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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