Chapter 11. Changes.

The next couple of months passed quickly and soon it was time for Molly and Anna to get ready for their trip to Melbourne for the next Mind Body Spirit Festival. Molly was very excited as she had never been to Melbourne before.

Anna gave Molly and Will space as their relationship continued to blossom. He would sleep over most nights, except of the one week a month he went to Sydney for work. Molly thought she would never get used to that week apart. It took a day or two to adjust to him not being with her at night and then the week would pass quickly. Anna would sleep over during this week to keep Molly company and have a catchup. Work in the cafe was busy as it was in The Gypsy’s Cave for both of them. This next trip to Sydney for Will was back to back with Molly’s week in Melbourne. He had four days off which crossed over with Molly’s last day at the Festival. He planned to fly from Sydney to Melbourne and then back to Wellington with Molly afterwards, sharing two of the four days in Melbourne together. Molly loved the adventurous flexibility of their lifestyle and it suited her perfectly.

Wanting to put Nanny’s teachings to good use, and requiring certification to practice massage as a profession, Molly had enrolled in a massage diploma course which would commence on her return from Australia. This would give her the necessary qualifications to do this. It meant that she would need to cut back on her shifts at the cafe. On discussing this with Will, he boldly took advantage of the situation and offered to move in with Molly, to help pay her rent. Besides he was there most nights anyway. Molly loved this idea, she was both relieved and excited by his offer and was happy for him to move in with her, ready for the next step of commitment together as a couple. 

Will left for Sydney several days before Molly and Anna flew out from Wellington to Melbourne. The Festival in Melbourne was just as big and busy as the one in Sydney. Anna and Molly flew out from Wellington together, the days passed quickly, filled with fully booked days of readings for both of the girls. There was not much time to look around the venue. With such busy days the girls were exhausted by the time they shared dinner with friends and returned to their motel room just walking distance from the Entertainment Centre, in the heart of the city. Anna had booked a trip to Sydney following on from the Festival. She would travel with some friends from the Festival who had invited her to come and stay at their home in the Blue Mountains, West of Sydney. Molly and Will had a couple of days to explore this new city, staying on in central Melbourne, everything was walking distance or available by tram. They visited the Art Gallery, the Zoo and spent hours wandering through the many shops, restaurants and cafes.

On their return to New Zealand it was straight into work for Will and for Molly to commence her new study course. It felt good that this would give her some professional certification to back up the studies she had done earlier with Nanny, also give her a comprehensive understanding of anatomy and physiology. Soon the months were passing as quickly as the weeks had done so previously. Molly was halfway through her studies when Anna came to stay with her one night whilst Will was in Australia for work. She wanted to check in with Molly about an important change in her life she was contemplating. Anna’s friends who lived in the Blue Mountains had an available room in their house. Anna had fallen in love with the little village of Leura and the neighbouring town of Katoomba. She felt at home here and really liked all of the others already living in this huge old house. Anna had continued to attend the Festivals whilst Molly was studying, and this was another reason for her to move to Australia to live. She was wanting to attend all of the Festival nationwide and it would be so much easier being near Sydney. Molly had felt this coming and was excited for her dear friend, that she too had some new direction in her life. But of course this was with mixed emotions, despite not seeing much of Anna since she had been living with Will, together with her studies and work at the cafe. They agreed to keep in touch with video chats on Messenger, it was much easier now with on-line communication improving constantly.

The end of the year rolled on and Molly was sitting her final exams. She would need to find a work space, something separate to where they were living and where she was doing readings in the Cafe, it was too small for massage.

“Why don’t we rent a small house?” Will suggested, “And then you could use the studio apartment to work from.”

