only gotten the tea after the waitress left. When the cereal arrives, Pat offers to share, Tiffany taking him up on it, and when they finish, he gives the waitress the forty dollars, the waitress shocked and happy. When the two reach Tiffany’s home, she shares how she didn’t actually want Pat to sleep with her, she walking away. His mother doesn’t believe all he’d had was cereal, but instead of he entertaining this chat further, he goes to his room. He speaks to his picture of Nikki about his night out and hoping they had the chance to do the things he’d done with Tiffany, he crying and muffling the noise with his pillow.

On the day of a game, Pat wakes early to begin his workout, and when he runs, he’s surprised to see Tiffany, since he was doing so in the morning. She refrains from speaking with him and only follows his route, and when he finishes, she jogs home, Pat showering and discovering Ronnie sitting with Jake, everyone taking up the Eagles chant when Pat starts by stating, “Go Birds!”, Jake instigating a singalong of their team’s fight song, afterwards Pat feeling like he was truly at home. When he notices Jake’s new jersey and player, he’s confused by his turnaround, Pat then focusing on being a good cheerleader for the Birds to satisfy his father, he feeling happy being with him, but still holding a grudge for his punching and kicking him. Their father at first is pissed off with the results of the playing, but by halftime is satisfied with the Birds progress, they all throwing around the footyball, and before going back to watch the game, do the chant with their neighbors once more.

When the Eagles win the game, Jake urges their father to join their fight song again, their father surprising Pat by putting his arm around his shoulder, for being so drunkenly happy, his mother tearfully enjoying the scene from the kitchen, and Ronnie having Pat walk him home. As they stop in the park to toss the football around, Ronnie asks about his thoughts on Tiffany, Pat being honest, not regarding her as anything, and Ronnie stating of her weirdness, Pat giving him a bit of a hard time when he states of Tiffany being in therapy, and then he relating Tiffany’s lack of spouse being somehow similar to Pat’s situation, Pat letting this slide. Ronnie then says his peace about what had been reported about Tiffany’s release from her job, Pat deducing this must’ve been the reason he’d been allowed to come to watch the game in the first place, Pat taking offense by the thought they would believe he’d take advantage of Tiffany and believed they didn’t truly relate to her perspective about the situation, so Pat goes to Tiffany’s, and when getting permission to knock on her door from her mother, whom seems shocked by Pat’s reply of being married and only wanting to be her friend after she asks what he wanted with her, but walks away from her door when she doesn’t answer, she turning up when he gets to the park, and finally reveals why she followed him during his jogs. Her answer brings up more questions which she doesn’t plan on sharing until her exploratory survey was complete, they not chatting with each other as Pat follows her until she walks him home, she inquiring after his team winning and then leaving him there.

An interesting occurrence happens on Monday when Pat’s father comes down to the basement whilst he’s working out for the first time. His father relates of having decided to leave his sports papers for him after he’s read them from now on, so Pat could catch up in learning the new players, which surprises him due to how his father normally brought his papers to work with him. When Pat finishes his set and goes up to breakfast, he asks his mother about his father’s odd gift, he debating whether he was going to take all of his pills as she answers, she advising he not think too much about it, and his father only attempting to make an effort, Pat then decides he’ll take all of his required amount of pills. During the week, Pat reads up on the team, but has yet been able to show off his newly acquired knowledge to his father, since he stayed secluded, which he discusses with Patel on his Friday session, but Patel consistently refocusing on Tiffany, which irritates Pat. Patel then inquires about he, Tiffany, and Ronnie’s family going to the beach and asking what Pat thought Tiffany may wear for her swimsuit. Pat’s anger flares until thinking this could be another test, his response being to remind Patel of he not being single. They finish with referencing the Eagles, which has Pat deciding his doctor was the best ever, and on the ride home, his mother agrees with Pat’s idea of his father likely deciding he’d begin speaking to him again if their team won.

Pat is fully supplied with beach accessories when Ronnie picks him up, his mom having packed him an extra outfit, as well as the normal beach accouterments, and despite his not needing any snacks, had made a lunch, regardless of his words being heeded about Ronnie bringing subs; Pat’s contribution to his baggage being a football. When he’d gotten in, Veronica decides to give thanks to Pat’s mom for the gifts he’d brought over the night of the dinner, she having come out to wave goodbye to Pat, this greeting though, giving her a reason to approach the van and launching in with a question about what they thought of the outfit she’d bought for Pat, also taking the opportunity to attempt a closer look at Tiffany, whom turns away from her. When Pat’s mom tries to greet Tiffany and is ignored, Veronica and Ronnie show off Emily to lighten the awkwardness. After a few moments, Tiffany comments on how she thought their plans were to hit the beach, which gets them on their way, Veronica and Ronnie attempting to keep the chatter going until Tiffany suggests silence. They get to a secluded part of the beach and as Veronica fusses with the blanket and Ronnie sets the umbrella, Emily gets sand in her eyes and screams, Tiffany requesting Veronica to shut her up, in so many words, for feeling unable to cope with the noise, which prompts Veronica to advise her in remembering what her therapist suggested, making Tiffany cuss at her and walking off, since she’d said this in front of Pat.

Veronica goes after her and apologizes as they walk, Ronnie and Pat fixing the blanket, the ladies not returning after ten minutes passed. The two eventually take Emily down to the water, and in for a little while, they then doze, Pat wakes first and entertains Emily for a bit, he then taking her out into the water again, but the waves having become much bigger, Pat swimming them over and making Emily giggle which has Pat decide on his resolve to “make a daughter” when Nikki returned, he then hearing Veronica shrieking his name from the shore, so he paddles them in, she upsetting Emily and demanding to know why he’d taken her out, then turning on Ronnie for having allowed this, Ronnie then seeming to think Pat must’ve done something terrible in the process, so due to these stressful circumstances, Pat feels an outburst under the surface, dashing off, upset, and then noticing Tiffany streak past him. They race for awhile, and when they get closer to their umbrella again, Pat follows as she goes into the much calmer ocean, they getting closer to each other for a moment, and Pat being reminded of Nikki, glad Tiffany swims further away for feeling the urge to kiss her. After they float in the ocean for a bit, Tiffany states to Veronica and Ronnie of they being ready to leave, Ronnie and Veronica all smiles now, and making sure they wanted to go before having lunch. Pat agrees with Tiffany, and the group pack up and return home (odd reactions from Veronica and Ronnie, but everyone has their own way of letting go of hysteria).

Pat’s father wakes him with the terrifying screaming start of the Eagles chant, they finishing it, and without another word, he leaving. Pat now has two hours to workout before his brother’s tailgate party, Tiffany meeting him at 8 a.m. for a run, his dad giving him a ride after, he not attending the game due to a bad history with an opposing fan and his resulting assault charge. His father fills the ride with Eagles talk and for Pat to be there for his brother and mom, he then leaving him a little ways from the stadium, ending with the chant once more, a few more fans joining in with them. Pat walks his way through the friendly crowd until seeing Jake, he greeting him buddy-buddy style, Scott doing the same, and letting slip how they hadn’t seen each other in years, backtracking by asking how many months it’d been, and then deciding to introduce him to the boys inside the tent.

Afterward, Scott talks about his family instead of asking Pat about what was new with him, which comforted him, but also again being confronted with the reality of it being a few years since he’d last seen him, and after food and beers, tosses the ball around until Jake notices a Giants fan and starts an “asshole” chant, fifty fans joining in, and when they make the kid with him cry, he goes after Pat once people were dispersing. Scott and Jake defend him and the crowd returns, Jake getting knocked down. Pat goes off on the guy and knocks him out, he fleeing, distressed, and puking a couple times until Jake catches up and calls Scott, whom informs Pat of the guy being fine, but looking for him, so to stay away. Jake leads Pat to the stadium, and when getting to their seats, is impressed with the spot, but the Eagles don’t win this game, Jake and Pat parting near Jake’s apartment, Jake giving him a hug before leaving him, then getting on the subway again, still plagued with thoughts of the little boy crying. When he gets home, his mother tells him of the news of his father having broken the TV, he then going downstairs for a bit of a workout. He has a terrible dream involving Nikki and the memory of the Giants fan, but when waking and seeing the sports pages at the stairs, tries to let it go and prepare to workout again.

Pat and Tiffany go back to the same diner for the same order with tea, the two not having spoken on their walk or as they waited, Pat noting how their friendship didn’t rely on much chat, but he debating whether to confide his obsessive thinking of the crying little boy, since he didn’t see Patel until Friday, and she may relate to his feelings, he deciding to share, even though upon starting, regretting it, and when he begins to digress about how Nikki wouldn’t have approved his conduct, Tiffany dismisses her, and repeatedly says, essentially, she could fuck off, since she wasn’t around anyways, and she must not care for Pat much due to this. She leaves when the server comes to tell her she couldn’t cuss and when Pat goes looking for her, he sees her running off, she not answering him when asked if everything was alright, she going home without saying a word.

Pat attempts reading The Bell Jar in the evening, Nikki’s opinion being all females should be made to read it, he wanting to read it so he could understand the female perspective better and Nikki’s view. It doesn’t take him long to sense it was going to be a bleak story, he revealing his profession as a history teacher helping him realize this by the Narrator mentioning dark points in history, he describing the plot. Pat hadn’t reached the end when he states how he was curious of what the main character would do in order to rise from her mental illness in one piece, but this also spurring his interest due to his want in learning more about mental health. He relates how the Narrator almost dies from losing a lot of blood and how similar to a female character in A Farewell to Arms had suffered the same, making him question why this was popular in American Literature. By the end, Pat gets aggravated by its lack of finalizing and staying open to the Narrator’s fate, but upon reading the short biography in the book of how it was based on Plath’s life, and how she ended hers, he destroys the book, which was borrowed from the library, and proceeds to workout, wondering why people read such books. Tiffany continues to come by for runs over the next couple days, the two still not conversing.

