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When You Reach Me

When You Reach Me

by Rebecca Stead

When You Reach Me Chapter 45 Summary

The Last Note

  • Miranda tells us what happens that day on the corner. If she ever does write the letter for "you," she'll tell this part carefully.
  • Miranda uses a numbered list to track the sequence of events. The headlines:
  • Miranda was walking home from school. Sal was in front of her.
  • Some of the corner kids threw potato chips at Sal. Then they pushed him.
  • Sal starts walking away when Marcus comes out of the garage.
  • Sal sees Marcus and runs. Marcus yells "hold up" and runs after him. (45.11)
  • The Laughing Man is on the corner across the street.
  • Then things get weird. Miranda sees something flicker next to the Laughing Man, "like an old movie" just for a few seconds (45.14). It looks like a naked man holding his head. It is gone in a few seconds.
  • Miranda runs after them.
  • Sal runs into the street. A big truck is moving towards him. The driver isn't looking.
  • Miranda screams. Sal turns. Miranda thinks Sal is going to die.
  • Suddenly the Laughing Man bolts into the street and kicks Sal out of the way.
  • The truck hits the Laughing Man.
  • Sal's arm is underneath him, but he is alive.
  • Miranda sees a shoe in the street from the Laughing Man. It is Richard's two-inch platform.
  • Miranda's head starts to spin. She sees these words scratched into the mailbox: "Book / Bag / Pocket / Shoe" (45.38).
  • These are the places where the notes have been. Sure enough, she picks up the shoe and a note falls out.
  • It says that the story of what just happened is the one she needs to tell. It asks her to deliver her letter by hand – and that she knows where to find him.
  • The note adds that the trip is a difficult one, and the writer can carry nothing.
  • Miranda realizes the Laughing Man saved Sal's life – and that "you" is the Laughing Man. It's been the Laughing Man all along who has been writing the notes.

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