After leaving Mr. Antolini’s, Holden goes to Grand Central Station and spends the night sleeping on a bench in the waiting room. The next day, he walks up and down Fifth Avenue, watching the children and feeling more and more nervous and overwhelmed. Every time he crosses a street, he feels like he will disappear, so each time he reaches a curb, he calls to Allie, pleading with his dead brother to let him make it to the other side. He decides to leave New York, hitchhike west, and never go home or to school again. He imagines living as a hermit, never talking to anybody, and marrying a deaf-mute girl.
He goes to Phoebe’s school and writes her a note telling her to meet him at the Museum of Art so he can return the money she lent him. As he wanders around his old school, he becomes even more depressed when he finds the words “fuck you” scrawled on the walls.
While waiting at the museum, Holden shows two young kids where the mummies are. He leads them down the hallway to the tomb exhibit, but they get scared and run off, leaving Holden alone in the dark, cramped passage. Holden likes it at first, but then sees another “fuck you” written on the wall. Disgusted, he speculates that when he dies, somebody will probably write the words “fuck you” on his tombstone. He leaves the exhibit to wait for Phoebe. On the way to the bathroom, he passes out, but he downplays the incident.
Phoebe arrives at the museum with a suitcase and begs Holden to take her with him. He feels dizzy and worries that he will pass out again. He tells her that she cannot possibly go with him and feels even closer to fainting. She gets angry, refuses to look at him, and gruffly returns his hunting hat. Holden tells her he won’t go away and asks her to go back to school. She angrily refuses, and he offers to take her to the zoo.
They walk to the zoo, Holden on one side of the street, Phoebe following angrily on the other. After looking at some animals, they walk to the park, now on the same side of the street, although still not quite together. They come to the carousel, and Holden convinces Phoebe to ride it. He sits on a park bench, watching her go around and around. They have reconciled, he is wearing his red hunting hat, and suddenly he feels so happy he thinks he might cry.
Holden concludes his story by refusing to discuss what happened after his day in the park with Phoebe, although he does say that he went home, got sick, and was sent to the rest home from which he now tells his story. He says he is supposed to go to a new school in the fall and thinks that he will apply himself there, but he doesn’t feel like talking about it. He wishes he hadn’t talked about his experiences so much in the first place, even to D. B., who often comes to visit him in the rest home. Talking about what happened to him makes him miss all the people in his story.