When I fell asleep, I had this dream. My brother and my sister and I were watching television with my Aunt Helen. Everything was in slow motion. The sound was thick. And she was doing what Sam was doing. That’s when I woke up. I didn’t know what the hell was going on.
This quotation, which occurs at the end of Part 4, is in the last letter of the book before the Epilogue. For the first time in the novel, Charlie’s repressed memory of his Aunt Helen’s sexual abuse has come into the forefront of his conscious mind. Initially, Charlie thinks that he is having a dream, but he realizes that the dream is an actual memory. As soon as Charlie discovers this memory, many of Charlie’s inexplicable emotions in the novel suddenly make sense. Charlie cares deeply about Sam, and when they begin to become more intimate with each other for the first time, he recalls the last time he was in this sort of sexual situation, which was with Aunt Helen. Charlie has suppressed this memory out of trauma, grief, and guilt, but now that it has come to the surface, he can no longer ignore it. The pain of recognition is, at first, too overwhelming for Charlie to handle, and his body goes into a state of shock. However, after spending two months in the hospital, he is able to recover. Charlie must undergo the horrible pain of going through the worst truth in order to heal.