That Summer Evening

Submitted by Gayathri Anirudhan to Contest #4 in response to: Write a story based on the song title: "My Generation"... view prompt

Aunt May was the toughest women ever known to Young Smith. He would wake up every morning, despite the cold harsh weather, and manage to get to Aunt May’s house. The house was neither big nor small. It gave an ancient aura to Young Smith, which he liked very much. There was a book shelf at one corner of the kitchen, where Young Smith would often visit and when he had enough time, always sat next to the window sill, turn each leaf of the book peacefully and read out the words aloud. Even though Aunt May hated noises, she never complained it to Young Smith, because she loved him.

Young Smith was from a wealthy family, unlike his poor Aunt. It was not like anybody hated Aunt May, it was just that Aunt May wanted to stay at this house of memories. Where she grew up, ate with everyone in the dining hall and played with her siblings. It was a feeling she still couldn't get enough of.

One thing Aunt May often told to Young Smith was about her generation. She always called it 'The Generation of Miracles'. The true love was evolved at her time, or she says.

Young Smith often forget about how the world has changed. Grown ups always talk about the good old days where everything was fun. Unlike now, where people don't really socialize with others. And it was something Aunt May hated too. She always believed in 'good fences make good neighbors'. And she is right. And the reason nobody knows each other is because none have good fences these days. The theory is funny to Young Smith, though he appreciates Aunt May for everything she says.

Aunt May is a funny women. She often told jokes about how Young Smith's Grandfather had a big nose, twice the size of a potato. Young Smith would always laugh out aloud at Aunt May's sense of humor and Aunt May would always join him.

Aunt May worked as a baker at the end of the small Norwood town. She would bake the finest of all cakes. All her freshly baked cakes are first tasted by Young Smith. He always loved her cakes which tasted delicious than anything other he has eaten. Especially the RedRose cake, which was special to Aunt May.

Aunt May was a women in her fifties. She had a pair of beautiful green eyes and a rose pink lips, both which adorns more to her snow pale skin and cheeks that flushed pink when it was too hot or too cold. Her blonde hair was always tied in a neat Dutch braid and she would decorate them with flowers. She looked younger than most of the women in her age. Young Smith always wondered how she looked young and fresh, but Aunt May would never give in her beauty secret. 

It was on one Christmas morning, Young Smith visited Aunt Mary’s house after a week in his sick bed. He was ready happy and excited to go see her again. Never have he ever missed seeing her for a long time. He was worried more about her than him. 

He wrapped himself in comfortable clothes and made his pace quickly towards Aunt May’s house. Snow was everywhere, stretched like a vast sea. Young Smith loved the cold, though everyone considered it strange. The house was decorated with huge stars and lights. In the front of the house was a huge pine tree, on top sat a golden star shimmering, decorated with fairy lights. Young Smith’s eyes awakened with admiration. He wanted to stay there for some more time but Aunt May's face came flooding to him. He turned the door knob and ran to his Aunt, who was sitting on a chair, next to the warm fire, knitting a sweater. 

Young Smith ran and hugged Aunt May. This was the happiest moment of his life. He missed her so much. Aunt May was so surprised that the sweater she was knitting fell out of her hands.

‘Smith, is that you dear?’ she said with honey sweet voice 'Oh my, how I missed you'

Young Smith looked at his Aunt whose eyes were welled up. 

‘Don’t worry, Aunt,' he said 'I am here now. We are together again' 

Tears started flowing from Aunt May's eyes without a break. She loved Young Smith more than she has loved anything. 

'Yes, you are dear,' She said, her voice tinged with pure love and happiness. ‘I will weep no more'

Young Smith smiled. He was really lucky to have Aunt May. She was the only person whom he knew was the definition of love.

Young Smith’s eyes caught the sight of another object. It was a beautiful Ruby ring, and Aunt May was wearing it. 

‘Aunt May,' he looked at her earnestly 'What is that?’ 

He pointed to the ring Aunt May was wearing. Aunt May looked at it and heaved a sigh. 

'This was something I got as a present when I was a Young lady,' she smiled 'Do you want to see it, dear?’

Young Smith nodded smiling. Aunt May removed the ring from her index finger carefully and placed it on Young Smith’s soft palm. He got a little tickly feeling and he smiled it off. Young Smith examined the dazzling Ruby ring carefully and had a little curiosity grown into him.

‘Who gave it you, Aunt May?’ he asked, still looking at the ring.

Aunt May smiled. She knew that he was always an observant person. She would disappoint him if she didn’t say this. And she knew that this was the moment to tell Young Smith everything about this ring, her life and her generation. 

‘Your Uncle, dear,' she said, her lips twitching into a lovely smile 'He have that ring to me'

Young Smith smiled even more widely at the ring. It was the sweetest thing he has ever heard.

‘Really?’ he asked, his voice full of eager.

Aunt May smiled. ‘Yes dear, gifted to me a long time ago. This is the most valuable thing in my life, if I have to say'

Curiosity rose in Young Smith’s innocent heart. 'But isn’t this a very costly ring? How did he manage to get something like this for you?’

 Aunt May patted Young Smith’s head. She took of the left over wool from her lap and placed it on the table next to her. She gestured Young Smith to take a seat on her lap. Young Smith, without another thought, hopped on. 

Aunt May caressed him gently. ‘Let me tell you a story, dear.’

'What story, Aunt May?’ Young Smith looked at his Aunt’s face whose eyes were wandering into something else, something sweet and worth telling for.

