Fate (or whatever) led me to pick up this book, and fate made me read today:
Mick leaned on the bannisters of the stairs. The sudden crying had started her with the hiccups. It seemed to her as she thought back over the last month that she had never really believed in her mind that the violin would work. But in her heart she had kept making herself believe. And even now it was hard not to believe a little. She was tired out. Bill wasn’t ever a help with anything now. She used to think Bill was the grandest person in the world. She used to follow after him every place he went–out fishing in the woods, to the clubhouses he built with the other boys, to the slot machine in the back of Mr. Brannon’s restaurant–everywhere. Maybe he hadn’t meant to let her down like this. But anyway they could never be good buddies again. (p. 39)
Mick, a young girl probably close to thirteen in age, is the tomboy, the daredevil, the practical dreamer. From parts found here and there she’s been making a violin out of a ukelele. Her older brother Bill is the only one she’d taken into her confidence, and in the scene above, he’d just told her that he figured it best she find out for herself that it would never work.
There’s a pulling away as Bill needs to grow into his own as a man. There’s Mick, who just realized it and must learn to stand on her own. But she’s also just been faced with her own failings: "She was tired out." Through no fault of his own, Bill has just left Mick to her own devices at a time when Mick is just learning to acknowledge and temper her dreams with reality. Mick is tough. She takes care of the babies and she wears boys’ clothes and smokes, and she swears not to be like her two older sisters. But she’s not so tough nor not smart enough to know that her brother had been the rock she’d depended upon; the ground that would be there whenever she took off to fly.