An American Marriage


Tayari Jones

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An American Marriage: Part 3, Chapter 12 Summary & Analysis

Celestial arrives at Andre’s house at 1:00 a.m., wishing him a merry Christmas. He hands her a glass of scotch and asks her to lie beside him, but she says she needs to walk around. Andre’s ribs ache and he asks if Roy is still alive. She tells Andre that they can’t even imagine how much Roy has been through. Celestial lies beside Andre and tells him that she married Roy for a reason, and that she can’t un-love him. She says that she and Dre have so much, but that Roy has nothing. She says she felt the sting of Olive’s slap on her cheek the whole time she talked to Roy.
Roy’s appeals to Celestial to remain married have worked well enough that Celestial feels obligated to give the relationship another chance. Still, the fact that Celestial’s recommitment is based on pity for Roy and guilt at the promise she made to Olive doesn’t seem like the right reason to move forward with a  marriage.
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Andre tells Celestial to go and reminds her that she’s the one making the choice. He asks how she could do this to him and she says that she’s doing it to herself as much as to him. He tells her he needs her, but she says she has to do this. He thinks back on a time when Celestial owed him nothing, no wrongs done between them. He holds onto her tight, knowing that when his muscles fail, she will be gone.
Instead of fighting Celestial’s choice, Andre accepts it, hopeful that time will prove her decision wrong. Still, Andre is not perfect, selfishly looking at the choice as affecting only him and not Celestial and Roy, too.
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