My first blessing.

Foot of New Born by anekoho/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Those eyes,

so pure and innocent,

snaring me.

That skin,

so soft and beautiful,

waiting to be kissed.

The hair,

so fine,

angel wisps between my fingers.

This fragile being,

my creation,

my dependent,

taught me

the true meaning of love.

My first divine gift.

My child,

my everything.

© www.mypastmademe.com 2012

Last train to Realisation.

Door Open To New World by basketman/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Enough now.

Time to live.

Time to grab life with both hands.

I have emerged from the darkness,

  my cheeks glistening,

  my conscience clear,

  my heart full.

Prosperous I am not,

  but riches I am blessed with.

I can follow my dreams,

  walk into the sunset

  holding hands smaller than mine.

Together we are happy.

Together we are invincible.

Alone is a word I no longer recognise.

I am Mother …

Hear me sing.

© www.mypastmademe.com 2011

 

A New Star Is Born.

Bright White Star In Space by nuttakit/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

When I looked up at the sky tonight

I could see you waving down at me,

  a star shining more brightly than all the rest.

Muted golds and shades of wonder,

I know you are there now,

  walking with the Gods.

Your daughter’s heart is breaking,

  and so mine breaks too.

I tell her you are near,

  it eases her pain only a little.

Wrap yourself around her from the ether,

  around all of your children,

  for the hurt of your loss is deepening,

  a cross none of them can bear.

Goodbye is not a word they want to say.

Stay.

Please stay.

© www.mypastmademe.com 2011

 

Rudderless ~ A Poem for My Grandmother

Rose Close Up by anankkml/FreeDigitalPhotos.net
If you were here now
  you would tell us to get on with it,
  to move forwards with the hands of time.
You would take charge, as you always did,
  standing at the helm,
  riding out the storm.
We would buck or follow, sulk or smile
  but loving you all the while,
  respecting you and trying to please.
For all the times I put my feelings first instead of yours,
  I am so very sorry …
But you know this,
  for the tsunami of tears rises heavenward.
If you were here now
  you would be proud of us pulling together,
  shipmates … your family.
Most of us only exist because of you …
  so now the ship has no direction,
  floating vacantly with no-one to steer, to lead.
If only you were here now.
 

Splintered.

Love by Salvatore Vuono/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

 

Splintered.  My Family.  My Heart.

One piece wanting to leave regularly …

and I am not whole until she boomerangs home again.

~

Two responses: one of sorrow … that it was not supposed to be like this,

and one of knowing that I need to fulfill my life so that it does not hurt so much.

Soon.

Now.

© www.mypastmademe.com 2011

The Invisible Gift

“Give it back, Brian!”  Daisy yelled at her little brother

“No, I won’t!  Why should I?”  He was glowering at her, gripping the DVD remote control against his body where she wouldn’t be able to reach it without a fight.

“Oh, for goodness’ sake,” Jean groaned despairingly, distracted from the book-keeping again by her children.

“Now you’ve done it,” Brian grumbled, sitting back in the armchair.

“You little monster!”  Daisy seethed, her face flushed with anger.  This always happened!  Her spoilt brother always ruined her plans by doing exactly what he wanted.  When were her parents going to realise what a little brat he was and pack him off to some boarding school so she could have some peace?

Jean wearily entered the room.

“It’s her fault!”  Brian suddenly wished he had let Daisy have her own way instead of causing more trouble for Mum.

“No, it’s not!  Mother, tell him, will you?”

“Oh, what is it now?”  This was the third time Jean had been disturbed by their petty squabbling and she really was tired of it.  Didn’t they realise that the books just had to be done?  If she didn’t submit the Tax Return by the end of January, without fail, Jean and Terry Hatton would receive a fine from the Inland Revenue that they could ill afford.  Life was complicated enough without these silly temper tantrums.  She tuned out from the scene whilst Daisy and Brian continued arguing, each of them desperately trying to get their mother on-side before she determined who would be victorious.  They had no idea that she had developed – no, perfected – an expression that not only led them to believe she was listening intently, but which also left them convinced she truly cared about their tiff.  ‘Stop it, Jean,’  she scolded herself.  She was becoming sour with tiredness.  Her sweetness was disappearing, absorbed by a combination of the workload generated by the business and the never-ending list of chores that required her attention at home.  She couldn’t cope for much longer.

