Short Story (By Rachel Tucker)
I sat on the park bench watching my niece as she guarded her 4 year old son who clambered like a monkey over the jungle gym. Happy shouts and laughter filled the air and I found myself transported back to the time when I first met my niece. Despite the fact that this beautiful young woman was a niece by marriage and not by blood, I couldn’t have loved her more. My thoughts wandered back to a sunny day on her parents’ farm when I first saw that tiny girl with the apple cheeks and sunny personality. She had been a very outgoing child with a love for life that, as an adult, I envied. Despite having known me for roughly only 10 minutes, she chattered to me as if she known me all of her short life. That day in particular, we were going to the stockyard in hopes of finding a couple of goats for her uncles’ hobby farm. Her own chores done, she was permitted to tag along. She kept us amused with her stories, questions and information about animals for the 1 hour drive. I fell in love. It may have taken an hour, but I doubt it. Watching her so at home with the animals, I was in awe of this fearless little girl who kept me smiling while her uncle carefully inspected livestock. Being a city girl, I knew little about farm animals but this lively little girl was willing to tell me anything I wanted to know. We spent the morning together, my young teacher and I and with every passing moment, I fell more and more in love with this tiny person.
Years passed and I was fortunate enough to have the pleasure of watching this chubby cheeked little girl become a sweet teenager then a beautiful and incredibly smart adult. Like everyone, her life took many unexpected twists and turns but through everything she persevered and became the woman that I now watched playing with her son. Gone are the chubby cheeks and childish voice. Replaced by a beauty that went far more than skin deep, she had become a wise mother and intelligent woman.
As her son climbed down from the jungle gym, I came back to the present and smiled. Another generation of smart, funny, adorable children has begun and I am lucky enough to be a part of that, albeit a long distance part. While they live many miles away, I am still included in their lives, as I was so many years ago. This rare visit has made me not only nostalgic but also so very aware of how quickly time does indeed pass. While getting older is not something I ever really aspired to, I have to say that it is certainly not without its’ perks. The joy I feel watching my now grown niece with her wonderfully capricious young son, brings a feeling of love and contentment that I only ever felt on that special summer day when I first met that little girl who would change my life forever.
I am a 57 year old, single woman who has enjoyed writing on and off for the better part of my life. I have been actively pursuing this hobby for the past year, and have written many short stories and essays both fiction and non-fiction. I especially enjoy writing fiction "chapter books" and have written several. I also enjoy reading, photography and spending my time walking in forested parks where much of my inspiration comes from.