Seeing You Again for the First Time

By Colleen

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Chapter 9



The next morning, as they ate another delicious breakfast, Erin convinced her grandmother that she and Jane wanted to stay around the farm and help with the chores. The author appealed to the older woman's sense of family, asking to hear some of the delightful stories she had been told as a child. Kathleen gave a prideful smile and relented to allow them to help.

With the morning dishes put away in the beautifully hand made cherry wood buffet, Erin and Jane set about dusting the shelves, pictures and rugs. Kathleen was a consummate housekeeper and the chore was finished in half an hour. The beds were stripped and the bundles were placed in the automatic washing machine. That and an automatic dryer was another modern luxury that Kathleen had insisted on, even though a laundry room had to be built to house them.

The cot had been removed from the small bedroom when they had arrived home from their trip to Blarney. They had climbed into the bed that night with just a small bit of trepidation. They felt themselves getting closer by the minute, but it was not without worries on both sides.

Erin had awoken in the middle of the night that night to find a hand gently wrapped around her upper arm. The long fingers began to tremble and she looked over to see the beautiful face twitch in fear. Eyes jerked rapidly under closed lids and a muffled moan escaped the slightly opened lips. She reached out and cupped the troubled face. "It's all right Jane," she said soothingly. "I'm here. You're not alone." The movement slowly stilled and Jane slipped back into a peaceful sleep. Erin studied the face, as best she could in the pale light coming through the window. She began absently tracing the contours of the high cheekbone and moved down across the jaw. What am I doing? She suddenly pulled her hand away, burned by the realization that it was no longer necessary. She could see every inch of tanned skin, every strand of dark hair that was cut up over the ear and lay close against the long neck. Erin reverted her eyes to the ceiling and released a long puff of air. Her lips drew into a thin line and she mentally kicked herself. The odd thing was that she wasn't even sure exactly why she was scolding herself. The hand around her arm gave a gentle squeeze. Erin looked back to find her friend still sound asleep. She leaned over, kissed Jane's forehead and returned to her own slumber.

* * * *

Erin returned from the laundry room to find Jane sitting at the upright piano that sat in the corner of the living room.

The tall woman studied the black and white keys intently then she ran the tip of one finger backwards along the music-making device. Little pressure was applied and the notes came out nothing but a faint chime.

"Do you play?" asked Erin as she stepped up behind the seated woman.

Jane answered without looking up. "I don't know." Both hands were soon poised over the keyboard and a series of finger movements brought forth a lovely tune and a bright and shining smile.

Erin scooted onto the bench and gave her friend a one armed hug. "That was great! See, I knew things would start coming back to you."

Jane met the green eyed gaze with a timid smile. "Yeah, I hope so."

Kathleen had been standing in the doorway, watching the scene with a twinkle in her eye. She clapped her hands twice. "All right, you two wanted ta do chores, it's time to move this outside."

They followed her through the kitchen, where they stopped just a moment to take a healthy sniff of the mouth-watering aromas coming from the large cooking pot on the stove.

"Lunch," Kathleen informed them as she stepped onto the back porch. Her white head popped back through the doorway. "Come along, times a wastin." She handed them each a pair of black, rubber booties as she slipped her own pair on over her comfortable shoes. "Tis always best ta wear these when you're goin into the sheep barn."

Erin wrinkled her nose and nodded. "Thanks Grandma." She turned to her friend with a mischievous grin. "Guess what new job you get at the ranch?"

Jane laughed. "Oh well. I think I might like starting at the bottom and working my way up." She casually turned her back, knowing exactly how she had meant the comment and it had nothing to do with work. But she wasn't sure she wanted to see Erin's reaction.

What was Erin's reaction? Well, she was just glad that her grandmother was already out the door or else Kathleen surely would have asked why Erin's face looked like a house a fire.

* * * *

The three busy workers had the barn cleaned, fresh water delivered and feed served within an hour.

"I thank ya much for yer help darlins," the older woman said. "Now I want ya to relax fer the afternoon." Kathleen slipped into the kitchen and soon returned with a tan, woven basket filled with goodies. "In fact, I thought ya might like to have a picnic down by Clover Lake." She leaned closer and spoke in a hushed voice. "Actually, your Grandpa and I used to call it Sweetheart Lake. We used ta spend many a day there just…bein together." Her weathered face took on a sweet, but melancholy expression. "Just follow the tree line west and turn right when ya see the old barn. You'll find it in no time."

