Chapter 29-Tessa Murphy

The days were passing quickly, each day busy with writing or interviewing. Molly had not visited Grace Forest through meditation for nearly a week. She needed some quiet time to find a place of ease with all that had been happening. Leaving Will to get on with his project, she took a cup of tea up to her office, with the intention of doing a meditation to clear her mind. Getting comfortable in her chair, she slipped easily into rhythmic  breathing and that quiet, floating feeling took her into a still space. But not for long, as she was to realise! 

“Well, it’s about time you got here! We have been waiting for you! How many pots of tea have we drunk now Grace? If it had been alcohol we would be totally smashed!” exclaimed Annabelle, pleased to see her dear friend in this new environment. Molly opens her eyes to find herself in The Attic in her house in Lockyer together with Annabelle and Grace.

“Oh my god! It’s so good to see you Anna! And you too Grace – there is so much to share!”

“Oh we know all about it daaaarling! Coz we have been watching you on the Psychic Channel!” Annabelle points over towards the large crystal ball sitting on the table.

“Oh what! Is there no privacy?!” shrieked Molly, laughing at the seemingly weird situation she found herself in. 

“Can I touch her Grace? Is it possible?” Molly asked.

“But of course, Honey. Unfortunately it is not the same with me, just yet,” Grace smiles alluringly at her. Molly hugs Anna, both of them laughing at this incredible experience they were now sharing. “Well, this is sure better than Messenger!” Molly says, squeezing her friend just to make sure it was real. 

“Oh it’s real, Molly, as real as any dream can be,” Grace added.

“So did you see the seance? You have some explaining to do Grace Forest! What on earth is going on here?”

Grace smiles mysteriously at the girls, not willing to divulge any further information just yet.

“My lips are sealed for now,” was all she had to say.

“Rrrrrrr!” growled both the girls simultaneously, and burst out laughing at their synchronicity.

“Molly, I believe we have some work to do regarding the coming visit with your mother?” Grace asked.

“Oh yeah,” Molly sighed soberingly.

“It is important that you are in a good frame of mind before you visit her. Please remember the purpose of this visit and leave the past where the past is, regarding you and your mother directly. The only past we want to engage in, is the information about your grandmother,” Grace instructs.

“Can’t you just fill me in?” Molly asked, wanting an easier way out of this necessary encounter with her mother.

“There is more to it than that and you know it!” scolded Grace.

“Damn it woman! I know you know!” grumbled Molly.

“Tsk, tsk – language please!” Grace chides, winking at Annabelle who stifles a giggle.

“That’s enough for know, we all have work to get on with,” Grace says, wanting to bring a close to their meeting.

“But what about you Anna? What have you been up to?” Molly interrupted.

“You can save that for those conversations you have on the tiny telephone you both use,” Grace commented, bringing an end to their conversations and returning Molly promptly back to her office in the house in Wellington. The sudden shift in energy left her smarting slightly, like she had touched an electric fence. 

“Ouch Grace! That was a bit unfair!” Molly growled out aloud, to which she could hear a faint chuckle in the distance.

“And how dare you avoid this topic of ‘The Grace’s’! I will find out the truth you know!” Molly added, to which the chuckle grew into raucous laughter.

“Rrrrr!” She growled animatedly, shaking her fist at the air. Staring out the window, she once again had the sobering thought of visiting her mother. “Well girl, this feeling has got to shift if you want a positive outcome from this,” she reprimanded herself. Closing her eyes, she wanted to visualise being with her mother and actually enjoying the experience. Sighing deeply, she resigned herself to the fact that there was too much emotion involved here and she would just have to wing it on the day. She stood up and turned around to go downstairs and came face to face with Grace Simpson again. 

“Shit lady! Stop doing that!” she exclaimed, shaking slightly, still unsettled by her sudden departure from The Attic and return to Tom’s house.

“Have fun meeting with your mother, let her tell a story. Sit back and relax and let it all unfold. You might be surprised at what she has to say. I think she is ready, that is why it is all falling into place so easily. Now go downstairs and bake her something nice to take with you tomorrow. You know her favourite – jam tarts.” Grace Simpson winks at Molly.

“I know that, but how do you know that?” Molly asked the now empty room –  Grace had already disappeared.

“Bloody ghosts, come and go as the please, pissing me off with their inside knowledge….,” she muttered and grumbled as she walked down the stairs and into the kitchen, where she found Will preparing dinner.

“Who you talking to Babe?” he asked.

“Oh you know who, those ghost-things that call themselves Grace. I have had enough of the secrecy Will, I want to know what all of this is about!” she demanded.

