answer to this question may help you to focus on the following
(Excerpted from: Ten Steps to Advancing College Reading,
When Bill was very
young, they had been in love. Many nights they had spent walking,
talking together. Then something not very important had come between
them, and they didn't speak. Impulsively, she had married a man she
thought she loved. Bill went away, bitter about women.
across Washington Square, she saw him for the first time in years.
"Bill Walker," she
He stopped. At first he
did not recognize her; to him she looked so old.
"Mary! Where did you
lifted her face as though wanting a kiss, but he held out his hand.
She took it.
"I live in New York
now," she said.
Then a little frown came between his eyes.
"Always wondered what
happened to you, Bill."
"I'm a lawyer. Nice
firm, way downtown."
"Sure. Two kids."
"Oh," she said.
A great many people
went past them through the park. People they didn't know. It was
late afternoon. Nearly sunset. Cold.
"And your husband?" he
"We have three
children. I work in the bursar's office at Columbia."
"You're looking very…"
(he wanted to say old) "…well," he said.
She understood. Under
the trees in Washington Square, she found herself desperately
reaching back into the past. She had been older than him then in
Ohio. Now she was not young at all. Bill was still young.
"We live on Central
Park West," she said. "Come and see us sometime."
"Sure," he replied.
"You and your husband must have dinner with my family some night.
Any night. Lucille and I'd love to have you."
The leaves fell slowly
from the trees in the Square. Fell without wind. Autumn dusk. She
felt a little sick.
"We'd love it," she
answered. "You ought to see my kids." He grinned.
Suddenly the lights
came on up the whole length of Fifth Avenue, chains of misty
brilliance in the blue air.
"There's my bus" she
He held out his hand.
"When…" she wanted to
say, but the bus was ready to pull off. The lights on the avenue
blurred, twinkled, blurred. And she was afraid to open her mouth as
she entered the bus. Afraid it would be impossible to utter a word.
Suddenly she shrieked
very loudly, "Good-bye!" But the bus door had closed.
The bus had started.
People came between them outside, people crossing the street, people
they didn't know. Space and people. She lost sight of Bill. Then she
remembered she had forgotten to give her address-or ask him for
his-or tell him that her youngest boy was named Bill, too.