Molly walked her bike home, too tired to peddle up the slight incline. The idea of booking the airfares to Sydney the only thing giving her the energy to even walk. She felt exhausted and dehydrated, having not thought to bring a bottle of water with her. Happy to be home, the best thing she could do was wash the dregs of emotion off. Enjoying a hot shower, she heard her phone ring and decided it could wait, washing her hair felt like the best thing to do just now. Sitting on the bed with her hair wrapped up in a towel and another around her body, Molly checked her phone. There was a missed call and a text from Anna, it read, “Dinner at yours, I’ll bring pizza? You get the beers. See you at 6.30pm xoxo.” Molly sent a reply, finished drying her body, slipped into a pair of jeans and a t-shirt and went down stairs to the shops in search of beers for the night.
Anna arrived on time, she was good like that, dependable when it came to honouring her word, even with things like arriving on time. Molly trusted her dearest friend in every way. She had still not ventured out to parties since the accident. She was content with her friendship with Anna and the busyness of her work. She loved working in the cafe and doing readings, her reputation as a healing massage therapist was also spreading and people were coming from Wellington and the Waiarapa. Molly was doing less and less in the cafe itself, which had created an available position for Annabelle, who had been busy saving money for their intended trip to Sydney. Anna still lived at home with her mum and dad who were keen to help her out, she paid 10% of her earnings, whatever that was, as her board. Several beers later and after a long talk about Molly’s mum, the focus of their conversation moved to planning their trip to Sydney. Tonight was the night they decided it was time to do it. Anna had been to the travel agents and collected some brochures, of the best accommodation within walking distance to Darling Harbour and information on The Mind Body Spirit Festival. They agreed on a day to go into the Travel Agent in the City to organise airfares and accommodation. Both of the girls were keen to visit the Festival, this being the focus of the trip. The Festival which was to be next month, ran for three days and they were hoping to have 7 days in a city bigger than any either of them had seen in New Zealand. Molly wanted to experience what it would be like to be amongst so many other like-minded people, to attend some of the amazing workshops and listen to the guest speakers attending from all around the world. Using the internet in the cafe, the girls booked their three day passes for The Festival on-line. They had four weeks to prepare, The Festival being on 24-27 May. As this was their first trip overseas, they decided to call upon the help of their friend Flick, who worked in a travel agency in Wellington. She helped them book flights, accommodation close to The Darling Harbour Convention Centre and informed them about public transport, of the ares around Sydney that would be safe for them to visit, and the areas to stay clear of.
That night Molly found it difficult to sleep. Anna had stayed overnight and was sleeping soundly in the bed next to her, alcohol had knocked her out eventually. Drifting in and out of sleep, she had brief but vivid dreams, some people she knew, some were unfamiliar. Not long before her alarm went off, she dreamt of Sr Grace Forrest and the delivery guy with the name tag “William Ferguson”. They were both standing side by side out the front of a large building where crowds of people were going in and out of the many doors leading into what looked like a football stadium. Sr Grace and William stood at the top of the stairs outside the doors, staring at her, smiling, whilst hundreds of people passed by at speed. Sr Grace’s lips were moving but Molly was unable to hear her. Molly yelled, “I cant hear you, speak louder!” Then the crowd began to move in slow motion and all sound stopped. Sr Grace said loud and clear, “this is William. You will remember him when you see him next.”
Molly woke with a start, the alarm pulling her out of the dream prematurely. Groaning, she reached across Anna’s still sleeping body and tapped the snooze button on the alarm, hoping to re-enter the dream, but she was unable to get back to sleep. “Damn it!” She said out aloud, rolling out of bed, not even waking Anna! She put the kettle on to make tea before heading off to the beach for her morning walk.
As much as Anna was Molly’s best friend, well actually her only true friend and she shared most things with her, Molly was unable to explain these dreams and so said nothing to Anna about them. Both the girls had lived quite sheltered lives, but since the accident Molly had the feeling that there was much more to life than what was appearing to her. It was more something she would discuss with Nanny rather than try to explain it to Anna.
