One former student told the other former student to go away, out there, in the snow, at night.

Go away, he said to the other. If she sees us both, she will label us both former students, forgetting that I am I and you are you.

He was the older former student. He had fought in a war. He had not reenlisted because he wanted to do something else with his life. He was deaf in one ear.

The other former student was young, but he had been to Europe.

It was true that as she looked out the window at them walking back and forth under the streetlight, they were, in her mind, two former students, more so than if each of them had been alone, fully himself, though also, unavoidably, a former student.

Lydia Davis, “Two Former Students”, in Can’t and Won’t: Stories