Us 2 (Chapters 25 – 71)

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I feel so sorry for Douglas.

I can see that he can be stiff and stubborn at times, but Connie and Albie often treat him as if he were a fool. It is true that he is so different from his wife and son, who are more the arty type whereas he is all intellect.

Their stay in Paris isn’t so bad, but Albie keeps doing his things alone. Once he meets an Australian girl who busks in the streets of Paris and he invites her back to his hotel. They both keep playing his guitar and her accordion late at night, something which I find quite strange. Why does nobody complain or tell them off? The next day she is in the dining room for breakfast, and it is clear that Douglas and Connie dislike her. What is interesting about this encounter is that when Cat, the girl, talks about her father being a bastard, and in Albie’s attitude we understand that he doesn’t think much of his father either. It is a shame, because as far as we have seen, Douglas is a good man.

It is obvious that Albie has a close relationship with his mother, and they are often allied against Douglas. When on the last night they go to a Vietnamese restaurant and Douglas has an accident with a very spicy soup, Connie and Albie make fun of him, and he storms out and gets lost in the streets of Paris. Connie calls him worried, and she makes it a point to tell him that she and Albie do love him. They have a funny way of showing him. Albie ignores him most of the time, and Connie plans to leave him. Why? They even make love in this trip, so what is her problem? We get hints about her feelings, and I think she is tired of Douglas’s unbending attitude in some things. Yet, I think she is lovely, and they are sweet when they are together, so I hope that Connie changes her mind in the end.

In his memories we see how Connie and Douglas’s relationship developed. When he walked her to her place in Whitechapel, she invited him in, and they end up in bed despite what she had first said. They start a relationship, and we can see that they are very different. Connie is an artist, likes all artistic things whereas Douglas’s scope in that department is quite limited. Connie sets out to educate Douglas on art, music, and theatre. Her fondness of partying is not something Douglas can partake in. He feels out of his depth, and Connie usually goes alone with her likewise arty friends, and then she returns to him in the middle of the night. I think Douglas has felt all along that he was a charity work for Connie, as if he were a poor replacement to his ex-boyfriend, Angelo. They have the first fight at the wedding of some of her friends. Angelo is there, and he treats him condescendingly, and when Douglas expresses his wish to go, Connie just tells him to go and she will stay longer. Douglas gets angry because he feels that she feels ashamed of him, and they argue. When Douglas storms out, he realises that in their argument Connie has told him that she loves him for the first time, and he feels ashamed of himself for not acknowledging that pivotal moment, so he returns, apologises, and tells her that he loves her too. It is a sweet moment, and next he and Connie move in together.

I think that it is lovely to see such different people as Connie and Douglas are fall in love. Connie is  charming, but quite enigmatic in some ways. I wonder if Connie was interested in Douglas from the beginning, or she simply let herself be loved and drawn into this relationship since she had been hurt by Angelo and knew that she needed someone stable like Douglas.

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