“I have a feeling you are about to get exactly that tomorrow!” Will replied, a sheepish grin on his face.

“Oh don’t tell me you are up on this too? Am I the only one not informed?” Molly sulked, slumping down onto the kitchen chair.

“Nah, I’m just teasing you!” Will came over and kissed her, running his fingers across her ribs, tickling her, wanting to lighten the mood a little.

“Glass of wine?” he offered as he poured one not waiting for the obvious answer.

“Bottle more like it!” sighed Molly, resting her head on one of her hands on the table in front of her.

“I believe you have some baking to do?” Will suggested.

“Did you hear her? Did you?! You did, didn’t you!!” Molly perked up. Will smiled and nodded his head in agreement. “Oh my god, this is awesome!”

“Can I help make the tarts with you?” He looked at her whimsically.

“That would be nice. And fun…,” Molly added. “Especially if you wear just your favourite apron whilst we make the pastry…..,” she looked at him with sexy minx-like eyes, teasingly. Standing up to embrace him, her hands crept in around his waist and pulled his body into hers, her lips playfully nibbling his neck, and her fingers undoing his belt…”can I help you get dressed for work Chef?” she suggested seductively.

The next day the alarm woke Molly from a deep sleep. It took her awhile to remember where she was. Where had she been in her dreams? Snippets of war-time songs danced through her head….’wish me luck as you wave me good-bye, cheerio, here I go, on my way….’ as she drifted in and out of sleep. The backup snooze alarm pulled her from some distant place and she stretched out in the empty bed. Will was already up, she could hear the shower water running. Sneaking into the bathroom, she slipped out of her bathrobe and stepped into the shower with him. “Such a nice way to start the day, don’t you think?” she greeted him.

Molly had never lived with her mum at Tessa’s current home. Tessa and Molly had moved back to Tessa’s home town just north of Wellington after her husband, Molly’s dad, Sean had passed away more than 10 years ago, through a work-related accident. Molly had been somewhat distanced from her Mum since a falling out several years ago. Tessa disagreed with Molly doing Tarot readings in their home.  Actually, she disagreed with her doing Tarot readings at all, it unnerved her. Sometime after Molly had moved out into a studio apartment on her own, Tessa decided to down size and moved into a smaller, more affordable cottage on the other side of town. Molly had always felt that her mum had stood in the way of her and her dad. Sean was much more open minded than his wife, and kindheartedly joked about Molly’s invisible friends, when she was a child. Despite this, he always took notice of Molly’s dreams and intuitive prompts, even as a child. He felt there was something more to it. Molly missed her dad and had never actually thought about communicating with him in spirit, until now. She had felt his presence around her from time to time, and she thought that had been enough. But today, she craved something more.

Standing outside the front door of her mum’s house, her heart racing, Molly felt nervous but excited. This was a new beginning with her mum, one she felt ready for, and hoped that her mum was too. Paused to knock at the door, it opened before her.

“Thought it might be you!” greeted her mum, a welcoming smile on her face. Molly placed her bag on the floor and the brown paper parcel containing the baking on the hall table so that she could give her mum a hug. The response was reassuring and for a moment they were both lost in the kind of embrace that belongs only to a mother and daughter. Sniffing back a tear, Tessa picked up her daughter’s bag and took her hand leading Molly through to the kitchen, Molly grabbed the parcel on the way. The sunlit kitchen was just big enough for a small table and three chairs. Not a large house, Tessa now lived on her own, and she liked it that way. Molly stopped in her tracks as she saw the portrait of her dad, a sketch her mum had done many years ago, sitting on the side board. Her mum snuck up behind her, and whispered in her ear, “I miss him too….” Tessa’s voice drifted off, reminiscing. “Well, then, cup of tea must be in order!” she chirped, breaking the silent spell that they had felt. Sean was in the room with them and they both were aware of his presence.

“I did some baking for us last night,” Molly announced, placing the parcel onto the kitchen bench in front of her mum. Molly had packed the jam tarts neatly in a white cardboard box, wrapped it in brown paper and tied it with a big red bow, her mum’s favourite colour. Tessa’s eyes sparkled with delight, “let me guess…..jam tarts?  Oh yes!” she squealed with delight, as she undid the bow. “Grandma’s recipe?” She enquired, opening the box to reveal a dozen perfectly made tiny tarts. Not waiting to pour the tea, she popped one in her mouth. With the look of ecstasy, the rich buttery shortcrust pastry and bittersweet jam-filling melted in her mouth, Tessa mumbled, “Mmmmmm….” Holding her hands to her heart and nodding her approval, her eyes closed in delight. “Oh you do them so well Molly Murphy. Oh beg your pardon – Molly Ferguson! You would make your Grandma proud!” She exclaimed, bringing the tea pot and cups over to the table.

