“The Visit” by Ray Bradbury Summary

The Visit Ray Bradbury Summary
Summary of “The Visit” by Ray Bradbury

“The Visit” is a short story by Ray Bradbury. It can be read in the sample of We’ll Always Have Paris: Stories (72% in). It’s about an awkward and emotionally charged meeting between a grieving woman and a younger man. They share a connection that is simultaneously profound and tenuous, and they’re not sure how to handle it. Here’s a summary of “The Visit”.

“The Visit” Summary

A young man has reluctantly agreed to receive a visit from a grieving woman, Mrs. Hadley, who called him. It’s awkward so he wants it to be short, and so does she. On her way to his apartment, she’s not sure what she’ll say and how he’ll react. They’re strangers to each other. She only found his name yesterday through a local hospital.

Mrs. Hadley steadies herself outside his door and knocks loudly. She’s surprised he doesn’t look like someone else but, of course, there’s no reason he would. He invites her in and introduces himself. Bill offers her coffee and they sit.

They discuss their connection. Mrs. Hadley knows people at the hospital who did some checking for her. The information should have been confidential but she persisted. She’s going to France and this is her last chance.

Her son died on the same night that Bill was brought in for a heart transplant, so they figured it out easily. It’s strange and sad but also a gift—Bill is alive because of her son. His other organs went to various other people as well. Mrs. Hadley sometimes laughs and cries at the ridiculousness of her son being nowhere and in many places.

Bill says her son is here and is the reason he’s alive. Mrs. Hadley thanks him for the sentiment. She suddenly jumps up to leave, embarrassed over what she’s putting them both through. Bill tells her to stay and finish her coffee. She finishes it and feels overwhelmed by the interaction. She wishes Bill well and heads for the door.

Bill stands in her way and gives her permission to do what she came to do. He closes his eyes and stands with his arms at his side. He gently urges her until she puts her ear against his chest. Mrs. Hadley repeats something in an undertone, perhaps a name, as she listens to his heart beat. She stays there a long time and feels calmer.

Mrs. Hadley finally raises her head and kisses Bill lightly on the cheek. Without saying anything or looking back, she rushes to the door and leaves. Bill, who still stands with his eyes closed, puts a hand on his chest and feels the beating.

Bill sits down and finishes his coffee, feeling the pulse travel into the cup. He drinks like it’s medicine or a gift. He opens his eyes and sees the room is empty.

I hope this summary of “The Visit” by Ray Bradbury was helpful.