This chapter suddenly flashes back to two months earlier. We start off on a plane going to Disney World, filled with the most obnoxious children in the world:
Their eagerness was obvious to all around, as the children had spent the early portion of the flight running up and down the aisle of the plane shouting, “We’re going to Disney World.”I really feel like the flight attendants would have put a stop to that. If not, they really should have. But the only response this really gets is an old guy muttering something about how his kids would never have behaved like that, then smiling - indicating, what? It's actually super cute that kids are running around on a plane yelling? Because, um, it's not.
We're then introduced to who I assume are more main characters, Doctor Morgan Hamilton and his wife Tammy. They are both pediatricians at the same Minnesota clinic (does every married couple in this book work together?). They are noteworthy because they are apparently lost in their own world, aside from sometimes smiling at the antics of those oh-so-adorable awful kids. They specialize in curing rare children's diseases.
Their demeanor was subdued for a couple in their thirties who were getting ready to embark on a fourteen-day cruise through the Panama Canal.LOL.
Seriously, I just laughed out loud at that sentence. He chose the most awkward way to cram exposition into that sentence. I feel like I should do this all the time.
"Wow, you look subdued for a 24-year-old blonde girl who is about to eat the #6 combo meal from Wendy's in the corner booth on a Thursday hanging out with a girl she used to know in college."
However, they do have a reason for being subdued-30-year-olds-about-to-go-on-a-14-day-Panama-Canal-cruise. They have just found out they can never have children. They're going on a cruise to take some time away from their busy jobs and heal from this news.
Maybe when they boarded the new ship, the laughter and the forgetting could finally begin.Um. Or, well, not heal so much as apparently just forget this news they have just heard that is going to change the course of their entire lives. There's something very wrong about the phrasing of this sentence.
The Hamiltons meet some of their cruise companions: Billie and Billy Hill, who are newlyweds with truly unfortunate names (maybe they think it's cute, although I am a newlywed and I wouldn't think that was cute if it was me), and Doctor Walter and Helen Leary, who we know very little about. I can only assume Helen is a doctor as well, since every male doctor appears to be married to a female one in this book, but we don't know for sure yet.
The Learys try to make conversation with the Hamiltons. The Learys are here for a cruise convention of some sort, and when they find out that the Hamiltons are doctors specializing in childhood diseases, this exchange happens:
“Then you should come to this convention. It’s all about childhood diseases. Sounds like it’s right up your alley. We had a special invitation.” Walter crossed his arms, waiting for the couple’s response.They... had a special invitation? To come to the childhood disease convention on a boat? This is raising some questions.
1) Does Doctor Walter Leary's doctorness have anything to do with childhood diseases? When Tammy revealed that was their field, he didn't say, "Oh, me too!" Instead, he said, "Oh, hey, convention!" If not, why is he going to this convention?
2) How did he get this special invitation? Did he need one because he's not a childhood disease doctor?
3) Does this special invitation mean he can just invite random people along to the convention?
Helen elaborates just a tiny bit more:
“It’s been his lifelong dream to be invited to this convention. I think it makes him feel important.”Um. So apparently this convention is a big enough deal that even if he's not a childhood disease doctor, he wants to be a part of it? If that's the case, how the heck do Morgan and Tammy not know about it? If they wanted to get away from work, you'd think they'd have known if the cruise they were taking was hosting a Super Special Childhood Disease Convention onboard, and they'd have avoided that one.
What the heck is this convention and why is Walter Leary going to it??
I am so, so confused.
Tammy nodded, agreeing with the talkative woman.Uh, that comes directly after the last bit I quoted. She's not just nodding vaguely, it's stated that she's agreeing. With what? She's agreeing that it's been Walter's lifelong dream? She's agreeing that it makes him feel important? Does J.L. Rothdiener know how conversations work? Does he know what the word "agreeing" means? WHY IS THIS WRITING SO TERRIBLE?
The Hamiltons are shown to their room.
“It’s beautiful,” Morgan said, trying to get his wife to smile.
Not saying a word, she began to unpack.
He wondered if he did the right thing bringing her on the cruise, her sadness penetrated every part of her being. He hoped she could unwind, come to terms with the devastating news.I'm really bothered by how little this seems to be impacting Morgan. Earlier, the text made it a big deal that they both wanted kids. He should at least be a little bit upset about it himself, not just upset about it for her sake, and definitely not thinking things like, "I hope my wife can come to terms with this." He apparently just wants her to laugh and forget, and it all seems very cold and distant and clinical. I don't like him.
Morgan watched his wife stroll to the refrigerator to get a bottle of water. She grabbed the latest novel by her favorite author,...from the fridge?
And with that, Morgan leaves Tammy to go exploring the ship.
We return to Morgan and Tammy in the next chapter, so at least we're not jumping forward or even further back in time with this next chapter. I don't want to follow Morgan anymore, as I'm pretty sure he has no actual human emotions, but looks like the next chapter is about his ship exploration, so, um, that'll be super fun.