“Actually, Mum, it’s Grandma I have come to ask you about…..” Molly led into the conversation gently.

“I know Honey. It is time.” Tessa sighed, poured the tea and sat down opposite Molly, looking deeply into her eyes. “But first, just…one….more….jam…..tart….” she said, looking at Molly with mischief, and popped another into her mouth and closed her eyes, savouring the delicious combination of flavours. 

“I have been feeling your grandma’s presence around the house lately. I am not surprised to see you sitting here with me now. She did give me a telling off,” she blushed slightly, staring into her tea cup. “Damn woman, look, even the tea leaves are telling me”. She leaned her cup across to reveal to Molly the pattern at the bottom of her cup – the loose leaves formed the shape of a heart! Molly stifled a laugh, almost choking on a mouthful of tart. 

“I have never spoken to you about my mum. She is the reason I have not been able to accept your inherited abilities. Yes Honey, it runs in the family, including me. I am so, so sorry for standing between you and your dad over this. It was just my own  fears. Fear of realising the truth…..” Tessa paused, pouring a fresh cup of tea. “Well, let’s see what’s in the bottom of this cup!” she giggled. There was a light-heartedness to her mother Molly had never seen before, more so like herself, the similarities were becoming more and more noticeable. At that moment, the wind changed direction and the breeze blew through the open window, catching the top page off a pile of papers that looked very much like a manuscript…..

Molly, quicker than her mum, picked up the drifting piece of paper as it reached the floor.

“Don’t read that! Please?” pleaded Tessa. But Molly was too quick and snatched it out of her reach. 

“What’s this Mum?” Molly enquired glancing over at the pile of pages sitting on a writing desk against the wall. The top page read…..

Dear Sean,

I know Molly will be coming to visit me soon. I saw it in my tea cup the other morning. Mum has been visiting me during my dreams too, and now you, writing to me again. It has been so long since we have done this….

“Mum? What is this?” Molly placed the page of hand writing on the table.

“I, I don’t know how to explain it. I…..I guess it’s kind of weird to some, but maybe you of all people might understand. I write to your dad and he writes back. It is something your Grandma used to do when Granda had passed over. Grandma was born in Dublin in 1946, before the war ended. As an ex-serviceman her Da (your Great Granda) was offered a block of land to start a new life in New Zealand. Originally they lived in Russell and after Granda passed over, she and my Ma moved south to Wellington to start a new life. It was easier for her to get work here and better educational opportunities for my Ma. My Ma, as you know, left home at 21, falling in love with a Law graduate, my da, Michael O’Leary. They travelled for a few years looking for their Utopia and found it in Kerikeri where they lived in their house-bus until after I was born, later they had built a small mud brick house and lived the typical hippy lifestyle. Except my father still had a passion for practicing law, true to his namesake Archangel Michael – the Avenger! He would stand for those who could not afford legal representation, petty stuff….you know, marijuana cultivation mainly. The irony of that was, that was his main source of income – growing pot! And well, the rest of it you know…” Tessa waved her hand, brushing off further information.

“Oh no you don’t!” Molly roused on her mother. “There are way too many holes in this Swiss cheese! Come on Ma, you yourself said it was time.”

Tessa sighed. “Think we need something a wee bit stronger than tea for this one. Will ya share a wee bottle of red with me Honey?”

“Sounds good,” Molly replied. “I’ll get us something to eat eh?”

“Oh be a Dear, that would be nice,” Tessa replied, fetching a bottle of wine and two glasses from the pantry. After sharing a light supper and a glass of red, she felt more at ease to share with Molly what it was she was so ready to hear.

“Ma, you never mention Grandma’s name. I have never ever heard you use it. You always have referred to her as Grandma or Ma. And always avoided the details of her passing over.”

Looking deeply into the half-filled glass of wine as she twirled it around by the stem  between her finger and thumb, she hoped to find the words to tell the story of her Ma’s passing over.

