Study Guide

Here We Are

Here We Are Summary

As the story begins, the nameless male character—a newlywed husband—is taking a really long time to stash his and his wife's luggage in their train compartment. Once he's finally finished, he and his wife—the other main character—make a bunch of exclamations about how they're a married couple now. The wife starts worrying about all the people around the world who get married (and, she seems to imply, have sex) everyday, and whether it works out or not. The husband says not to think about all that stuff.

They discuss the wedding, and (after the wife asks him) the husband says he thought the wife's friend Louise looked really stunning. This seems to irritate the wife, who ends up accusing the husband of ignoring her sister and not liking her family. He strongly objects. After they've (sort of) wrapped this argument up, however, they begin bickering about the wife's hat. She asks the husband if he likes her hat, and he says that, while he's sure it's "probably great", he really likes her old blue hat. The wife is irritated and says that the old hat was cheap.

This leads into another, perhaps even bigger argument, where the wife says the husband hates her hat and should've married Louise, who probably shares his taste in women's hats. The husband says she should've married Joe Brooks—a traveling salesman friend of hers—and she says that maybe she should have. Then, she further attacks the husband for thinking about Louise while standing by the altar, in the presence of God, waiting to get married.

The husband apologizes and says it was just a weird, funny thought he had. The wife worries more about how the marriage will turn out, and they talk about what they'll do once they get to New York for their honeymoon. She says she might write letters to some people from the wedding, annoying the husband. But then they agree to just stay in the hotel room and do "whatever we [want]" to do (clearly meaning consummate the marriage).

They make out or something during a period of silence (Parker leaves it ambiguous), and agree not to fight anymore. Right after that, however, they end up arguing more about the hat. The story ends pretty much where it began with the couple wondering and puzzling over the fact that they're both married to each other.

  • Section 1

    Here They Are

    • As the story takes off, a young man is attempting to stash luggage in the compartment of a train. Trying to maintain his balance on the moving train, he takes eight minutes to arrange two suitcases and a hatbox in the corners of the compartment… maybe for reasons other than balance, Parker hints.
    • He sits down opposite a young woman, who is wearing brand new clothes and shoes. She turns her attention from the window to him.
    • They make a bunch of expressions of relief, with a sense of settling-in—they say "Well!" a lot.
    • It quickly becomes clear they've just been married—less than three hours earlier, in fact. 
    • After the wife says it must be only three hours since they were married, the husband says it's actually just two hours and twenty-six minutes. The wife says that it feels longer. Uh oh.
    • After the husband says the nights are going to be longer—because it's going to get darker earlier—the wife says that she feels sort of disoriented after this whole wedding thing, and after seeing all these people. She says she can't imagine how people "do it every day." 
    • The husband asks her what she means, and she says she's talking about marriage—all the people in China or wherever, getting married and everything. 
    • Well, says the husband, let's not worry about all those other people. But the wife keeps worrying, saying that she couldn't help imagining all those people doing it—getting married, she says she means—all the time. It's like, what's going to happen next?
    • The husband says they both know what's going to happen next… and it'll be great. Right? 
    • The wife keeps fretting about all the people who get married and it doesn't turn out well, but the husband says this isn't a great way to start their honeymoon.
  • Section 2

    Tiptoeing Around the Elephant in the Room

    • So, they start talking about the wedding. But after complimenting his wife on the veil she wore, the husband sticks his foot in his mouth. The wife has just finished saying how lovely her sister, Ellie, and her friend, Louise, looked at the wedding. The husband says Louise looked really attractive—he was thinking about how good she looked while he was up there at the altar waiting for his bride to arrive. 
    • The wife says that's funny, because people have been saying Louise has looked really tired recently. It's mean of them to say it, she says, because Louise is older now—twenty-seven and not twenty-three.
    • The husband says Louise still looked like a knockout, though. 
    • The wife acts like she's glad the husband thought Louise looked good, and asks him how he though her sister looked. 
    • When the husband says he didn't get a good look at her, the wife gets mad. She says Ellie looked great today, and says her husband doesn't notice Ellie or pay attention to her. She accuses him of not liking her sister.
    • The husband says he does so like Ellie. But the wife says it's going to make their marriage difficult—the fact that her husband doesn't like her own family. 
    • Annoyed, the husband protests—he says he likes her mother, her father, and Ellie. The wife says she's seen how marriages go bad because people don't like each other's families. He says he's confused by how angry she is, and that they shouldn't fight like this right at the beginning of the honeymoon. He says he thinks the wife is just nervous.
    • She claims she's not nervous and that there's nothing to be nervous about.
    • The husband says people say this happens—sometimes newly married girls get nervous on account of thinking about… He doesn't finish his thought and just says, "I mean. I mean—" before going on to say everything will be all right.
    • The wife says she guesses she was just nervous after thinking about all those people everywhere, and also about being alone with her husband. She says they won't be like a typical couple that fights all the time, right?
    • The husband agrees.
  • Section 3