Erin hugged her beloved grandmother. "Thank you," she whispered then looked back at Jane. "It sounds like fun."

The tall woman nodded and retrieved the basket as they headed for the back door. Just as they stepped onto the carpet of green, they heard a voice call from inside the house.

"One word of warnin, ya best be on the lookout fer banshees."

Erin gave half a smile and a shake of her head as they kept walking.

A couple of bored looking sheep glanced in the their direction as the couple passed by. Aside from the dozens of woolen grazers in the pasture, it seemed as though she and Jane were the only two people in the world. It was another picture perfect day, as had every day she'd been in the country. She knew their luck with the weather was bound to fail soon, but it wouldn't be enough to squelch what she was feeling.

That morning spent helping her grandmother was almost as fun as any day she had ever known. She fondly remembered the best moments of the morning as they made their way to the lake.

They had been raking dirty hay from the far side of the barn (no, that was not the fond moment) and the mid-morning breeze wafted through the open windows, stirring up the dust and smell (and definitely not that one either). Suddenly Kathleen burst into verse.

Long, long ago, beyond the misty space

Of twice a thousand years,
In Erin old, there dwelt a mighty race,
Taller than Roman spears
Like oaks and towers they were giant race
Were fleets as deers,
With wind and waves they made their biding place,
These western sheperd seers.

Their ocean-god was Manannan MacLir,
Whose angry lips,
In their white foam, full often would inter
Whose fleets of ships
Cromah their Day-God and their thunderer
Made morning and eclipse
Bride was their Queen of Song and unto her,
They prayed with fire-touched lips.

Great were their deeds, their passions and their sports
With clay and stone
They piled on strath and shore those mystic forts,
Not yet overthrown
On cairn-crowned hills they held their council courts
While youths alone
With giant dogs, explored the elk resorts,
And brought them down.

Of these was Fin, the father of the Bard
Whose ancient song
Over the clamour of all change is heard,
Sweet-voiced and strong.
Fin once o'ertook Grania, the golden haired,
The fleet and young
From her the lovely and from him the feared
The primal poet sprung.

Ossain! Two thousand years of mist and change
Surround thy name
Thy Finian heroes now no longer range
The hills of fame.

The very names of Fin and Gaul sound strange
Yet thine the same
By miscalled lake and desecrated grange
Remains and shall remain!

The Druid's altar and the Druid's creed
We scarce can trace,
There is not left an undisputed deed
Of all your race
Save your majestic song, which hath their speed,
And strength and grace
In that sole song, they live and love and bleed
It bears them through space.

O inspired giant hail we'er behold
In our own time
One fit to speak your spirit on the world,
Or seize your rhyme
One pupil of the past, as mighty souled
As in the prime,
Were the fond, fair and beautiful and bold
They, of your song sublime!

They had soon found themselves lost in her lilt, their strokes keeping time with the rhyme. All thoughts of laboring around the unpleasant odor were soon forgotten and the chore was finished upon her last word.

"There now, that wasn't too bad," Kathleen said, as she gathered the farming tools and set them aside. She walked over to a doorway that led to another room and beckoned the pair with the crook of a finger. "There is someone I want ya ta meet." She pulled the latch back and opened the half door, inviting them to go in first.

The hay crunched under Erin's feet as she gingerly stepped inside. She took one look and a grin the size of all out doors graced the author's face.

From the far end of the twelve by six foot stall, the tiny, gray creature leapt forward on knobbly legs to greet its visitors. Erin dropped to her knees and gently scooped up the delicate baby. "She's adorable," she cooed as she snuggled her face in the lamb's soft, fuzzy wool.

"Aye, that she is," said Kathleen as she retrieved a baby bottle from a corner shelf. "Her name is Eire. I'm havin ta hand rear her, cause her mother rejected her."

"That's awful," said Jane, as she watched the author cuddled the four-legged little one.

"It happens ta some first time mothers. But thankfully not very often." A steady string of baaas started filling the air and Kathleen handed the milk to Jane. "I think she is wantin her lunch."

Jane gave a quizzical look at the item in her grasp then to the helpless baby. Its pitiful cries tugged at her heart. She knelt at Erin's side and held the bottle up to the charcoal colored face. The ravenous mouth soon latched on and began guzzling down the sweet substance. The lamb calmed in Erin's arms as it ate and blue eyes met green. With matching smiles they shared in the feeding of the small animal and in the joy of the moment.