“Molly, you know how your Grandma missed your Granda….ever so much. We all thought she had lost it after his passing. As you know he died before you were born, actually before you were even conceived. You were but a twinkle in the nights sky, when you still had your wings.” Tessa smiled fondly at her daughter, lost in a moment, then continued. “It happened so suddenly, one moment he was there saying good bye to her, on his motorbike going into town, the next the police were at the door with ‘The News’. He had been hit by a truck coming towards him. On the narrow, metal road, it took up most of the width and there was no time or space for him to swerve. Damn that fuckin’ bike of his! God he loved that thing, and it was the death of him. ‘Stanley’ he called it, as if it were his best mate. From the moment he passed, Grandma insisted that he was still around, that she could see him. At first we thought it was shock and then, we all thought Grandma had lost it and was having a breakdown. But despite her grief, she was her happy self. She continued to talk to him as if he were in the room and had not gone anywhere. What we did not understand was that she could actually see him, to her, he was right there! One year and one day from his passing…..Grandma disappeared. Without a trace, except for a note which she had left, that read, “Gone for a ride on Stanley with your Da. Love You.” There was a local manhunt but unable to find any trace, and no leads at all, she was listed as a Missing Person. It was only when she appeared to me in a dream, that I understood what had happened, well, kinda. She had done exactly that – gone for a ride on Stanley with your Granda! At first I felt peace, and then I got angry. How dare she just up and leave, disappear without a trace. But I knew in my heart she had done what so many of the women on our side of the family had done before her. She had transcended Time and Space, left this world without a trace to reunite with their soulmates.” Tessa paused and poured another glass of wine, got up to get another bottle from the pantry, leaving Molly to digest this bit of information.

Not only was this unusual piece of information a lot to take in, what really sent chills over Molly’s body was the similarity of this and the two Grace’s she had met in spirit. Tessa excused herself and went to the bathroom. She was gone for some time when Molly realised she was actually in her bedroom. Walking quietly down the hall, she peeped around the door to see her mum sitting on her bed with her back to the door looking through a box, and chatting to someone, “I know, I know, just give me a moment to find it…I know it is in here somewhere …” Molly made her presence felt by clearing her throat. “Ahem. All good Mum?”

“Oh yes Honey, I was just looking for something….ah! Here it is!” She produced a black and white photo of two young people dressed in your typical hippy styled clothing, a woman in a long, white flowing cotton bodice dress, her bare feet just visible beneath the hem, with flowers woven through her long wavy hair. The man was dressed in denim jeans, a white shirt and vest of which the front panels were of embroidered fabric and the back of dark green satin. He too had long hair and a ring of flowers sat on top of his head. They stood together with another Indian-looking woman, dressed in a sari, and were exchanging rings. “This was their alternate wedding, witnessed by Sri Rani, their guru. “These… are your grand parents.” Tessa smiled lovingly at the photo and handed it to Molly. “They were so in love!” Molly stared at the photo taking in the details, soaking it up to make an imprint in her memory. Turning the photo over, there was something written on the back. In beautiful script writing it read, “The day I married my Amazing Grace.” At first the name did not sink in. Then Molly sat there, confused, a thousand thoughts rushing through her head. Who were all these ‘Grace’s’ now in her life and what did it all mean?

“There is one more thing I need to give to you. You need it more than me now”, Tessa handed an envelope to Molly. The white paper was now an aged yellow but otherwise had been kept well. Opening it, Molly took out a folded official document. Unfolding the page, her eyes scanned the information. “It’s your original birth certificate. Now you will understand why I have never used your middle name. I named you after my mother…..”  Tessa paused to let the words sink in for Molly. Molly read it and read it again, not believing her eyes. Before her was the name Molly Grace Murphy! She sat there silently, contemplating the numerous implications that leapt into her mind. At first she thought it was her creative, imaginative writers mind having a field day. Then sobering a little, she folded the document up and carefully placed it back in the envelope, paused contemplatively and said quietly, “I think we need another drink!”

They sat up long into the night, sharing stories and Molly telling her mum about her Grace encounters, piecing together the threads of information she had received over the past few months. And now this! Not only was her own Grandma called Grace, but her very own middle name was too. The sky began to lighten when they realised it was 5.30am! Too many empty bottles sat stacked by the recycling bin in the kitchen. Still wired, they were both unable to sleep and Molly suggested making some coffee. “On a roll, may as well keep going with it. Shall I get the cards out?” she suggested to her Mum. All barriers completely obliterated, Tessa’s eyes sparkled with mischief, “Did you bring them? I’ll get mine too.” Like excited school girls up to mischief, they both fetched their tarot cards. For the rest of the day, the two of them, finally able to share each others secrets, and talents, enjoyed doing readings for each other. Tessa was at a loss for words when Molly told her about the seance with Tom and Kelly. “Well, now you know where you got your blue eyes from!” Which made them both giggle. Both of them knew that Grandma Grace and Sean were present in the room. What they were not yet aware of was the other two spirits, sitting back watching silently, both with a smile on their faces. Now came the good part, the moment they had all been waiting for….of watching as the penny dropped…..as they began to understand The Grace Effect. Of how through the family on the woman’s side was this connection with the name Grace and their ability to communicate with their loved ones in spirit through writing. And the greatest secret of all. Of their ability to Time Travel. Not yet, but soon, when the time was right, both Grace Forrest and Grace Simpson would join Grace O’Leary, and make themselves visible to Molly and her Mum.