Molly worked every day leading up to the day they would fly out. She kept a strict routine each day. Up at 6am, she walked on the beach, did half hour of yoga, 20 minutes meditation, breakfast before starting work in the cafe at 9am. Half of her day was in the kitchen or clearing tables, the afternoon and often into the evening she did readings and massage, sometimes until 10pm. Her reputation had grown so much that the front of house staff now took bookings for her. She paid Alice a percentage of her daily takings for use of the room. Unbeknown to Molly, Alice been putting aside this money. She had grown very fond of Molly and wanted to give her the money she had been paying for rent as a gift, some travel money, as a thank you. The people coming for readings and massage had increased her trade also, the profits were now generous, and Alice was grateful. The cafe too was thriving and had grown in popularity, partially because of Molly’s presence.
The days leading up to their departure date passed quickly. Molly was so excited but being busy at work, she slept easily each night. With only two days before flying to Sydney, it was time to consider what she needed to take with her. Her tarot cards of course, together with her pendulum and a selected amount of crystals would definitely have to come with her – just in case. The weather was to be much warmer in Sydney and Molly thought she would treat herself to some new season clothes, and decided to pack what she needed for just a couple of days. Her trusty and much loved Levis jeans, a few T-shirts, a jersey and a zip up jacket, jandals and her favourite sand shoes. She was not big on makeup – just mascara and lip gloss.
Over the past month Molly had been keeping a dream journal, recording glimpses of people and places somehow familiar to her. Where they connected to her experience whilst she was in hospital? It felt like she had lived a whole lifetime in one week. Thoughts of this time made her smile. There was such knowing and comfort in the feelings associated with these dreams – no fear whatsoever. Somehow the dreams connected her with this faded memory. Molly wished she could remember more. Lost in her thoughts as she packed her suitcase, the sound of a voice startled her. Looking around the studio apartment, the room appeared empty of others, but it did not feel it…she smiled to herself and asked quietly, “Pardon, I didn’t quite catch that, what did you say?”
The now familiar female voice repeated, “You will not remember it because it is yet to come into being,” and Molly felt only what she could describe as a warm hug. Closing the suitcase, feeling reassured, she got ready for bed. One more day at work and then the beginning of a big adventure!
Molly woke early the following day, more than ready for her first flight out of New Zealand. In the bed next to her Anna snored. Molly stifled a giggle, wondering how she had slept through the noise all night and resisted the temptation of placing a flower from her bedside table in Anna’s mouth. Instead, she shook her dear friends shoulder, stirring her from a deep sleep.
Alice had offered to drive the girls to the airport and had prepared breakfast downstairs in the cafe for them. After they had eaten, Alice handed the girls a small parcel each. On opening hers, Molly found a card with extra phone credit, a new lip gloss and a packet of 6 condoms. Molly stared at the contents, then looked at Alice and said, “Only six?” They all burst out laughing – Alice knew all too well that Molly was still a virgin. Alice produced a banana and said, “do you need a practice run?” “Eee—uww” both the girls said in unison. “Nah, she’s good, I’m sure I will work it out” Molly replied blushing.
* * *
Anna grabbed Molly’s hand, squeezing it tight as the plane accelerated down the runway. Molly felt her stomach lurch as the plane lifted off. Looking out the window as the plane flew over the city of Wellington, she had a flutter of deja vu, despite not having flown before. Actually, neither of the girls had flown before. They were so excited and giggled nervously until the plane felt smooth again, settling at a cruising speed. The flight seemed to take forever, despite arriving in Sydney 20 minutes earlier due to a strong tailwind. They had to wait in the plane on the runway for an available gate for them to disembark. Molly watched as the workers outside of the plane prepared to unload the luggage. She felt both calm and excited as she took in her first visual of Australia. It was different and at the same time similar to New Zealand. It had been a full flight and going through Customs took a long time, the girls being new to these procedures. Two blonde-haired guys carrying surfboards, obviously by their accents they were from America, offered to help them. Molly grabbed Anna’s arm, pinching her. Anna scowled disappointedly, but recognised the look in Molly’s eyes, “Nah, she’s good!” Anna replied, slightly disgruntled. Molly had been startled to see a dark shadow following one of the boys. As they walked on Anna whispered to her, “What was all that about? Not the time to act The Virgin now, Baybee!”
“I’ll tell you later – just trust me, ok!” Molly replied, pulling Anna towards the exit and into the fresh air. Bringing her attention to where they were, Molly shook off the heavy feeling of what she had just seen.
Catching the train from the Airport to Central Station the girls sat back and watched their new world go by. Walking along the platform towards the exit, they heard the sound of the American guys behind them. “Aww, it must be Destiny dude, here’s those chicks again – hiya babes, where you heading?”
