Quentin finds comfort in the consistency created by fast food restaurants and gas station chains. He likes that the country looks exactly the same no matter where they travel. Lacey straps Quentin in the back and encourages him to sleep. As he dozes off, Quentin hears his friends laughing. He decides that, if they don’t find Margo in Agloe, they will drive around the Catskills and find a place to sit, enjoying themselves and laughing together. He imagines the possibility of letting Margo go. It occurs to him that he could be happy without her, and that he could feel connected to her even if he never saw her again — they are tied together, like the leaves of grass Whitman imagines. For the sixteenth, seventeenth, and eighteen hours of the journey, Quentin sleeps.
Quentin has grown and changed an enormous amount due to Margo’s influence. Recognizing that he can hold onto her by living the lessons she taught him — relishing the time he has with his friends, appreciating his connection to her and other people, and enjoying his life without fear — is the culmination of those lessons. In working so hard to retrieve Margo, Quentin has prepared himself to live a life without her.