When Pat sees Patel, he has no intention of sharing his bad acts during the week, but spills for guilt, not noticing how upset he’d become until finishing his speech. Patel’s response isn’t what Pat expects since he doesn’t tear him down for being violent toward the Giants fan, and attempts to ignore his statement of the Eagles making it to the Super Bowl two years ago. Patel then explains when he isn’t in his chair, he’s a fellow fan, but when he’s sitting, he’s his therapist, Patel reclining and stating Pat’s actions not having been the correct course of action, inquiring how else he could’ve reacted. Patel suggests Pat trying to use his Kenny G hum, asking where he’d come up with it, Pat almost annoyed Patel had brought him up, until remembering how kindly he’d taken his misstep, sharing how he’d gotten it from Nikki. Patel then asks why he didn’t use it for his moments of rage, Pat not having considered the possibility before. They move on to why Tiffany had reacted as she had, and Plath’s novel, Patel’s daughter also having recently been required to read it, and going on to explain its usefulness as a teaching tool to cope with reality and showed how some people’s minds worked. Patel ends their session by assuring he wasn’t angered by Pat’s fight, and they doing the Eagles chant, Pat knowing Patel was doing it to help him let go of his guilt, and it doing its job.

Pat’s in the basement working out when he hears his father instructing where to place the delivery of his new T.V., his mother coming in half an hour later to argue how they couldn’t afford it, but his father shouting of if they could spend so much on Pat, he could buy himself a new set, his mother leaving for her bedroom, Pat knowing she was upset, and he being the cause. He feels terrible about this, but upon seeing the T.V., is quite excited to watch a game on it. Pat’s father ignores his test question of purchasing the new set, Pat knowing he wouldn’t speak to anyone after fighting with his mother, he going on his run with Tiffany, whom also stays quiet throughout, and when he returns, he sees his mother’s car missing from the driveway.

Pat’s mother is still gone by the time Pat’s sleeping pills were supposed to be administered, he getting nervous by this uncustomary tardiness. After waking his father with his concerns and getting no response, he then locates his medication and takes the one’s he recognized for the hour, wanting to impress his mother by being responsible. He lays down, but is plagued with persistent questions until hearing a car pull up, meeting his mother on the porch, and realizing she’s wasted when informing Pat of Nikki’s mistake in letting him go, as well as her booze-breath, he leading her to the couch where she goes to sleep quickly. Pat moves her to his bed, then retrieves water and Tylenol, waking her briefly to have her take them, he then obsessed with thoughts of partially being the cause of his mother’s drunkenness. He goes to the attic to sleep, but is wakened by Kenny G above him, whom isn’t deterred by his humming, he keeping at it, and finally, Mr. G disappears, he searching the room to make certain, about to be proud of himself when he registers a box with his name on it and becomes uneasy. He takes a look inside, and first removes his high school soccer jacket, he then arranging the attic as it had been before he’d moved boxes around, he going back to his sleeping bag, but returning to the box throughout the night with disbelief of what he’d discovered, it reconfirming his mother’s dishonesty.

When Pat wakes in the morning and checks on his still sleeping mother, he has conflicting feelings of pride for having left the now empty glass next to his mother and peeved by her actions regarding the box in the attic. He goes downstairs and witnesses his father burning a steak, Pat leaving him to it for his morning workout, he hearing the smoke alarm for fifteen minutes, and when it’s the usual time for his pills, gets them himself, checking on his mother with considerable concern, but once again being ignored by his father when he attempts to start a conversation. He continues his workout, his mother ending his anxiety once she comes down to regard his successful pill taking, he giving minimal acknowledgement and asking where she’d gone, she instead speaking of her appreciation he’d taken care of her, and once she mentions how life would be changing for the better for them all due to a conversation she and his father had whilst he’d been out, his concentration about the box is lost. She then informs him of leaving for the day, but would be back, Pat trusting her because of her steady gaze.

When Pat goes upstairs and is again ignored by his father, he takes his run, this time alone, and for once had hoped Tiffany would turn up, he thinking she had become his new best buddy, which unnerved him. When he gets back home, his hope of seeing Jake’s car in the drive is dashed, he sensing he’d be stuck with his father alone. After he gets ready to watch the game, and during the first commercial break, he starts the yell for the Eagles chant, but stops when his father doesn’t join him. As the game progresses though, his father’s attitude changes for the better, he ordering pizza for them, giving Pat a beer, and talking of Baskett keeping up the good work. When the pizza arrives and his father mentions this day being better if Jake were present, Pat inquires where he was, but doesn’t get a reply. Fortunately, the Eagles win, but his father doesn’t stick around to chat, Pat then taking the opportunity to clean up. He detects a balled up piece of paper under the coffee table, and when inspecting it, sees his mother’s writing.

After reading the letter written to his father, he thinks of how nice it would be to have his father sit with them for meals, as his mother had transcribed. Pat locates Jake’s number, it being picked up by a lovely voiced woman. Jake comes on the line talking about the game, Pat inquiring why he hadn’t come and learning about their mother instructing him not to, Pat then reading the letter he’d found and Jake giving her kudos, he confirming they’d get together Monday. Whilst Pat waited for his mother to return, he finishes cleaning up, she asking if his father had commanded he do so when she comes in to see him scrubbing the couch, she informing Pat how they’d be leaving his trash from now on, Pat resisting the urge to bring up the box again, and instead offering his bedroom to her whilst she was on strike. When he poses whether Jake had a girlfriend and she responds insouciantly, he senses she’s sparing him in some way, he wanting to know what it was all about.

Pat has an abbreviated workout and run with Tiffany before riding the train to Philly to meet his brother, and is greeted unexpectedly by a doorman/security guard, then is brought to Jake’s floor by an elevator operator, finally once getting ushered in by Jake, first takes in the expansive view, then Jake’s baby grand piano, he playing a couple songs for him after explaining having taken it up a few years ago. After, Pat applauds enthusiastically and learns Caitlin, Jake’s wife had brought the piano with her when she’d moved in and had helped Jake learn, due to her profession as a classical pianist. Jake then offers he meet Caitlin at the cafe for lunch, as long as Pat was game, and when they all meet up and sit, Jake and she lead the conversation, Pat asking about their wedding and feeling some pressure when realizing they’d been together for some years. Caitlin doesn’t reveal how long, for Pat’s sake, but he not feeling great about this setup his mother seemed to have implemented. They get through the meal in one piece though, Caitlin being dropped off at the apartment, whilst Jake and Pat ride a taxi to City Hall where they catch a train to the stadium.

Pat becomes aware of the current day of the week, which panics him about his being unaware of his brother’s career, Jake not going into it much other than admitting to being an options trader, he playing the stock market which kept him self-employed. Pat feels Jake thought he was inadequate in understanding the finer details, but Jake curious to know his thoughts on his wife, he guessing Pat wasn’t happy he’d kept his marriage from him, but Pat stating it was alright, currently overwhelmed with wanting to share the current events about Tiffany, the box with his name on it, their parents issues, and how he was getting stuck between them, as well as disappointment for missing his brother’s wedding, he deciding to talk of his feelings of nervousness about being confronted by the big Giants fan. Jake assures him their group was setting the tent up elsewhere as a precaution, and the odds of a Giants fan coming to a Green Bay game was slim, he declaring he was looking out for Pat.

When they get to the tent, they see their group in an argument with some men in a bus with The Asian Invasion on the side, Pat hearing Patel before he was in view, attempting to have Scott’s group move for the bus parking in the same spot consecutively as a good luck charm, Pat demanding they agree to move, they shocked, but doing so, Patel leaving him alone to decide whether he wanted to greet him or not, but when Scott asks after Pat’s reason for making them leave, and Jake inquires after whether he knew the small man, Patel had walked up with a platter of kebabs as a peace offering. Pat then decides to introduce Patel to his peeps, everyone at ease, Patel explaining to their group of the game Kubb, which his buddies were setting up currently, the now friendly groups playing the game, and Pat with Patel winning in the end. Jake paid Pat’s entrance fee for him, and he wanted to give his winnings in return, but Jake refused, Pat then making certain with Patel of their socializing being acceptable, he reminding him his chair rule, they all then going inside the stadium. When Pat gets a ride home in the bus, it’s after midnight, and the driver had honked his specially tweaked horn, it blasting the Eagles chant with all of the groups voices, entertaining Pat, regardless of its blaring. When he gets in, his father and he sing the Eagles fight song, Pat going downstairs to workout after his father had gone up to bed without another word to him, and Pat thinking about how hurt he still was by not having been able to go to his brother’s wedding.

Pat asks his mother about Jake’s wedding photos, she pretending to not know what he was talking about until confiding how he’d met Caitlin, so knew she existed, his mother comfortable putting the photos back on the wall again, she returning with an album and whilst he perused, hung pictures, he asking after her father’s profession, the man currently teaching at Julliard. Further inquiries make it clear whilst the two families were friendly, they hadn’t much in common, Pat getting a flashback of their father’s reaction during Pat’s wedding, he in awe of seeing him cry. Pat then asks his mother how she’d replaced the burgled photos, she attempting to hang on to the lie until Pat shows her the photos of he and Nikki he’d discovered, asking whether she disliked his wife, he questioning her with his other pressing thoughts, but none getting answered, since during her starting to try, she breaks down, Pat too angered to practice being nice, instead preparing for his run and seeing Tiffany ready outside.

