The woman greets Julia warmly in Italian-accented English. Bewildered, Julia makes to leave, saying she has “the wrong Mrs. Rainsferd,” since she is looking for a woman called Sarah. The Italian woman tells Julia that Sarah was her husband’s first wife, and that she is sorry to say Sarah died in a car accident in 1972. Julia is so devastated she cannot speak—but her hopes revive when the Italian woman mentions a boy, Sarah’s son, William. William’s mother, whose name is Mara, proudly tells Julia that William now lives in Italy, having left Connecticut because it “reminds him of his mother’s death.” Julia eagerly asks for William’s address.
Julia’s determination to find Sarah’s son shows how committed she is to learning more about the ending of Sarah’s story. However, it means she will also be bringing another person into her investigation and possibly exposing him to painful memories of his deceased mother. As Julia’s search for Sarah wears on, it expands to touch the lives and experiences of more and more people, suggesting that history does not end with the lives of those who lived it.