Auld Lang Syne

Auld Lang Syne

A Story by Lea Sheryn
"

Soldier marries Sweetheart in Gretna Green

"

Auld Lang Syne

By Lea Sheryn

 

I

 

Midnight strikes on the old hall clock.  Bong, Bong, Bong, Bong…twelve times the bong resounds.  On the Philco radio, the first bars of that same old tune begin the same old song. 

 


”Should auld acquaintance be forgot,
and never brought to mind?
Should auld acquaintance be forgot,
and auld lang syne?”

 

Yes, the year has turned from the old to the new once again.  One year out and one year in, Jessica thinks as she carries her flute of champagne onto the balcony.  Suddenly she wants to be alone.  From the open French doors behind her, the sound of party horns and voices blend into one steady noise.  Sighing, she turns to lean against the wrought iron banister and shivers in the icy winter air.  She hasn’t thought to bring her wrap outside with her.  It is too cold to stand about in the early January morning but this is not the only reason that causes her blood freeze.

 

II

 

Jeremy heard the call to duty.  Proudly donning the uniform of the United States Army, he went off the fight the war in Europe.  At first his letters arrived on a weekly basis.  Jessica grabbed them from the hall table to eagerly carry them to her room for private reading.  The other gals, who shared the rented Brownstone, liked to compare their letters by reading them out loud in a group but Jeremy wrote flowing words of love that she didn’t want to share.  She cherished the paper, the envelopes and even his crabby, crunched up handwriting. 

 

As soon as the opportunity arose, Jessica managed to pick up a nursing assignment in England.  With great luck, she was able to meet up with Jeremy and, with even more luck, was able to coordinate a week’s leave with him.  They knew what they were going to do as soon as they were seated in the little roadster he was able to borrow from a friend.  It was a secret. 

 

Heading north from London, they rambled through Birmingham and Manchester to their destination of Gretna Green in Scotland.  In the marriage capital of Great Britain, Jessica Haversford became Mrs. Jeremy Martell.  How they rejoiced in their clandestine nuptials.  Never would they forget their first night together at the inn or their first meal in the pub across the way. 

 

In the snug little tavern, a bearded giant of a man wearing a plaid kilt recited Robert Burns’ famous poem in a broad Scottish accent.  The brogue was so thick, it was difficult for their American ears to understand but they both loved the quaintness of words spoken in a native tongue. 

 

Jeremy was quick to pick up the accent in imitation; Jessica couldn’t get her tongue around it…but she did her best.  Auld Lang Syne became the catch phrase of their honeymoon.  With a twinkle in his blue-gray eyes, her new husband would suddenly say the words in the broadest brogue he could muster.  She couldn’t help but fall into peals of giggles every time he did it.  Surely they weren’t mocking the Scotsman who recited the poem; he delighted them.     

 

III

 

Wandering through the Lake District, the return to London was a slow, leisurely one.  Each of them wanted to make the most of the short time they had left together.  Jeremy had to leave for France with his regiment upon their return.  Jessica had to face the influx of wounded soldiers returning from the front.  War duties were going to separate the newlywed pair. 

 

Yes, Jessica mused as she leaned against the balcony on that cold first day of the year, Jeremy’s letters arrived with frequency at the beginning.  Seeing his handwriting on the white envelopes the postman delivered caused her heartbeat to flutter with joy.  Alas, the letters that used to show up daily dwindled to one a week, one every two weeks, one a month and stopped.  Had he suddenly realized he’d made a mistake by marrying her or was there something much worse the matter?  Tearfully she began to fear every knock at the door.  Each day a letter or a knock didn’t come was another day of anxiety to be faced. 

 

To the relief of all, WWII came to an end.  Jessica remained in England long enough to see her duties to the injured soldiers fulfilled.  How many letters home had she written to the young men’s parents, wives and girlfriends back home?  She couldn’t count; she didn’t want to count.  The only letter that really mattered to her was the one that never appeared.  “Jeremy, where are you?” she desperately asked herself as she walked from the hospital to her lonely London flat.  “Are you amongst the unidentified dead or are you still out there thinking of those days of “Auld Lang Syne”?  Until news arrived, there was no answer, the lonely girl kept reminding herself. 