A partially dilapidated, old building loomed in the near distance as they continued on their way to the lake. "I guess this is where we go right," said Jane, breaking Erin from her memories.

"Huh? Oh yeah."

"Are you okay?"

"I'm fine Jane. I was just thinking about this morning."

They walked side by side down the narrow footpath where the thick trees created a canopy above their heads. Shadowed patterns danced on the ground ahead as the sun peaked through the leafy branches. They began making a game of chasing the dark spots as they bounced around from the grass to the dirt and back again. They were soon jumping around and laughing so hard that at one point they bumped into one another.

Jane's free hand flew around the smaller woman's waist to keep her from falling. She tested the waters and pulled her a little tighter. "That's funny, I didn't see any goats around here," she teased.

Erin caressed the arm wrapped around her as she laughed. "Nope, just my two left feet." They stood there just a second longer. "I guess we should find that lake. I'm starved."

Jane pulled back and quickly agreed. "Yeah me too." She wasn't disappointed. On the contrary, it gave her hope that Erin had allowed the intimate, albeit brief touch.

* * * *

After efficiently stuffing themselves with Kathleen's delicious, culinary delights, a long rest was in order.

"Bunny rabbit," Erin called out unexpectedly.

Jane looked into the surrounding grasses. "Where?"

The author giggled and pointed skyward. "There."

They soon stretched out on the soft blanket, side by side, hands behind their heads and settled down to a session of cloud watching, which brought about some very unusual observations. Again, it became a competition of sorts, to imagine the strangest shapes in the sky above. Jane quickly pointed out a donut shaped cloud that slowly morphed into the letter C. That led to a rousing chorus of the cookie monster song and some rib tickling fun.

At one point Erin proclaimed that a blob of the graying vapors looked like a monkey reading a book, riding on the back of a unicorn. Next she saw a seahorse pulling a wagon full of pumpkins.

"Is this cloud watching or a Rorschach test?" joked the raven-haired woman.

"Let's see you do better, oh seer of donuts."

"Hey, it had rainbow sprinkles," she rebutted.

Erin snorted her reply.

"Okay that does it." With pursed lips, Jane scouted the sky for a winner. After about three minutes she spotted it. She flashed a sideways glance at her friend and sported a very cocky smile. "There," she pointed far off to the right. "A buck toothed bat flying off to group therapy."

"Group therapy?" came the skeptical question.

"Yeah, look at the way his wings are drooped. An obvious self-confidence problem."


"Poor thing, being the butt of all those bad bat jokes. Like, how many bats does it take to open a bottle of blood?" Jane looked to find a raised eyebrow pointed in her direction. "Only one as long as it's Bartholomew," she explained. "You know, because of the pronounced overbite. The teasing of his name alone was enough, but when the teeth grew in…" She gave an exaggerated shudder.

Erin couldn't hold it in any longer. She burst out laughing, soon joined by the brunette.

When their laughter quieted down, Jane began thinking about the woman next to her. She remembered how good it had felt holding Erin in her arms, earlier under the trees. How wonderful the kiss at the restaurant had been. How sleeping next to her for the past several nights had given her a feeling of safety, of finding something…familiar. Jane turned to her side and rose up on her elbow. At first she appeared to be taking in the splendor of the countryside, but her eyes soon drifted downward to admire the human splendor beside her. "Do you know how beautiful you are?" she asked softly.

A flicker of a smile hit the corner of Erin's mouth, but her eyes never left the clouds. "No."

"No, you don't know or no, you're not?"

The author turned to the brunette and the smile widened slightly as she answered. "Yes."

The blue eyes momentarily rolled skyward. "Well either way, I say you are."

Erin held the sparkling blues for several seconds before raising a hand to caress Jane's cheek. "Thank you." The sun peaked from behind a passing cloud, creating a halo of brilliance around the dark head. That hand slipped around her neck and Erin pulled Jane down to her. The kiss was that followed, by no means, tentative. It was firm and hot and delicious. The blonde rolled Jane to her back as tongues began their passionate play. Jane was careful with her hands, happy to just let them rest on the middle of Erin's back. Soft moans and hums joined the chorus of affection as the kiss continued.

