I came across this story during the first lockdown under which circumstance the idea of embarking on an undirected drive with a stranger seemed luringly realistic. I was mesmerized by Welty’s interwoven prose and the narrative suspense – will anything happen between her and him? – that only yielded a figure vanishing through the revolving door.
Throughout the early summer, I reread the story so many times to the point I could almost memorise some of the paragraphs. One day as I was taking my daily walk along a densely tree-lined street, I suddenly thought of this sentence from the story:
He regarded the great sweep – like steppes, like moors, like deserts; bur more than it was like any likeness, it was South.
At the time, although my recollection was inaccurate and vague, I cried on the empty street regardless. I’m in love with Eudora Welty, I thought.
First published in The New Yorker, September 1952, and collected in The Bride of the Innisfallen, 1955. Also in The Collected Stories of Eudora Welty, Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, 1980, latest edition is from Mariner Books, 2019)