 

IV

 

Clinging to every hope, Jessica remained in England as long as she could.  When the desperate hope for information became the desperate sense of loss, she finally realized it was time to go home to New York.  The gals she had rented the Brownstone with had all reunited with their husbands and lovers so there was no one for her to bunk up with; she took a small efficiency apartment and lived alone.  Her heart was no longer interested in nursing�"she had seen enough of war wounds to last a lifetime�"so she eventually took a job as a typist in a large law firm.  The keys of her typewriter hitting the white letterhead she composed letters on seemed to chant “Jeremy, Jeremy, Jeremy” and “Auld Lang Syne” until she felt she could no longer bear to hold in her grief. 

 

On New Year’s Eve, her boss insisted she join the party at his penthouse apartment.  At first she politely declined.  Having no reason to celebrate, Jessica longed to go home to flop on her bed and stare at the ceiling.  All her longing was for Jeremy…and she very definitely didn’t want to hear “that song” at midnight.  The memories�"oh, the memories�"would be too much for her lonely, breaking heart.  But, when the rest of her co-workers joined their voices with the boss’s, she was persuaded to go. 

 

And, now, here she was out on the balcony on a cold first day of the year.  The celebration was winding down.  One last hold out was still tooting away on a colorful party horn.  Cone shape hats sat askew on heads feeling the first pangs of a hangover; confetti and balloons lay neglected on the floor; voices seem to come from a long, long way off.  Jessica turns away from the opened French doors toward the wrought iron railing and accidentally let her champagne flute drop from her hand.  It’s a long way down…but what life is there if Jeremy isn’t here to share it? 

 

V

 

“Should auld acquaintance be forgot,
and never brought to mind?
Should auld acquaintance be forgot,
and auld lang syne?”

 

The song becomes the spoken word of the Scotchman from the pub across the way on the first night of the day Jessica Haversford became Mrs. Jeremy Martell.  In her mind’s eye, she can see the bearded man in his plaid kilt as he recited Robert Burn’s poem in his thick brogue.  The Scot’s accent is strong and pure and, yes, even a wee bit musical.  It’s almost as though he is on the balcony behind her.  But Jessica knows it is all in her mind. 

 

Her mind reels with the acquaintance she will never forget to bring to mind as she places her palms on the banister’s railing.  Again, the words are in her ear but this time it’s Jeremy’s imitation accent.  “Has he come back to bring me to heaven?” Jessica’s last thought runs through her mind as she feels strong arms encircling her slim waist. 

 

Jeremy’s face is buried deeply into her long golden hair as he whispers “Jessica” into her small ear.  Slowly she turns to take his longed for face in her hands so she can gaze lovingly into his soft blue-gray eyes.  They kiss and cling to each other in ecstasy.  They don’t care how they got to where they are as long as they are together in love…forever.   

 

*Auld Lang Syne by Robert Burns (1788) 

© 2019 Lea Sheryn


Author's Note

Lea Sheryn
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For those who are curious about what happened to Jeremy: he was captured, in France. In route to the detention camp, he managed to escape. Making his way through France, he was able to hide in plain sight by utilizing his ability to imitate accents. Once he made it to England, he was able to find transport on a ship to New York City. On his arrival, he tracked Jessica to her apartment, then to her work and lastly to the New Years Eve party where they were reunited. Both lived happily ever after.

Posted 4 Months Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.




Reviews

The strongest aspect of this story for me is that you did an excellent job of changing time frames thru-out with flashbacks & such. The overall reading flow was not interrupted by the changing setting & becuz my mind does not follow zigs & zags in a story very well, I must say following your storyline was easy for me. The part I didn't like is that this is just a bit too mushy-romantic for my taste. This is a very popular genre & I've even written a story about my mom & a WWII lost love with that same exact longing & hopefulness that now makes me feel tired when I read it for extended periods! *wink! wink!* You have realistically nailed the way it goes . . . the way a person pines for another person relentlessly it seems. A story like this seems to lack the ups & downs inherent in relationships . . . too much based on a vague sense of longing expressed in general terms. Even this could be remedied without changing the story much, if you added more specific detail in flashbacks to make the reader fall in love with the guy in the same way the narrator is clearly smitten to the point of obliterating all other personality traits in herself, it seems. I feel her longing, but I don't feel like I know this guy or that I can visualize irresistible details of the time they spent touching, smelling, listening to each other . . . I want to be immersed in a convincing way that this narrator is legitimately a goner over this guy & rightfully so. Sorry to be so picky, but I'm just not into superficial romantic tales & I'm not a good pretender! (((HUGS))) Fondly, Margie