Erin was in definite control as she pressed harder into the strong body beneath her. Every curve of the feminine form fit next to her like two pieces of a puzzle. The hands on her back felt so familiar. It was almost as if…so much like…before. There was another grassy field and the kisses, the intimacy... It felt so good, so right…but it wasn't. Erin sat up and closed her eyes in shame, not wanting to see the disappointment on Jane's face. "No, no, no," she chanted quietly to herself. It's so much like her. But I can't do that to myself again. "I'm sorry," she told Jane. "But I can't stop thinking about…"

"Don't be sorry. That was wonderful. And I promised not to push you, remember."

"You didn't. I started it. I kissed you and…more. I just…I just can't go there…yet."

Jane sat up beside the distraught woman. "It's okay."

Erin still couldn't look at her friend as she continued. "It was wonderful and so are you. I wish…" Long fingers reached under her chin and she was gently turned.

"I understand." The words were spoken firmly, but tenderly.

The rustling of the nearby trees replaced the absence of words as Erin studied the face of her friend. "You do, don't you?"

"Erin, you are all I have in the world. Now whether it's as a friend or a lover, I need you. And I think you need me. I really do understand the conflict that you're feeling. As much as I love you…and I do," she confirmed when the startled expression appeared. "I won't push you, but I just want to ask you not to give up on us because you're afraid. Take all the time you need and do everything you feel you have to to reconcile your feelings for Jamie. And if in the end, your heart tells you that you can do nothing but be by my side, hold my hand and lend me a shoulder every now and then, I will still be the luckiest woman in the world."

Erin threw her arms around her friend. "I do care about you…so much," she said as the hug was returned.

The next baby step in their developing relationship had been tentatively, but successfully taken. And Erin had felt one more barrier dissolve away. It still hurt, but somehow the pain was cushioned by the compassion of the woman in her arms. But there was still one more confusing feeling stirring inside her heart. And until that could be resolved, she knew she might never be able to move on and love again. And the thought of hurting the incredible woman at her side was unbearably painful.

Erin's dilemma continued.

Could she heal her own pain and prevent someone else's? She wasn't sure she could prevent it at this point. They were already too close. And if she couldn't pledge her heart again, her conscience would bare the pain of both of them. Erin now understood the kind of torment that Jamie had gone through at the beginning of their relationship.

Love is the strongest force in the universe. And that is what makes loving so easy and so hard. For Erin it was always so clear, true love was forever. In life and in death. And beyond. Facing a new love meant letting go of the past one. Her forever was suddenly hazy and the wind carried no clear answers.

The heavens suddenly opened up on the embracing couple. Their luck had finally waned. They pulled away laughing as the rain fell down upon them. "The old barn," they said in unison. Jane grabbed the basket and Erin scooped up the blanket. They quickly ran back to the path and through the grove of trees to the faded, brown structure.

Once inside, they shook drenched arms and squishy shoes, not that it did a bit of good. They had no choice, but to stay there shivering as they waited for the summer shower to dissipate.

Erin explored the empty stalls, not looking for anything in particular. She noticed the hayloft overhead, but wouldn't chance the rickety old ladder that was propped against the upper level. She soon shuffled her way back to the front door where Jane stood. She approached and put a hand against the wet, blue shirt that was plastered against Jane's back. The tall woman didn't acknowledge her presence with as much as a sigh. Erin looked carefully into the face of her friend. The glazed over, blue eyes seemed to be staring into another time. "Jane, are you okay?" She called her name again and finally got a response.

Eyes blinked heavily as Jane looked down to the worried face. "I…um…there was something…"

"What? Did you remember something from your past?" she asked excitedly.

The dark head shook. "Not really. There was just something about rain. Something happened to me that involved rain." She looked away, disappointed. "But that could be anything."

Erin knew there were no words that could really make her friend feel better. She just pulled her into a comforting hug, offering her silent support as the rain continued to fall, softly splashing into puddles that were forming in the soft earth along the path back home.

* * * *

Erin and Jane convinced Kathleen to let them take care of the evening dishes and working together they finished in a matter of minutes.

They stepped out into the backyard to find the older woman sitting in a wooden swing, humming to herself. Her eyes were focused on a point high on the mountain, far off in the distance.

Jane put an arm around the smaller woman's shoulder and Erin leaned into the tall body. They both stood there listening and taking in the peaceful moment.

