Hey first of all, sorry for the delay y’all, life and stuff happened (nothing bad, just stuff, y’know? The computer died. Then my laptop decided that it didn’t really want to help out. Then I was sick. Blah blah blah) but I am back!
WHAT. AbsoLUTely not.
MOVING ALONG. This installment is going to be all downer, I’m afraid, since we’re at the part of the story that Cathy gives over to Carrie, regarding What Happens At Boarding School. I would continue from there, but it almost immediately moves to Cathy And Paul Move Beyond Inappropriate and that seemed weird to condense into one recap.
So Carrie, poor sad traumatized lonely needy will-never-really-be-okay Carrie, has been sent off to boarding school. Now, I will admit that I’m not sure that Carrie staying home would’ve been ideal either. Chris is also away at school, Cathy has school and ballet, Paul has his medical practice, so it’s not like there’s an abundance of caregivers for her; but I reserve the right to think pretty harshly of Paul for it since it reeks to me of “And now Cathy is mine! ALL MINE whaahahahhahahahahaa”
Yeah, I don’t like Paul.
Cathy leads us in, reminding us that this is Chris and Carrie’s story too (could’ve surprised me, Cathy) and so she’s going to share what happened as she thinks it has a lot to do with what Carrie thought of herself in the future. Cathy pieced the story together from her sister and the headmistress. Man, don’t you wish we could be getting CARRIE’S story instead of Chris’s, if we have to get another book at all? Or at least a chapter or something?
Carrie attends Miss Emily Dean Calhoun’s School for Properly Bred Young Ladies (ew) but comes home on the weekends. Cathy and Chris notice that she’s becoming more and more introverted again but she won’t anything negative about the teachers or her classmates. All she’ll say is that she isn’t unhappy and that she likes the carpet at school because “it’s colored like grass”. OH MY GOD CARRIE. My heart. Paul brings Chris and Carrie home every weekend but nothing seems to make her smile. Carrie no longer confides in her older sister, focusing her wordless attention on Paul—who is focused on Cathy. That reminds me of the scene in the movie where she asks if Chris thinks she’s pretty–she just wants ONE of the men in her life to pay attention to her instead of Cathy. It would be hard enough being the little kid in that household of busy adults, but when your older sister is gorgeous and talented and the epicenter of everyone else’s life? No wonder Carrie both hates and loves going away to school. I can’t help but think that some little part of her wants to get away from Cathy.
THAT JUST BROKE MY HEART AGAIN.
Cathy assures us that the school is beautiful and that she would have loved to have gone there. Thanks? (I’m not thinking very highly of Catherine today) The girls are allowed to decorate their side of their rooms as they want (as long as it’s suitably feminine!!!!! Ai yi yi) so Carrie’s, naturally, is purple and red. I missed Carrie’s colors in the movie, purple is my favorite color too, so I think I was always a little jealous of Carrie’s room. Carrie’s roommate is the “next smallest girl” in the school, a redheaded bully named Sissy Towers. They assign rooms by size? Carrie’s nine now, and the uniform for her grade is a yellow dress and white pinafore. Carrie hates yellow. In her mind, yellow represents everything that they were denied in the attic–sunshine and happiness and fresh air–Cory died wanting these yellow things and Carrie can’t stand it. Sissy, naturally, loves yellow. Her side of the room is all yellow. I can no longer tell if yellow is spelled correctly.
Sissy is also a nasty piece of work who calls Carrie a dwarf and a freak and literally climbs on her desk to make carnival barker announcements about Carrie’s size until all of the girls on their floor come to stare at her. Sissy is a monster. She demands that Carrie take her clothes off (!!!) so that everyone can gawk at her; when Carrie just curls into a ball and won’t react, Sissy continues to harass her. Only one girl, Lacy St. John, stands up for Carrie, and for her decency she gets punched in the nose by Sissy. God damn, this child. Carrie sees this and lets loose with one of her patented Carrie-Screams. This FINALLY alerts the headmistress, who gets upstairs at long last (along with the rest of the teachers) and discovers a full-on brawl happening in Carrie and Sissy’s room. All the while, Carrie screams. The fight is broken up and Sissy blames it on Carrie–saying she can’t stand to have a roommate so “unnaturally small”. Miss Dewhurst isn’t having it and tells Sissy she’ll now be rooming on the first floor next to Miss Dewhurst’s office. All of the other girls have their weekend leave cancelled and receive demerits. The room finally clear, Miss Dewhurst goes over to talk to Carrie, who has stopped screaming but is still having a terrible flashback (seeing Lacy’s blood made her remember the day that Chris fed them his blood) and when Miss Dewhurst demands to know what happened, Carrie can’t respond. The charmingly sensitive Miss Dewhurst warns Carrie that until she speaks up she won’t be getting weekend visits either. unfortunately, Miss Dewhurst is a tall, grey-haired lady, so the sight of her looming over Carrie sends Carrie into a screaming fit, yelling “I hate you!!” at Miss Dewhurst until she leaves the room and the nurse sedates Carrie. Cathy receives a call later telling them that Carrie has lost her privileges for the weekend.
