The presentation at the Adorable Chocolate Company went well, although it did take up most of the day, much more than they had anticipated. The staff were so easy to get along with and already Molly and Will had a good feel for each of their stories, being able to meet briefly with each staff member. There was the basic questionnaire Molly and Will had designed for Tom and his team, which they were to take home with them and complete in preparation of their interviews. To create some momentum, Molly and Will had decided to schedule one interview per day. Then they could continue on their road trip south. What they did not anticipate was the sense of family these people contributed in their work, and how that would now included Molly and Will. Each interview took at least several hours and included of course a meal lovingly provided by the family of each employer. The intimacy of these interviews touched Molly’s heart, and the writing of each individual chapter for their version of ‘In The Company of Friends’ came easily.
That first night, exhilarated and exhausted, all Molly and Will needed to do was shower and collapse into bed. Molly fell into a deep sleep, and a vivid dream, of a small boy, his dirty face smudged with tears, and the words ”You promised!” echoed in Molly’s head as she woke suddenly wondering where she was. Feeling Will’s body next to her, she waited for her eyes to adjust to the dim light filtering through the curtains from the street light outside. “Oh shit!” She exclaimed under her breath. Will stirred, “You ok Babe?” To which she replied, “yeah, I am ok. Go back to sleep it’s only…..2.59am. She got out of bed and wrapped the soft fluffy bathrobe around her, poured a glass of water and got comfortable in the armchair in the corner of the room. So tired last night, she had forgotten to meet with Grace in The Attic!
Relaxing into meditation, very quickly she found herself at the bottom of the stairs leading up to The Attic. Again she felt the tingle half way up, and noticed that the door was partially open, the light shining down the stairs towards her, beckoningly. Sheepishly she stuck her head around the door and quietly whispered, “Grace? Are you there?”
“Where else would I be?” Grace replied with a chuckle. “So pleased you made it. I could see you needed some sleep before coming here, so I left you to it. Refreshed now?”
“Yes, yes I am!” Molly replied somewhat surprised.
“Come sit down at the table with me, there are a few things I need to discuss with you before you visitor arrives.” Grace was giving Molly a brief outline of what to expect, when they were interrupted by an impatient knock at the door.
“I’ll get this one, are you ready?”
“For what? Now? You mean, this is it, my first forgotten story?” Molly stammered excitedly. Grace nodded her head, and Molly straightened herself in the chair, unsure of what to expect.
Grace opened the door to reveal a small boy standing in the doorway politely waiting for an invitation to enter and nervously twisting his cap in his hands, his gaze fixed to the floor in front of him. He looked like the same small boy Molly had seen in her dream earlier that night. Grace held out her hand, inviting him into the room. “Come on in boy, what’s your name?”
“Gerald, m’am”, he bowed politely towards Grace, taking her outstretched hand shyly. He didn’t seem to notice Molly. Grace led him over to the table and pulled out a chair indicating for him to be seated, his eyes and nose not much higher than the top of the table. She fetches a cushion from the daybed and motioned for him to stand whilst she placed it on his chair. Now able to see more clearly, he was surprised to see Molly sitting at the table too, and blushed. Molly could clearly see more of his face, and noticed that he looked incredibly hungry, his eyes fixated on the freshly baked scones.
“They are not just for her,” Grace whispered to him. “I knew you were coming. Please help yourself.” The small boy reached out to take a scone, but hesitated, unsure of what to do with it. On a plate in front of him, Grace silently cuts one in half, topping the two pieces each with a generous spoonful of jam and cream, and pours him a glass of warm milk. At first he is unsure of how to handle such a delight. So she cuts another scone in half, adding jam and cream for herself and Molly, purposefully leaving a dob of whipped cream on the end of her nose after taking a bite, and then pretended to be unaware of it being there. Gerald appeared a little awkward, squirming in his chair and looked from Molly to Grace, still unsure whether to laugh or not. Molly began to giggle and then she and Gerald burst out laughing. Grace, pretended that she didn’t not know what they are laughing at, looks puzzled and says, “What? What are you laughing at?” Seeing the smile on Gerald’s face, she starts laughing too and wipes the cream from her nose with a serviette. Now the atmosphere had relaxed a little, and they are able to start a conversation with Gerald. When he had finished his scone and milk, Grace asked him to come and sit on her knee to help him feel a little more at ease. She winked at Molly and whispered, “Watch and learn.”
