Written in July of '58 and originally published in The New Yorker on July 11th the following year, the short story is read here by the author in 1969. Triumphantly known as a cataloger of civilization, Mr. Updike describes writing his early stories in a small, rented, musty office in Ipswitch by saying, "I felt that I was packaging something as delicately pervasive as smoke, one box after another, in that room, where my only duty was to describe reality as it had come to me -- to give the mundane its beautiful due." We'll listen intently as Updike itemizes the human experience through a character who is eventually "dismissed into a tainted world where things evaded his focus."
Clyde lived in Massachusetts with his wife and 2 children. He was visiting his home town in Pennsylvania and had arranged an appointment with Dr. Pennypacker because he had an annoying twitch in his eye. In the doctor's waiting room he saw Janet, a girl he had wooed in high school. She was married now too. He found that his former feeling for her still existed. She did not know how to react to his attentions. Just before they parted she gave him a note and then went off to meet her husband. He could not read the note because of the drops that had been put in his eyes, but just her familiar handwriting brought her close to him.