“I saw my ex-husband in the street. I was sitting on the steps of the new library.
“Hello, my life, I said. We had once been married for twenty-seven years, so I felt justified.
“He said, What? What life? No life of mine.
“I said, O.K. I don’t argue when there’s real disagreement. I got up and went into the library to see how much I owed them.
“The librarian said $32 even and you’ve owed it for eighteen years. I didn’t deny anything. Because I don’t understand how time passes. I have had those books. I have often thought of them. The library is only two blocks away.
“My ex-husband followed me to the Books Returned desk. He interrupted the librarian, who had more to tell. In many ways, he said, as I look back, I attribute the dissolution of our marriage to the fact that you never invited the Bertrams to dinner.
“That’s possible, I said. But really, if you remember: first, my father was sick that Friday, then the children were born, then I had those Tuesday-night meetings, then the war began.”
But don't stop there! You can hear the whole short story read, not by Paley, but by another interesting reader.
It's a story that sticks with you, like the smell of the bacon that Paley's narrator and her (not yet ex) husband had, and yet didn't have, in their small apartment, where, it seems, they had, and yet didn't have, many things.