Ray Bradbury shows how love, with no explanation, attaches itself to the mind, the heart, and the soul, characterizing the young boy in “The Lake”, and unknowingly drawing a parallel to my life, my love, and my loss of a friend not through water, but through fire.
The boy loved this girl for no reason other than he loved her. Bradbury asserts love as a
complex, illogical, supernatural theory. Captured through the innocent gaze of a child, “It was the love that comes before all body and morals” (116), Bradbury transforms love from the traditional romantic idea into an idea more akin to eternal friendship. The young boy has this love swept away by the tide, a tide so graceful “not even a drunk man could collapse with the elegance of these waves” (114). Yet he knows, without understanding this love is eternal, and even when he moves to the West Coast, grows up, marries “Margaret”, once he returns the love will still burn, strong, steady, antithetical to the water that swept it away. These antithetical flames parallel the loss of this love in my life.
My love for Czu, who collapsed in a fire on the East side of Des Moines, three hundred
and ten miles away, unable to pry the upstairs window open to escape the flames, is not thought. It is felt in my soul. Burning, following me, offering no answers, until I return to her grave each year, on her birthday, where it erupts into a spectacular storm of sparks, singing my heart, burning my soul, erasing everything I have known leaving me with nothing but love for a friend who died long ago. The same storm consumes the young boy, now a grown man, when he sees the body of “Tally” and the childlike footprints by the sandcastle where her lifeless body lay ten years after he left “The Lake”. (Brock Stillmunks, City of Stories Student)