“We’re going to visit my mum,” Molly lied, taking Anna’s hand and kissing her cheek, “I’m taking my girlfriend to meet her.” There it was again, that dark shadow lurking behind the boy with dreadlocks. “Come on Matt, they’re obviously not interested, know what I mean?” The second guy said, punching his friends the shoulder, hinting at the girls sexual preference.
With a safe distance between them and well out of earshot, Anna stopped Molly, “What was that all about ‘girlfriend’?” She asked accentuating the last word. “They were both so cute.” Molly looked down at her feet, trying to find the words to describe to Anna what she saw, or rather what she felt. Finding the words to describe what she had seen, and trusted that her dearest friend would understand. “I saw a dark shadow behind the guy with the dreads. It gave me the chills – do you know what I mean?” Molly looked at Anna, almost pleadingly.
“Well, no, not really, but I do have faith in what you see Molly. Now, let’s forget about it and go and play – where is this motel we are looking for?” Anna replied lightheartedly, and took Molly by the arm and tickled her ribs and said, “Look where we are Molly – Sydney!”
After checking into the motel, the girls wandered the streets exploring the city, locating the International Convention Centre where the Festival was to begin tomorrow, and walked on to Circular Quay. Molly loved the feeling of The Quay, with its buskers, the sun reflecting off the water, and the ferry boats coming and going. She found a place to sit on a small grass mound and watched the comings and goings of a typical day in Sydney. There were buskers, homeless folk mixed with tourists from all around the world. There was even an Asian couple having their wedding photos taken. The glistening calm waters of the harbour were accentuated by the brilliant blue sky. The sun was quite hot and she was grateful for the shade of the trees where she was sitting. Her thoughts were interrupted by the voice of one of the American guys. It was the one with the dreads and Molly felt herself react, her body stiffen and her skin prickled. But his energy was different, lighter no lurking shadows. She relaxed into conversation with him and several hours passed, only disturbed by her phone ringing, it was Anna. “Hey Babybee! Where are you?”
“Down by Circular Quay, you know where the ferry boats are?” She replied.
“Ok, I’ll find you,” said Anna. Matt had proved to be a very interesting person. He and his friend Andy were on a years break before starting College. He wanted to study engineering in renewable energies. The ocean in particular interested him, and his love for surfing, of how the ocean works fascinated him. Molly felt much more relaxed by the time Anna found them. With a perplexed look on her face, Anna stood behind Matt, wanting to get Molly’s attention. She mouthed at her, “What? What are you doing?!” Molly motioned for Anna to join them. “Hey Baybee, come and meet Matt. Matt this is Anna, my best friend.” Matt squirmed slightly, his discomfort at realising that the girls were gay was obvious. Both the girls burst out laughing and Molly explained how it was a protection action they took to shake guys off. Matt began to relax and suggested they catch up with his buddy Andy. Maybe the four of them could go out tonight?
“Well…” Anna drawled, “I don’t know, what is this buddy of yours like?
“Find out for yourself,” Matt replied pointing over Anna’s shoulder at Andy standing behind her. The four of them hung out together for the rest of the afternoon, planned to meet up for dinner and maybe a bit of fun. Purposefully Anna did not let them know where she and Molly were staying, the girls had already agreed of this earlier, that the location of the accommodation was to be kept private, keeping a safe place for them to retreat to.
Later that evening they met the guys at the local Irish Pub, sharing an enjoyable meal together. Before leaving the pub, the boys ordered another round of drinks and the girls went to the ladies room to ‘powder their noses’ as Anna announced it. Excitedly they giggled, light-headed from the schooner of Guinness they had already drunk.
“Told you they were cute, more than cute – they are hot! Don’t you think Molly?” Anna exclaimed. Molly looked into the mirror to refresh her lip gloss. What she saw in the mirror was the image of a woman superimposed in her own reflection. The expression startled her as the woman shook her head, looking sternly at Molly, as if wanting to warn her. But affected by the alcohol, Molly brushed it off.
“Ok, Baybee – let’s go play!” Anna said as she grabbed Molly’s hand, pulling her away from the mirror.
