When you write, I feel as if you are drawing on me, drawing on my skin with the feather end of an old-fashioned goose pen. As if hundreds of butterflies have settled all over my face, and are softly opening and closing their wings. But underneath that is another feeling, a feeling of being wide-eyed awake and watchful. It’s like being wakened suddenly in the middle of the night, by a hand over your face, and you sit up with your heart going fast, and no one is there. And underneath that is another feeling still, a feeling of being torn open, not like a body of flesh, it is not painful as such, but like a peach. And not even torn open, but too ripe and splitting of its own accord. And inside the peach, there’s a stone
The drawing on me might indicate Grace’s understanding of the interviews, as she slowly begins to trust him and speak openly–something she has never done since her incarceration fifteen years prior. She had learned to connive and survive in prison, and behaves and speaks accordingly and well planned out to the staff and inmates. Simon may indeed be drawing a heretofore unseen picture of Grace, and it is a soft and sensual one that she reveals to him. While Grace is not well educated, she has learned from watching others to be a lady, and is mentally quick and questioning. This scene however seems to open her up to sexual feelings that she has not allowed herself in many years, nor barely scratched the surface of prior to imprisonment.
This is likely Grace’s fear of being analysed, her fear and mistrust of others bordering on paranoia as “no one is there.” She feels herself perhaps as vulnerable as a peach, soft and pink and sweet, “but too ripe and splitting open of its own accord”. But underneath the soft surface is the true Grace — a stone. She’s hard, impenetrable and enclosed. Whatever she is offering is not worthwhile, it’s the stone that counts. That can’t be pried open by others and will stay true to its nature.