Riding the Bus with My Sister

Riding the Bus with My Sister


Rachel Simon

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Riding the Bus with My Sister: 17. June: Goodbye Summary & Analysis

Rachel flashes back to the past: shortly after Rachel and Beth’s mother starts dating the ex-con, he makes the children move out. Max and Rachel carry a trunk of Rachel’s things down the stairs. Laura and Max will move in with their father, and Rachel will go to boarding school. Everyone assumes that Beth will stay at home—Beth knows that her siblings are leaving but doesn’t fully understand why. Rachel brings her trunk outside to her dad’s car, then hugs Beth goodbye and promises to see her soon. Beth is speechless. Rachel, Max, and their dad drive off, waving goodbye to Beth.
This vignette helps explain why Rachel frequently withdraws from her loved ones and struggles to form close relationships as an adult. First, she felt like her father abandoned her after her parents’ divorce; now, her mother actually abandons her and her siblings. Worst of all, she’s separated from Beth for the first time, so she can no longer serve as Beth’s protector. Since Rachel came of age without stable, loving relationships with her parents, it makes sense that she still fears intimacy as an adult.
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