The music in the pub had shifted, playing more of a dance beat. Molly was keen to dance, took a large gulp of beer and grabbed Matt, leading him through the crowd to the dance floor. She decided that she did like him, he was not at all what she had first envisioned and put the hesitation down to her lack of confidence with boys. The rest of the night became a blur and the next thing she recalled was when she woke up in her motel room, still dressed in her clothes from the night before. Her head pounded and she felt dehydrated, her tongue sticking to the roof of her mouth. Reaching for her phone, she saw that the time was 12.15pm “Oh shit!” She exclaimed, stirring Anna from her sleep, who groaned and promptly rolled off the bed and onto the floor with a heavy thud. “Ouch!” She complained, “Oh my head!” Molly staggered to the bathroom to wash her face and discovered that her jeans had a large stain of blood down the front of her thigh. “Oh my god, what have I done?” She exclaimed under her breathe. “Anna!” She called out “What the fuck happened last night? I can’t remember…” Feeling panic rising in her throat, her stomach wretched and she just made it to the toilet before vomiting. Washing her face, and drinking some water, she pulled off her clothes, got in the shower and scrubbed her body with the soap and a body brush. Panicking, she started crying, “What have I done?” Although she had experimented with oral sex, Molly was still technically a virgin. She felt horrified at the potential of what she may have done without her conscious consent. Her legs buckled beneath her and she slid not the floor of the shower sobbing.
Anna crawled in with her, wanting to comfort her distressed friend, “Shh, shh, its ok Molly. It’s not what it seems. Matt did get forceful with you and I played your guardian angel and smacked him in the nose – its his blood on your jeans, not yours!”
Relief washed over Molly as the water swirled around the girls locked together in a hug on the floor of the shower. Molly’s sobs turned to giggles, and then laughter as both of the girls, relieved to be safe, began to laugh hysterically. How lucky they had been. Molly hugged Anna and thanked her. “Don’t ever let me get that drunk again!” Molly said more seriously.
“You didn’t drink that much Molly, I think the bastards spiked our drinks, you know, when we went to the loo.”
“Shit!” Molly swore, “How naive am I? Molly was cross with herself. Anna wrapped a towel around her and said reassuringly, “It is Sydney baby, so much bigger than New Zealand!”
“Oh fuck, we’ve missed the opening of the Festival!” Molly said disappointedly. “Bugger!”
“Does it really matter?” Anna asked, “it is open til 7pm. Let’s get something to eat and see how we feel. French Toast? My shout!”
Feeling much better after brunch, the girls decided to walk on to the Convention Centre and just wander around the stalls and look at pretty things. Excitedly, they run up the stairs hand in hand. Molly paused at the landing before entering the doors, her thoughts interrupted by the feeling of having been here before…it was just a fleeting image. The girls began at one end of the hall and wandered through the rows of stalls. They had no idea just how big this event was and it took them a couple of hours to visit all of the stalls, having not even ventured to the workshops, lectures or The Readers Room, where they did tarot and clairvoyant readings. Leaving the hall at closing time, the girls decided to get some takeaway and return to their motel room of an early night. Asleep by 10pm, Molly was exhausted. Her deep sleep was undisturbed until around 3am, when she had a run of vivid dreams. Like flashes of scenes from a variety of movies, she was only able to capture glimpses. But the last dream was of an old house hidden down a tree-lined drive way. She felt comfortable walking through the house, as if it were her own home. She paused at the bottom of the stairs, looking down at her feet to see that they were hidden by a mist which spread across the floor. She felt compelled to go up the stairs and through the door which was slightly ajar at the top of the landing. Inside the room was a beautiful woman dressed in a 1900’s floor length skirt and blouse. She turned to Molly and said, “I tried to warn you, so I sent Anna to keep you safe Are you ok?”
Molly woke with a start, tangled in the top sheet which clung to her damp skin. She found herself at the foot of the bed, next to Anna’s feet, who was still asleep, undisturbed by Molly’s thrashing in her sleep. Lying on her back staring at the ceiling, Molly struggled to recall more details of the fading dream. Getting out of bed quietly so as not to wake Anna, she found her head torch and dream journal and started to write. An hour later Anna woke bright and chirpy. “Hey Baybee! What’s the time?”
“It’s just after 5am,” Molly replied, feeling much better now she had captured the dream in more detail. “Lets go for a walk and breakfast before the festival begins,” Anna suggested.
