(Comprehensive Guide to Short Stories, Critical Edition)

Myra, a university student, is rather typical, a sorority girl pinned to Kirk Abbott, a fraternity man. She still accepts dates from other men, so it is quite clear that the two are fairly casual about their relationship.

No matter how many parties Myra attends, no matter how often she dances until she should be exhausted by the evening’s end, she always feels that something is missing in her life. This neurotic sensation makes her feel as though she has lost something, misplaced some unknown item, the exact nature of which eludes her. Sometimes she visits the rooms of other women in her dormitory, exchanging anecdotes until she must return to her own room, where she cries into her pillow or stares out of the window until dawn—always without knowing the cause of her consternation.

Myra has always written verse, and sometimes when the unexplainable emotion grows too great, she finds relief in jotting down some lines, which could range from a couplet to an entire poem. In April, she writes “Words are a net to catch beauty” in the back of a history notebook. From then on, her bewilderment seemed less acute.

She belongs to a poetry club on campus, at which she becomes acquainted with Homer Stallcup. Through the year, she has felt his avoidance of her must mean he dislikes her, but she finally realizes that the contrary is true: He is in love with her.

None of Myra’s friends know Homer, because he waits on tables at a campus restaurant, fires furnaces, and does chores for his room and board. His frequent female companion, a strange girl named Hertha, is not a member of the “in” group either, but she belongs to the...

(The entire section is 684 words.)