Clare and her husband Tom planned to go see a movie. After Tom ditched her to stay home and work, she decided to go alone.¨
"Yea I know, I just have to get this work done.¨
"I just hate that you have to miss this movie; you wanted to see it too."
"He kissed her then, and for a instant... he was tempted to go with her."
"... and if I give it to the boss tomorrow, he might read it over the weekend." WIth this thought in mind, Tom replied "Have a good time!"
Tom starts to question whether he should go with Clare or not but decides that he would rather give his boss the new project tomorrow. When he turns around after kissing Clare goodbye, he sees his papers flying around from the wind.
"He opened the door for her, feeling the air from the building hallway."
"Turning, he saw a white paper drifting to the floor, ad another sheet, yellow, moving towards the window. "
Tom sees the peice of work fly out the window. He tries to reach the paper from inside but cannot find anything long enough. With the thought of losing his work in mind, he decided that it can't be too scary to climb out on the ledge.
"He ran across the room, and tugged, staring through the glass.
"He swung a leg over the sill, then felt and found the ledge."
When Tom finally reaches the paper, he looks down at the city and freezes. The thought of dying crosses his mind and he realizes that if he dies, his life would have been wasted. He starts to understand that he's been missing out on the little things because of his obsession over work.
"It was impossible to walk back. He simply could not do it. "
"He understood fully that he might actually be going to die. It occurred to him then that if he fell, all he was ever going to have out of life he would then, abruptly, have had."
After realizing and regretting his decision not to go out with Clare, Tom decides that if hes going to die, he wants to die fighting. When he thinks about Clare and the relationship they have, he builds up the strength to try and bust through the window.
"He kew it was time to make an attempt. Then with every last scrap of strength he had, he shot his arm forward toward the glass and said, 'Clare!"'
"He was not simply going to cling here until he slipped and fell; he told himself that now."
"He wished, then, that he had not allowed his wife to go off by herself tonight- or on similar nights."
After Tom was successful in climbing back through the window, he decided to get ready and meet Clare at the movies. When Tom opens the door to leave, the wind picked the yellow paper back up and took it back out of the window. This time, Tom was not affected because he rearranged his priorities to focus less on the materialistc things and more on the relationship with his wife.
"As he saw the yellow paper... sail out into the night and out of his life, Tom burst into laughter and then closed the door behind him.
"There he got out his topcoat and hat and, without waiting to put them on, opened the front door and stepped out, to go find his wife.