Ollie and Makani return to the hospital, where Grandma Young is arguing with somebody on the phone. Grandma Young makes an excuse to hang up when she sees Ollie and Makani in the doorway. She tells them the town will hold a big memorial for the victims this afternoon. It’s supposed to show that the town is done being afraid of David and is ready to regain control of their lives. Makani thinks the gesture is admirable and brave. Grandma Young agrees, though she wishes people would put as much effort into finding David so they could end this nightmare once and for all. She also reveals the main reason the phone call upset her: apparently, the person on the other line wanted Makani to address the town at the memorial event to lift everyone’s spirits—though Grandma Young vehemently opposes this proposition.
Grandma Young’s critical attitude toward the memorial parade and the town’s general response to the attacks marks a distinction between symbolic displays of solidarity and actional solidarity. The idea of a parade to honor the victims and pledge commitment to the town’s welfare is nice in theory. But ultimately, it can’t take back the murders that have already occurred, and in terms of preventing future murders, it would be more effective (as Grandma Young suggests) for the town to redirect energy toward enacting actual change—toward funneling resources toward finding David Ware and ending his violent spree once and for all. Still, the parade gestures toward the important role that community plays in the process of healing from traumatic events.
Makani’s mother calls her at noon. She reacts defensively when Makani asks her where she was when she tried to call her yesterday. Makani’s mother explains that she and Makani’s father were in court. She tells Makani that she has important work commitments to deal with first and can’t leave for Osborne any earlier than next week. She’s also frustrated to have to travel at all: “Look what you’re doing to me,” she moans to Makani. “I can’t deal with you right now.” Makani can’t believe it. A serial killer almost murdered her, and all her mom can think about is herself.
This scene is important because it’s the first exposure the reader has had to Makani’s relationship with her mother. This phone call alone is highly telling. It perhaps explains why Makani is so quick to blame and shame herself for the past mistakes she apparently made in Hawaii—her mother makes it abundantly clear that Makani’s pain is a burden and she doesn’t deserve sympathy and compassion. This call also may explain why Makani is so anxious to keep her new friends in Osborne in the dark about her past—she’s only ever known people to judge and belittle her for her mistakes, so she expects that her new friends will also judge, belittle, and reject her if they find out what happened.
Ollie and Grandma Young have been listening in on Makani’s conversation. Grandma Young gives Ollie some cash and tells him to get them some food from the cafeteria. Once Ollie leaves, Grandma Young apologizes for Makani’s mother. Grandma Young might love her daughter, but that doesn’t change the fact that she’s a horrible, self-centered person. Grandma Young assures Makani that none of this her fault. She also reminds Makani that they’ll eventually have to address how Makani lied her about having Ollie over. She’s not too upset, though. She hugs Makani and reminds her and Ollie to “be safe.”. She trusts Makani to be honest with her moving forward. Makani is embarrassed and ashamed. She wishes she could be the honest, good person her grandmother thinks she is.
The way Grandma Young responds to Makani’s emotional pain is the complete opposite of the way Makani’s mother reacted. Grandma Young responds with compassion and understanding, attempting to build up Makani’s sense of self-worth instead of beating it down. Still, despite Grandma Young’s support, all Makani feels is shame and embarrassment—she feels that she doesn’t deserve Grandma Young’s support, and that Grandma Young is only offering this support because she has misjudged Makani’s character. This shows the extent to which Makani has internalized the shame and guilt her mother and peers back in Hawaii have imposed on her. It’s completely warped her sense of self, making her believe she doesn’t deserve good things because of mistakes she made in the past.
Makani hears Alex and Darby in the hallway, applauding Ollie for saving Makani. They run into Grandma Young’s room and hug Makani. Makani hasn’t realized how much she needs her friends until now. Alex presents Makani with a box of doughnuts. They’ve gotten a chocolate frosting for Ollie—his favorite. Makani thinks it’s a peace offering for accusing him of being the murderer. A nurse walks in an informs them that ICU patients can only have two visitors at a time, so Grandma Young urges Makani to go and be with her friends. Makani promises to return later with Ollie.
Makani’s happiness about seeing Alex and Darby suggests that she’s forgiven her friends for misjudging Ollie based on misleading rumors. In a state of crisis, she seems to recognize the necessity of having a caring, supportive community. Interestingly, while Makani readily forgives her friends for their mistake, she remains unable to direct the same compassionate, understanding attitude toward herself; she believes others can be more than their flaws—can overcome and grow from their mistakes—but doesn’t believe she is capable (or deserving of) this herself.
In the waiting room, Makani and her friends eat their doughnuts and catch up. They keep getting into giggling fits over inappropriately dark subjects, but it feels good to laugh. Nobody can understand how David could possibly be the killer. He’s unremarkable, and he comes from a long line of normal, unremarkable people who just “fade into the landscape.” Ollie thinks this just goes to show that you can never truly know what’s going on in another person’s head. Nobody understands why David targeted Makani. Although Makani hadn’t wanted to tell her friends about her past in Hawaii, she realizes she must, since it might have something to do with David targeting her. After a pause, she begins to tell them her story.
Once more, the narrative emphasizes David’s ordinariness, making it even clearer that this is an important detail that will likely become relevant to the plot later on. Ollie’s choice to describe the Wares as people who “fade into the landscape” is interesting. It indirectly establishes a connection between their ordinariness and their ties to the physical land of Osborne, Nebraska—as though one has caused the other. Finally, this scene marks a significant moment in Makani’s character development: she’s decided to make herself vulnerable and come clean to her friends about her past. Though she risks judgment and abandonment by doing so, getting this heavy burden off her chest is vital to her ability to grow and heal from her past.