During Pat’s next session, they start with Patel’s wife’s talent for her painting she’d done for the hood of the bus, Pat going from this topic to his current depression over a player whom had been reported having attempted to commit suicide and the man denying it, which made everyone now question his sanity. Pat also didn’t feel great about not learning this player’s history with the Eagles until recently, he not liking how his father and brother spoke of him as a “pill popper”, and Pat reading of the man maybe dealing with depression, he wondering why his family used this against the player, not truly able to relate his point, so leaving the topic. Pat’s next tailgate party is surrounded by bad vibes for this player, many people showing their hate creatively, and Pat tipping Patel off with his bad game playing. Patel attempts to lighten Pat’s view of the fans, and they not serious about the written abuse about said player, Pat debating Patel’s stance in this defense due to his profession.

Pat decides focusing on Jake and the bus driver’s game of Kubb and ignores the negativity of all the fans around him, and when they were in the stadium and a taunting chant is taken up by the crowd, Pat feels sorry for the player, even if he did seem to take it lightly, Pat putting himself in the man’s shoes. When the Eagle’s luck changes for the better though, Pat forgets about the player and rides the high of Baskett’s success, the game ending in their favor, but Pat still empathizing with the down and out player when he sees him leave the field. When Pat and group get back to the parking lot, Patel and he celebrate as well, everyone regrouping at their parking spots, Pat overjoyed, later on again getting dropped off by the bus. When he investigates inside, he sees an uncomfortable sight in his parents’ room, they no longer on the rocks, and Pat going for a run as his mother suggests, he going to Tiffany’s to inform her of their reunion, she preparing to go, and after their long run/walk, Pat talking her ear off. Tiffany hands him a letter with specific instructions of when to read it when she’s back at her parents home, he apprehensive what could be inside.

Pat finally gets his sit-down conversation-filled meal with his father, he nervous for his mother’s happiness getting crushed when his father back-slid, but trying to live in the present, he and his father talking football. Unfortunately, when his father switches topics unexpectedly to Tiffany, Pat respectfully asks to leave the room for getting the sensation of losing it, going for a workout and run. When he gets home again, he believes he’s turned his attitude around enough to read Tiffany’s letter, she confessing how she’d been conversing with Nikki for two weeks and the news of she having divorced him not long after he’d been admitted due to a crime he’d been in trouble for, Tiffany doesn’t detail, she supposing how Pat had dealt with the memory was to bury it.

Tiffany offered to be their go-between, since Nikki was also eager to communicate with him, but still uncertain by his stability and the fact the two each had a restraining order on the other, Pat’s taken out by his parents. Tiffany also had a condition upon his accepting this proposal, due to what she was risking, she wanted him to agree to dance with her in a contest, thinking it was fate which brought a man with such muscles to her, since she needed someone strong enough for the lifts she had in mind. Nikki even supports this idea, Tiffany then listing what was required if he agreed to her terms, he troubled by some of the information, but noting how parts did add up, seeing the silver-lining, of course being to get Nikki to come back to him in the end. The decision was obvious to Pat, and next morning he goes to Tiffany to inform her, she setting their next meeting for tomorrow afternoon. When they meet, Tiffany has him listen to the song she’d chosen, he agreeing of relating to the lyrics and so much so he was crying by the chorus hit, Tiffany stating how he’d use his pain for the dance.

Pat next decides to spare the monotony of his training sessions, as well since Tiffany was paranoid of being copied before she could open her own dance studio. He then lists the training in clip format: Pat racing Tiffany and winning, workout sessions, Tiffany giving him motivation on how to crawl across the floor and not being impressed, his father worrying when Pat begins humming at him whenever he mentions the Eagles, and his brother getting the same response when Pat returns his call and hears him mention Baskett and the game he missed; Pat uncomfortable when Tiffany rationalizes he touching her in personal spots being acceptable for their dance, he again working out, and Tiffany giving him pointers on how to lift her and supporting her with his hand on her groin.

Pat confuses Patel with his humming when mentioning football, his mother suggesting he give dance training a break to watch football with his father and brother, only getting the humming response. Tiffany gives him advice when she plans on doing her flip and how to give her extra air, his father tells him of Baskett failing because Pat wasn’t attending and he humming through it; Tiffany getting harsh when Pat continues to crawl incorrectly, showing him what she wants, he again repeating why he won at racing her, Ronnie visits to ‘workout’ and warns him of what Tiffany does to get what she wants, Tiffany then describing how Pat’s movements will correspond to one day’s worth of sun; His mother resorts to pleading with him to end his humming when she attempts to have him explain to Tiffany why he needed to watch one game with his father, and Pat then informing Patel why he wanted to be in the dance contest having to do with getting a chance to be the sun, the source of silver-linings.

Jake explains the difference between his wife understanding his football obsession and how Tiffany regarded Pat’s, he also stating how their father would definitely blame Pat if the Eagles lost. Tiffany then shows her part of the routine, Pat properly impressed by the emotion through her moves; His mother updates him of his father no longer being civil due to the Eagles’ loss and wanting Pat to end his humming. Pat then repeats how fast he is when he and Tiffany run, Veronica dropping by with Emily to inquire whether Tiffany and he were truly doing well with rehearsals since Tiffany hadn’t invited family to watch her dance for two years, and if they failed she’d regress into a depression. Pat kisses his photo goodnight with the promise of succeeding soon, he again working out, and Patel attempting to setup a carpool so Pat could get to the home game, and questioning whether he’d truly miss it. Tiffany then advises Pat needing to lock his arms so he wouldn’t shake during the lifts; Pat’s father then shown shouting at him from the top of the basement steps of he causing the Eagles to fail.

Pat works out again, Tiffany giving some props, but questioning whether they could fix everything before the day; She gives him his costume, working them tirelessly until Pat is running on fumes, she continuing as it grows later and starts them from the beginning. Tiffany then shaves his chest, a first for him, he questioning why he can’t wear a shirt, and she rationalizing, the sun didn’t. Again, Pat repeats of running faster than Tiffany, she having them practice the dance twenty five times two days before the contest, and stating how she didn’t feel they had enough people to cheer for them and her acting as go-between rode on their winning. Pat asks Patel to come to the dance contest with his family, he asking for a trade where Pat’d join him at the game after, if he agreed, his buddies also missing him, and Pat unable to declare a definitive answer, yet, so Patel stating the same, Pat feeling let down. He then calls his brother and leaves a too-long message about he coming with Caitlin to the contest, getting interrupted by Caitlin when he calls back, and hanging up. His mother agrees to go, but can’t promise his father would go with her.

Veronica gives them both a ride, dropping them off at the front, Tiffany leading him to the hall where they needed to register, but arriving too early, so the two sitting down to wait, Pat sensing she was nervous and inquiring if she was alright, her response being for him to not speak with her due to it being unlucky, which gives Pat a chance to become bitten by nerves, and when other young dancers start to register, they sign-in and change, an old fat lady approaching them about not wanting her daughter to have to undress in front of Pat, Tiffany and he going to a supply closet to wait, he then having Tiffany check to make sure no one was dancing to Kenny G. When everyone is changed, they get a knock on the door, Pat surprised by all the teenagers in attendance, and when they practice, he realizes they were up against other worrisome talent. After they are introduced on stage, Pat is disheartened by not seeing his family, but convinces himself his mother could be out there somewhere, easing his mind. They are set to perform last, Pat hearing the varying decibels of applause, his nerves kicking in once more when the girl before them gets the loudest response yet.

Pat attempts another look at the crowd as they get into position, but sees no one he recognizes, and then their music starts, his attention on his moves. Bonnie Tyler is playing and Tiffany is killing it, Pat seeing his performance as perfect, as well, but Tiffany doing most of the intricate movement. Pat considers how the dancer before them will most likely win, but due to their performance going so well, believing they could still have a chance. The final, most difficult lift is executed and accomplished, the audience pouring out thunderous applause, Pat then seeing his family and Patel with his buddies, Ronnie and his family with Tiffany’s parents having attended to support them, Tiffany coming clean about the contest not including a trophy, this only a motivational tool. She then informs him she’d help him speak with Nikki, Pat also getting the okay to talk football again, and then being thanked with emotion by Tiffany’s mother. After Pat’s mother shows how happy she is for him, Jake and Patel inform of whisking him in the bus for an overnight tailgate party, they first getting cheese-steaks, then playing Kubb and throwing the football for a bit, Patel reminding Pat to take his sleepy time pills. When Pat wakes the next morning among all the sleeping men, he goes outside to workout and run, he realizing how many buddies he now had, feeling only slight guilt for how he left Tiffany, but then looking forward to writing his first letter, and praying the Eagles turn their game-playing around today.

Then, the second letter from Nikki is shown, she stating the oddness of speaking with him after having been together so long and then a part for almost the same amount of time, she hoping their correspondence provides both sides with closure before she moves on. She also states how impressed she was by the length of his writing (his journal), she suggesting they cap it at five pages for Tiffany’s sake, she then complimenting her, but moving on to mention hearing how well he’d done in the dance contest, then sharing how terrible working at the high school had become, also giving sympathy about his father’s temper, but how great season tickets with Jake must be. She jumps into having gotten married again, she not wanting him to get the wrong idea after hearing certain parts of the diary of he holding out for a future, she confessing how she’d cheated on him. To end, she gives him props for reading her syllabus, he not alone with his view of the stories being downers, but literature attempting to harness both sides of life, she wanting Pat to succeed with implementing his new self and finding peace in his life.

Pat’s return letter jumps straight into his reading Huck Finn, as suggested, and liking it overall, but surprised by the excessive use of “the n-word”, besides this, being impressed how Huck stuck with Jim despite religion dictating hell would await him. He then mentions how distraught he’d become with her news, but also couldn’t help thinking her recommendation was also a way of relating he should follow his gut, he then reminding her of some good memories they’d shared, he hoping she’d keep an open mind at least whilst they wrote to each other, he attempting to show he’d changed and deserved a second chance, regardless of knowing wooing a married woman is sinful and he felt somewhat guilty, but needed to follow this path through.

