In Ray Bradbury's first New Yorker story, a man, Mr. Ramirez is being deported to Mexico, and he returns to his apartment to say goodbye to his landlord, Mrs. O'Brien. He came to the country legally, but he has overstayed his visa. Even though he has held a job and been a responsible member of society, the police are forcing him to return to Mexico.
Before he leaves, he insists on visiting his landlady in order to give her a proper goodbye. It is a tearful goodbye, and as he says farewell to his tough but fair landlord, he recounts his many great memories of living in his apartment. Simultaneously, Mrs. O'Brien is remembering what a good and respectful tenant he was. She is very sad to see him leave, but Mr. Ramirez is overwhelmed with emotion.
He worked hard and kept his job, but it is irrelevant since he has overstayed his visa by 6 months. When he sees Mrs. O'Brien, she is sitting down for dinner with his children, and there is little time for a lengthy goodbye. As he walks away from her apartment, he says, "I see you never," and the others do not understand his words. The police officers smile at his diction and escort him away.
It is not until Mr. Ramirez leaves that Mrs. O'Brien realizes that she will never see him again. She sits at the table with her children as they rambunctiously scramble for food. They pester her with questions, but her mood is solemn. She is quiet and begins to process what Mr. Ramirez was trying to communicate to her: they will never see each other again.
The title of this story and the behavior of the tenant, Mr. Ramirez, show that awkward language or incorrect diction can express profound thoughts. As Mr. Ramirez is leaving and saying goodbye to his landlord, Mrs. O'Brien, the police officers laugh at him for being unable to clearly express his thoughts. Even Mrs. O'Brien doesn't quite grasp what he is trying to say. The eloquence of his words does not hit her until after he has left and she begins to eat. She realizes that she'll never see him again.
Additionally, the story forces us to think about the many people with whom we interact with everyday, whom we may never see again due to a variety of circumstances. In addition to these unknown people that we cross paths with in our daily lives, there are also the people with whom we could share intense but brief moments, but whom we will never see again. We may know that they are leaving us, or it may be unexpected. It is difficult to sometimes process that you will not be thrown into the same situation with this person again. Because we've all had experiences like this in one way or another, Bradbury's piece evokes a sense of nostalgia.
This was Bradbury's first piece in The New Yorker, and it was very different from many of his later pieces, but it still established him in the literary scene.