Skeet’s death “killed Richard,” Cherie says. Skeet started to hang out with some pretty bad kids after he ran away from the group home, and now Cherie thinks that if they hadn’t skipped school that day and gone to the beach, “maybe Skeet would still be alive.” When Cherie attended Skeet’s funeral, she nearly “passed out” after seeing him in the casket and had to be “held up.” “But at least she wasn’t alone,” Slater writes. Richard was alone at the group home and “had no one beside him to keep him from falling.”
If Cherie feels responsible for Skeet’s death, it is likely that Richard feels this way as well, and this type of thinking mirrors Jasmine’s “what if” thinking after Richard is arrested for Sasha’s assault. Like Jasmine, Cherie is powerless to change the true cause of Skeet’s death—Oakland’s social and economic inequality.