Amy wonders about the nature of unconditional love. She was raised to believe that love should be unconditional—but if there are no conditions, she points out, “where is the challenge?” Unconditional love, Amy has decided, is undisciplined love—which is “disastrous.”
Amy offers up, in this passage, her ethos on the nature of love, commitment, and partnership. She doesn’t think marriage should be a safe haven—it should be a tournament of wills. Amy is determined to reimagine her marriage to Nick in these terms.
Amy’s baby is due tomorrow—ironically, the same date as her and Nick’s sixth anniversary. The theme this year is iron, and Amy considered getting Nick a pair of handcuffs, but decided that he wouldn’t find it funny “yet.” A year ago today, Amy thinks, she was “undoing” her husband—now, she is “almost done reassembling him.”
Amy has a sense of humor about the incident which has surely come to be the defining one of her marriage—her disappearance—but knows that for Nick, being yoked to her forever is not a lighthearted subject.
Over the last several months, Nick has spent all his free time doting on Amy—rubbing her belly with lotion, running out to buy her pickles, and so on. Amy believes the two of them are “finally on [their] way to happiness,” and are almost the bright, happy family she always dreamed they’d be. All they need to do is sustain it—but Nick doesn’t have this part of the equation down perfectly just yet.
Nick and Amy are back to where they started—their ordeal has simply brought them full-circle. They are back to pretending to have the perfect marriage, and going through the motions of love.
Amy says that earlier this morning, Nick was stroking her hair and asking her if she needed anything. Amy asked Nick why he was always so wonderful to her—he replied, “Because I feel sorry for you.” When Amy asked him why, he told her plainly, “Because every morning you have to wake up and be you.” Amy wishes that Nick hadn’t told her the truth—she cannot stop thinking about it. Amy doesn’t have anything else to say. She simply wanted, she writes, the “last word.”
There are cracks in the seemingly perfect surface of Nick and Amy’s marriage—and Nick is no longer willing to hide his true feelings all the time. His only weapon against Amy, at this point, is the truth—Amy, meanwhile, shows her hand here and reveals her utter desperation to continue controlling the tenuous narrative she has constructed.