Nikki’s letter states how proud she was he’d been able to make such a drastic turnaround, regardless the cause, she then making clear she’d offered he read The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn for entertainment and didn’t plan on secret meanings, she then giving The Catcher in the Rye as a good theme for what Pat was going through, she wondering how stable his current reality-base was, especially with what the future could bring. She then regards the memory he brought up, she stating how she’d continue to treasure it, but they having been too young, and her new hubby making her happy, this exchange only to supposed to be about making the farewell easier for closure.

Pat replies with football updates and how one of his old favorite players had shot and killed himself, he then regarding how terribly he’d been feeling since her last letter, even sharing it with Patel, but not how they’d made contact, Patel maintaining his reasons why being with Tiffany was better for him, but his love for her enduring all. He also mentioning how The Catcher in the Rye gave him the idea of she being the object he couldn’t help, but make a grab for, he hoping she’d agree to one meeting in person, and if he failed, he’d cope.

Her response was to show empathy for his past favorite player’s death, and having sympathy for his mother dealing with his father being a chore, she then reminding him how he’d broken the agreement by sharing the letter with Patel and would have to stop contact due to legal issues, but agreed with Patel’s assessment of their past relationship, and how their writing wasn’t helping him get over her, she ending by wishing him well.

Pat decides to attempt a request he believed she owed him, deciding to try and get her to meet with him on Christmas Day at the place they became engaged, he not able to give up on his happy-ending movie. He next accompanies his mother to Christmas mass, since his father wouldn’t go, he getting flashbacks of going to Christmas mass when Jake and he were kids, and during the priest’s story, prays for Nikki to agree to meet with him tomorrow, and being grateful God would help him get her back, then stating how upset his father was making his mother, but regardless, is happy God had helped him change his ways. When they get home, his mother pours them both some eggnog and reminisces of the ornaments he and Jake had made as children, Pat thinking about how he loved the way his mother unconditionally loved him, unlike Nikki, they then hearing the doorbell, and Pat thinking it could be Nikki, but instead Ronnie, Veronica, Emily, and Tiffany enter, they singing We Wish You a Merry Christmas. Ronnie and Veronica finish the first verse after Tiffany stops, Pat seeing how happy Ronnie’s family was, and was a bit jealous.

They all sit and his mother suggests he pass out their presents, everyone happy with what they received, Pat then opening theirs to him and seeing an autographed personalized photo of Baskett, the family then readying to leave to put Emily to bed, Pat’s mother thanking them, getting emotional, and Tiffany palming him a piece of paper before leaving, his mother stating how happy she was he was there for her, the two then off to their bedrooms and Pat opening the paper. Nikki’s last letter confirms she wouldn’t be meeting him and stating he needed to move on, his family and Tiffany able to ease this transition, and she not responding again or speaking with Tiffany after this, since she’d been cussing at her in defense of him, then declaring he no longer attempt communication with her, and reminding him of the active restraining order.

Pat gets up early to lift weights, he apprehensive about meeting Nikki, reminding himself how this was like every hopeless part of a movie before the perfect ending occurred, and God wouldn’t ditch him at his hour of pending despair. When he goes upstairs for breakfast, his father eats with them, they then exchanging gifts, Pat preparing for a ‘run’ and going off to see Nikki, happy they’d finally see each other again, and when reaching the spot, sits down and begins his waste of time. After it reaches darkness and he becomes more agitated, Tiffany shows up and apologizes, since she’d been the one writing all the letters, Pat finally understanding his reunion with Nikki would only ever be a dream, he then having violent thoughts and breaking down, Tiffany attempting to confess what parts were true, and then declaring her love for him which has him up and running away from her, he ditching her attempt at following, then angrily praying before he begins getting a beat down from unknown assailants.

When he regains consciousness, all his valuables plus shoes and belt have been stolen, he noting one leg and knee stiff, walking to the one house with Christmas decorations, he realizing he’d gotten mugged because of his angry prayer and immediately repents, he knowing he’d been forgiven when his buddy Danny asks what he’s doing near his Aunt’s nativity scene. Pat then shares how they first met, and how Danny had chosen Pat as his first person he speaks with in the bad place, he doing so after they’d agreed to an experimental treatment, they then becoming friends. When Danny offers Pat join them for Christmas dinner, he learns Danny had been released only the day before, Danny’s aunt calling an ambulance since he looked so messed up, and he learning his leg was so busted, a cast ending right below his hip is set. His mother, Jake, and Caitlin come and let him know Danny and his aunt had left. When Pat is released, he learns they’d found out what Tiffany had done when she’d called them, Jake blaming her for their less than idyllic Christmas, Pat becoming upset and apologizing to Jake as he drove them home.

Pat’s birthday lands on a Friday, the 29th, he taking an awkward shower as his mother protected his cast, he feeling less muscley for not working out, and they then going to his therapy session, Pat sharing all which had happened, he now speaking with Danny a lot to fill his time and writing some, but no longer reading or watching TV. After Pat shares how Danny and he played Parcheesi when he visited, Patel offers to confide why Pat had lost his memory, agreeing with Tiffany about he needing this obsession resolved, but her methods not necessarily helpful, of course. Pat maintains his movie may still have a good ending pending, and when Patel attempts to show life wasn’t film, Pat gets agitated, the both of them feeling concern, Pat’s based off of Patel’s look. When they’re on the ride home, his mother informs him of the party they were preparing and Nikki wouldn’t ever be in attendance when Pat inquires, he not feeling chatty as she cooks the meal. Jake and Caitlin come first and are unable to lift him from his funk, then Ronnie and Veronica come in with Emily, whom sits on his lap, making him feel a bit better, she then drawing on his cast, and after they eat and he opens his presents, one of them being a gym pass which was thoughtful, but Pat not as interested anymore, he asks after Tiffany, his mother having invited her, but she obviously not agreeing to come.

 Pat, Scott, and Jake attend the New Year’s Eve day football game, but Scott has to leave early due to promising his wife he would if the game didn’t matter, the Eagles already certain to be in the NFL East (whatever the fuck that means). Jake is also about to pull out for missing the start of Caitlin’s party, Pat reeling him back with a guilt trip. After the game, they meet Patel and friends at the bus, Jake leaving after a bit, and Pat getting a ride home on the bus, he getting another family dinner, but his father bowing out early with minimal chat. He and his mother watch the New Year’s festivities on TV, she stating how the new year would be a pleasant one, Pat agreeing even though it wasn’t shaping up the way she described, Pat thinking of how grumpy his father was despite the Eagles. When he notices his mother sleeping and looking chilled, he discovers a videotape which he plays after covering her with a blankie, he seeing his wedding reception. When their Kenny G song plays, Pat regains his memory of what happened the night he found Nikki cheating on him, losing consciousness after attacking the man when hitting his own head on the sink, and being drugged after waking at the hospital. He then comes back to himself and leaves a message on Jake’s machine, wanting a favor.

Tiffany writes a letter, she gauging if enough time had passed, and instructing he read it all if he hadn’t destroyed it, yet. She was aware of her ability to write surpassing her communication skills and relates how many people currently loathed her, Jake intimidating her with a death threat, so she having kept away and not making any kind of contact, her parents and therapist also showing their opposition to what she’d done to him, she still supporting her belief she’d done it for his own good, describing how many interests they shared and she hoping he’d give her another chance. Then she decides to share a personal story only her therapist knew, starting with details about her husband, he having been a cop whom spent half his time as a counselor for troubled youth at a local high school.

Tiffany mentions her hubby’s last words being a question regarding how she wanted to slow down their fuck sessions, he not taking this well, since he was used to a multiple amount per day, and when he left their home, he only having been on a lunch break, next Tiffany hears, he’d been injured, the looks on the other officers faces when she’d arrived at the hospital revealing he hadn’t survived the fairly ironic accident. She mentions blaming herself still over how he’d died being because she’d hurt him and after his death, she had begun to seek out men to sleep with so she could pretend it was her husband, which ended with the start of therapy, but she having considered using Pat in the same way when they first met. Not until they’d gotten to know each other did her opinion change, especially after they’d cried together. She then admits how she’d been behind getting his mother smashed, using her to get to him, but she now actually being buddies with her, she having decided to forgive her and deliver this letter. Also she admits she may not deserve Pat, but wrote the letters only once knowing Nikki wouldn’t ever return to him, she now hoping they could at least be buddies.

Danny reads the letter, Pat wanting an unbiased opinion, but he doesn’t respond to this topic, instead setting up the Parcheesi board, and the two playing, Pat deciding he needed to figure what to do on his own, anyways whether Danny had this in mind or had only wanted to focus on the game. He then mentions how good of a player Danny was, he rolling well most of the time, and how he used to be a great artist, as well, but since his second operation, didn’t seem to have this drive anymore.

Pat goes to a park after his cast had been off for one week, he thinking about goldfish in the nearly frozen pond he stood at, he desiring to throw a rock so as to break the ice, and then noticing Tiffany walking toward him, Patel having known she’d meet him as he’d requested. They stand silently for some time, Pat breaking the ice (pun intended) by inquiring why she hadn’t accepted his mother’s invite to his birthday. She reminds him of what Jake had said to her and Ronnie having commanded she leave him alone, they regretting getting them together. Pat had spoken with Jake about his conduct, and knew Tiffany was being honest due to the way she was acting, surprised and impressed Ronnie had stood up for him, even though if Veronica had known, she’d have shut that shit down, knowing Tiffany’s sensitivity.

