"Have you ever heard of people referred to as Chronics?” he asks. 


I shake my head. 


“I think Verity might have made up the term. After our daughters died, she said we were Chronics. Prone to chronic tragedy. One terrible thing after another."

In this quotation, Jeremy asks Lowen if she has ever heard of the term “Chronics” to describe people whose lives are fundamentally marked by tragedy. He wonders if it's something that his wife fabricated, as Lowen has no idea what he's talking about. This quotation frames the fact that Jeremy thinks of his life as being fundamentally tragic, and that he expects bad things to happen. The idea of tragedy as being like an inherited illness is an important one here, as it suggests that the Crawfords move through life expecting the worst possible results. The idea that tragedy is inevitable is also an excuse for Verity’s bad behavior, but Lowen doesn’t know that yet. 

I spot the roof first as I climb the hill: slate gray like an angry storm cloud. Seconds later, the rest of it appears, and my breath snags in my throat. Dark stone works its way across the front of the house, broken only by the blood red door, the only relief of color in this sea of gray. Ivy covers. the left side of the house, but instead of charming, it’s threatening—like a slow-moving cancer.

As Lowen first drives up the hill toward the Crawford house, she's struck by how unappealing it looks from the outside. The scenery around it is so beautiful that she had been expecting the house itself to be lush and welcoming, but instead she finds it frightening. Lowen’s mother has recently died of cancer, and so creeping disease is always on Lowen’s mind. The ivy covering the left side of the house reminds her of the cancer that eventually killed her mother. The only “relief” of color is the red door, which itself seems frightening and bloody. Lowen’s initial discomfort with the house foreshadows the horrible secrets she’s soon to discover within it. 

I bite down on the wood in front of me. 

I can feel Verity’s teeth marks beneath mine. Different. Unaligned with my own. I bite harder into the wood as I come, determined to leave deeper marks than she ever did. 

Determined to think only of Jeremy and me every time I look at this headboard in the future.

During her first complete sexual encounter with Jeremy, Lowen climaxes when she is kneeling over Jeremy, looking at the headboard of the bed he shared with Verity. Jeremy had often performed oral sex on his wife in this position, which Lowen knows from So Be It. She noticed the teeth marks when she first moved into the room, and now she understands the real reason they’re there. When she gets close to climaxing herself, she realizes the need to muffle her cries of passion as Crew is still in the house. In order to do so, she bites down on the headboard in the same way that Verity did. In this passage. she writes that she can feel Verity’s toothmarks underneath hers, and that they are “unaligned” with her own. This seems ironic, as Lowen is performing an unusual action in exactly the same way as Verity did: if anything, this is a moment of alignment with her. Lowen wants to reproduce what Verity did, and also to replace her in “future” sessions with the headboard.