“Mum?”

Daisy’s sharp tone snapped Jean out of her trance.  She blinked several times, straightened herself and then brandished an arm in the air to indicate that she couldn’t possibly commit to an answer (which brilliantly disguised the fact that she hadn’t listened to the question).  ‘I mustn’t do that any more,’ she thought, annoyed that now she had become even more embroiled in the quarrel.  It would have been over and done with already if she had simply admonished both children straight away and returned to her books.

Jean studied her offspring.  Brian was only ten.  He could be excused from these sorts of wrangles; it was natural at his age to be defending his corner, rightly or wrongly.  But Daisy!  Daisy should know better.  She was forever whinging and causing problems.  Despite her efforts, she had been unemployed for six months, but her father was adamant that she would not be forced to work in the coffee shop against her will.  It infuriated Jean that a good job was there for the taking yet Daisy was totally against the idea of working for her parents, even just temporarily.

Daisy glared at her mother impatiently.  Was she ever going to answer?  The pause had given Brian time to remember the computer game stuffed at the back of his wardrobe.  He hadn’t played that for a while; it would kill a few hours until Dad came home.  The lull for Daisy, however, had only served to make her feel increasingly hard done by.  She didn’t see what the problem was.  She was bored of listening to music in her bedroom and wanted to watch a DVD instead.  End of story.

After what seemed like an age, Jean turned to her son with pleading eyes, “Brian, love, I really need to get these books done or your father and I will be in serious trouble.  Please find something else to do.  For me, eh?”

Brian nodded.  He felt so sorry for Mum these days; she worked so hard all the time and he was starting to worry about her.  He tried his best to make things easier for her, but he somehow always managed to make things worse.  Last week he had mown the lawn, but nearly electrocuted himself when he’d accidentally mown over the cable.  After examining Brian to check he was okay his Dad had shouted at him for being so careless, then remorsefully patted him on his head and suggested he play on the computer.  A few days earlier, Brian had tried to help Mum in the coffee shop by pricing some biscuits, except he’d forgotten to check the counter on the pricing gun and had added an extra pound on the price of every packet.  Mum had said it was a waste of time and labels although she was glad of his assistance and suggested he read a book for a change.  Then yesterday – and Brian had declared that this would be his triumph – he’d surprised Mum by doing some washing, only he hadn’t noticed one of Dad’s red socks in the load, and it was new, and it bled all through the wash so Mum’s favourite white blouse had ended up a washed-out shade of pink.  She had been dreadfully upset, but had explained it was because she was so exhausted.  Brian had been so tearful afterwards that Mum had worn the strangely coloured blouse to work today to make him feel better.

But Daisy … where had they gone wrong?  She was a good girl, yes, but so lazy.  Lazy Daisy!  It had become a bit of a joke at home in the last few months, but things were getting out of hand now.  The only things she seemed to be interested in were going shopping, surfing the internet, chatting on the ‘phone or watching television – all things that cost money.  Jean shook her head in exasperation.

“Well, Mother?”  Daisy was brusque.

Jean levelled her with her eyes, “Daisy, I’m disappointed in you.”

“Oh Mum,” she whined.

“Oh Mum, nothing … you’re the eldest and you should be trying to help me, not constantly rowing with Brian.  He’s only ten.  Ignore him.  Don’t rise to it!”  Her voice was gentle, but to Daisy it might as well have been a jagged knife.

“But -”

“But, nothing,” her mother interrupted.  “Just stop it please!”