    Getting Jel'

    • Then, they get into an argument about the wife's hat. She pressures the husband to tell her if he really likes the hat, after he says it looks good on her. 
    • He says it's probably great and in style, but he really, really likes this one blue hat she had. 
    • The wife says that it's horrible that the first thing he says to her, once he's got her alone after their wedding, is that he doesn't like her hat. She tells him her hat is actually a far more expensive one than the old blue one. 
    • The husband says he'll probably like the new hat when he gets used to it, and that he doesn't know anything about women's hats.
    • The wife says it's too bad he didn't marry someone with the same taste in hats—like Louise. She angrily asks him why he didn't marry Louise, if he thinks she's so beautiful and would love her taste in hats.
    • She claims that the husband has only talked about how great Louise is since they've got on the train, which (she says) is an awful thing to do to someone you've just married. The wife says the husband should've married Louise, who probably would've jumped at the chance since not that many people are waiting in line to ask her. 
    • The husband says that maybe she should've married Joe Brooks. The wife says maybe she should have. Joe Brooks wouldn't have got her all alone and hurt her feelings—he's fond of her.
    • The husband points out that Joe Brooks didn't buy her a wedding present. She says that's only because he was away on business. He'll get her anything she wants—but the husband says he doesn't want anything Brooks gets her in the apartment. 
    • He asks the wife if she's been exchanging letters with Brooks—she suggests she might've. The husband gets angry and says that needs to stop. 
    • She says he's one to talk, since he just keeps going on and on about Louise and how he was thinking about her on his wedding day—at the altar, in front of God!
  • Section 4

    A Side of Peanuts

    • The husband apologizes for talking that way, and says he only mentioned it because he thought she would find it funny. 
    • The wife says she knows that's true—she's just been mixed up, thinking about all the people all over the world getting married and stuff. Though, she says, she thought he mentioned Louise maliciously. 
    • He denies this and says it was meant to make her laugh. They should be cheerful too—since it's their honeymoon, after all.
    • The wife worries that they're going to just squabble throughout their marriage like they did before (and are doing now). The husband says they're not really married yet. Things will be different afterwards (meaning after they've consummated the marriage, obviously). 
    • The husband points out they'll be in New York in twenty minutes. They can get dinner and then… well, what would she like to do? See a show or something?
    • The wife says they can do whatever—though she has some letters she needs to write. 
    • The husband is like—oh really, that's what you're going to be doing?
    • She says that she has to write thank you notes to people for some of the wedding gifts. The husband jokes that he could get her a magazine and some peanuts so she won't be bored. 
    • She says she won't be bored—they're married after all.
    • The husband suggests having dinner in their room at the Biltmore and then doing "whatever we wanted."
    • The wife talks about how glad she is to stay at the Biltmore again and says she sleeps instantly after putting her head on the pillow. The husband jokes about this, saying "Oh you do?"
  • Section 5

    Back Where We Started

    • The wife says it might be better to put the show off until tomorrow. The husband says that's good, and asks her if she really needs to write letters tonight. She says no. 
    • Then there's a silence with "things going on in it"—whatever that means. 
    • The husband and wife promise each other that they won't fight anymore. The wife says (again) that she was just thinking of all those people out there all getting married, and of how many marriages go wrong, and so on.
    • They say they're not going to be like those people. Then, the wife asks the husband to get her hat, and says it's too bad he doesn't like it. 
    • He says he does like it and calls her crazy. The wife says it's great that she's married someone who hates her hats and calls her crazy. 
    • The husband protests, exasperated, saying that he really does love her hat and anything else she wears. But she says she doesn't want him to say it like that. 
    • Finally, the wife accepts the husband's claim that he likes her hat. She says she just didn't want to get off to such a bad start, thinking her husband hated her hat. 
    • The husband says that he and the wife aren't going to have any bad starts—they're on their honeymoon. Everything will be all right once they get into New York and the hotel and… everything…
    • The story ends with the husband and wife repeating lines from the beginning of the story. The husband says, "Here we are!" And the wife replies, "Yes, here we are… Aren't we?"