One day, you might turn to your loved one, only to find an empty space and regret like Hugo. He was always ashamed of his late Grandma Rosemary, who worked as a street sweeper. He condemned her when he only inherited an urn of ashes after her death until it shattered on the floor.
Hugo, a 25-year-old guitarist, arrived at his late Grandma Rosemary’s cottage, feeling out of place. His memories in the old, shabby house were so different compared to his current life in New York.
“Grandma,” he muttered solemnly through tight lips. He apologized to the air for missing her funeral and walked around her humble place, looking at the photos of his childhood with her. They did nothing but bring back painful memories of his actions and attitude.
He was embarrassed by her job as a street sweeper back then. Now, he was ashamed of himself and how he treated her.
“Hugo, honey, walk to the side. Be careful. Watch out!” she used to remind him when taking him to school, but he ignored her.
His fingers touched the old study table she bought him that he had rejected so easily. “Grandma, this old thing? Seriously?” Hugo had taunted. He wanted a gaming console, but his grandmother couldn’t afford that.
Walking to the kitchen, Hugo mocked Rosemary’s best dishes as her being creative because she couldn’t afford anything fancy. But he was a demanding child, always wanting more and more.
She tried to be cheerful. “Next time, honey bee!” Rosemary would promise. But she couldn’t fulfill anything, and he only resented her. It was a shame that it took him so long to understand how ungrateful he was.
He entered her bedroom, filled with old stuff, including a wooden crib and a partially sewn shirt she had been making for him.
“Unbelievable, Grandma! On a scale of ten, how confident were you that I would come to see you all these years?” Hugo mused, shaking his head.
Clothes… another memory of his past surfaced—the prom debacle from 8 years ago. Obviously, he wanted something striking and had secretly admired an expensive suit at a boutique but felt resentful once again towards his grandmother for having no money.
After being teased at school because kids knew he couldn’t afford a good suit for prom, Hugo returned home and slammed the door to his room.
“Honey bee, please open the door. Is it a girl? Did she reject your proposal or something?” Rosemary had knocked, her voice soothing and concerned.
But he didn’t want anything to do with her at that moment. Frustrated about their financial situation, he screamed into his pillow.
Rosemary had waited for Hugo to join her for dinner that night, but he refused, leaving her worried and alone at the table. The following day, she hurried to prepare a good breakfast, but he brushed her off and left in a hurry.
Hugo’s memories continued to haunt him as he walked through his grandmother’s old house. He recalled a time when his friends had mocked Rosemary while she worked, and his face turned red in shame, so he lashed out at them.
“Shut up, guys! Just shut up!” he had snapped, trying to walk away.
Rosemary, unaware of Hugo’s humiliation, approached him with cookies. “Here, my boy,” she said softly.
“I don’t want these damn things!” he yelled and couldn’t contain the rant that followed. He insulted her, her job, and everything in their life. “Stop, Grandma! Enough of your gestures. I’m so ashamed of you!”
Hugo had known he had hurt her deeply, especially because he had seen the slump in her shoulders as he walked off. But Rosemary had a plan. She had saved up enough money to buy him the expensive suit he wanted.
It was waiting for him that same day when they got home. “H-How did you know that I wanted this…” Hugo asked, stunned.”I noticed you eyeing it outside the boutique! I worked overtime every day to afford it,” Rosemary had said, the wrinkles on her face deepening with her smile.
“Oh, Grandma, I love you…I love you so, so, so much!” he had gushed, breathless and overwhelmed. He gave her the biggest hug, but that happiness didn’t last long.
Rosemary, dressed in her best attire, had excitedly prepared to accompany Hugo to prom. When she announced her intention to go with him, he choked on his own spit and started laughing. “To the prom? Grandma, are you kidding me?” he said. “No way!”
Despite her efforts, he had once again broken her heart.A few weeks later, during Hugo’s graduation, Rosemary dressed up in her best attire and went to the school with her colleagues. Hugo saw them, and instead of being happy to have so many people cheering for him, he paid off the security guard to deny them entry.
Hugo only had time to see Rosemary and the other sanitation workers being escorted out; there was yelling and pleading, but he walked off to be with his friends.
Returning home, Rosemary prepared Hugo’s favorite dishes to celebrate his graduation and early birthday. However, when Hugo arrived, he disregarded the food. “Why did you come to my school, Grandma?” he demanded.
She was confused, but Hugo’s rant was very clear. He berated her and her co-workers for trying to shame him in front of his friends and their fancy families. “You almost ruined my reputation at my graduation!” Hugo accused, pointing his finger at her.A few days later, on his 18th birthday, Hugo left his grandmother to pursue his dreams of being a musician in the big city, abandoning her despite her pleas. Over the years, his contact with her dwindled until it stopped altogether.
When Rosemary fell ill, Hugo could not visit due to his music tour. She passed away alone, and he was informed of her death much later. And now, he was back at her house, thinking of everything he couldn’t take back.
A knock interrupted his regretful memories. It was Simon, Rosemary’s neighbor, with an urn and a letter for Hugo. He skimmed it, only to discover that she wanted her ashes scattered in the sea. He rolled his eyes, thinking it was such an inconvenience.
But the neighbor had something else: Rosemary’s dog, Sunny. It was another responsibility he didn’t want, and he planned to abandon him.He searched the cottage for hidden valuables, finding nothing and reflecting bitterly on Rosemary’s life. “Look at you, Grandma! What did you earn out of years of sweeping and scrubbing the streets? NOTHING! And what did you leave me? NOTHING! Just an urn with your ashes! Great!” he spatted into the emptiness, knowing he was madder at himself.
He spent the night and started exploring the attic the next day. He found a box filled with trivial items and an old diary there. He was about to start reading it when Sunny’s barking at a rat distracted him.
He tried to calm Sunny, and while doing so, he accidentally knocked over his Grandma Rosemary’s urn from a nearby table, and his eyes noticed a locket nestled among the dirt.
Confused but curious, Hugo consulted Simon, who revealed that Rosemary had instructed him to put the locket in her urn, saying it was part of her past.
Intrigued, Hugo returned to the cottage and began to read his grandmother’s diary, which transported him to Rosemary’s childhood. Sunny sat beside him while he read, and Hugo couldn’t help but pat his head.