Daisy was feeling exceptionally stupid and embarrassed.  She couldn’t believe this!  Why did she always get the blame?  What made Brian so special?  She gazed at her mother and then her body felt as though it were filling up with liquid guilt – rising rapidly from the soles of her feet right up to the follicles on her pretty, blonde head – and it was so intense, so burdensome, so … horrible.  Her eyes pricked with tears at the injustice of it all.  She glanced at Brian who looked like butter wouldn’t melt in his mouth and then she quickly ran out of the room, deliberately ignoring her mother’s outstretched hand.  Daisy’s guilt-ridden feet were stomped as loudly as possible all the way up the stairs and her bedroom door was slammed with equal enthusiasm.  She sat on her bed sulking as she surveyed her bedroom.  “I bet my mates aren’t treated like this,” she yelled.  “I hate it here!”  She buried her face deep into her pillow to muffle the stinging, uncontrollable tears and stifle her angry, juvenile emotions.

The next morning was Saturday.  Daisy rolled out of bed and charged into the bathroom.  She had promised to meet her best friend, Angela, in the shopping centre at midday and she didn’t want to be late.  When she later emerged downstairs her mood was good, but the moment she spotted Brian fussing over their mother in the kitchen it deteriorated.  She breezed in, grabbed a bowl and filled it with cereal without any sort of a ‘hello’.

“Morning, love,” her Mum was holding out her arms for a hug as Brian washed dishes at the sink.

“Morning,” Daisy growled, dumping the milk bottle back into the fridge door with the same testiness she had displayed the previous evening.

Jean’s heart sank.  ‘Teenagers,’ she consoled herself, although it wounded her that Daisy could so callously ignore her attempt to make-up.  “I’ll leave you to it then,” she said mournfully.  “I know what you’re like in the mornings.”

“I’m not like anything,” Daisy hissed and jumped up to grab her coat and bag.

“Where are you going?”  It was a miracle Daisy was out of bed at all at this hour on a Saturday, let alone dressed and going out!

“I’m meeting Angela,” she said nonchalantly.  “We’re going Christmas shopping.”

“Of course,” Jean panicked, realising that Christmas Day was less than a fortnight away.  She was so disorganised this year and not fully prepared for the festive celebrations.  At least she had bought all of the children’s presents; she’d found the time for that during her lunch breaks.  “Be careful, won’t you?”

“Oh, Mum!”  Daisy rolled her eyes as she tossed her bag over her shoulder and turned to leave.

“Wait!  Don’t forget you promised to work at the coffee shop this afternoon.”

Daisy froze on the spot, her face pink with rage.  It was obvious that she had completely forgotten.

“Oh, love,” her mother said calmly, reaching to put an arm around her, “you forgot, didn’t you?  I’m so sorry.”

Daisy erupted, pulling away from her.  “Why didn’t you remind me?”

Jean took a step back as she was shrieked at, whilst Brian remained completely silent with the dishcloth stock-still in the water.  This was a biggie; he wasn’t even going to turn round.

“I’m sorry,” Jean offered again, “but you promised, and I did write a note for you yesterday to remind you.”

“Note?” Daisy wailed.  “Where?  I didn’t see a note!”

“I put it here,” she pointed to the memo magnet on the fridge, “where I always do.  I thought you’d seen it.”

“Well, I didn’t!”  Daisy’s eyes were full of fury.  “I’m not doing it!  It’ll ruin my plans!”

“Please,” her mother implored.  She hated arguing and had lost count of the number of times she’d fallen out with her daughter lately.  Who was this screaming banshee standing before her?

“No!” Daisy howled at her mother, resembling a cat ready to pounce.  (Were those claws Jean could see?)  “It’s your fault I didn’t see the note, and it’s your fault I have to work in the stupid coffee shop!  I’m not doing it!”  And with that she spun on her heels and left, leaving poor Jean questioning why life had to be so difficult. 

Brian speedily dried his hands then rushed to give his Mum a cuddle, hoping the power of it would drain the hurt look from her face.  He loved his sister, but why did she have to be so nasty to Mum?

