For September’s Ray Bradbury story, I picked his very short story “I See You Never”. I picked it because it’s title sounded a little different from other Bradbury stories – and it was. This story contains no science fiction or fantasy, no comedy or hyper-reality, but it still showcases Bradbury’s ability to tell a story.
Mrs. O’Brian, who runs a Los Angeles boarding house, answers her door to find Mr. Ramirez, her best tennant, with two policemen. The entire story takes place within the doorway during this brief encounter. Mr. Ramirez is being deported back to Mexico and has come to get his few possessions and say good-bye to Mrs. O’Brian. Bradbury masterfully lets the reader know what a loss this is to Mr. Ramirez as the tennant looks past his landlady to the kitchen where her kids are eating breakfast. The thoughts of Mr. Ramirez run through his various jobs and his ability to save money during his stay at the boarding house. Meanwhile, Mrs. O’Brian remembers visiting old Mexican border towns.
Only a brief exchange of words take place between the two; however, the title phrase that Mr. Ramirez uses allows the reader to understand the finality of the situation. That nothing ever stays the same and everything must sometime come to an end are the themes that Bradbury manages to brilliantly express with such a seemingly minor incident.
Here is one of the stranger paragraphs that I’ve read from Bradbury, but it somehow works within the context of the story:
Inside Mrs. O’Brian’s kitchen, pies were baking in the oven. Soon the pies would come out with complexions like Mr. Ramirez’ – brown and shiny and crisp, with slits in them for the air almost like the slits of Mr. Ramirez’ dark eyes. The kitchen smelled good.