When we got out of the tunnel, Sam screamed this really fun scream, and there it was. Downtown. Lights on buildings and everything that makes you wonder. Sam sat down and started laughing. Patrick started laughing. I started laughing.
And in that moment, I swear we were infinite.
This quotation, which ends the final letter in Part 1, demonstrates the deep bonds of friendship and love that have formed among Charlie, Patrick, and Sam. Driving through the tunnel feels like a magical experience for Charlie. In just a few short months, Charlie has transformed from a shy loner who does not connect with anyone to a person with friends who care enormously about him. Charlie feels “infinite” in this moment because he feels free, rather than constrained by the constant pressures and trauma of his past and his repressed memories. The laughter expresses giddiness and joy that are new emotions for Charlie. Throughout the novel to this point, Charlie has been so burdened with the weight of the past that it can be difficult to realize that happy emotions can also exist in the world. The image of emerging from a tunnel into light is deeply symbolic, since this physical journey reflects the emotional journey that Charlie undergoes throughout the novel. Even though Charlie might feel helpless, there is a light for him at the end of the tunnel, if he can persevere through the darkness to get to the other side.