***

When Daisy hopped off the bus in town she was still livid.  What on Earth was her mother thinking?  She had helped out all week at home: dusting the living room – wait, no, she didn’t finish dusting because her favourite television programme had started; but she had done the ironing – well, a bit of it, until Mum came home; oh but she’d hoovered – no, wait, Angela had called round so she hadn’t actually even turned the hoover on.  Flustered at the realisation that she hadn’t helped at home that much, if at all, she excused herself on the basis that she’d had much more important things to attend to.  “I went to the Job Centre twice,” she uttered defiantly.

Her preoccupations were interrupted by noise emanating from a crowd near the newspaper stand where lots of people were eagerly craning their necks in an effort to see what the ruckus was.  An off-duty bus conductor dispersed the throng, but Daisy’s curiosity was roused so she queued for a newspaper in a bid to find out what was going on.  She checked her watch; it was only ten o’clock so she had plenty of time to meet Angela at the rock sculpture near the food hall as arranged.

“I’m not doing any harm,” a voice whimpered.  “Please let me stay!”

A man was leaning over a young boy, hauling him up by one of his arms.  “Sorry, I have to move you on.  It’s station policy.”

“Please,” the frail voice begged.

“I have to!  There’s nothing I can do, you can’t stay here.”  The man’s voice was firm, but Daisy could see sympathy in his eyes.  As she observed, he hastily checked about him to see if the coast was clear and then stuffed a crumpled five pound note into the youngster’s hand before gently ejecting him from the bus station.  Sighing regretfully as he watched the dejected boy trudge away, the burly man with a heart of gold then returned to his duties.

Daisy was unexpectedly seized by the overwhelming desire to follow the youth.  She waved dismissively to the assistant waiting to serve her and ran to catch up with him.  Sensing that he had company, the boy whirled round to confront Daisy and she was utterly amazed by what she was faced with.  “Why, you’re a girl!”

“Yes,” squeaked the stranger.  “What did you expect, lipstick and handbags?”  Her tone was cynical, but friendly.

“I honestly thought you were a boy!”  Daisy was stunned.  “You’re so …,” she scrutinised the bedraggled girl, “… scrawny!”

“Yeah well,” the girl shrugged her shoulders as she shuffled along, unsure which direction to go in.  “What do you expect from someone who’s homeless?”

Daisy recoiled in shock.  “What did you say?”

“Homeless,” the girl answered bluntly.  “As in no home.  As in nowhere to go.  As in nothing to eat.”

Flinching, Daisy put her hand to her mouth.  “I’m so sorry, I had no idea,” she said earnestly, noticing that the girl’s clothes were torn and grubby.

“Oh please!”  The girl laughed incredulously, “Isn’t it slightly obvious?”

Daisy couldn’t believe she found it funny!  It was clear that she bore no hint of bitterness or spite towards the smartly dressed, well-fed teenager stood before her.  The liquid guilt was threatening to return.  “How old are you?”

“Blimey, someone who actually cares,” the girl grinned.  Her teeth were dirty, but in good condition.

Daisy ran her tongue over her own freshly-brushed teeth.  “I do care,” her voice was loaded with sincerity.  She had never spoken to anyone who was homeless before and couldn’t believe that this young woman was living on the streets with no home to go to for a hot meal, no bed to sleep in, no bath to –

“I’m 18,” she cut short Daisy’s internal dialogue, “and my name’s Violet.”

“What a coincidence!  My name’s Daisy,” she smiled, although it was a pitiful smile, the kind that Violet witnessed from people all the time.

The two girls shook hands, ignoring the peculiar looks from several people nearby.  Daisy gestured to a bench where they could sit and talk.  “Why are you homeless?”

Violet sighed woefully as she looked up at the sky.  “I’m an orphan,” she said despondently.

Daisy was mute, partly because she couldn’t think what to say and partly because she was anxious that anything she might say would sound crass, ignorant, or both.

