I lay awake thinking and my mind jumping around. Then I couldn’t keep away from it, and I started to think about Brett and all the rest of it went away. I was thinking about Brett and my mind stopped jumping around and started to go in sort of smooth waves. Then all of a sudden I started to cry. (4.15) In this rare moment of release, Jake breaks down and gives in to his despair about his hopeless relationship with Brett.
But I could not sleep. There is no reason why because it is dark you should look at things differently from when it is light. To hell there isn’t! I figured that all out once, and for six months I never slept with the electric light off. That was another bright idea. To hell with women, anyway. To hell with you, Brett Ashley. (14.2) Left alone for the night, Jake’s problems all emerge in full force. He’s definitely right – something about the night time makes us all a little too introspective at times. Despite his efforts to brush them off, his emotional issues can’t be ignored forever.
Couldn’t we live together, Brett? Couldn’t we just live together?”
“I don’t think so. I’d just tromper you with everybody. You couldn’t stand it.” (7. 7)
Jake attempts to find some kind of unconventional solution to their no sex problem, but Brett knows herself too well to accept it. Her statement that she’d just tromper (cheat on) Jake with everyone is true, and both of them know it.
Jake, drunk, goes up to bed and reads some Turgenieff. He hears everyone else go to bed, and he tries to fall asleep himself. But he has had a lot to drink and the room spins when he closes his eyes. He lays awake and thinks. He thinks about how he used to sleep with the light on. He thinks about Brett Ashley, and their friendship. He figures he was really getting something for nothing, since he can’t have sex with her, and so he shouldn’t be surprised to be finally given the “bill”:
“I thought I had paid for everything. Not like the woman pays and pays and pays. No idea of retribution or punishment. Just exchange of values. You gave something up and got something else. Or you worked for something. You paid some way for everything that was any good.” Chapter 14, pg. 148