Tiffany then apologizes profusely, it quiet between them again, Pat deciding he’d confide the ending to his old life’s story, Jake having brought him to his old house, where Nikki still lived with the fool she cheated on him with, he seeing her with him in their front yard with two small children having a snowball fight, the scene so idyllic, Pat was able to let her go and end his story with her there, not even desiring to approach her. Tiffany responds by giving him his belated birthday gift, a chart identifying cloud shapes, she noticing how he stared at them when they ran. The two then watch the single cloud mass, hoping for a break, Tiffany stating after some time of requiring Pat in her life, Pat realizing he did, as well, kissing her on the head and saying so.

One of the easiest books to read, found myself unable to break away after awhile. The story stands well on its own, I having forgotten most of the film, but this one being one helluva ride. Recommended to the mentally unstable and otherwise.

Quidditch Through the Ages by Kennilworthy Whisp

Image result for quidditch through the ages book cover

The first inside page shows the students who have checked out the book from the library including Oliver Wood, Fred Weasley, Hermione, and lastly, Harry, as well as the nameless threat which would befall anyone whom damaged the book by the librarian. Praise for the book, among them Lockhart, and Whisp relating in his own words, of being a fanatic of Quidditch, having written three other Quidditch-related books, in his spare time and when not at home, following the Wigtown Wanderers. Dumbledore again providing a Foreword which relates how popular the book is at the library, then speaking of Comic Relief and the equivalence between pounds and Galleons (the exchange rate must being shit for having not changed from Fantastic Beasts, but in dollars being a difference of 100 million and Galleons still only being 34 million; weird. Another odd thing is Dumbledore is aware of Rowling, hwhaaat?…). Dumbledore continues by relating the librarian’s reaction to giving up one of her books and how to treat the text with care, jinxes a possibility to deal with if one doesn’t.

The first chapter deals with the process of coming to decide to fly upon a broomstick, Animagi having to deal with the animal’s instincts, whilst levitation not being satisfying enough. The question of why settling on broomsticks is pondered over and answered, being due to a broom an easily explained item to Muggles, but the bewitching of one wasn’t as cut and dry. Whilst the practice had been around for awhile, the comfort of the rider suffered at first, due to brooms being homemade and the spells simplified. Then, when broom-makers were utilized for services, riding became more than only transportation.

Broom sports were developed quickly upon the upgrade of brooms, some of the games no longer played or changed to those currently known; One from Sweden being the annual broom race, Shuntbumps, a sort of jousting game still popular among children, and Swivenhodge a tennis game, not particularly popular but still played in England. The last not technically mentioned originating from Queerditch Marsh and has snowballed in fanboys of the sport. First knowledge of Quidditch was gained from a witch’s journal referencing the sport in the 11th century, she disturbed whilst it was played on the other side of the marsh, annoying her, but watching them after awhile, all whilst ragging on them. Whisp considers some of the players mentioned, possibly a Scot implementing an idea from his own people’s sport. Talk died until one hundred years later by a wizard from Britain whom wrote to his cousin in Norway about his team winning. Whisp then mentions the Golden Snitch not getting added until the 13th century in an odd way.

Background of the Golden Snidgets origins are given, it currently a protected bird. Wizards used to catch them in varying ways, but commonly the Snidget would be squashed by hand, the sport not being looked down on until the middle of the next century: 1300s. Then the first game with Snidget is relayed by a witch writing to her sister, she having fouled the game up by releasing the Snidget away from the field, and being fined by the Minister of Magic at the time, but other birds were caught and killed in future games. A wizard then invents the Golden Snitch as Quidditch teams searched for a suitable flying replacement, the sport complete.

In the 1300s a wizard fully describes Quidditch as well as the best hours and locations to play. The areas chosen becoming such an issue, laws were passed to dissuade games being near towns or Muggles. Instances of breaking up teams for not going along with the rules are also detailed. The issue has since been handled due to designated stadiums now being used for tourneys.

The differences in Quidditch since the 14th century starts with the pitch, it first being oval, five hundred feet across, one hundred and eighty in width, and a two foot circle in the center. The referee sets up the balls in the center with the teams standing around him until the Quaffle is released, goal posts being baskets, but changing in 1883 to the current goal posts. The change was handled poorly by fans, but the Department of Magical Games and Sports saw the practice of basket sizes varying unfair to the players. Next, the Quaffle is shown to have been used since the beginning, but is now charmed for easier catching, as for the Bludgers having used to be rocks, some teams used metal balls. A story is then related of a Golden Snitch having invaded capture so long, the teams gave up, the Snitch still at large, and the story being unconfirmed. The role of the Keeper also had changed, they acting like the Chasers, as well as having their goalie duties. The Beaters role remained unchanged whilst the Chasers now had a new rule to follow so as to discourage bullying the Keeper, the reaction of fans being similar as before. The Seeker’s position, whilst sought after, is also marked for being the most injury-filled, their talent also leaving them as targets. Rules of the game are listed, as well as seven hundred fouls, all of which had been called at the first World Cup in 1473. Referees are lastly listed where it describes how dangerous the position was until security got tighter on broom tampering, it also mentioning the extensive training to be passed only by the Department of Magical Games and Sports.

Next is a list of teams including Britain and Ireland, which before showing, is told of a certain amount of games being allowed by professionals to participate in, and rules for amateurs to obey. Back in the late 1600s, if a team wasn’t invited to join the League, they were requested to break up. The thirteen teams deemed the most talented compete every year for the League Cup. The list is shown alphabetically as follows: Appleby Arrows, Ballycastle Bats being the second team to most having won the Cup, Carephilly Catapults, Chudley Cannons being underdogs for quite awhile now, Falmouth Falcons, Holyhead Harpies being one of the oldest teams playing, Kenmare Kestrels, Montrose Magpies being the record holders for wins, Pride of Portree (the Prides), Puddlemere United being the oldest team founded, which was 1163, Tutshill Tornados holding the most wins back to back, it being five, as well as their Seeker’s record of fastest Snitch catching at three and a half seconds, Wigtown Wanderers, and Wimbourne Wasps, concluding.

It’s told how Ireland seemed to have excelled and played the game the longest, 1385 having been the year where written confirmation of a game having been played is shared. By the 15th century, Norway, then France learned of the game, and then in 1473 the first World Cup is played, the reasons other nations not joining speculated upon. It was also shown to have the most violent game witnessed between Transylvania and Flanders. From the first World cup, they continued every four years, in the 17th century, other nations began joining and then in 1652 the European Cup was initialized and games were held every three years. Then, the most favored European teams are mentioned. New Zealand first witnesses Quidditch in the 17th century when European herbologists were seen playing the game, whilst Australia catches on a century later, but became masters of the sport in their own right. Africa also became talented contenders, not only in the All-Africa Cup, but the Quidditch World Cup, as well.

North America knew Quidditch in the 17th century, but due to the high-profile knowledge wizards were dealing with due to Muggles at the time, the blossoming of the game was quashed at first. Canada later on became quite a spectacle in regards to a couple of their home teams. The U.S., meanwhile had a game called Quodpot which was founded in the 18th century and distracted focus from churning out some decent Quidditch teams. Quod fails to be as entertaining as Quidditch, though despite having gotten minor popularity in Europe, as well. The U.S. caught up eventually, two teams having been internationally ranked: one from Massachusetts, and the other from Texas. South America also became Quodpot lovers more than Quidditch, but Peru became experts in Quidditch, recently. Asia is the least interested in Quidditch, what with flying carpets taking precedent, some popularity only popping up on the streets. Japan though, has shown increased interest in the last century and even began participating in the World Cup.

To make broom riding easier, a Cushioning Charm was developed in 1820, the next issue being the hand-made brooms, most of which were nicely designed, but didn’t have the agility desired. Twenty two years after the first broom to gain popularity was made, the second was produced, but like the first, only one person had been making them, and so wasn’t easily accessible, until twenty five years after, a trio of brothers mass producing their style of broom which blew up among Quidditch players, everyone riding one. Then only three years later, the competition stepped up, improving the braking capabilities. By 1940, more companies joined the ranks of better quality brooms, and in 1967 the Nimbus company was born, breaking all barriers for being the best.

The last chapter contains certain moves invented by players, like the Sloth Grip Roll, where one dangles upside down off their broom to avoid a Bludger. The book ends with the fantasy of the first witch to have seen Quidditch, would’ve been impressed with the developed game and would enjoy watching the most recent developments of the game, as well as the hope of continuing to better the game through the years so future wizards and witches can be entertained.

Not a bad side-story, but Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them by Newt Scamander was better. The book is so easily read though, it doesn’t affect being able to move forward to the rest of the series upon finishing. To the next!

Kitchen

Image result for kitchen banana book cover

 

The Narrator, Mikage begins with her most favorite spot being a kitchen, the size, kind, or location not an issue, preferably well used. Even if they’re spattered with food, which Mikage hopes happens to the larger kitchens she may visit, currently though, she leaning on a large fridge, viewing through a window the evening stars. Only she and the kitchen present whilst considering how she would be content with dying in a kitchen. She remembers when her grandmother died and couldn’t sleep, sleeping near the fridge easing her mind. Mikage’s parents died at a young age, she then living with her grandparents, when starting junior high, her grandfather died, and the previous day, her grandmother died, she shocked to learn she was now the last one in her family, after attending the funeral, moving her futon to the kitchen. When she realizes she must move, the list of apartment options overwhelms her, she buckling with the task, but as the days passed by, she is visited by a young man, Yuichi, as she’s glancing disinterestedly at the apartment list, and binding up old magazines with strings. Mikage thanks him for helping her at the funeral, they having attended the same university, and she taking bereavement leave.

