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CHAPTER SUMMARY WITH NOTES
Having suffered enough of Foxy’s crude tormenting and Ida’s coldness, Rayona skips school, thinking about finding a way to return to Seattle on her own. Father Tom shows up to question her absence from school, and, upon discovering her plan, offers an alternative trip to. Helena to the Teens for Christ Jamboree. Rayona accepts primarily because it is somewhere "away" and because she wasn’t seriously thinking about going to Seattle anyway.
On the trip Tom quizzes her about her parents. Rayona is able to anticipate the answers he wants and makes up fantastic stories which keep him quiet for a while. Then he begins talking about her dual heritage, about her "difference" and about her "puberty." Eventually she falls asleep and Tom drives on through the night, waking her at the Bearpaw Lake State Park. There he is planning to camp for the day to get some rest, and they have an extra day before the jamboree starts anyway. But, he is too tired to sleep, so Tom suggests they take a swim in the lake and have some lunch first.
Rayona dives into the water first and swims out to a yellow raft about fifty feet from shore. From there she watches Tom who swims to within about 6 feet of her, then suddenly curls himself into a cannonball claiming he has a cramp. Rayona swims to him and tows him to the raft where she hauls him out of the water with no help from him. He tells her she has saved him, and pulls her close to him. Soon he begins making sexual motions against her; when she responds, he freezes and accuses her of doing something wrong. He decides they should return immediately to the reservation, forgetting about the jamboree. He wants her to forget that the trip ever happened.
Rayona refuses to go back to the reservation, saying she wants to go to Seattle. Tom agrees and gets a train ticket and gives her a meal and money for cab fare. When the train appears, he leaves her, never noticing that she waves the train on. Rayona spends the night sleeping on the tracks.
Father Tom comes across as something of a snake here. He has no problem sending a 15 year old girl off to Seattle to protect himself and prevent anyone from finding out that he has behaved in appropriately with her. Rayona, however, sees through him. She never intended to go to Seattle in the first place, but only wanted to get away from the mission school and the tormenting she endured around Foxy and Annabelle. Her schooling in Seattle put her far ahead of the mission school kids anyway, so she isn’t losing anything.
Father Tom apparently does not trust himself but wants to blame someone else. Later in the story he will make an obnoxious appearance, making us wonder if he is just trying to make sure no one ever finds out about his behavior.
Rayona’s encounter with Sky and then Evelyn reveals that she is very observant and capable of finding out about other people without revealing too much of herself. She also intuitively recognizes the value of words and uses them to her own advantage.