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Try your hand here on this free Reading Comprehension Worksheet 5. For more practice, check out my reading comprehension worksheets (also with pdfs) here.
Directions: The passage below is followed by questions about the content. Choose the BEST answer for each question based on what is stated or implied in the text.
Roell, Kelly C. "A Spring Rain" © 2004
The spring morning smelled of freshly turned earth. The leftover drops from last night’s shower ran in rivulets down the drain where she could hear the water surging beneath her city.
She couldn’t cry anymore.
Her throat burned like tears, but the water that fell so easily from the clouds could not fall from her hallow eyes. Her cheek still ached from his back-handed blow, and she lay the reddened swell against the coolness of the windowpane. At least her injury came from his open hand and not his fist or a belt like last Labor Day when Patty from down the road found her sprawled on the tile, beaten bloody. She'd explained it away, of course. A robbery gone awry.
A door creaking open and shutting softly raised the hair on the back of her neck. Heavy, wing-tipped footsteps echoed down the hall and he appeared in the doorway of the kitchen holding two dozen long-stemmed red roses. Symbols of true love.
Twelve more than last time.
Her stomach heaved and churned. She heard drainage water pour into the sewer upon his approach, and the ceiling lights began to move and dance and spin around her.
Go away, she said inwardly.
“Babe. Will you talk to me, please?”
His request resonated loudly in the room, like pots and pans on her eardrums.
No. But she would. She always did.
His face made her dizzy –his hangdog look. He wasn’t sorry. She pressed her fingers against her eyes and ached for gin. Anything.
“Are you okay?” He moved to steady her when she began to sway on her feet. The inaccuracy of his concern and unwanted touch snapped her back to reality. With a valiant effort, she yanked her arm from his grasp and turned away. She heard his sharp intake of breath. Felt the tension seething behind her.
Fear tingled up over her hairline and she apologized. She murmured something about being tired, glancing up the stairs toward her bedroom. She heard his ragged breath behind her - the barely controlled rage.
His apology was hoarse - forced. “Baby. I am sorry. You have to believe me. This will never happen again.”
She stared at her feet.
"I know I get a little out of control. I need to change things. I know that. Will you look at me?”
She stayed silent.
He slammed his fist into the wall near her head.
Flinching, she gave in. Turned to face him. He took her face in his hands. Her gaze stayed on the kitchen tile.
“Why do you bait me when you know…” he ended the sentence with compressed lips. “You know I’m leaving. I’ve got that work thing – if I could skip it I would - but when I get back, I’ll fix it.”
His face swam in front of her eyes. “Okay,” she whispered and backed away from him. “I’m going to bed, okay?”
She headed toward the stairs, and slipped up their curved staircase where peace awaited.
"Put the roses in some water or they'll die.”
* * * * *
He flew out to Chicago that night, straight from work. He was glad this business trip would give him time to think about his marriage. He knew he made mistakes and needed to change. She did too, he thought, then silenced himself. Obviously her mistakes were smaller than his. The sun dipped low in the sky as he stared out his window over Michigan Avenue. The last ray of sun colored the horizon the softest pink. He vowed right then to make serious changes. Promised to never lay a hand on her again. He would join AA. Quit drinking for good. Love her like he did in the beginning.
Flight 242 from Chicago brought him back home to a rainy spring evening. Excited with his new mind-set, he slung his briefcase over his head and hurried through the downpour to his silver Mercedes – a gift he had bought himself to go with the new title. He slid wet onto the leather of the driver’s seat and was revving the engine when his cell phone buzzed in his breast pocket.
It was Patty from down the road.
They’d found her facedown in a bathtub full of rose petals. The police weren't talking, but the housekeeper said she'd had an empty bottle of Valium in her hand. A terrible waste. An inexplicable tragedy, Patty had sobbed bleatingly into his ear.
She'd said it wasn't his fault over the phone. Patty. But what did she know?
His eyes held the truth as he stared numbly at the wiper blades slicking the water evenly away from the blur of his windshield. He gripped the steering wheel – wet from the rain –hung his head, and cried.
1. As it is used in line 55 the word bait most nearly means:
2. Which of the following is NOT a likely inference based on the information in the passage?
A. Patty from down the road is the wife's best friend.
B. The husband seems to be truly sorry for what he's done at the end.
C. The wife sees no way out of the relationship but suicide.
D. The husband values his job more than his wife.
E. The housekeeper found the wife in the bathtub.
3. The author most likely includes the information in lines 10 – 14 in order to:
A. compare what happened to the wife recently to the abuse that happened in her childhood.
B. explain that the husband had a pattern of abuse and probably wouldn't stop any time soon.
C. demonstrate the wife's weakness.
D. intensify the scene by describing the wife's injuries in full detail.
E. critique the wife's willingness to let her husband get away with physical abuse.
4. All of the events follow the wife's looking out the window EXCEPT:
A. Her husband takes a flight to Chicago.
B. Her husband walks into the house.
C. Her husband runs through the rain.
D. Her husband slams his fist into the wall.
E. Her husband purchases roses.
5. The passage provides information that answers which of the following questions?
I. Does the husband hold a powerful position at work?
II. What kind of personality traits does the wife display?
III. Does the wife's relationships with others in the neighborhood affect her married life?
A. I only
B. I and II only
C. I and III only
D. II and III only
E. I, II, and III