Yuichi inquires after her apartment hunt and she informs him of its stagnation, Yuichi then inviting her to stay, he having discussed this with his mother, and giving her directions, setting a time she could visit later. Mikage accepts without thinking too much about it, he then leaving, she recalling Yuichi’s reaction of sadness at the funeral, she thinking he must’ve had a relationship with her grandmother she wasn’t aware of, but after he’d offered her his help there, he’d continued helping her. Then she remembers her grandmother talking of the boy, Tanabe, whom worked at the flower shop she frequented, Mikage sensing he was the solitary sort, since even after knowing him for a bit, he seemed stand-offish. It began raining as she walked to his house, their homes separated by a park, she walking through, and when seeing how high their floor was, considering how wonderful their view must be, she not thinking past their invitation. She’s greeted by Yuichi at their front door, and is hit with the size of the couch before seeing the large kitchen behind it, and loving it from the first viewing. Normally, when confronted with people she didn’t know well, in a different home, she felt isolated, but knowing how alone she already was, put a spin on the situation, giving her new perspective.

Mikage gets straight to the question of why she was there, Yuichi plainly stating how nice her grandmother had been to him and they having plenty of space to spare, the two interrupted by Yuichi’s mother, Eriko rushing in, Mikage captivated by her stunning features. Whilst getting through pleasantries, Eriko quickly changes to return to work at a nightclub, she mentioning how she expected Yuichi to convince her to stay over, Yuichi walked her out and suggests Mikage watch TV for a moment as he rushed out to speak with his mother, Mikage finally understanding what being enchanted was. When Yuichi returns, he inquires whether she’d felt timid around Eriko, she being honest and remarking on her exquisite features, Yuichi confides how she’d had surgery, and had been a man, Mikage at first thinking he was messing with her, but then listens to how his parents met when they were young, his mother’s family giving Eriko a home, he then running away to get married with his mother. After his mother died, Eriko decided to get the surgeries to become a woman and started the nightclub. So whilst she still didn’t know whether to trust him fully, she gave them a shot because she did have faith in their kitchen, the two’s “Buddha” smiles being nice, as well.

When they end their night, Yuichi shows her how the shower worked and gets her set up with blankets, pajamas and what not, she again making certain her staying was fine, he then leaving her to get settled. When she lays down, she’s quite content with the silence, view, plants, and kitchen so close, she going to sleep, content. When she’s greeted by Eriko in the morning, she forgets for a moment of her male genetics, but then offers to make breakfast when Eriko decides takeout would be easier, she leaving Mikage to work the kitchen. Eriko shows her healthy appetite and by afternoon, Mikage is reveling in the slow, calm atmosphere. Eriko then mentions how Yuichi had described her as looking like a dog they used to have (17 Again), Eriko insisting on seeing the resemblance and how amused she was by it the night they met, Mikage hoping the dog wasn’t a Saint Bernard. Eriko then explains how she understood why Yuichi was so attached to her was for this reason, and she regretting not being a better mother for recognizing his aloofness, but he turning into a good person; she recognizing the same of Mikage, relating how hard life could be, but wanting her to be comfortable. When Mikage offers to pay rent, Eriko instead request she make the soupy rice once in awhile, hers surpassing Yuichi’s.

Mikage then realizes upon review, how stressing living with the elderly could be, knowing they could die soon. She recalls how easy the relationship between she and her grandmother was and the times she may have mentioned Yuichi, but even during times Mikage was impaired by drink or love, she knew there was only one person left in her life, and while she was aware of having been loved, the loneliness of her life sobered her to how it was, so she didn’t take long to move in. She showed her appreciation with making food and tidying, still working her part-time job, the three of them working different hours so it feeling spacious, Mikage extremely grateful with how she’d gotten so lucky. When she’d gone to her old home for the remainder of her belongings, she already felt estranged, and as she cleaned the fridge, her house phone rang, she hearing her ex, whom was out of the picture when her grandmother got worse. He called to give condolences, having heard through classmates, they then making a time to see each other. Sotaro’s main interest is plants, he normally outside near parks and whatnot, but due to the winter season, they agree on a cafe near a park.

They have general chat until Sotaro brings up knowing she’d moved in with Yuichi, whom had been slapped by his now ex-girlfriend in school. As they walked through the park she was reminded why they weren’t good together, he not making her feel good about herself, but by nothing he outwardly said, only how he was, they then leave each other on good terms. As she’s watching TV later in the evening, Yuichi comes home with a word processor, Mikage noting Yuichi and his mother’s penchant for pricey electronics. When he questions her on when she would post her change-of-address forms and how she’d rather get it done when she moved for good, he reacts bluntly, but quickly lightens, Mikage again asking if her being there imposed on him, he acting oblivious. They get the forms ready to send out, she learning Yuichi wanted to help for despising spare time. As they continued, she asks about the issues her being there seemed to have for him, he finally catching on and as they worked, she sensed he was quite melancholy, she understanding the issue he’d had with his girlfriend, and if she stayed there, she’d only make his life more difficult, she also seeing how their intimate conversations could complicate her feelings toward him, so whilst making the new address forms, she attempted to convince herself of needing to move as soon as possible.

When Eriko comes in to drop off a newly bought juicer, she remembers a gift for Mikage upon seeing the address cards, Mikage overcome by the thoughtful banana glass (a nod to herself?). Mikage cleared out her stuff and finished cleaning the next day, she seeing the landlord and chatting amiably like she and her grandmother used to do. She was heading to her new home by nightfall and getting emotional about how she was truly done with her childhood home, but then getting cranky when riding a crowded bus, feeling better when seeing an airship. A grandmother and granddaughter sitting nearby, the girl seemingly in a bad mood is unphased when her grandmother points out the same airship to her. When the girl’s grandmother finally gets the girl to smile though, Mikage is overwhelmed by no longer getting to see her own grandmother, she rushing off the bus and crying violently, knowing it was because she hadn’t properly mourned, but she then noticing she had stopped at a kitchen, she immediately feeling better and continuing on her way. When she got back, she announced how tired she was to Yuichi and is almost fully asleep when he’d gone to the kitchen to make tea, she halfway aware of his commenting on how quickly she’d gone down. She dreamt about the kitchen in the old apartment, a floor color she once hated, now loving. She sees Yuichi cleaning the floor and she suggests they have a tea break.

They have an aimless chat, until Yuichi asks whether she was going to leave their apartment, and before she was able to answer, telling her not to, which confused her since he sounded like they’d already begun this topic. He explains how he’d considered carefully before inviting her, and believed being with them is what’s best for now, Mikage conveying her agreement and Yuichi returning to his task of cleaning the floor. They they begin singing together as they worked, Mikage believing she broke the dream-mode by requesting they stop in case her grandmother woke, he instead suggesting they go to a ramen noodle stand at the park when they were through. Mikage wakes up after this, it now two in the morning. Yuichi takes her by surprise whilst she’s in the kitchen pouring water for herself, he also having woken up and deciding to make ramen, Mikage offering to cook it for him and to sit on the couch. When she mentions in her dream he’d also wanted ramen, she notices his surprise, he then inquiring of the color of the kitchen floor, she confirming he was correct, and thanking him for mopping the floor, he then offering to get them both juice, Mikage letting the discussion about the dream lay, knowing they had plenty of time in the future to talk about the shared experience.

One night Eriko is watering the plants when she blurts how it isn’t simple being female, and learning one’s breaking points is healthy in truly having the ability to know happiness, she appreciating the hard times she’d gotten through. Mikage states how she believed she knew what Eriko meant, Eriko then complimenting Mikage’s grandmother for having been an extraordinary lady for having raised a truthful, good-hearted young woman, she loving Mikage for it and how she’d been fortunate. Mikage begins reading the magazine she had started before Eriko’s spontaneous chat, and also ponders how she’d have to move again at some point, she debating if she’d ever come back when she did or would only have her fond memories. She then decides to focus on ‘the now’ and enjoy them whilst she could, also considering how she planned on handling the tough times in the future. She then thinks about imagined and real kitchens she’d experience with many people or only one other, in every place she would live and knowing there would be plenty more.

Eriko was murdered by a crazed regular at her club after the man had seen her walking to work one night. Yuichi phones Mikage to let her know, waking her up and stating how Eriko had taken her murderer down with her, Mikage having difficulty allowing this to sink in due to grogginess. Another blow came when Yuichi confesses how long ago it had happened, he not able to let himself inform her before the funeral, begging her forgiveness. Mikage decides she’d rather have this talk in person and offers to come by (this being after she’d finished school and now worked in a cooking school as an assistant), she then remembering the last encounter she’d had with Eriko being at a store late one night, the two ending their passing with smiles. Mikage dashes through her apartment hurriedly to grab what she needed, finally getting her head together with the items she required and left. On her walk, she starts to get upset, her eyes blurring and making everything viewed in a pretty glaze. She was truly broken by the news though, life not seeming worth living, none of this showing . When she sees Yuichi, she’s quite happy since it’d been awhile, Yuichi surprised she wasn’t furious with him. Instead they sit on the couch drinking coffee, he at first asking about her job, she in the honeymoon phase, then relaying his state of mind being wildly out of sorts around the time of the funeral, he having her in his thoughts, but unable to confess for it becoming too real, regardless of Mikage and Eriko being so chummy.

Mikage handles his explanation by noting how they were a pair, having lost so many people already, she successfully lightening Yuichi’s mood and they proceeding with Eriko’s will, but Yuichi also giving her Eriko’s red sweater which one day she had guiltily admitted looked better on Mikage. She proceeds with reading the letter written to Yuichi by Eriko, she starting lightly, stating of the ridiculous possibility of her death by someone’s hand, but sensing the necessity, she glad Mikage had entered his life since Eriko was the last of Yuichi’s family, this before warning him to refrain communicating with his mother’s side. She then tells how she attempted writing as a man and failed, she then reminiscing about the good times throughout her life, Mikage living with them being one, then ending with what legal papers he would find and to phone the lawyer for further detail, everything but the club going to him. Mikage stayed up most of the night grieving, the two not getting up until after noon. Yuichi readies for school and inquires if Mikage planned on going home, she thoughtfully declaring she would wait until dinnertime, which lights the idea in Yuichi’s head she should make a fancy feast, she wholly into the idea and supplying a grocery list for him to retrieve for her, after he’d gone, she getting the empty-house feeling, prominent after a death.

