Now, in the present, because of the frightening pressure put on him by his refusal to teach traditional history (he is telling all the stories that comprise the narration to his class instead), coupled with the pending realization that his wife is going crazy because she thinks God is going to give her a child in her fifties, Crick is forced to recall those horrific events of his past, briefly admitting from the point of view of his students, "it's the inexplicable that keeps him jabbering on nineteen to the dozen like this and scurrying further and further into the past.
Moreover, Crick has to re-remember what happened in order to experience any expiation for the acts he helped commit that fateful summer.
In her discussion of trauma in Toni Morrison's Beloved, Nicola King makes a point about re-remembering apposite to Tom Crick's convoluted narration in Waterland.
Crick's process of re-remembering is inherently a confessional one.
It is only when Price, the apocalyptic student with a corpse-like appearance, challenges Crick repeatedly about the importance of the Here and Now that Crick becomes more reflective about the stories from his past, an essential first step in the process of re-remembering.
Price's ghastly complexion suggests that he represents a literal embodiment of Crick's incarnational theory of history.
Since Price is overly concerned with the "Here and Now" and fears the world is going to end, he has become president of the Holocaust Club at Crick's school.
Crick has hinted about the abortion earlier in the novel but has successfully elided almost all traces of it from his narration.
Over the next three years, Crick goes to fight in World War II.
There is no explanation at this point for Mary's infertility, and Crick follows her poignant question with two attempts to tell the story of the abortion.
In chapter thirteen, "Histrionics," Crick gratefully recalls the verdict that was returned on Freddie Parr's body--"that neat and neutral phrase 'Accidental Death'" (131).