Although not related by blood, this group of soul sisters had tapped into an understanding of the World Between Worlds and how to transcend Time and Space. Of how they supported each other as their guardian angels, swapping roles through the multiple lives they had shared. Now, in 2017, Molly had her own guardian angel called Grace, and this connection with Grace Forrest, and of how she was able to recall that Molly too had had her turn at being Grace’s guardian angel, how she had referred to her as ‘My Muse’ back in 1885, one hundred years before Molly’s birth into the physical world. Molly was just beginning to understand the depth of this connection beyond the physical world, all preparing her for the journey ahead.

Slightly delirious from lack of sleep and too much wine, both of them had dropped all resistance and their abilities to communicate with those in Spirit was strong. They both packed away their cards and sat side by side on the lounge, tired and contented. Molly must have drifted off, but she could hear in the distance someone calling her name….drowsily her heavy eyes opened and blearily, she could just see the outline of three women standing in front of her, silhouetted by the late morning sun shining through the window. 

“Molly,” there it was again. “Mum?” Molly asked out aloud. “Hmmmm, what? What’s that Molly?” Her mother stirred beside her, lifting her head off from Molly’s shoulder. She too had fallen asleep. Realising the vision standing before them, she squeezed Molly’s hand tightly. “It’s them!” she whispered. Molly woke instantly, not believing what she was seeing  before her. There stood the three Grace’s, including Tessa’s mum. As they sat transfixed on the lounge, unable to move, the vision of the three women began to shift, all of them blending into one. The vision of a single woman now standing before them had formed a mirror image of Molly, even wearing the same clothes! Both Molly and her mum sat there, mouths wide open in surprise, unable to move or speak. Then the image faded and disappeared, all that remained was the dust fairies dancing in the rays of the late morning sun.

“Holy Mary Mother of God!” Tessa exclaimed and made the sign of the cross. The two women looked at each other and burst out laughing! 

“Conniving old witch!” Tessa said out aloud, laughing so hard, she collapsed against Molly on the lounge. Hysteria fuelled by tiredness and a hangover, they laughed until there was no more energy to even make a sound. Exhausted, they curled up on the lounge, smiles on both their faces that would have made the Cheshire Cat from Alice In Wonderland proud. Slipping into a light sleep, Molly and Tessa shared the same dream. The three Grace’s appeared to them, smiling knowingly, a mischievous laugh penetrated through the dream and into the sunroom where they lay. The two woman cuddled on the lounge with their eyes wide open and the laugh echoing through the house, fading off down the hall towards the front door. Then they both heard the door open and slam shut. Tessa looked at Molly. “If we had not drunk every bottle in the house last night, I’d be opening another one right now!” 

Later that afternoon, the train trip back to the city gave Molly a  moment to process what she had experienced in the past 24 hours. She was elated to have reached a new understanding and relationship with her mum, it felt so good to finally feel open and free with her. She also felt a new level of love towards her. Then there was the revelations of what they had affectionately referred to as ‘The Grace Effect’. Staring out the window of the train watching the scenery pass by quickly, her mind drifted, allowing the links between all the Grace’s to line up for her. She smiled at the curiosity of it all, and then remembered that somewhere there was a reference to The Grace Effect…..where had she heard it before? It will come back to her. There was so much information running around in her head, somewhat jumbled. She focussed on the view out of the window, letting the words dissolve. Molly wanted to have some clarity about it all to share in a comprehensible way with Will when she got home, and decided to send him a text letting him know that she would walk home from the station, giving her an extra twenty minutes. 

When she eventually walked in the front door, she felt physical exhaustion wash over her. Will looked concerned, “Oh god, was it that bad?” he hugged her, holding her tight as he felt Molly’s body heavy in his arms. She looked up at him, tired eyes sparkling and said, “Oh Will, it was AMAZING! We had an awesome night. I have not been to sleep since the night before! We stayed up all night talking and doing readings and chatting with Dad and Grandma!” Molly perked up a little at the thoughts of the previous night. “I have so much to share with you….but first, I think I need a good soak in a hot bath!”

“Glass of wine?” Will suggested. 

“Oh pass. I think I have had enough wine for a long time!” she groaned and dragged herself up the stairs to the bathroom. “What I need is a hot bath,” she called over her shoulder to Will. “I’ll take care of dinner. If you are not down soon, I’ll come check on you. Stay above water, eh!” Will called after her.

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