October 26. Laura has sprained her ankle again, preventing Miranda from going back to the Miller’s Pond. Miranda can’t decide if she truly saw and skated with Brandon Erlich, or if she made it up. She’s kept busy taking care of Laura, who they’ve moved to the sunroom so she’s out of the way of foot traffic in the kitchen. And even though it means waking up every few hours to go check if the woodstove in the sunroom has burned out, Miranda continues to sleep in the kitchen because it affords her a tiny amount of privacy.
Despite having plans with Brandon, Miranda doesn’t seem upset at being prevented from skating. Since Miranda isn’t sure if the day with Brandon truly happened—or if it was, presumably, a hallucination caused by stress and hunger—it feels safer for her to not go back and chance the disappointment. Plus, Miranda always thrives on being needed, and she is definitely needed at home.
October 28. Peter stops by and confirms that Laura’s ankle is re-sprained. Miranda reflects on the first time Laura sprained it and how it wasn’t such a big deal. Now, just a few weeks later, things are much worse.
Laura’s first ankle sprain only feels like less big of deal in comparison—at the time it felt terrifying. Miranda’s perspective is constantly evolving with their situation.
October 29. During a visit to Mrs. Nesbitt’s house, Mrs. Nesbitt tells Miranda that it’s better that Laura can’t come visit so that she’s not the one to find her dead. Mrs. Nesbitt then talks matter-of-factly about what she’d like Miranda to do when she dies—do whatever is easiest with her body and take all the useable supplies from her house, and she bequeaths gifts of jewelry and paintings to each member of the Evans family. She tells Miranda she’s already burned all of her letters and diaries, but they may have her photo albums. Miranda reflects that she may never get the chance to grow old like Mrs. Nesbitt, but at whatever age she faces death, she hopes she does so with similar courage.
Mrs. Nesbitt’s calm and thoughtful approach to death is a revelation to Miranda. Unlike Megan’s fanatical religious desire for death, Mrs. Nesbitt’s unsentimental plan feels admirable. Miranda is especially intrigued by the way that Mrs. Nesbitt orchestrated her own legacy—deciding that she’s not okay with her diaries and letters being read, but that she wants the Evanses to have her photo albums. In this way, Mrs. Nesbitt is in control of the narrative of her life she leaves behind.
November 1. Matt arranges to buy black market plywood, which he uses to cover the windows of the sunroom and the kitchen for extra insulation. Miranda is furious because he didn’t ask, and this blocks out what little natural light was coming in, making her world feel that much smaller.
Miranda is bothered by Matt’s actions because they seem to close in her life, but also because he turned to the same armed looters that had scared her in town—and Miranda wants Matt to be above moral reproach.
November 5. The Evanses’ well runs dry. They’ll have to rely on bottled water, or cutting ice from Miller’s Pond and boiling it. And without water, there’s no reason to use up the heating oil to protect the pipes, so Matt decides they’re all moving into the sunroom. Miranda protests, but is overruled. They’ll live, eat, sleep, and cook in the sunroom, only venturing into the house to get firewood or food from the pantry. Laura gives an impassioned speech about them needing to survive and Miranda begs for and receives one last night of sleeping in the house before her total loss of privacy.
Miranda is less upset about the loss of water than the loss of her privacy. Throughout the narrative, Miranda has demonstrated how much she craves having a space of her own, and though she knew this moment was coming, she doesn’t feel ready. While the others can’t be excited about this move either, Miranda is so caught up in her own feelings that she doesn’t notice or record anyone else’s.