Rosemary daydreams about going to work at Gombe Stream National Park in Tanzania after she graduates and putting her sense of intimacy with chimpanzees to good use. However, she remembers Dr. Sosa’s mention of the epic rate of rape among chimps and changes her mind. Kitch once told her that she would be a good teacher, and she begins to entertain this idea, even though it would mean more studying. That spring, Rosemary runs into Reg and they decide to go and see Macbeth together. Rosemary is disappointed to see that none of Harlow’s ideas have been used in the production. After the show, Rosemary is shocked to realize that Reg had assumed they were on a date. They end up dating for five months, during which they fight a lot. Reg breaks up with her without explaining why.
This passage sees Rosemary steadily adapting to a more “normal” life for a person of her age. She dates Reg, and shifts her desire from working with chimpanzees in a Tanzanian national park to the far more ordinary profession of teaching. Her surprise that Reg considered their trip to see Macbeth as a date suggests that she is still adjusting to the norms of human social life. At the same time, she is no longer haunted by her unusual past in part because she has finally confronted it by discussing Fern with her parents.
In 1998, Rosemary’s father dies after a series of heart attacks. Rosemary remembers there being an aquarium in the hospital waiting room. Rosemary reflects on what she would do differently if she had a chance to live her life over again. She wouldn’t place the whole burden of blame for Fern on her father, and would eventually forgive him. He is only 58 when he dies, and the doctor explains that his health was in poor condition due to drinking, diabetes, and stress. As they drive away from the hospital, Rosemary’s mother collapses and says: “I want Lowell.” At this point, Rosemary is attending Stanford. A few days after Rosemary’s father’s obituary is published in The New York Times, Rosemary and her mother receive a postcard from Lowell, sent from Tampa, Florida.
The lives of Rosemary and her mother continue to be colored by loss—both the prolonged absence of Fern and the sudden death of Rosemary’s father. However, this passage serves as a reminder that loss is an inescapable and indeed completely normal part of life. While it is unusual to have two siblings disappear, in reality all families must contend with the ultimate disappearance of its members. Although this does not help assuage the suffering of Rosemary and her mother, it at least no longer sets them apart as especially abnormal in comparison to the rest of the world.