As they drive, Shelby thinks of her mother’s last day on earth. Shelby crawled into her hospital bed, and curled up beside her so she could thank her for everything. The nights they looked at stars, the trip to Chincoteague, the way she spoke to the nurse in the locked ward, the times she searched for Shelby when she was missing. Shelby told her that if she had a hundred lifetimes she would want Sue to be her mother in every one, just as for a hundred lifetimes she would want James to be the one who stopped on the road that night. She would want him to say Stay here. She would want him to know her when no one else did.
It’s late when they reach Pennsylvania. After checking in and paying a camping fee, they park in a field. The campground is nearly empty. Neither one of them owns a tent. They’re used to New York City; they didn’t even think of what they might need to camp out. They’ve got pillows and blankets, so they set up a bed in the back of the 4Runner with three of the dogs curled up beside them and Pablo sprawled out in the backseat. The countryside is quiet, but in the middle of the night something wakes Shelby. She leaves James sleeping and takes the dogs out to a field where the tall grass is already turning yellow. They scatter, then race to gather around her when she whistles.
James notices she’s gone. He’s a light sleeper. He gets out of the car and calls for Shelby to look up at the sky. There are so many stars above them she could never count them all. She lies down in the tall grass and listens to the last of the season’s crickets. The landscape is so like the one in her dreams Shelby half expects to see Helene, but all she sees is the moon, which will follow them until they reach California. It’s the farthest Shelby’s ever been from home. She’s looking forward to seeing an ocean she’s never seen before. She trusts she’ll find her way.