William reveals that Sarah killed herself by driving her car into a tree. Julia is at a loss for words, and although she wishes she could take William’s hand, she feels something holding her back. Even in the ensuing silence, however, she feels comfortable in William’s company. William thanks Julia for sharing Sarah’s story. He vows that he will visit Beaune-la-Rolande and the site of the Vélodrome, but declines Julia’s offer to accompany him. Julia watches as William leaves the café, wishing that he had asked to keep in touch. She “folds [her] palms over the roundness of [her] stomach, letting loneliness ebb into [her].”
The revelation that Sarah’s death was a suicide further underscores the terrible toll that guilt took on her life (and on the life of her child, William). This chapter is also significant because Julia’s total comfort in William’s silence introduces the possibility for a deep, romantic connection between William and Julia. This is one of the first occasions in the novel where silence has a positive connotation.