“I’m not so sure,” Molly said hesitantly, “It would mean two rents. I’ll enquire at the chiropractor and physiotherapist at Waikanae see if they would be interested in me working in with them. Will sensed a hesitation in her voice, “Wait on, Molly, what would you prefer to do? Regardless of expense. I really want to help you make this happen,” Will was excited about the idea. He could see how it would work well in several ways, a bigger house for them and an opportunity for Molly to be self-employed and do what she enjoyed most. Sitting on the bed with her, Will took both of her hands in his and said, “Close your eyes Molly. Imagine us redecorating this room. What do you see? Molly sighed, relaxed her shoulders, and closed her eyes. Staring into the darkness, she waited for something to come to her. She began to see…..the ceiling painted white, the walls a pale blue milk paint, and the architraves sanded back to raw timber, the floor boards sanded and sealed. Rice paper blinds covered the windows except for the one which looked out at the beach. The room being set up high was private and no one was able to see inside, giving the feeling of space, and the tree tops brought nature into the room. Molly told Will what she was seeing then opened her eyes, her face beaming. “let’s do it! Yes! I will ask Alice today, and we will have fun finding our new home.” 

And so the next chapter of their lives together began. Will found a cute cottage down the road, walking distance to the cafe and studio. Called ‘Pohutakawa Cottage’, it was nestled amongst very old Pohutakawa trees, up on a small rise overlooking the beach. Will had contacted the owner and arranged a suitable time for them to have a look inside. There was room to park their car at the main house where the landlord lived, and a small track wound up through the trees to the cottage. It was the original bach in which the owners had lived whilst building the larger home, their family having outgrown the cottage. 

Walking up the path to the cottage, Molly paused. She had a strong feeling of deja vu, as if she had been to this house before. Somehow, it seemed familiar. She was able to recall the breathtaking views across the treetops to the ocean from the verandah out the front of the modest building, Somewhat bigger than the studio, and the combined living-kitchen room provided a bigger space, the lounge area had a large window, north-facing towards the ocean and the kitchen window looked out into the tree tops in the opposite direction. It had a separate bedroom, with French doors onto the verandah. It was the perfect upgrade for them. Sitting at the small kitchen table, she heard the name “Kirsty”, but had no idea what it meant at that time.

Molly met with Alice later that day, to discuss their plans. Alice thought the idea of Molly doing massage upstairs was brilliant and suggested that she do readings from there too, as she could do with the extra space for the Cafe. 

After moving house and giving her studio apartment a makeover, life for Molly and Will settled into a rhythm. One day, whilst Molly sat at her desk waiting for her next client, staring out the window her as her mind drifted, she heard a familiar voice – one she had not heard for quite some time. Her days had become hectic with her business having grown rapidly and any personal time each day seemed to be getting shorter, but  she would always make the time to do a walk on the beach each morning before starting work. Molly’s weeks were busy with massage clients and readings with only an occasional shift to help out at the Cafe. There was a lot to juggle but she and Will both remembered the importance of making time for themselves as a couple. The voice whispered, “Change Molly, is the essence of Life. Be at ease with it.”

She quickly scribbled the words down on a note pad, whilst they were still fresh in her mind. Her phone chimed, it was  a text message from her client, who was stuck in traffic behind a car accident, and would be in touch to reschedule. Molly now had an unexpected hour to herself. She stared down at what she had just written – what did it mean? She decided to make the most of the spare time and took her yoga mat down to the beach, something she had not done for way too long. Stretching her body on the beach was liberating, the warm breeze lifted her energy. Molly felt the resistance of a body that had not done yoga for quite awhile. Breathing into  the stretches, her body soon remembered what to do. Stretching out the tension felt so good. As her body relaxed, she sat still and listened to the waves washing up on the shore, the tide was going out. Several people passed by her, a jogger, and a woman walking a dog, both of whom knew Molly, her bright personality had touched many people either through the cafe, readings or massage. She was content with her life and her relationship with Will, but all of this was about to change. A restlessness stirred in her. At first it felt like boredom, that there were no challenges, nothing to stretch her, make her grow. This feeling was the harbinger of change. However, even she had no idea what was coming…