Mikage treasured the six months she’d had with Eriko, she getting overcome with the empty feeling and sleepiness, but resisting for knowing nightmares would arise, she moving to the kitchen and upon inspection, cleans the place for not being used in awhile. As she made progress, the kitchen duties eased her mind, she realizing she had turned a corner. She remembers how the summer she was with Eriko and Yuichi had also been the one she’d learned to cook. She bought three books which covered all the necessary information to attempt the task. Yuichi and Eriko would tease her because of the flurry of excitement she’d display as she learned, she even finding how cooking made her feel when in negative moods. She realizes she had brought the family together due to how much she cooked, she looking back on those days fondly, then considering how the possibility of beginning the cooking process depended on if the heat was at the right temperature before cooking, believing this affected the taste and look of the dish, they certainly not looking like the pictures in her texts. Mikage then goes over how frustrated she had at first become upon failure of making a dish properly, but how she’d gotten through it, not changing her, but helping her discover her own process. The position of the celebrity cook she’d landed, she believed was acquired by the difference in temperament between herself and the other candidates, especially with only the three month study program (her three books) she’d given herself. The other women not living a life which would allow the same type of learning Mikage had gotten (those three months of heaven), enough to understand risks needed to be made for anything good to come from life.

All of Mikage’s cleaning had passed the day, Yuichi having her help him with two more bags of groceries in the car, he then seeing the moon looking nice, Mikage catching his attempt at changing the subject due to making her help him with bags having nothing to do with the dinner like he’d claimed. As they rode the elevator back up, Mikage came to the idea how Yuichi made her feel content, but unable to make sense of the emotion. Dinner took her two hours to finish, she mentioning how she wouldn’t be able to cope with Eriko’s death all at once, and noting how worn down Yuichi seemed, which is why neither brought up Eriko. After they had eaten all they could, Mikage saw an empty bottle of wine Yuichi must have drank by himself, he then conveying how it did help cause his putting off calling her about Eriko, being drunk for a month and his mind believing she’d hold his not confessing sooner against him. Yuichi then confides all the thoughts he’d built up about how he’d handled his mother’s death and not being brave enough to face Mikage, he then asking if she’d move back, she not knowing if he was too drunk to understand what he was saying, but stating of it on the table for debate. Yuichi brings down the mood with how he could end up becoming stuck in his gloom, she getting upset and deciding they should see how things would go. He passes out and Mikage cleans the dishes whilst she bawls over her isolation. When she is woken by the phone the next morning, she picks it up before remembering she wasn’t at home, the caller disconnecting after she says hello, she then going to work. After she learns she’d be let out early, she was also invited to a three-day research retreat for food, she immediately accepting, which answered her own question of whether she’d be staying with Yuichi. As she entered the prep area, she speaks with the two head assistants who couldn’t go to the three-day research retreat, due to golf lessons, the girls sweet, and Mikage pleased to work with them.

Then the three are visited by the defensive, know-it-all caller, a classmate of Yuichi whom is also in love with him, she attempting to demand Mikage leave him alone whilst also schooling her about how she’d gotten him in a rut, she mentioning how she’d comforted him after his mother had died, and before she could continue her selfish tirade, Mikage starts speaking about how the girl hadn’t even gotten her side of what happened, she feeling bad for the girl having wasted her time for a useless task. Once Mikage had said her peace, the girl left, the two assistants supporting Mikage’s side, she feeling worn down. When Yuichi returns home later, Mikage shares her news about work and planning on leaving to pack, but as he’d been driving her home, she craves some tea beforehand, and upon sitting, she mentions this being their first time out together. When he’d gotten her home, they discuss what he’d like for a souvenir, she burying her face in his arm when realizing how cold it was outside, then leaving and discovering her own jealousy, not knowing whom was “winning”. Mikage then relates a sad memory of Eriko when she was sharing a story about before she became a woman, his wife terribly ill and how he’d visit her before and after work every day. At one point, his wife asks for something alive to be with her in the hospital room, Eriko immediately out and buying a pineapple potted-plant, his wife extremely grateful. When she was about to get worse (Eriko not confessing to her the nature of her illness), she requests he take the plant home with him, his isolation shared with the pineapple, he also coming to his first realization of becoming a woman as he decided against hailing a taxi, after his wife’s death, planning on maintaining a bemused sunniness, he then transitions to become a lady. Mikage figures what she’d meant by sharing the story, she fighting her weaknesses as she tried to sleep.

The next morning Mikage gets a phone call from Chika, the head girl at Eriko’s club, whom now owned it by Eriko’s will. Chika was a transvestite, but quite pretty, he calling to speak with her about an important topic, mysteriously only giving the place they’d meet and hanging up. Upon meeting him at the noodle place, Mikage begins eating and then inquires what was so urgent, he usually exaggerating, but he talking about how Yuichi was acting oddly, usually so austere, but his emotions breaking through, he referring to Yuichi to an Inn since he’d not been sleeping well. Chika then confides his sense of they’re deep affection for each other and she should go after him, Mikage numbed with his deduction. He goes on to figure out what the hold up was besides Mikage’s trip, she relenting by deciding to give tracking him down some thought, Chika relaying how Yuichi’s state of mind needed changing what with his mother’s death affecting him in such a bad way. As Mikage walks Chika out, he breaking down loudly, he also gives her the information on the Inn. As he leaves, Mikage affected with his emotion, but still undecided about her next move, she end up doing nothing about it and begins her trip to Izu with Sensei, other staff, and a cameraman, Mikage reverting back to thinking this was best, the muddled feelings being too difficult to sort.

Later in the evening, Mikage goes to Sensei’s room to ask if she’d be allowed to go get a meal since the Inn served only veggies she didn’t like, she not minding, and once Mikage had gone out walking, she discovering she’d love to be on the road more often, but Yuichi having put too much of an impression on her. When reaching the first restaurant she still saw open with only one other patron, she goes in and gives her order. As she waits, she uses the phone sitting on the counter and dials Yuichi’s Inn, when he answers, he deduces how Mikage got the number, she asking about the food there, tofu being the answer, after they joking about not eating apart, together. Mikage asks about how long he’d stay, she not believing his reply of it not being long, the two hanging up soon after, Mikage’s sense of isolation returning, but once her katsudon was done and tasted, she abruptly deciding to order a second and both made to go, she remembering Sensei had mentioned this place and was disappointed they couldn’t hit it.

Mikage debated her next move, which is again made for her when a taxi pulls up, she getting him to agree to the longish fare, when they get there, the cabbie able to arrive in decent time, she then having to contemplate how she’d get into Yuichi’s room since no one at front desk was answering, it after midnight, and the lights in all the rooms being off, she then sensing which room it was and climbing to it, but getting stuck, and after a few moments, able to pull herself up, but sustaining an injury. Now bleeding and after take a rest, she knocks on the window, Yuichi answering after a minute, disbelieving he was seeing her at first, but once getting her inside, gives her tea whilst she insisted he eat the katsudon she’d gotten for him. Her original feeling of gloom permeated and dissipated with the memories they’d shared. Before leaving, she finally gets her thoughts out about wanting to be with him, but for him to think on it until he felt better, after the two joke about Yuichi wanting to exude masculinity when Mikage saw him, they part. Mikage is next awoken by footfalls outside her door, she viewing the snowstorm which moved in, and getting up when Sensei called. On their final day of the trip, they had a French menu, Mikage taking a walk on an unbearably cold day on the beach, only warmed by a can of coffee (I’ve had one before, heated with chemicals at the sealed bottom, not bad stuff), when returning and readying a hot shower and tea, Yuichi calls, she informing him of the foodstuffs she’d sent ahead, he declaring he’d be picking her up, and so giving him the information of when and where, contentedly.

This was a wonderful story, quite gripping and entertaining. The fact it didn’t really have chapters didn’t make it difficult to read due to the fascination the writing brought. I’m glad I decided to read this on a whim.

Moonlight Shadow

Hitoshi was given a bell which he carried with him on his case he used as a wallet, the Narrator giving this as a token of love, which he would keep close to him until the end (…of the story?). The two were in the same sophomore committee for a field trip, their time together brief since being in separate groups when arriving, they only spending time together on the train. When they’re about to join their groups, the Narrator, Satsuki (annoyingly not introduced until five pages later) gives Hitoshi a spur-of-the-moment gift of the bell left behind by her cat. She was impressed with his sensitivity in reacting to her present, all day the two thinking of the bell and their shared memory, upon returning, head-over-heels for each other. The bell had stayed with them for almost four years through all the poignant moments of their time together. Then Satsuki confesses to sensing Hitoshi’s fuzziness in reality to her, she considering if this thought was a bad omen of the future, it would be quite unfortunate.

Hitoshi was gone by the time Satsuki was twenty, she drastically changed by his death, feeling something terrible must now occur to her because of her instability. Her connection to him involved many major firsts in her life which they were able to learn together, but now she couldn’t stand living for not having Hitoshi. Satsuki takes up running for two months after Hitoshi’s death (Octopus Pie having a similar story when Hanna takes up running after splitting with Marek, more funny, but still sad), she getting terrible sleep with consistent dreams of Hitoshi. Her depression led to feeling nauseous and instead of becoming anxious for dawn to rise, she’d started jogging. During the day, she would distract herself with buddies, she awaiting the day she’d have her eureka moment. Even after Hitoshi’s death, Satsuki still enjoyed the river which he had lived on the other side of, they meeting on the bridge, frequently. She meditated how these times of rest helped her stay sane for the day.

