Mitch is in a rental car in West Newton, Massachusetts, on the phone with a radio producer and doing several other work-related things at once as he scans the house numbers for Morrie's. When he comes upon Morrie's house, he stops suddenly, seeing Morrie and two other people in the driveway. Mitch turns the car off and finishes his phone call while Morrie waits. Mitch says that he should have dropped everything and run to Morrie, but instead he pretends to look for something on the floor of his car. Mitch says he isn't proud of what he did.
Mitch is ashamed to be confronted with the fact that he prioritizes work over his relationship with Morrie, andthis scene makes that priority extremely clear to the reader. Again, the media is cast as a negative entity, as Mitch's media work is what keeps him from Morrie.
When Mitch finishes and finally gets out of the car, he hugs Morrie, who is covered with a blanket despite the warm spring day. Mitch is surprised at the amount of affection between them, given that they haven't seen each other in 16 years.Mitch recalls how close they were when Mitch was in college, and realizes that he is no longer the "good, gift-bearing student" in Morrie's memory.
Being with Morrie makes it clear to Mitch how much he's changed since he was in college, and not for the better. However, the affection from Morrie indicates that Mitch can still be a part of his community, and their relationship still exists.
They go inside and Morrie insists on feedingMitch. Morrie's nurse, Connie, brings them food and brings Morrie some pills. Morrie offers to tell Mitch what it's like to die, and the “final class” begins.
Again, Morrie's desire to teach is constant and clear. Mitch remarks that this is the beginning of the final class, which sets the stage for future lessons to take place.
In another flashback to his freshman year of college, Mitch tells the reader how he tries to appear tough in order to compensate for having left high school a year early and being one of the youngest students at Brandeis. He says it is Morrie's gentleness and desire to understand that keeps him coming back for more classes and allows Mitch to relax. Morrie is also an easy grader, and school lore says that during the Vietnam War, Morrie gave A's to the male students so they could keep their deferments.
This introduces the internal struggle of Mitch's youth—he wants to be perceived as tough, but he's drawn to Morrie primarily because he is gentle and understanding.
Mitch begins to call Morrie "Coach," which Morrie likes. Morrie tells Mitch that he will be Mitch's coach, and Mitch can be Morrie's player. Sometimes theyeat together in the school cafeteria, and Mitch delights in Morrie's sloppy eating habits.
The nickname further reinforces their relationship, as a coach/player relationship is also a guiding and teaching one. Eating together is another act of community building.