Water by the Spoonful

by

Quiara Alegría Hughes

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Water by the Spoonful: Scene Thirteen Summary & Analysis

Summary
Analysis
In the forum, Chutes&Ladders asks if anyone is online. Orangutan eventually answers; the first time she has shown herself in three days. She is depressed, revealing to Chutes&Ladders that she didn’t even have the nerve to get on the train. However, her mood is brightened when Chutes&Ladders tells her that he sold his car and bought himself a ticket to Japan, saying that he hopes he has the courage to get on the plane. Orangutan is overjoyed that he did this for her.
Narratively, Orangutan loses the possibility of one human relationship while gaining another. Since Chutes&Ladders already knows her and her history with drug addiction, it is more likely to be a healthy, successful relationship than she would have had with the mother who abandoned her.
Themes
Internet Communities and Human Connection Theme Icon
Family Theme Icon
Fountainhead appears in the forum, saying that he is on a hospital computer, and tells them that Haikumom overdosed. Although he is not certain why, Odessa listed Fountainhead as her emergency contact, so he is there with her. Nobody else has come to see her. Orangutan is floored, almost angry that she relapsed. Chutes&Ladders, however, tells Fountainhead that he has to promise to stay with Haikumom around the clock and get her into a rehab center, or he’ll book a flight to Philadelphia and come do it himself, saying, “Your lifeboat has just arrived. Get on board or get out of the way.”
Odessa’s listing of John as her emergency contact, even though they hardly know each other, underscores just how isolated she is from her own family, with no relationships significant enough that she felt confident they would come take care of her. However, in listing John as her contact, Odessa has drawn them closely together. It is notable, then, that John is her only human contact described in the story aside from the brief, hostile interaction with Elliot and Yaz.
Themes
Substance Addiction Theme Icon
Internet Communities and Human Connection Theme Icon
Family Theme Icon
Related Quotes
Fountainhead is nervous, since he is on day one of his recovery still, but finally agrees. Before he logs off, he mentions that Haikumom, while she was briefly awake, asked that someone else take over as the forum’s administrator. After logging off, Fountainhead calls his wife to tell her he won’t be coming home. His wife seems to think it is because Fountainhead is having an affair and hangs up on him.
Near the end of their character arcs, John and Odessa are brought together to share their human connection much the same as Orangutan and Chutes&Ladders are, resolving the tension and inadequacy of online relationships.
Themes
Internet Communities and Human Connection Theme Icon