The next morning she is woken with a nightmare, prepares to run, but finds when doing so, brought difficulty in breathing, deciding to push through it. When reaching the bridge and pouring some tea for herself, she’s snuck up on by a lady asking for a cup (presumptuous), Satsuki dropping her thermos over the ledge, the lady seeming friendly and light-spirited, so once taking a sip herself, offers the woman the rest, she offering to replace the thermos. The woman then states how she’d arrived recently from a fairly distant place to view a sight only seen once a century, she then inquiring if Satsuki knew of this, but when being told she hadn’t, agrees to share what the phenomenon was in some time. Satsuki doesn’t wait though, she realizing she needed to be heading back, then Urara introduces herself, she stating of hopefully seeing her again.

Satsuki thinks how strange Urara was, and when taking a second look at her, sees an expression which changed her features, but smiles and waves again when looking away from the river and sees her staring. She wonders about the type of person she could be as she continues on, then Hiiragi, Hitoshi’s brother is mentioned to stepping to the beat of his own drummer, his eighteenth birthday “this month”. When Satsuki meets him after his class, he was in full sailor girl uniform, Satsuki horrified, but able to act natural for his nonchalance. As they order tea, Satsuki notices a movement Hiiragi did, which reminded her of Hitoshi, the two now having a system of making light of it so as to throw away the sadness they felt. Then it’s elaborated on Hiiragi losing his girlfriend, Yumiko the same night Hitoshi had given her a ride to the train station, whilst Hitoshi not being at fault, both of their lives having been taken.

Hiiragi makes chit chat about her running, then suggests they go to a new spot with delicious tempura on rice, after how the running didn’t seem to help her getting chunky. Satsuki knew she’d been actually losing weight, but plays along, agreeing and then explains how the outfit was Yumiko’s, his late girlfriend, her parents attempting to have him stop, but he having a good laugh over it, Satsuki having asked about it and he explaining it made him hurt less. Satsuki realizes then they had a new expression for their faces which conveyed the attempt to bury the thought of their partners. Then Satsuki states of having to let her parents know she wasn’t coming home for dinner, Hiiragi planning on ordering out for delivery for his mother, she saying how nice the gesture was. When Satsuki had first been informed by Hitoshi of his younger brother, he’d specified how his weirdness made him worry whether it could affect Satsuki still liking him, also mentioning how adult-like he acted except around his family, but Hitoshi also stating it was most likely okay since Hiiragi enjoyed meeting “‘good people'”.

Then back to real time, they about to walk to the place across the river, Satsuki remembering she hadn’t seen Urara since the first morning they met, she getting another hit of pain when Hiiragi thought she’d hesitated and offering to drive her back, his kindness dripping of Hitoshi. Then Satsuki shares of meeting strange Urara, recalling the expression on her face seeming demonic and Satsuki thinking it was because she thought she shouldn’t have human feelings, then comparing how minor her melancholy seemed, wondering if she was in store for worse pain. As they neared the restaurant, they ended up having to go through the cross streets where Hitoshi and Yumiko had their accident, Satsuki and Hiiragi becoming solemn and trying to stay upbeat, she discovering how cells could get the feeling of people from the past, not comprehending the idea before, like when tour guides in castles would offer this possibility. She then begins to consider Hitoshi’s last thoughts and emotions, as well as how it would’ve looked at night and whether this night looked similarly. She noted how beautiful the moon was as Hiiragi nudged her to cross the street. They were eating when Satsuki regained a luster for life caused by the meal, she complimenting it so hard, the employee was embarrassed.

One afternoon, Satsuki had gotten sick, too ill to run, she realizing the phone was ringing and having to pick up for no one else at the house. She’s surprised to learn Urara was calling to see if she could meet up, Satsuki agreeing, but also asking how she’d discovered her number, Urara good-naturedly relating how she wanted it, so it came (synchronicity), Satsuki accepting this due to how she explained it. Urara then informs Satsuki to join her at a department store in the thermos area, Satsuki knowing she shouldn’t leave for her cold, but too intrigued, following her gut. Making sure to dress warmly, Satsuki rides her bicycle, noticing the weather promising spring, everyone outside seeming to go about their business pleasantly, whilst Satsuki remained insouciant, wanting her heart to finish the job of breaking already. When she sees Urara, she notes how she looked closer in age to herself this time, when Urara sees Satsuki, she notices immediately she was sick and getting straight down to showing the different sorts of thermoses available to choose from, she feeling much better for Urara’s exuberance.

After Satsuki detected one, they have tea, she then giving Satsuki a variety of tea to break in the new thermos with since a shop owner closing his shop gave away a bunch to her, Satsuki again grateful. She then asks once more about how Urara had come by her number, she divulging more information about how she’d become proficient in sensing them, allowing her finger to choose without thinking, Satsuki wanting to trust this since she felt like she’d known Urara a long time ago, and her nature made one susceptible to accepting her far-fetched explanations. Satsuki describes her gratitude in a strange way, she being as euphoric as a “lover”, Urara not missing a beat and advising Satsuki feel better by the day after next, Satsuki deducing the phenomenon must be the reason, which Urara admits, also relaying the hour to be at the bridge, she asking about what it could be and Urara finally confiding how if all progressed accordingly, Satsuki may see a kind of supernatural sight, she sensing Satsuki had a deep bond with the river making it more possible she’d succeed in seeing it, whatever it was being unique. Satsuki dazedly finalizes the meeting, she then flashing back to Hitoshi and her last time at the bridge being a fine one, he getting ready for a boys night, Satsuki a healthy amount plumper and much more content. When they say their goodnight’s, Satsuki hears the bell as he walks off. She then confesses how terrible their fights could be, the two also having affairs with others, they both wounding the other countless times, but overall their time together being happy.

Satsuki used to dream how she’d stop him from leaving, the memory consistently having the affect of upsetting her and bottling her pain in public hurting more. As Urara and she split later, she was wishing this something did happen, but also soothing herself with the thought of still being pleased by the both of them being at the river, regardless of the outcome. As she’s about to reach her bicycle, she spots Hiiragi, in normal-wear, she thinking he was playing hooky and instead of calling to him for weakness, walks in his direction, but he going off, fortunately in the direction she needed, unfortunately at a speed she couldn’t equal. Hiiragi soon stops in front of a tennis shop though, Yumiko having played, he blankly staring within, Satsuki not making herself known, she deciding she wouldn’t go up to him, seeing the look of a bird searching for its mother on his face, it being adorable, but also feeling down about how his presence soothed her because of reminding her of Hitoshi. When she had first met Yumiko, she couldn’t imagine the hold she had on Hiiragi, she seeming average in most ways, but for whatever reason, she complimenting him in her way. Hitoshi relays to her it was because of her tennis abilities, they watching a finals game, where the two realized Hiiragi was right, and her friendship to the girl budding, which made the events later even more terrible to think on. Satsuki leaves Hiiragi without saying hello and decides to not mention ever having seen him, her illness getting worse. She awakens from a dream again, still sick and debating her run, wanting dawn to break, instead making tea, returning to her room, and looking out her window to see Urara, whom mimes permission to pass their front gate, she nodding. Urara then explains being on her way home from work, noting how terrible Satsuki looked and offering a vitamin C candy and some comforting advice, afterwards closing her window for her, she feeling better enough to catch a few more z’s.

Satsuki gets much more rest, she awaking early in the evening, questioning whether she’d actually spoken with Urara, also wondering if more horrible nights were in her future, she then surprised by a visit from Hiiragi, whom had called, learned of the sickness from her mother and dropping by to see how she was feeling. He then shows her his get well gift of KFC, enough for them both so it being time to dig in. During this, Hiiragi opens up with letting her know of how concerned he’d been for her and to call him if she felt too alone, glad and surprised he’d said anything. Later, she sleeps better than she had been in a long time, the aid of medicine helping, she next waking at the right hour to prepare her meet up with Urara. She still goes for a run, and Urara is waiting for her at the designated spot, she greeting her warmly and warning her what to do as the time neared, she mentioning of their dimension about to change, and not to move or say anything when they viewed whatever they would see across the river. As the sky lightened, first Satsuki hears a bell, then notices Urara had disappeared, when looking back at the river, she sees Hitoshi at the other shore, breaking down, but not saying a word, he waving to her as his image faded with dawn, she again seeing Urara and telling her how worth the experience had been.

When Urara shares of the Weaver Festival Phenomenon whilst they drank tea in a shop, she explains how the vision was produced, she also having lost a significant other, she then mentioning of seeing Satsuki the first night and deciding to extend the invitation. Satsuki then wonders what plans Urara had next for herself, whom she’d seen, as well as still curious about the sort of person she truly was, unable to say anything to her. Urara states how the moment having allowed them to have a second chance with goodbye’s should ease their minds, Satsuki still in much agony over the memory, she finally inquiring after Urara’s next destination and she giving the vague answer of seeing each other again, as well as knowing Satsuki’s number, they parting, and she considering what Urara had done for her. Satsuki is next waiting at Hiiragi’s school to deliver his birthday present of a record to him, when he dashes out claiming to have seen Yumiko, he not wearing her uniform. He shares how one night he’d been woken up seeing Yumiko walk through his door (after opening it, of course) and taking the sailor suit, she then mouthing, “‘Bye-bye'”, waving, and he going back to sleep, the next morning unable to locate the outfit. When questioning his own sanity lightly, Satsuki suggests he start running when getting those emotions, he cracking up. Then from Hitoshi’s perspective, he states of having to be on the move, then giving an idea of Urara being a part of him and grateful of Satsuki waving goodbye to him.

This was an interesting and odd one, as well, but there’s something about Kitchen where the characters hold one’s attention more, connecting with Mikage, and the goodness of Eriko. Overall worth it, quite an easy read on top of everything, too.