Christine's staying with Dayton creates the stable home life that she's always sought throughout her life. Whereas Rayona, Aunt Ida, and even Elgin deny that Christine is dying, Dayton accepts her illness at face value. They act like "an old married couple," with an "imaginary child" named Rayona. Because Christine has no responsibilities outside of the house, she spends countless hours replaying over and over again the many conflicts that make up her past. Most important, she wonders why Aunt Ida's cruel words to her in the previous Chapter "somehow sounded to me like an apology, like raw sympathy." Christine is beginning to understand that her perceptions of things are not the only perceptions, that she must take into consideration how other people — here, Aunt Ida — perceive the same things. Christine and Rayona's combative meeting after Rayona and Dayton return home from the rodeo is
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