Will was due back from a trip to Sydney and they had organised to have a week away together. Life had become too busy for their liking. Molly had booked The Chalet, a Bed and Breakfast accommodation  which over looked Lake Taupo, the perfect place for them to stop and breathe. They had been living together for over a year now,  Life for them was busy but easy. Whilst driving to the Lake, Molly shared with Will the growing sense of boredom she had been feeling and what she thought it meant. He was fascinated by the way in which Molly like to interpret her emotions and intuitive hunches. “Any idea what the change may be?” He asked her, as he parked the car off the side of the road by the water at the southern tip of the Lake. Molly shook her head, “Nope, not a clue,” as she got out of the car. Leaning back against the bonnet of the car, she closed her eyes and breathed in the fresh air, the strong breeze coming straight off the snow capped mountains they had not long driven through. As Will watched her, captivated by how beautiful she was, he knew this was the moment he had been looking for. He knelt down in front of her and at first she thought he was tying his shoe lace, but then he took her hand. Molly looked down at him slightly puzzled, as he said to her, “Molly, I want to walk through Life holding your hand, to experience everything with you. Molly Murphy, will you marry me?” Will looked up and offered her a diamond ring. Completely unexpected, Molly did not know whether to laugh or cry! “Yes! Yes! YES! William Ferguson – I will marry you!” She announced to The Lake, as Will slipped the ring onto her finger and she wrapped her arms around his neck, holding him tight, never wanting to let go of this incredible feeling. Will kissed her, long and passionately, their hearts soaring, only to be interrupted by the honking of a horn of a passing car from which someone yelled, “Woo hoo! Go for it!” Out of the window. Both of them giggling, got into the car and drove to the township of Taupo to get groceries before going on to Acacia Bay and The Chalet. Molly wanted to create a special dinner to celebrate. 

The first night by the Lake, Molly had a realistic dream. In it she saw herself looking out the window of The Chalet across the Lake. She could hear a woman’s voice calling her. As Molly listened carefully she could hear the voice more clearly, It sounded like she was saying, “Mamaku! Mamaku!” And then she saw an impression of a woman with long silvery-grey hair, her face tanned, she was short in stature. It seemed like she was calling to Molly, “Mamaku! I knew you would come to visit us again!” The woman’s hands were raised in the air as she called out to Molly. Molly woke with a start, the bed sheet clung to the clammy skin of her naked body. Will slept on beside her unaware of her dream. 

“Who is Mamaku?” Molly asked herself. Unsettled, she reached for her glass of water, her throat hot and dry, her body felt feverishly hot and sweaty. She laid back on her pillows and listened to Will’s gentle snoring. It made her smile, her thoughts drifted as she fell asleep again.

The next day they stayed at The Chalet daydreaming together and began to plan their wedding. When was the best time for them to get married, where would they like to do this, and who would they invite. Something sat at the back of Will’s mind, slightly distracting him. He had been waiting for the right moment to share this with Molly. So much had happened in these few days already. Molly sensed his distraction. She could tell that there was something he was holding back from telling her. and waited patiently for him to share it with her, when he was ready. Eventually, he spoke up about it, “Molly, I’ve been offered a promotion, to be the Assistant Manager of our team.”

“Wow Will, this is awesome! How exciting,” Molly responded enthusiastically, and at the same time reading the look of “I am not so sure” on Will’s face. “But? There is a ‘but’, I can sense it Will Ferguson!” She encouraged him.

Will took a deep breath before continuing. He had been quietly contemplating this whilst he was in Sydney, when his boss had approached him with the offer. Will was 23 years old and would be the youngest Assistant Branch Manager. Will was unsure if he was ready for the responsibility of looking after staff, most of which would be older than him. He was concerned that it would it be a distraction from his creative design work. And there was something more. It would involve being transferred to a new office in Hamilton, and he was hesitant to tell Molly, not wanting her to feel obliged to move and yet, he had to give his boss an answer on his return to work the following Monday.

