Amy’s life in Missouri is difficult. Nick has lost all interest in taking care of his parents, leaving his wife the responsibilities of driving Maureen to her doctor’s appointments and checking on Bill at his nursing home. Amy has found, on Nick’s computer, a book proposal for a memoir about “a Manhattan magazine writer who returns to his Missouri roots to care for both his ailing parents.” The draft is titled “Double Lives: A Memoir of Ends and Beginnings.” Amy feels the unfinished proposal is self-indulgent and exploitative, and she is unhappy to discover herself as a character within it. While Amy struggles to bear the burden of caring for Nick’s parents, Nick spends all his time at The Bar. He has lost weight and gotten a new haircut, and Amy worries that just as he “jettisoned his parents,” he is soon going to “drop” her, too.
Amy is using Nick as fodder in her own twisted narrative through her diary entries—but in this entry, she makes it seem like the roles are reversed, and Nick sees her only purpose as part of an interesting story he can tell for his own gain and illumination. Amy writes about feeling like she is on increasingly unsteady ground within her marriage—a sentiment that, while exaggerated and made more sinister, may have been true at this point in time for both her and Nick.