“Do you know why you are here, Gerald?” She invited him to share his story.
He nodded his head in agreement, “I saw Her down the street, when she was in town the other evening,” he said pointing to Molly. Grace introduced Molly to him. He nodded to her politely, “Pleased to meet you M’am.”
“I tried to get her attention and I followed her to the big building where the horseless carriage was. But I was not allowed to enter that building. It was past the Boundary Marker. I am not allowed past there. But I felt butterflies in my tummy and I knew she would be able to help me, to help us.”
Molly looked at the sad face of this little boy, sensing a hard life, and she wanted to encourage him, “Can you tell us your story Gerald, what brought you here?”
“I bin sick, real sick ‘n I couldna git outta bed. Ma was lookin’ after me and Pa was away at work in the mines. Pa had a secret, that not even Ma knew about, but he had told me.” He sat up proudly in his chair and his eyes widened with excitement. “Pa had a mine of his own and he would go to work and then go to his secret mine before coming home to eat and sleep. I was not allowed to go to his secret mine, but one day I did. It was just a small hole that went deep into the ground. It did not look like the mine that he worked at for The Company. That one was huge and went far into the ground. He was gone from before the sun came up in the morning until I was s’posed to be in bed asleep. I would lie awake waiting for him to come home and he would sneak in and give me a hug, knowing that I was waiting for him. The day everything changed was when I was real sick, it was hard for me to breathe, my body was so hot I felt like I would melt like butter in a pan. Ma was sitting on the bed crying, holding my hand. Not knowing what else to do, she prayed. Her prayers were heard and I could see a beautiful woman standing in the corner of the room.” He looked up at Grace and realised now who she was. “It was you!” His surprise made him forget where he was. “Oh I beg your pardon M’am, Ma says it is rude to stare,” he looked down at this feet, slightly embarrassed.
“You are pardoned Gerald, please continue your story,” Grace encouraged him. He sighed deeply, his shoulders slumped and he continued, “I knew she was waiting for me and she told me I will feel better soon, and when I was ready, to come with her. I remember getting off the bed and walking over to her and taking her hand. I looked back at Ma who was sitting on a chair slumped over the edge of of my bed next to me, holding my hand. I saw myself lying on the bed, not breathing. Ma had fallen asleep with exhaustion, she didn’t know that I was leaving with this beautiful lady. I hesitated, wanted to let Ma know, but the lady made me feel safe and she told me that Ma would be coming soon too. Ma was sick with the fever, but she had been busy taking care of me. She looked like she was sleeping now. Poor ma, her hair wet with sweat from her fever, startled, she woke suddenly, realising that I had stopped breathing, my hand lying limp in hers. Her cry was terrifying, but the lovely lady had my hand and told me she will be ok, that she would be with us soon. I watched as there was a knock at the door, and with no answer, Ma’s sister walked in. Aunt Louise was a nurse and being very matter of fact, she came in and quietly took Ma to sit in the chair whilst she pulled the sheet up over my face. Then she took Ma to bed and I wanted to follow them into the other room too. The lovely lady came with me, never letting go of my hand. I sat on the bed next to Ma and held her hand, but I don’t think she could see me. I wanted her to come with me now, but where was Pa? I could hear him calling, like he was in trouble too. But I did not know where he was and I had my attention on Ma. I could see her breathing getting harder and harder, each breath a struggle. Then her chest was real still and her hand went limp in mine. But I didn’t feel sad, I felt happy ‘cos she was coming too, with the beautiful lady. I saw Ma stepping out of her body lying on the bed. Aunt Louise came into the room just as Ma was joining us. Her brave ‘can-do’ face dissolved as she burst into tears and sat on the bed holding Ma’s soft hand, crying heart wrenching sobs. Losing two of us in one day was too much for poor Aunt Louise. But where was Pa? I could hear him, but his cries for help were muffled and I canna find him.”