By 6am the sun was just lighting the sky. There was a mixture of people out and about, some street folk, some prostitutes heading home and some people on their way to work. The sky was clear and the sun reflected splashes of reds and pinks across the water down by the Quay where the ferry boats were busy taking people in a variety of directions. Some were dressed for work, some with surf boards, some heading home after a long night out. After breakfast the girls walked around to Cockle Bay in time for the opening of Day 2 of The Mind, Body Spirit Festival. Like kids at a carnival, they walked up and down the isles before stopping at the Readers Room. There were over 70 readers available. Some were already pre-booked, others accepting whoever chose to see them on the day. Molly scanned over all of the profile pictures twice before her attention came back to one lady in particular. Dianna was from Brisbane, Molly could see a bright light all around this woman’s photo, and she was available now.
Sitting down at the table opposite Dianna, Molly felt excited and a little nervous. She had decided to not say anything about herself and just wanted to see what the lady had to say. Dianna shuffled the cards and asked Molly to choose 10 of them. Dianna confirmed that Molly had had a life changing experience recently and that she had had a strong presence of a beautiful angel around her. But there was more to this angel than most, a past life connection maybe? And that there was the energy of a young man, he appeared in her past and in her future. He was her soulmate, and that she may have only met him briefly, maybe socially. But there was more to the union, rather a reunion, than she could be aware of now. Dianna suggested that maybe he was from a past life. She asked Molly to select one more card – it was the Empress. Dianna asked permission to hold both of Molly’s hands and told her to close her eyes. After a couple of minutes whilst Dianna seemed to be in silent conversation, nodding her head in agreement to whoever it was she was listening to. Then her eyes shot open and she said to Molly, “Come with me, there is someone you need to meet.” Weaving their way through the tightly packed tables and chairs, Dianna took Molly to meet Sam, the co-ordinator of The Readers Room. She explained to him what had been revealed to her during Molly’s reading and finished the conversation by saying, “Molly, I hope you don’t mind, but I feel you can be of benefit here, do you have your cards with you?”
“Always!” Molly replied, excitedly. “But I need to find my friend Anna first.” For the rest of the day, Molly did reading after reading, her last being at 6.30pm. Just after 7pm she met up with Anna. “Wow! What a day!” Molly babbled on excitedly. “What did you get up to Anna?” Anna told her about the reading she had and the subsequent workshop on Tarot which had been suggested to her. “Apparently, I am a natural, who would have guessed!” She told Molly as they walked out the door into the fresh winters night. Molly shivered. “Brrrr…wasn’t prepared for this, I thought Sydney would be much warmer!”
For the next two days Molly returned to do more readings whilst Anna continued like a ‘workshop junkie’ going from one workshop to another. At the end of the third day they were invited to join in the closing ceremony. The Festival was over for another 6 months in Sydney. Sam had taken Molly aside and asked if she would be interest in doing readings at the next Festival in November. She had loved the experience and was happy to return later in the year. Molly felt a prompt to ask about Anna, explaining that she was new to doing readings but had been told she had a natural gift for reading tarot, that she had had a reading down with Louise Parks from Coff’s Harbour. Sam knew this lady well and thought highly of her work. As they were talking Anna arrived to meet Molly and just in time to be introduced to Sam. He offered to have a chat with Anna tomorrow and discuss this idea some more. They agreed to meet over breakfast.
Molly was feeling energised from being switched on in such a way as when you are doing readings all day, but her body was telling her it had been a long day. Having never done 12 readings in one day before, she really needed to recharge. Dinner, a hot shower and bed was all she could think about. They were to meet with Sam at 8am the next morning at the local cafe by the water at Cockle Bay. In bed by 9pm and drifting into sleep, Molly sensed someone sitting at the foot of the bed. Anna was already snoring quietly. Molly looked towards her feet to see the ghostly impression of a woman in a Victorian dress sitting at the end of the bed. She was smiling and said to Molly “I am with you always, I’ve got your hand.” Molly drifted into sleep undisturbed for the rest of the night, the alarm pulling her out of a deep sleep at 6.30am.
That night Anna had had a vivid dream about Sam. Information she was told to share with him that morning. Before getting out of bed, whilst the memories were still fresh, she wrote them down in her journal and decided to take it and her new cards with them to breakfast.
Sitting in the sun, sheltered from the brisk wind, a reminder that winter was on its way, the girls shared breakfast with their new friend. Anna was keen to tell Sam about the dream she had had last night, and offered to do a reading for him. He was interested to hear more about this. By the time the girls left Sam, they had both agreed to attend the next Festival in Sydney. It gave them enough time to save money for airfares and accommodation. And for Anna to get some experience with her new “career” Maybe she could do readings at the cafe too…