Cathy insists to Paul at dinner that night that it’s a really, really bad idea to leave Carrie at the school all weekend. Paul’s like “Calm down, if she broke rules she has to be punished” and CHRIS AGREES WITH HIM SINCE HAHA CARRIE CAN BE KIND OF A BRAT AM I RIGHT. Cathy, reasonably, is super pissed at them and can’t shake the feeling all weekend that something is terribly wrong and that Carrie is scared and alone and needs her.
Back at school, poor Carrie, now sans roommate, is alone for the first time in her life and only has her porcelain dolls from the attic for company. The other students have turned against her because of what happened, so she’s all alone, talking to her dolls. She thinks (she tells Cathy later) that maybe Corrine is up in Heaven with Cory and Chris Sr. and she hates Cathy and Chris and Paul for making her go away to school when she just wants to be home with them. YEAH WHAT A GREAT IDEA THIS WAS. She can hear the students in the halls whispering as she walks by, so she decides to be brave like Cathy, Chris, & Paul want. One night, she looks for the dolls where she always carefully puts them away and finds sticks that have been put in their places. She tells Cathy that she cried then, since God would never answer her prayers and make her taller since He had turned to her dolls to sticks.
I need a moment.
Carrie refuses to tell Cathy anything that happens after that, but Cathy learns the whole story from Lacy. The girls who were denied weekend privileges come into Carrie’s room that night, in their nightgowns and carrying candles, chanting about how they have to protect themselves from her “unnatural smallness” and basically trying to scare her. OH and they all put pillowcase hoods on over their faces. These kids. One of them (obviously Sissy) tells Carrie that if she can survive their initiation, then she can join their secret club and join in all their fun. Carrie is…not interested and just wants them to go away. I agree! Sissy says that Carrie has to sacrifice her most precious possessions (the dolls) in order to join up sans initiation; when Carrie tries to explain that the dolls are gone, she’s told that she has to go through their “ritual” or die. OH WELL IN THAT CASE. Carrie agrees then, so the girls blindfold and gag her, then leave her on the roof. I mean, JFC. What sadistic little monsters. Now, obviously they’d have no idea that Carrie is horribly afraid of being out on a roof, but COME ON. That’s disgusting. It starts to rain, Carrie screams to herself for help, wondering why her family abandoned her and nobody wants her. Through the storm Carrie can hear Cory singing to her (she later tells Cathy) and she’s led by his voice to a trapdoor. She manages to open it and get inside, but she falls quite a ways and breaks her leg.
The next morning, Cathy, Chris, and Paul are sitting down to brunch when the phone rings and they’re all super annoyed because brunch. Cathy answers and it’s Miss Dewhurst, who, in the most round about way possible, tells her that Carrie wasn’t in church that morning and no one can find her. The other girls clearly know something, but none of them will talk. Um, make them? You’re their authority figure? Cathy is just a LITTLE peeved by this and Miss Dewhurst is all “No one’s seen her since last night, if she’d tried to walk home she’d be there? So we don’t know?” ACT LIKE YOU GIVE A SHIT A LITTLE GIRL IS MISSING. So the three of them take off to the school and Chris tries to comfort Cathy by reminding her how afraid of the dark Carrie is, so she wouldn’t have run away in the middle of the night, she’s probably just punishing someone with her BRATTY DRAMATICS. Why is Chris being such an ass about this? I’m honestly at a loss. I know he and Paul think that Cathy is overprotective but your LITTLE SISTER IS MISSING. At the school they meet with Miss Dewhurst, who is mostly annoyed because nothing like this has ever happened before AND it’s totally all Carrie’s fault since this all started with that fight.
Paul wants to know why he wasn’t notified immediately but Cathy interrupts to ask to see Carrie’s room. They go up and some of the other students follow them and blatantly whisper about how much Chris and Cathy look like Carrie, except how they’re not “freakishly small”. Chris calls them out for those remarks and threatens to torture them until they talk. FINALLY CHRIS IS ON BOARD HERE*. Cathy goes through Carrie’s stuff (she finds the sticks, although she doesn’t understand what’s going on there) and tells Paul that Carrie has to still be on school grounds because all of her clothes are accounted for. Miss Dewhurst is still shrieking about how they’ve looked EVERYWHERE but Cathy ignores her and catches a shifty look on Sissy’s face. She looks closer and realizes that Sissy won’t meet her eyes and keeps messing with something in her pocket. Cathy demands to know what it is and, finally forced by Miss Dewhurst, Sissy reveals that she has the dolls. Sissy keeps insisting that they’re hers and won’t answer any questions about Carrie, so it’s here that Lacy speaks up and Cathy demands to be taken up to the attic to look. Miss Dewhurst AGAIN is like “But I did that!” and Cathy just insists, knowing that Carrie can just go inside her head and block out the world. They go up and Cathy calls to her sister, begging her not to keep silent, apologizing for sending her away and promising that they’ve come to take her home for good. Cathy gets Paul to call all of that out too, and Cathy finally hears a little whimper, leading them to Carrie. The poor thing is still gagged and blindfolded, and is wedged amongst some precarious stacks of crates. Cathy calls out to Carrie to lay on her stomach and keep still, and Cathy is able to crawl forward and get her, with Paul pulling them out just as the crates fall down.