Molly was mesmerised by his story. She sensed a knowingness about this old soul. He somehow knew and understood what was happening, but was perplexed as to why he could not find his beloved Pa. He couldn’t help but follow Molly down the street the other night, he had never seen someone like her before, she looked so different. Somehow, he knew that she would be able to help him bring his family together again.
Gerald paused, and Grace interrupted the silence, “Gerald, we can help you. Can you close your eyes and pretend with all of your heart, being with your Ma and Pa in this room? Can you do that with us now?” The little boy nodded his head eagerly, and Grace instructed him, “Come sit here on this chair with the cushion. I want you to hold one of my hands and one of Molly’s. Together we will call them here. Imagine calling them here, imagine them coming up the stairs to this room, imagine them coming in through the door so happy to see you again…” She was interrupted by a sharp, loud knock at the door, startling them all and snapped them out of the vision Grace was creating. She indicated for Molly to open the door. As soon as she had released the door latch, it opened eagerly and a loud booming voice said, “Where is that boy of mine?!” Into the room walked Gerald’s Pa, closely followed by his Ma and the beautiful lady. At first Molly was confused, until she realised that it was Grace Simpson! Grace smiled knowingly at her and winked mischievously. Gerald leapt off the chair and ran to his Pa, who’s huge arms seem to swallow him up, Ma hugging them both from behind, kissing her son’s cheeks. As she looked over her husband’s shoulders with tears of joy in her eyes, she whispered to Grace and Molly, Thankyou!” Grace Simpson, standing behind the family nodded at Grace Forrest and Molly, her body began to glow with an iridescent illumination as she drew a circle around them with her pointed finger, encompassing them with light. Then with an intense blue flash, they are gone.
Molly and Grace sat in silence, feeling the room resonating with the love of that family. “Thought they may have stayed for tea and scones,” Grace pouted playfully. “Do you want to know what happened to Pa?” She asked Molly.
“Really? Can you tell me?” Molly looked at Grace eagerly. Pouring a fresh cup of tea for both of them, Grace continued, “Unknowingly, Pa had dug his mine shaft into a vibrational ‘rabbit hole’, which enabled him to go between worlds. It was a portal of sorts, not dissimilar to The Attic. If he could have been guided, he would have learnt how to move between the two worlds, similar to what you do when you meditate and visit here. He had simply fallen through a crack in Time and Space, but in the Physical World, the walls of the mine were not supported enough and the sides of the hole caved in on him. There he laid with only a pocket of air. No one knew, except Gerald, of where he was. He had squirrelled away quite a stash of gold, but this too was buried with him. Because he had dug the mine on sacred land, of what was considered a very special spirit place, and he was not aware of the need to ask permission to have the gold, nor offered anything in exchange, and he paid a hefty price. The Taniwha of this land, the spiritual guardian, had kept what was his, however he saw Pa’s motive and did allow him to return to his family in Spirit.”
Molly sat back in her chair, taking in what she had just witnessed and imagined what it must have been like from both the physical and spiritual perspectives, she was lost in deep thought. Exhaustion swept over her and her head began to nod, her eyes closed and she felt herself falling back into her body sitting in the chair in the corner of the motel room. The early dawn light surrounded her as she silently got back into bed. Instantly, Molly fell into a deep, peaceful sleep. The alarm woke them only an hour later, but surprisingly she felt refreshed and ready for the next interview. She snuggled into Will and said, “Have I got a story to tell you!”