Molly could feel him holding something back. She looked at him with bated anticipation and said, “And then…?”

“It would require me to be the Assistant Branch Manager of a new office. (He paused) The company is expanding into Hamilton.” Will looked at her, waiting for her response.

“Oh!” Molly replied. She did not know what else to say. Several long, slow, silent minutes passed as the news sunk in. Molly’s mind tossing around the possible options. Then, with eager bright eyes, she said to Will, “Let’s have some fun working this out. What are the possible scenarios?” They talked into the early morning, working through the options of living together in Hamilton, or Will commuting, staying in Hamilton  for work and coming home on his days off. This could work because Molly was her own boss and could take time off to suit Will’s roster. They both liked the idea of this, being the best option allowing Molly to continue working and living in Paraparaumu. Or maybe she could drive to Hamilton to stay with Will…or they could meet at different locations, like Lake Taupo.

That night Molly had another dream, so clear and detailed. Again she saw the woman across the lake, who seemed to be calling her by the name Mamaku, but this time, more insistently. She yelled across the water to Molly, her voice carried in the wind, her piercing blue eyes  emphasised by the grey of the storm clouds in the back ground and her long silvery hair which swirled around her like a cloak. “Mamaku, you must come! Mamaku!” She called, the urgency in her insistent voice woke Molly from the dream to see the old woman standing at the foot of the bed. “Mamaku, you must come with me now!” Then, as if woken from a dream within a dream, she sat up suddenly in the bed and looked around the room. The only person there was Will, who was now woken by Molly’s muffled shriek. 

“You ok babe?” He asked sleepily, reaching out to reassure her, “It’s just a dream. It’s all over now. Do you want to talk about it?” He asked now wide awake and slightly concerned by  the startled and slightly stunned look on Molly’s face.

“Y-yeah…” Molly stammered a reply.

“Cup of tea maybe?” Will offered.

“Y-yeah…” Molly repeated, still unsettled by the clarity of the dream.

Whilst sipping hot, sweet tea, Molly retold her dream to Will, whilst it was still clear in her mind. “Will, the thing which spooked me the most was that I feel like I know this old woman! Who could she be?” With no answer to this but feeling a little more settled, they snuggled under the bed covers. Safely wrapped in each others arms, they drifted back into sleep.

There were no further dreams before they left the Lake, and Molly still had no idea who this old woman was other than the sensation of knowing her. They had both agreed for Will to accept the promotion and that he would come home for his days off or Molly would travel up to stay with him. And of course, they could always meet at The Lake being a good halfway destination. At first Molly was a little unsure about being apart from Will, but they both knew it was a stepping stone. Besides they had lived apart before Will moved into the studio apartment with her. It did not take them long to settle into a new rhythm. Even with these changes and their engagement, Molly felt something else coming. She could not describe it other than a yearning. It was not about children – they had already discussed this and agreed that it was not something either of them wished to experience just yet. This sensation was something else…

Life had become busy for both of them, the rhythm, flow and momentum blending one day into another. Most nights Molly would chat with Will by phone or video chat until after midnight. She would sleep through the alarm in the morning with only enough time for a shower and breakfast before starting a busy day, working until 8pm most nights. Alice kept an eye on her, often leaving a meal for her on the doorstep of The Body Studio. Molly had befriended an old stray cat she called Oscar. Actually, it was Oscar who had told Molly his name. He was a typical looking street cat – grey tabby and green eyes. But he had perfect markings, was very neatly striped, with white vest and paws as if someone had purposefully painted them on. His bright green eyes gave him a look of youthfulness, defying his age.  Occasionally he would find Molly’s meal before her, so Alice made a point of leaving a plate of food out for him too. Oscar was getting quite old, being a stray his actual age unknown. Molly had managed to encourage him to come to the vet with her,  when she had been concerned about a swelling in his jaw. He had come willing with her and the vet had diagnosed an abscess and prescribed antibiotics, but had not keen to extract the tooth because of his age which he guessed to be at least 16 years. On this particular day, Oscar had not touched his food and Molly had not seen any sign of him. Over the following days, there was still no visit from Oscar. Then Molly had a dream, that he had come to her door to say good-bye. He sat at her feet smiling, his green eyes sparkling and Molly heard the words, “You can move on now.” Molly woke crying, she knew Oscar had gone to heaven in a way most cats do – they slip between the cracks in the fabric of the Universe, leaving without a trace. For Molly, what took his place over the following days was a yearning for something new. 

