Xandra Pena Díaz 10-2 Professor Rivera Summer and Autumn Tomorrow is going to be September 22nd, the first day of fall. A long time ago, it used to be the most special time of the year for me, but now everything about it reminds me of what has kept me sad for the past ten years. For this reason, this year I won’t be here to see how majestic trees drop their seeds along with their orange leaves or to stare at the beautiful shapes the birds make as they migrate. This year, instead of watching birds fly to faraway places, I’m going to accompany them to their destiny, leaving all I’ve ever known and the memories of what I have loved behind, just like my love once did. Before I go, I’ll tell you the story I’ve put together using her journals and my memories from our times together starting about fifteen years ago according to a section in Summer’s last journal, titled “I couldn’t be happier” … As the season started changing outside, the air that used to be filled with warm melodies was starting to feel cold and barren. The last leaves rustled as they were being ripped off from the trees by the harsh winds. The clock struck 12 o’clock, two minutes late as always, yet the sun didn’t feel like warming up today either. All the signs indicated that autumn was finally here; Summer’s favorite time of the year. Summer was a beautiful, young woman that smiled everyday around the time the sun was supposed to come up and spent most of her time in her hometown’s library reading. She read romance novels and all sorts of happy ending stories, but she was most passionate about the wonders and beauties of nature. She had seen and read almost everything there was to know about flowers, animals, trees and mountains, but she was always awed by the changes they experienced during the seasons of the year. Summer’s favorite season was fall. She considered it the most generous and caring season of the four because just like trees, she gave away her beauty and her children, so they could grow strong during spring. When the time came, Summer was old enough to leave her hometown to go to Paris, where she knew her life could take a different turn, a whole country away from everyone and everything she knew and loved. Among other things in her baggage, she took her most precious items with her: her journal and her late grandmother’s watch, which was oddly also two minutes late. She arrived to the train station with a smile in her face, thinking of the opportunities and the adventures waiting for her at the last stop. “March 28th, 1917 ‘A whole new world’: As soon I got down from the train I saw this mesmerizing painting of a prairie covered in yellow flowers with two or three birds far away in the background. I followed the multitude until I got to an open place. There I was, in the most beautiful place I had ever seen. Paris is just my type of place.” She wrote in one the pages. That day was the first time I saw Summer, I remember as if it was yesterday. There she was, across the park, the most beautiful woman I had ever seen. She sat in a bench between the fountains and the trees. Her face lighted up every time she saw a butterfly or a bird fly by. I sat at the other end of the bench and said “hi”. Summer looked at me and told me she just arrived here France and asked me if I could show her more places like that beautiful park in Paris. Even though I didn’t know as much as any other local, I told her I knew enough places to show her. We talked, shared stories and even arranged to meet at the same place the next day to continue our conversation. We continued knowing each other for a long time and I was convinced, that the more I talked to her, the more assured I felt she was the woman of my dreams. Almost a year passed, and our feelings grew more and more. Since we both worked until sundown, we had the night to catch up and talk about our day. By then she had started working at the hospital, where she perfected her French. I spent most of my time working at the bakery, trying to earn enough money to buy her a ring. I knew how important her favorite romance novels were to her, so I tried to make her feel she was living inside one. I planted a whole garden, just so she could watch the butterflies flutter around. I even saved the sweetest deserts in the bakery in a small cloth for Summer. Oh, I remember making her so happy with those! “August 20th, 1918: Yesterday I spoke with another nurse’s patient. I believe his name was Emmanuel. He said he was a soldier and he had been traveling from Brest and got delayed for about two days, although from how it looked, it could have been more. He was dehydrated, nauseous and for some reason, he had dark spots on his cheeks. When the other nurse came back, I asked her if she knew what was wrong and she said: ‘I don’t think this man’s live goes beyond tonight’. That poor man had talked about his family for hours before he died. I tried to stay as close as I could to give him comfort and making his last hours as happy and comfortable as I could”. That day, I remember her coming back with a new expression on her face; one I had never seen before on her. She looked sad. I didn’t ask why she was, but I decided to give her some space, after all I didn’t really know what I could do to make her feel better. I went to the kitchen, got the sweets and laid them down beside her in case her appetite came back. The next morning, I woke up and I couldn’t find Summer. All I saw was a note written on the cloth were the pastries were wrapped. “Dear Gustave, know that I have left because of my love for you. Live your life to the fullest and enjoy every sunrise as if it was the last. I love you with all my heart, Summer”. I searched and searched for her everywhere, but I couldn’t find her. It had been two days and I still didn’t know where Summer was or why she left. Later that day, a nurse knocked at my door and I went as fast as I could to answer. I thought it was Summer, but when I opened the door a dark-haired lady started lowering her head as I asked if she knew where Summer was. To you, my love I have dedicated this story. Telling it has made me relive this beautiful time of my life, remembering every little detail of what once made me happy. After all this time, the beautiful memories are the ones that have kept me here. Since the sun is almost setting, I should prepare myself with a good night’s sleep to start my journey tomorrow, to a place where everything will be filled with sunrises and roses.