'A story, dear' she said smiling 'of that Summer Evening'

'Summer Evening?’ Young Smith asked, tapping his chin.

‘Yes dear,' she smiled again 'The day when your uncle and I met'

Young Smith adjusted himself comfortably on Aunt May's lap and kept his ears away from distractions, and carefully listened. Aunt May gave Young Smith another sweet smile before beginning the story.

‘It was a lovely summer evening, dear' she started 'Even in the heat of the shinning sun, many flowers bloomed and decorated the Rosewood Park, East of London, from where I come from. I visited the park, once every week. There wasn’t anything special about the park rather than it’s neatness and fully awakened flowers. People never came there often, but I did, and so did someone else’

Young Smith hugged Aunt May closer to get more warmth. Aunt May gave him a small peck on his cheek before continuing.

‘This boy was the most popular lad in my school,' she smiled, her eyes glinting with happiness 'There wasn’t a day I wouldn’t hear praises about him. He was loved by everyone, including the teachers. A handsome, tall and fit man, who anyone would fall for. But little did I know that he would ever fall for me'

'Uncle was that famous?’ Young Smith asked earnestly 

'Yes dear,' Aunt May said holding Young Smith’s gaze 'He was the most beautiful man in every way'

Young Smith have never seen his Uncle. His mother always told him at that, his uncle was a very nice man who worked as a merchandise trader in England. He haven’t even thought about his uncle for a long time. Now he wondered, with his little brain, where his uncle was.

‘Your Uncle, Richard Smith, was a man of dignity. And me,' Aunt May tickled Young Smith’s ears. Young Smith laughed adorably 'your aunt, was a women of few words. I was one of those book worms you would find at the corner of a library. Hardly anyone would ever know my presence. But your uncle did. He watched everyday. He would always follow me around, but I never noticed, until that Summer evening……'

Young Smith’s eyes were wide open with more than curiosity and admiration. He was eager. Eager to know more. More of his Aunt’s life. He has never known anything about his Aunt. Only that she was his mother’s sister. Now was his chance and he listened without any break, while Aunt May kept narrating the story of her life.

'I was sitting on a wooden bench, reading my favorite book, “Romeo and Juliet”, the best romance book ever written, while your uncle, my Richard, came and sat next to me. I hated talking while I was reading but something……something in my mind, held me back from yelling at the young man next to me. I kept my book beside me on the table and waited for him to say something.’

Aunt May laughed shyly and blushed. ‘He took my hand in his and smiled. “May” he said with his soothing voice “If you give me a chance, I will be your Romeo, forever”. I couldn’t resist him. He was the most beautiful thing that has ever happened to me. I said yes, and went with him, without another thought. Never have I ever seen such sincerity in a man. He was my love. Forever, just as he said……'

Aunt May’s eyes were now welled up and Young Smith was confused. Why is she sad now, was his next question. 

‘No dear, I am not sad,' she said, as if she was reading his thoughts 'This is the cry of happiness.’

Young Smith kissed Aunt May on the cheek. 

'Later then,' Aunt May continued 'He gave me this ring, this pretty ring for my birthday. I took care of this ring like this was my son…’

Aunt May looked at Young Smith and mustered a faint smile. ‘He was the love of my life, dear. He took care of me until his death. He was my greatest treasure. It was a love no one in your generation could even think of.’

Young Smith blushed 'Really?’

‘Yes dear,' Aunt May said lightly 'My generation bought true love that can never be replaced.’

Young Smith was happy. He never expected to hear Aunt May’s story, but now he knows and he has learned something.

‘Dear,' Aunt May called him so suddenly, that he got startled 'Oh I am sorry dear to scare you but I wanted to say something'

'That’s fine, Aunt May,' Young Smith shook his head 'Go on, you can tell me anything'

She wrapped Young Smith’s fingers around the Ruby ring. ‘You can have it, dear'

Young Smith got off Aunt May’s lap suddenly and asked in delight 'Really, Aunt May? Really?’

Aunt May laughed at his enthusiasm 'Yes dear,' she said, her eyes gleaming with happiness 'I always wanted someone who is worthy and truly sincere to have this token of love given….and that’s you, dear'

Young Smith couldn’t believe what was happening. He wanted this to be some sort of dream. This ring was Aunt May’s life and love. She has given this to him out of all the people. He was so surprised.

Aunt May’s eyes swept outside and her face went dull 'Its getting late dear. It’s better you go home now'

Young Smith knew she was right. His mother would be waiting for him to return. He placed the ring securely inside his jacket. He nodded and started to leave when Aunt May called him.

'Never sell or give that ring to anyone else,' she said smiling 'I only trust that with you dear'

'Sure, Aunt May,' He promised and gave another kiss on her cheek.

He then ran to the door and opened it when a thought occurred to him. He turned back to look at his Aunt again.

'You are right Aunt May,' he smiled 'This love you had is something only your generation would have….’

Aunt May’s tears came down again without a stop. She cupped her hands to her mouth and cried. 

'Thank you, dear,' she said looking at the innocent young boy before her.

Young Smith knew she was right. The current situation of this world of relationships can break any moment. People love and then hate each other. They leave after they sick of each other, as if they don't care. It's painful, the way the world is turning out to be. And yes, Aunt May's generation was the 'Generation of Miracles'

Young Smith got outside the door and took one more last look at his Aunt before leaving.

‘Merry Christmas, Aunt May,' he said silently as he closed the door and ran back to his house in the cold weather.

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