Despite building a very successful business, Molly knew it was time to do something different. Massage was something that came as a natural add-on to doing the readings. Readings, she knew could be done anywhere these days with the help of the internet. But she was curious to know what this yearning was. She arranged to meet Will at The Chalet, Lake Taupo for three nights. When Molly arrived at The Chalet, she could smell the aromas of hot soup and garlic bread. The room was softly lit with candles, the cosy wood burner heated the room and the full moon was rising between the hills across the water on the other side of the Lake. But Will was nowhere to be seen…Molly heard the sound of someone humming happily to a Jack Johnson song playing in the background and she found Will filling the spa bath. She snuck in quietly behind him, slipping her hands around his waist, and kissed the back of his neck. He was not surprised, having heard her car pull up outside on the gravel drive. Without uttering a single word between them, they undressed each other and eased their bodies into the hot mineral waters. Sighing with contentment, they both relaxed into the hot soothing water. Will watched as Molly closed her eyes, immersing herself into the bliss of the moment. Irresistibly, he pulled her closer and kissed her, at first gently and then the passionate kisses carried them away to a place only lovers know. Coming up for air, their hearts racing, ecstasy having swept through their bodies, Molly smiled and broke the silence, “Hello my beautiful soul, it is so good to be with you! Oh, how I have missed this body of yours!” Will smiled too, still lost for words, and holding onto the moment – oh god how he loved her!

His first words were “Molly, let’s get married – just you and me. We could contact Alice and tell her we are planning a party, and could she cater for it at the cafe….(he paused) How does that feel?” He looked at her expectantly. Molly’s heart was racing, she loved the idea. “Oh Will! That is a brilliant idea. But where, when? Will stared out the window, deep in thought. “Well….We could plan a five day weekend when I get back from Sydney. Maybe I could bring Anna back with me…”

“Yes! Yes!” Molly replied eagerly. “We could get married on the beach!” Will smiled at her smugly, “Just what I was thinking.”

Over dinner they caught up with the events of each other’s week and began to discuss in more detail what they would like to do for their wedding. Both agreed to keep it simple. Exchange personally written vows privately on the beach, convince Alice to keep the secret as to the purpose of their party, that it was just a social gathering. That night Molly slept peacefully until just before sunrise, when she woke suddenly, sensing the presence of someone in their room. Opening her eyes, she cautiously peaked out from under the duvet to see a small group of woman standing around the bed. One of them was the old woman from the last time they stayed at The Chalet. The others were much younger than her.

“It is good to have you home Mamaku,” the old woman smiled at her, and then the other younger women smiled and nodded in agreement. The clarity of the vision took Molly’s breath away. The old woman’s hair was scooped up in a bun held in place with a carved bone hair pin decorated with paua shell. The three woman standing behind her were of a variety of ages, representing several generations between them. One was a teenager, another pregnant and another had an infant feeding from her breast. There was an overwhelming familiarity and a sense of being with family. But who where they? The vision remained strong and Molly felt compelled to ask this thought, but before she got to ask anything, the old woman stood proudly and answered her thoughts immediately, “We are the Ancient Ones! The Caretakers of the Spiritual aspect of this Land. You will remember who we are, and more importantly – who you are!” Her mischievous child-like smile made her turquoise eyes twinkle.