The song came to an end and the white haired woman slowly turned to the smiling pair. "I'm thinking its time for Eire's last meal of the day." She winked at her granddaughter. "Care ta do the honors again?"

"You bet."

Kathleen checked things over in the barn one last time before bringing in the flock for the night, while Erin slipped into the large stall with a full bottle.

Jane's grinning face was propped on her crossed arms that rested on the top of the stall door. Her eyes took in the heartwarming sight, but her focus was on the beautiful face, which beamed with happiness. I wish I could keep that expression there forever. And I will do my best to try.

With her belly now full, the gray, fuzzed lamb bounced all around her new friend. Her small black hooves made the hay crackle as she ran around attempting to jump over Erin's out stretched legs. A little pink tongue poked out as Eire vocalized her pleasure with a series of baas. Soon the four small legs began to tire out and the dark eyes began to droop. Erin snuggled the soft body to her chest. "Sleep well little one," she whispered. She placed a kiss on the curly head and placed her back into the warm hay.

Jane unlatched the door and pulled it open. As Erin stepped out, the tall woman pulled a stalk of yellow straw from the collar of the blonde's white shirt. "That must've tickled," said Jane.

"Yeah it did." Erin wiggled the lower half of her body and giggled. "I won't tell you were more of those ended up. Excuse me," she said as she stepped into one of the empty stalls.

Jane clamped the piece of hay between her teeth. "Sure you don't need some help with those too?" she asked saucily.

The blonde head poked around the door and winked.

Next they watched as Kathleen and Lacey, the multi-colored Border Collie herded the flock across the field and into the barn with precision teamwork.

With all of the day's farm work done, the three of them moved back to the porch and sipped lemonade while Kathleen told more stories. One in particular captured Jane's attention.

"When Erin was just a sprout of two years, she became utterly fascinated with bugs. Ladybugs, crickets, grasshoppers, you name it and she chased it. And smart she was, figured out they liked ta live in the bushes. Every time her parents stepped out the door with her in tow, she was off ta the nearest greenery. One August afternoon, the family was havin an outdoor birthday party fer Bridgett."

Erin looked over to find Jane tugging on her lip with her teeth, trying to hold off the anticipatory laugh. Erin's pursed lips and bobbing head foretold her knowledge of the story's ending. Although she had no recollection of the incident, she had heard the story many times during her lifetime.

Kathleen continued. "Durin the birthday song, Erin runs out from where she'd been sittin…in the bushes. She started dancing around, wigglin her little behind and gigglin up a storm. Everyone thought she was just havin fun, tryin ta get some attention. But she wouldn't stop. Finally, her mother went over ta try and get her ta settle down before she hurt herself, but Erin kept on. Danielle thought that maybe her daughter had soiled and went ta check. All of a sudden she let out a scream would have scared the devil himself. Dani ripped off the diaper right there in the back yard, in front of the guests. She always pinned them on very loosely and no less then three of the little critters had crawled inside intendin ta make a home. Erin had little bites on her pink butt fer a week."

Jamie laughed her head off and nearly fell out of her chair when Kathleen said that they had almost started calling her buggy butt, but settled for E bug as a nickname.

Several more stories followed until darkness began to settle over them. Kathleen moved back inside to flip on the porch light and retrieve the quilt she'd been working on.

Jane stretched and her back gave an audible pop. "I think I'm going to turn in now," she told Erin. "You and your grandmother could use some time alone. Goodnight."

"Goodnight. I'll try not to disturb you when I come to bed."

"You haven't yet. Goodnight Kathleen," she said as the older woman returned.

"Goodnight Dear. Sleep well."

As Jane disappeared into the small house, Erin walked to the edge of the porch, into the shadows of the night. She watched the twinkling lights overhead, wondering at the turn her life had taken since coming to Ireland.

Kathleen watched as her granddaughter stood there in silent debate. "The stars make no noise," she said after several minutes.

"What?" asked Erin, turning back into the light.

"You can tell the stars all yer thoughts, but they can't talk back."

Erin nodded and smiled. "Sometimes that's a good thing."

"Aye, but sometimes it's not. Tell me what's on yer mind Dear. Have ya not been having a good time here?"

"No Grandma it's been fun. Jane and I have had a great time."

The wrinkled hands stitched with sure precision on the multicolored cloth that lay in Kathleen's lap. "Maybe that is the problem, do ya suppose?"

