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Mick feels that this summer is different from any she’s ever experienced before. She is restless and wanders the streets with her two younger brothers in tow from morning till night. She makes grand plans for the future and all of them include leaving the small town behind and being famous and heroic. At night when she is free from the responsibility of her brothers, she goes back out into the streets and wanders some more. Her mother questions her about where she’s going and she gives her mother plausible lies. She is only pulled back home by her father, a kind and sad man since he broke his back painting a house and now sits in the front room trying to start a watch repair business.
One day he calls out to her as she is leaving the house. She is in a great hurry, feeling a frenzied need to get outside, but she goes into the front room to stand in front of him. She realizes that he has nothing to say to her, but just wants her company since he’s lonely and feels at loose ends now that he has lost his function as the family’s provider. It is the first time she recognizes her father as a "real separate person" with his own feelings and needs. She assures him that she is not in a hurry and stands with him for a while talking to him and giving him the comfort of her presence. Still, she can’t reveal to her father what she has been thinking lately. It is too private and too large to be spoken aloud.
When they get back to her house, she realizes that the younger neighbor kids are standing in the yard watching the party. She tries to push them away, but they refuse to leave. Suddenly the party goes from being the formal affair of a promenade party to being a "regular playing-out." All the party members run around as if they were children, ignoring their formal clothes and Mick joins them and leads them in wild stunts. Finally, she goes back to the house, takes off her clothes, washes her face, puts on her shorts and goes to the front door to yell to everyone that the part is over and they should go home. She wanders the streets until she reaches her favorite house. She sits outside the window listening to the music until Beethoven comes on. She has never heard this piece and she listens rapturously until it’s over. When it is, she feels a horrible loss and hits and scratches her thighs. Then she falls asleep and wakes in the middle of the night and runs home. At home in bed, she thinks of Mr. Singer as something like God, silent and listening to her.