Julia sits in her car outside the Rainsferd home in Roxbury, Connecticut. She agonizes over what she should say when she rings the doorbell, wishing she had written a letter instead. As she is waiting, a woman approaches Julia and asks if she is looking for someone. Julia responds that she is looking for a Mrs. Rainsferd. The woman responds, “my mom’s out,” and introduces herself as Ornella. Julia accepts Ornella’s invitation to come inside for iced tea, and the two soon hear footsteps on the driveway. A fifty-year-old woman with “tanned, leathery skin, and jet-black eyes” enters the house and Julia realizes that she is not looking at Sarah Starzynski.
This chapter is the climax of Julia’s story. To come so close to meeting Sarah only to be disappointed is a serious blow for Julia; however, her refusal to be defeated shows that learning about Sarah means more to her than merely meeting Sarah, as one might meet a celebrity. Rather, Julia is interested in knowing what actually happened to Sarah—in having the gaps in her story filled. The fact that Julia wishes she had merely written Sarah a letter is noteworthy as well, as it addresses the difficulty of talking about difficult topics, which can often be mitigated by writing about them.