Boston Public
Chapter Thirty-Five

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Teacher's lounge. Harry is telling Ronnie that he just feels like everyone is giving up on Max. "Harry, I know you don't want him to feel like he's dying, but do you really think it's wise to give him false hope?" Harry doesn't see it that way: "False hope? I don't think people who use that phrase fully grasp the concept of hope." That is, I must admit, a trenchant insight. What is hope, after all, if not faith in a positive outcome that is anything but certain? And how can it therefore be either "true" or "false"? Surely, it can be more or less likely to come to fruition, depending on circumstances, but there's no need to hope for something that's definitely going to happen, and so everything hoped for runs the risk of being hoped for "falsely." QED. Good point, Harry. Anyway, Dick Teachie chimes in that maybe Max doesn't want to feel like he's failing Harry, and Harry tells him that Max is, however, homosexual. No, wait, he tells him to butt out. Just then, Steven comes in and announces that they found a bone marrow match for Max. Harry darts out of the room, giddy: "False hope?"

Lauren's room. Lauren is talking to Skin-ita's parents, apprising them of their daughter's sneaky ways. Before she does so, they're pretty confident that she's already beaten the problem. ("We weigh her every week, to make sure the weight is staying on.") But when Lauren tells them about the tricks, they're not really too upset; they just say they'll talk to her. Lauren gets more insistent: "If it is anorexia, talking won't do much good. It's a disease, and one of the bigger symptoms is denial…and people who suffer from it often come from stable, happy homes." The Skinnys leave, and Lauren sighs. Oh, by the way, they also mention something about a school website that Skin-ita says really helped her out. This will be important later. I'm dropping this in so clumsily to mimic how clumsily it was dropped into the actual scene. See, the damn Exposition Fairy is never around when you need her.

Teachers' lounge. Lauren is sharing the situation with Marla and Marilyn, and mentions the website to them. Why she wants to "check it out" is unclear, since the parents brought it up as a positive, helpful influence, but Lauren is suspicious nevertheless. Marilyn mentions that lots of girls at Winslow are too skinny, and Marla says the website is probably really easy to check out. Lauren looks thoughtful.

The hospital. Harry come in, passes through the waiting room, and goes into Max's bedroom. Max is, of course, not there. I mean, they don't do bone marrow transplants right there in the bedroom. He's probably upstairs, right now, getting well! Yeah, that's it! And this unfinished copy of Moby Dick lying here on the bed has no significance whatsoever. Yep. Everything's gonna be A-okay. Hey, why does that nurse look so sad? Harry asks her where Max is, and where he should wait, and blah blah, and then the nurse asks if he's a family member, and says she has bad news. "Max died about half an hour ago. His body just gave out." Harry gets a little choked up, and excuses himself.

The Dungeon. Harry announces to his class that Max died. "I'm sure his parents would want to thank all of you who volunteered to be tested as donors. They'd also want to know how much your prayers and visits meant to them. I'm sorry." Then he walks out. Hey, by the way, what was Max doing in the dungeon? He seemed like a pretty smart kid. Anyway, Harry leaves his class alone, silent, and sad.

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Boston Public




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