Posted 1 Month Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

Lea Sheryn

1 Month Ago

Thank you for reading Auld Lang Syne. In the words of Poe, a short story is meant to lack the detai.. read more
barleygirl

1 Month Ago

I have had this very experience myself. People asked me why I don't write a book & so I did, but not.. read more
Another good story from you Leah You do know the components of what is required to keep your reader hooked to the end. Love this one, you kept us in suspense and the your author's notes fleshed things out. Sitting here with my afternoon cuppa, most enjoyed. I hope you are considering getting these published? Women's magazines, possibly?

Chris

Posted 2 Months Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

Lea Sheryn

2 Months Ago

Thank you, Chris. I enjoy writing stories. It's a lot of fun.
Very nice Lea. You've put together a very romantic story with all the right ingredients. First the romance, then the runaway wedding and then the separation. I must admit I was left on tenterhooks and thought she might have jumped. I'm caught two ways as to your note but good there was a happy ending. By the way I'm a great Burns fan and he has inspired a lot of my writing. As a scot you've done well with describing your locations.
All the best,
Alan

Posted 2 Months Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

Lea Sheryn

2 Months Ago

Thank you, Alan. I like a little suspence every once and awhile. This one was fun to write.
Great read, true love conquers all, I live not far from Gretna In Rabbies old town, you have a great way with historical detail, would love to read the story of Jeremy a little more fleshed out, lol, some homework for you,

Posted 3 Months Ago


Lea Sheryn

3 Months Ago

Thank you!

It looks like I will have to write it from Jeremy's point of view.
.. read more
Very well done and well timed for current events.

I must admit I got confused at the end where it said her "last thought runs through her mind..."; that implied that maybe she had already jumped and it was her final thought period. Maybe something like "prior" or "lingering" thought would more clearly convey to the reader what is happening.

Posted 4 Months Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

Lea Sheryn

4 Months Ago

Thank you for your kind comments.

In the sentence indicated: if the word "as" was rep.. read more
R.J.A.Gilbert

4 Months Ago

Yes. Wonderful! That clarifies my confusion and also works well to move the story forward chronologi.. read more
Lea Sheryn

4 Months Ago

Thank you for your advice.
There's such a strong sense of urgency in your writing, short paragraphs running through such a sensitive tale. So wish you'd paused to plump up the strong emotions at the start then, the growing romance. As to the end I thought there was a touch of ethereal togetherness rather than the real. But your comments explained differently. This is such fine writing and could so easily BE expanded into a novel or novella. Thank you so much for sharing it.

Posted 4 Months Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

Lea Sheryn

4 Months Ago

Thank you, emmajoy. I agree. I can revisit many of my stories with the idea of expanding them. I .. read more
Great story, keeps us waiting till the very end.
Glad Jeremy made it home, was sort of willing him all the way.
Auld Lang Syne conjures up all types of emotions in people, some sad, some happy, but sure is that remembrance time for all lost souls.


Posted 4 Months Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

Lea Sheryn

4 Months Ago

Thank you! Auld Lang Syne is a touching poem. I'm glad you liked it. Jeremy had to make it home. .. read more
Paul Bell

4 Months Ago

Definitely, he had to make it.
For those who are curious about what happened to Jeremy: he was captured, in France. In route to the detention camp, he managed to escape. Making his way through France, he was able to hide in plain sight by utilizing his ability to imitate accents. Once he made it to England, he was able to find transport on a ship to New York City. On his arrival, he tracked Jessica to her apartment, then to her work and lastly to the New Years Eve party where they were reunited. Both lived happily ever after.

Posted 4 Months Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.


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Added on May 31, 2019
Last Updated on June 10, 2019
Tags: soldier, sweetheart, marriage, Gretna Green

Author

Lea Sheryn
Lea Sheryn

Sarasota, FL



About
I love to write! To have the ability to put words together to express myself is an ability that I cherish. Working for years to strengthen my talent, I am a self taught Word Weaver. Up until now, I.. more..

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