When Tess called Molly and told her about the homeless woman whose description in some ways resembled Beth, the first emotion to wash over her, before hopefulness that her mom was locatable, way joy that a girl her age was calling her. Then they made plans to meet in the hotel lobby in half an hour. Together, they would find Rosie, and Molly would identify her as Beth.
"Where did it go? That yester glow?
When we could feel
The wheels of life turn our way?
Yesterme Yesterou Yesterday."
George could imagine Beth living on the street, under a bridge, two different ways. He could imagine her starving to death, growing dizzy in the heat, in -- what outfit would she have chosen? But he could imagine a converse scenario that involved her experiencing her surroundings the intense way children usually do, fully interested in the sensory experience of a thing; she could be sitting blocks away from him, keeping track of the nuanced blues and purples of the changing sky. Really, he was afraid she was dead. He'd seen her with her heart beating way too fast and also, other times, way too slow, from pills. He'd put her to bed, many times, and stayed up to wait for her breathing to stabilize. And now she might be dead, which is when someone is literally impossible to get in touch with, forever, and more than anything, he wanted to get in touch with her.
"Why do I do the things I do? I truly don't understand the motivation of so many of my actions. I'm a generous, smart, even a patient woman, really, but whenever I open my mouth (not counting when I'm talking to myself, to my kitties or to God), it's always greed, immaterial material desires, and bumbling. Shopping, shopping and more shopping. Avoiding Molly's calls because I know how much she hates me. Eating nothing but candy and beef jerky. I hate myself. I wish I were dead so many days. Why did mother have to raise me so awfully?"
That is an excerpt from Beth's diary. See, she meant well. She was always meaning to behave better than she did, but her self-awareness of the shortcomings of her outward behavior somehow never enabled her to change.