"We met when she was a senior and I was a freshman. My locker was next to hers. Then I went to summer school, and she went to war. I drank soda, and she..." They ask how he's doing it, and he admits that Nathalie helps. "She's a maid, and we live in a motel. Sometimes she drinks." All technically true, yes. "But you can't choose your family, right?" Not really true at all. They huddle around Shawn. He's not alone anymore.
He's not alone anymore. There's kids Mike's age all over the college, doing their thing, riding their fuckwad fixed-gears, hackey-sacking and downloading music and whatnot. Mike looks at all the talent with a voracity just shy of a Tex Avery hornball, then wistfully joins a Frisbee game and acts normal for the first time since like high school.
It's kind of sad -- that he will always be denied this life, or that he's been bent into such a funny shape that he would never fit into this life -- until you think about the facts, which are that he was a useless little shit until around the time his mother burned down their whole city for him and he lost everything he had. He didn't want to go to college; he did horrible things to deaf girls so they couldn't either. And then again, if they'd stayed with Esteban he could have gone to college like their sister, but he wasn't interested in that either because that was his Doug-crush/mini-Nancy/drug-dealer wannabe period.
He had to get strange and die and become a Newman in order to understand normalcy at all. So if you were to mourn for his childhood -- or any childhood, your childhood, my childhood -- and the shape it was supposed to take, it would only be clichés and the romance of things that never really would have happened at all, because they don't really happen to anybody. And if they do, they don't look like you expect. And if they do, they don't feel like you expect. In the end there's just you, wherever you are. Instead of feeling sad, in the sunlight, Mike just smiles and thinks about the future, for the first time.
Nathalie forgot to tell the jerkoff concierge that she was offering hash, so he's like, "What is this, the Gaza Strip?" and tries the stuff. "Fine, but roll the joints tighter. This is a classy hotel, presentation counts." Heh. There follows a sort of Ocean's Eleven bit in which, as the jerkoff concierge shows how it's going to work, we pass the time seeing it in action. He tells Nathalie he's put new rooms on her schedule, the guests leave money under their pillows, she brings him his cut at the end of his shift.