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Anyway, I kept walking and walking up Fifth Avenue, without any tie on or anything. Then all of a sudden, something very spooky started happening. Every time I came to the end of a block and stepped off the goddam curb, I had this feeling that I'd never get to the other side of the street. I thought I'd just go down, down, down, and nobody'd ever see me again. Boy, did it scare me. You can't imagine. I started sweating like a bastard – my whole shirt and underwear and everything. Then I started doing something else. Every time I'd get to the end of a block I'd make believe I was talking to my brother Allie. I'd say to him, "Allie, don't let me disappear. Allie, don't let me disappear. Allie, don't let me disappear. Please, Allie." And then when I'd reach the other side of the street without disappearing, I'd thank him. Then it would start all over again as soon as I got to the next corner. But I kept going and all. I was sort of afraid to stop, I think – I don't remember, to tell you the truth. I know I didn't stop till I was way up in the Sixties, past the zoo and all. Then I sat down on this bench. I could hardly get my breath, and I was still sweating like a bastard. I sat there, I guess, for about an hour. (25.8)
Look at Holden's physical reaction to this mental stress. Much like what followed the Mr. Antolini episode, Holden is sweating and can "hardly get [his] breath." He's breaking down in more ways than one. At first you might want to look at this crossing the street business as a little game – like pretending to be shot in the guts – which is more entertainment for a person by themselves than anything crazy. But Holden takes it to an extreme, which brings it out of the range of normality and hints at his impending "run-down" or episode.
After I came out of the place where the mummies were, I had to go to the bathroom. I sort of had diarrhea, if you want to know the truth. I didn't mind the diarrhea part too much, but something else happened. When I was coming out of the can, right before I got to the door, I sort of passed out. I was lucky, though. I mean I could've killed myself when I hit the floor, but all I did was sort of land on my side. It was a funny thing, though. I felt better after I passed out. I really did. My arm sort of hurt, from where I fell, but I didn't feel so damn dizzy. (25.41)
While we would like to write this off as hangover blues, we're starting to wonder if there isn't something more serious going on here. Did you notice how Salinger built this up, starting with a headache, then sweating, then nausea, and then the passing out?
That's all I'm going to tell about. I could probably tell you what I did after I went home, and how I got sick and all, and what school I'm supposed to go to next fall, after I get out of here, but I don't feel like it. I really don't. That stuff doesn't interest me too much right now.
A lot of people, especially this one psychoanalyst guy they have here, keeps asking me if I'm going to apply myself when I go back to school next September. (26.1-2)
Once his narrative is over, Holden brings us back to his own present time, where he's in some sort of institution. He references his having "got sick," but based on previous information, we're not sure if this refers to a physical or mental sickness – or both. We do know he's getting out soon, but it is left ambiguous as to whether he's "better" or not.