The apparition faded, the light in the room dimmed and Molly felt for Will’s body next to her, reminding her that she was indeed awake. She laid in the bed, eyes wide, breathing hard, like she had been running, her heart beating fast. “The Ancient Ones…” she thought quietly to herself. Even that term felt somehow familiar, but Molly was unable to recall where she knew it from…some vague and distant memory…Maybe it was mentioned in a previous dream – but the words stirred something deep within her. “And who is Mamaku? And why does that old woman call me that?” Molly thought as her mind began to buzz. Was it her imagination or was it actually some ancient memory being stirred within her?She felt a strong urge to write all of this down. Quietly she got out of bed, turned on a small lamp and rummaged through her bag for a notebook. It had been so long since she had kept a dream journal. Sitting at the small table by the window looking out over The Lake, Molly caught a glimpse of a reflection in the glass. It was the face of the old woman and Molly heard her now familiar voice say, “I am Jordana – you remember now?”

“Jordana,” Molly whispered quietly. “Hmm…” she quickly wrote down all of the dream as she could remember it. Sitting back in the cane wicker chair, she looked out at the horizon across The Lake. Before her the sky was changing, from night to day – that magical time she loved so much. 

As she stared out the window watching the colours of the sky changing, she felt her energy drop, like she was in an elevator, and darkness surrounded her. The room around her seemed to dissolve as she became enveloped in a vision. It all felt so real as she found herself in  thick, rainforest-like bush.  Damp and humid, the heavy air seemed to embrace her. With a mixture of emotions from fear to excitement, Molly stood still in the darkness, allowing her eyes to adjust. Between the trees she could see a full moon setting, casting silvery rays of light across the ripples on the surface of The Lake.

Looking down to where her feet should be, all Molly could see was a swirling mist. Ahead of her, through the misty bush she caught a glimpse of what appeared to be a staircase, partly covered in vines. Where the stairs led to, was not clear, but she felt the urge to find out and could feel herself being drawn towards them. As Molly placed her foot on the bottom step, the mist began to clear, the vines retreated revealing the only thing now visible to her – the wooden stairs leading up to a door. She could feel her heart beat increasing as she walked slowly up each of the steps, the wooden treads creaking softly beneath the weight of her body. Standing outside of the closed door, she looked for a handle. The door was of an older style, it had the appearance of a rich red cedar timber with a white porcelain door handle, above this was a matching scratch plate. Beneath the handle was an ornate brass key hole. Reaching out to turn the handle, the door opened easily for her. Curiosity drew her in and she pushed the door open, stepping boldly into the room. Before her was what appeared to be an old attic room, with worn wooden floorboards, a rug sat on the floor in the middle of the room. To the left was an open fireplace in which there was a fire grate and a cast iron kettle. Facing the fireplace were two wing backed arm chairs. Between these was an old sea chest as a coffee table. To her right was an old pine kitchen dresser on which was a beautiful fine china tea set and a matching water jug, cream coloured with tiny pink rose buds. Further to the right of this was a  brass daybed tucked in an alcove behind the door, where the roof slanted downwards. Directly in front of her was a dormer window, beneath which was an antique writing desk and an old oak captain’s chair. The light in the room appeared dim, except for a candle on the window sill which burnt brightly, reflecting in the old rippled glass panes. Molly heard a soft, swishing sound and turned to see a woman  standing by the kitchen dresser, facing away from her. The sound came from the woman’s long skirt sweeping across the wooden floor as she moved. The skirt was of pin-stripped fabric with a bustle and a ruffle at the bottom, and she also wore a white blouse with a high collar and long sleeves, puffed at the top and fitted down her forearms. She turned towards Molly and smiled calmly. But what she saw made Molly stifle a scream, because the woman’s face was that of her own, dark hair swept up into a loose bun, her own turquoise blue eyes stared back at her, like a mirror image!

Molly’s body jolted as her consciousness snapped back to the present moment, to where she was sitting in the wicker chair looking out the window across The Lake. Her face was damp with perspiration and her heart raced. “What the hell?” she whispered out aloud.

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