The Big Picture 5


I really didn’t expect the direction that the novel next takes.

It is more interesting, and even though the tone is still sad, I guess I’m used to the unhappy mood now.

Beth leaves a message on the answer phone, saying that she is going to stay with her sister that week and she also wants a divorce. Ben tries to call her, but she only gets her sister, and when his brother-in-law answers, he lets out that Beth has gone to see her friend because she knows a good family lawyer. Naturally, Ben doesn’t find her car there, but it is in the drive of Gary’s house. Ben hides, and when the door opens, he sees them kiss passionately, and Ben takes several pictures of them. When she leaves, in an impulse Ben decides to call at Gary’s house, and the man, taken aback by his presence, invites him in when he tells him that he wants to discuss cameras. He is also an aspiring photographer. Then when they talk, Ben keeps hurling hints about Beth, and then Gary quite hatefully tells him that Beth is with him. In his words Beth thinks she loves him and hates Ben, but he is only having fun. Then enraged Ben takes the bottle of wine they are drinking and hits Gary, the bottle ending up in Gary’s neck. This was such a twist. I never expected Ben to kill Gary.

The next pages show Ben being arrested, learning that Beth is ready to testify against him and he is to lose any rights on his children, and when he is locked in a cell with terrible noises around, he decides to commit suicide with the sheet of the cot he is unable to sleep in. Then we are told that this was just Ben seeing life before his eyes, but he is still hovering over Gary’s dead body. So he decides to fight to survive. What he does is to hide Gary’s body in a freezer, and then he cleans everything in the house. When he returns home, he is really distraught and thoughts of suicide assault him. He actually ingests a handful of pills and whisky, but he gets sick but doesn’t die. Then when he happens to see a minister on a religious television talking about being reborn, he thinks that this is what he wants to do.

So next we see Ben doing everything to re-invent himself as Gary Summers. He checks his papers, his mail, his computer, and his personal documents. He even manages to leave a note for Beth, telling her that he has gone to California for a job, and Beth’s reaction is angrily leaving him a note and giving him back the keys through the postbox. Then Ben meticulously prepares everything, and he also starts saying goodbye to those he loves, but when it is time to see his son Adam for the last time, he crumbles down and cries, frightening the boy.

Now Ben manages to borrow his friend Bill’s boat, and this is where I imagine he will pretend to die. He has packed Gary’s body in a bag, and he has also bought ingredients to make an explosive. So I guess that he will blow the boat up with Gary’s body on board, and then he will make his escape. But what will everybody think? Will he make it look as if he has committed suicide? Or will it be put down to some accident? I imagine that the investigation that will ensue later will find out that the explosion was intentional.

I have to say that I still don’t like Ben, and even though I can understand that in a moment of rage one person can kill another and then fear may make you want to escape. This is plausible. Yet, in his daydreaming when he killed Ben, one of his worries was his children. Yet, what he is doing now is purely selfish, and he is also losing the life he had, especially his children.

I don’t like Beth either. She is selfish and cruel, and has little kindness towards Ben. I know that this kind of relationships do exist, and I can’t help but wonder how these people got together in the first place. Were they ever in love or was it just lust? If you loved someone once, I want to think that when things go bust, you could still respect that person you loved once and try to do as little harm to them as possible. Here it is not the case as Beth tramples over Ben without any sense of guilt. Or at least, that is what we have seen from Ben’s perspective.


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