(Comprehensive Guide to Short Stories, Critical Edition)

George has been working at the lunch counter of a train station restaurant in order to save money for college. It is his last day on the job before he leaves. The restaurant is frequented by young women on their lunch hours. Though these women usually avoid contact with the three other men who work at the restaurant, they occasionally chat with George. Though not a handsome man, George has a polite and generous nature and is well liked by Steve, the restaurant’s manager.

George always notices one particular young woman (later identified as Lola) who comes to the lunch counter, yet something in her manner suggests an aloofness that makes him hesitate to speak to her. On this day when she comes in, George again notes how shy and pretty she is, even though she is dressed somewhat shabbily. She does not even have a piece of fur around the collar of her thin blue coat—something that most young women can afford.

After returning from a break that evening, Steve tells George that a young woman has telephoned for him and left a number. Not knowing who might have phoned, George returns the call and learns that it is the shy young woman from the lunch counter. She invites him to visit her at half past ten that evening.

At the woman’s boardinghouse room George is somewhat nervous, not knowing what to expect, but the young woman quickly takes charge. Wearing a tight red sweater, she invites him to sit next to her. Soon he is kissing her....

(The entire section is 466 words.)