Cathy blames all og this on Corrine, naturally, angrily clipping the society columns about their mother’s adventures that summer (she’s on the French Rivera) while they’re at home as Carrie recuperates. Cathy shows Chris the clipping about the Rivera, but doesn’t tell him that she’s subscribed to the Virginia paper. She tells him it was from the Greenglenna paper and Chris tells her that he’s trying to forget, unlike her. They have it good now, with Paul, and Carrie’s leg will get better, and they can go to New England (a trip they had to postpone) another time. Cathy’s dubious about that, as “Nothing ever was offered twice” (ooooh boy, Catherine, oooooh boy, issues) and she asks him if Carrie’s leg will really be all right or if it’ll heal shorter than the other one. Chris is forced to admit that if Carrie grew like normal children there’d be that risk, but since she doesn’t it probably won’t matter. Cathy’s like hey, remember WHY SHE’S LIKE THAT? BECAUSE OUR MOM LOCKED US IN AN ATTIC and tells him to go away.
She’s spending all of her pocket-money on these society pages and pictures and while she hates the sight of Corrine, she finds herself admiring Bart more and more. Uh oh. When she sees a picture of Bart toasting Corrine on their second anniversary, she writes Corrine a note congratulating her and reminding her of that summer she was married and her kids starved in an attic. She signs it
“Not yours anymore,
The doctor doll,
The ballerina doll,
The praying-to-grow-taller doll,
and The dead doll“.
Tell me about it. Cathy mails the letter, regretting it almost immediately since she knows that Chris would hate it. That night she looks out on the veranda and finds Chris standing in the rain. These kids. He sees her and goes to her room, where she starts to cry in his arms. She asks him if he still loves Corrine. When he hesitates, she kinda flips out, yelling that he DOES still love her, even after what she did to them and to Cory and Carrie. She wants to know how he can still love her when he knows he should hate Corrine like Cathy does. He stays quiet and Cathy realizes that, if Chris were to stop loving Corrine, he would have to stop loving Cathy too, since he sees their mother whenever he looks at Cathy. Oh brother. Cathy thinks that her brother is just like their father, weak for beautiful women, and she bitterly argues with herself that it’s just a superficial resemblance, she’s NOT like Corrine, she’s strong and would’ve done a thousand things before locking her children away. Cathy is pulled from her vengeful thoughts by the realization that Chris is kissing her. She pulls away and yells at him to leave, since he only loves her because seh looks like Corrine, not for herself, and that sometimes she hates her face. Chris leaves, but not before telling Cathy that he was trying to comfort her and not to make everything ugly.
As anti-Chris as I can be sometimes, I have to admit that dealing with Cathy must be exhausting.
Carrie’s leg heals and she starts attending a local school, but she fares no better on the friend front. Cathy tells her not to care what the other students think, but she knows that Carrie does. Every night she hears Carrie praying that she’ll find her real mother someday, and to grow taller. She compares herself to Cathy, and despite having a beautiful face and hair, Carrie is still made fun of for her stature and the size of her head. Cathy prays too that something can be done for Carrie, and her anger for Corrine just keeps building.
Soon, it’s been a year and a half since the kids came to live with Paul. Cathy had imagined that once they were free of Foxworth Hall that everything would be perfect, but it isn’t. She spends most of her time in dance class, and Chris gets a summer job, leaving poor Carrie to play at home alone with her dolls. Cathy continues collecting the society clippings and spends hours researching Bart’s family history. One afternoon as she shops in Greenglenna, she sees Corrine and Bart walking ahead of her. She follows them for a long time, but never dares to say anything, though she’s dreamed about this moment. She eavesdrops on their conversation and (naturally) spends some time checking out Bart. When Cathy goes home that afternoon she’s furious with herself for doing nothing and throws a paperweight at her mirror, breaking it. Classic Cathy. She calls for a workman to come fix the mirror and chides herself for now having to use some of the money she’s saving for Paul’s birthday on it. She promises herself that she’ll get her revenge one day, and it’ll be worse than a broken mirror.
Coming up: I think we all know what Cathy gives Paul for his birthday. Ewwwwww. Also! The family goes on a creepy visit and Cathy makes some questionable professional decisions. See you then!
I MISSED Y’ALL.
*Obviously I do not advocate torturing children. I’m just glad he finally seemed to care.