Roland's face is healing but the hooker who scratched him is back at his office for more. She's greedy and he likes that about her and part of him wonders if he could have more than just casual sex with this particular lady. Dinner on the town, take in a show, he'd do it if she let him but now wasn't exactly the time to ask. He continued licking her thigh and thinking about Karen Dahlgren. He couldn't get the blonde out of his head for long. Even when giving head.
What Roland doesn't know is that Karen Dahlgren is alive. Hell, Karen doesn't even know she's alive. Every day passes like a struck match. Shakes aren't enough sustenance to keep a woman bright, and with all the time she's spending at the gym she's barely recognizable. Down about twenty pounds since Joe died. Or left? If he went to prison, maybe she could come out of hiding but no. He's not dead and that's why she lives in Indiana.
Boston had it's charms but Karen loves how the corn waves in the wind and the blue blue of the mornings here. The people are backwards and soft and that in itself is almost enough to make Karen feel safe but she doesn't, still, she can't. Joe hit her often but it's what she knows that keeps her knuckles white. And she prays the prosecutor doesn't mouth off.
There's a woman like her, that looks like her, at the gym. Karen sees her in the sauna once or twice a week. Her naked body was once Karen's naked body, full, round, breasts high and perky. Karen stares and today without thinking she asks the woman to grab drinks, as friends. Of course, she waits until they're both dry, walking to their cars. She just wants to see herself how she was before Joe, that blip in time where she bounced and laughed and her hair was as big as a summer sky.
They meet that night because neither woman has a family, maybe neither wants one. It's unclear until they start talking. Her name is Lydia and at once she admits to being a bottle blonde. But Karen isn't judgmental. Gin martinis for Karen and whiskey neat for Lydia helps illustrate the differences between the women. Lydia sings karaoke, puts Fleetwood Mac on the jukebox. Karen would have played Madonna.
Roland wakes in the night and cries because he misses his mother. The next morning he pretends this has not happened and never happens but it does, all the time. That's why he only fucks hookers. They don't spend the night. He shakes off the morning blues. Coffee, smokes, and sunlight have Karen Dahlgren back on his mind, a salt breeze in his day. One sip from his flask has him walking the unfamiliar roads to Felix's apartment. He's bound to find something out, and he's yet to look at the haunted computer and still unsure if he believes the hokey pokey crap.