The low voice was barely heard above the chirping insects hidden in the blackness that surrounded them. "I don't know. It shouldn't be. Jane is wonderful."

"Aye, I think so too. And I think she cares a great deal fer you."

Erin released a long puff of air and turned to lean against the low, wooden fence. "She does. Today she told me…she told me that she loves me. She didn't expect a response, she just wanted me to know."

"And how do ya feel about her?" Kathleen asked cautiously.

Erin pushed off the wooden rail and began pacing the short length of the stone patio. "Oh, I could fall in love with her Grandma. I know I could. But how can I? How can I feel this close to her so fast." Her head shook with the mystery of it all. "I fell in love with Jamie right away…because she was my soul mate."

"Dear, you can have more than one soul mate in yer lifetime."

Erin stopped and pinned her grandmother with an intense expression. "Yes, but there is only one person who is the other half of your soul. And I know, without a doubt that Jamie was my other half."

Kathleen momentarily abandoned her sewing. "Put all that aside for just a moment," she said "How do ya feel when ya are with Jane?"

Erin closed her eyes and sank into the memories of the last week. A smile eased onto her troubled face as she remembered the laughs, the words spoken across meals, the jokes, the touches…the kisses. "Complete," she whispered. But then the scowl returned. "That is why this all so frustrating. I just don't understand it." Erin buried her face in her hands.

Kathleen hurt for her granddaughter. She got up and took her into her arms. "Maybe ya shouldn't try Sweetheart."

Erin looked at her quizzically.

"I know ya've heard the saying, the heart has reasons that the head might not understand. There's no shame in lovin someone as long as that love is true. I believe you can love both of them, but never make it a competition. Jane knows about Jamie, yes?" At the nod she continued. "She knows just how important she was in yer life?" Another nod. "And she's willin to wait until ya can commit yerself ta her completely."

"Of course. She promised me that several times."

"And that proves just how special she is. Erin, Sweetheart I just hope that ya don't let fear keep ya alone the rest of yer life. Don't be afraid ta love again."

"I'm not afraid to love again. I'm afraid to lose again. And the closer I get to Jane, the more that becomes a real possibility. You don't understand what I went through when Jamie died, no one could. I don't even know if there are words to describe exactly what I felt." Erin hesitated, staring at a spot on the cement. She knew her grandmother was urging her to continue by not saying a word. I haven't really told anyone…except for the grief counselor. Her voice was almost void of emotion as she began again. Erin could tell of the events during that period of time, but if she even tried to convey the emotions, that would be her undoing. And she wasn't about to fall to pieces in front of her grandmother. "At first I put up a strong front for the family. I know that's how I was always perceived, especially after I conquered my fear after losing my sight. I didn't want to disappoint them. But when I was alone, I was…truly alone. Nothing else in the world existed and I wallowed in my solitary reality. But that reality soon turned into fantasy, a fantasy world where everything was perfect. I began living Jamie's dream because I knew…I knew that she was only away on a trip and that she would be back any day. Time meant nothing to me. The calendar was merely numbers on a page." There was only one date that meant anything to me, April 14th. But I can't…I still can't talk about that. I'm sorry Grandma, but I can't. Erin pulled in a deep breath of fresh air and let it settle into her lungs before she continued. "I was finally pulled back to reality and only then did I seek professional help." But even the therapy had only helped her accept Jamie's death…it hadn't eased the hollow feeling in her heart where Jamie's voice still echoed.

"I'm glad ya told me this Dear and I hate that ya had ta go through that, especially alone. It was different fer me, I had children…" She reached up and cupped Erin's face. "and grandchildren ta support me. I still had that part of yer grandpa with me, but it didn't ease the loneliness. It hurt terribly."

"Isn't that why you never fell in love with anyone after Grandpa, because of the pain?"

"No Dear. I just wasn't lucky enough ta find anyone that I wanted ta share that with. Sometimes I wish I had. I don't want ya ta be my age and look back with regrets about Jane. You can have a happy life with her, if ya just take the chance." Kathleen kissed her granddaughter's cheek, said her goodnights and went back inside.

Once again the author turned back to stare into the night sky. She remembered giving guidance similar to that once upon a time. She had urged someone to have courage, to open their heart. Maybe it's time to take my own advice.

To be continued

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