Upon a Long-Familiar Street (Bunin)

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Upon a Long-Familiar Street
Summary of the Short Story
Microsummary: A man reminisces about a passionate, youthful love affair with a destitute student in a small, cold room in Moscow during a snowy winter.

One spring night in Paris, a man was walking along a boulevard, reminiscing about his past in Moscow. He recalled a small, wooden house in Presnya, where he lived as a student.

The Narrator — narrator; a man reminiscing about his past love affair; nostalgic, passionate.

He remembered the light from the mezzanine, shining behind a red cotton curtain, and the blizzard swirling outside. He fondly remembered a young woman he used to meet there. She was the daughter of a sexton from Serpukhov, who had moved to Moscow to study.

The Maiden — a destitute student from Serpukhov; young, gentle, weak from hunger, passionate.

He would arrive at her house, pull a wire that rang a bell in the lobby, and she would come running down the stairs to meet him. They would rush upstairs to her small, cold room, lit by a kerosene lamp.

Ah, what a wondrous maiden fair At night-time’s cherished hour Would meet me with her loosened hair Within her own sweet bower…

He remembered her peasant-like face, her light-brown hair, and her gentle lips. He recalled how they would sit on her bed, he would hold her close, and they would talk about their future. They would drink weak tea, eat white bread and cheese, and listen to the snow falling outside.

“Let’s flee!” Where to, why, from whom? How delightful, that fervent, childish silliness: “let’s flee!”

He also remembered seeing her off at the Kursk Station in the spring. She was leaving for Serpukhov, and he promised to visit her in two weeks. However, he didn't remember anything else about their relationship, implying that they never saw each other again.