Violet continued, staring down at her dirty hands with broken nails, “My Mum and Dad died in a car crash last year.  The Social couldn’t find anyone to take me in and the Judge ruled that I couldn’t live on my own yet so they put me in a home.”

“Why aren’t you there now?” Daisy whispered with wide eyes.

“I hated it,” Violet’s face was contorted, her eyes welling with tears.  “They took me away from my friends, my college, my life,” she emphasised those last two words with particular distaste, “so I ran away.”

“You poor thing!”  Daisy felt wretched.

“It’s okay,” she smiled feebly.  “I couldn’t stand it.  My parents drummed into me that if I was ever somewhere I didn’t want to be then I could always leave, and they would always be there for me to go to.”  She paused, “Except they weren’t there ….”

“But you ran anyway,” interjected Daisy.

“Yes,” she sighed.  The girl looked so fragile, as though she might fall to pieces any second.

Daisy was growing tired of strangers’ unwelcome interest and was disgusted when someone hollered a cruel joke about fast food.  Incensed, she grabbed Violet’s hand, “You must be hungry!”

Violet stared at her with soulful eyes holding an eternity of pain.  She was speechless, allowing Daisy to guide her in the direction of a fast food bar.  The smell of freshly baked potatoes pervaded through the air, seemingly heading directly for Violet and nobody else.  She stopped dead in her tracks.  “Daisy,” she was hesitant, “do you mind if I have a jacket potato instead?”

“Don’t be daft!”  The urge to break down crying was starting to consume Daisy, but she couldn’t understand why.  She led Violet to a café stand as more repulsed expressions were cast in their direction, but she didn’t care.  All that mattered to her was providing food to this waif of a girl who was the same age as her.  They could have been friends in another life, another destiny.

Looking like she hadn’t eaten for a month, Daisy had expected Violet to wolf down her food, but she was in fact savouring every morsel of the butter-laden, cheese-topped jacket potato.  How delicious the taste!  How delectable the smell!  It pleased her each time she leaned in for a mouthful, delighting in the sensation of steam against her dehydrated skin.

Daisy’s appetite had disintegrated; she merely sipped water, watching Violet.

The two of them talked like old chums.  Violet explained that she had cut her hair, dyed what was left of it, and hitch-hiked further and further north, staying out of people’s way as much as possible.  She said that it was easy to avoid being found as long as she did not deliberately draw attention to herself, which was simple because people acted like they didn’t want to get involved anyway.  It astounded Daisy that this bright, educated girl had so easily drifted into destitution, existing in an abyss of loneliness where she was forced to sleep in shop doorways, on park benches, or in cardboard boxes if she was lucky.  Daisy was so fortunate compared to this poor soul.

“Do you have any other relatives?”

Sinking back into the plastic chair, Violet was relishing the temporary bliss of a normal social occasion.  She could see the security guard hovering just feet away, but knew that he couldn’t move her on since she was evidently with Daisy and he would not be willing to cause a scene or disrupt the other customers unnecessarily.  “I have an Aunt in York, but she was very ill when my case came up for consideration so she couldn’t do anything to help.”

“Would she have helped?”

“I think so,” Violet smiled a lost smile.  “She’s my Mum’s sister, a successful business woman, but I ran away before she was discharged from hospital.”  She was regretful, but resolute.  “I can’t honestly say that she would have taken me in,” Violet said as she stared at the floor, downcast, mourning a life that she would never know.  She seemed momentarily tormented and then said excitedly, “It’s where I’m trying to get to!”

“Where, York?”

“Yes!”  Violet slumped back in her chair again, “At least I was until I ran out of money.”

“But you do know you’re not far away from York, don’t you?”  Daisy was positive, “It’s only about an hour from here.”

Crestfallen, she answered, “I know … so near and yet so far.”

“You’re giving up?”

“Not giving up …,” Violet was stinted, “I just … I don’t know if she will want me.”

“Well, there’s only one way to find out,” Daisy was animated, reaching for her bag then sitting up, ready to go.

“What?” Violet was bewildered.

“What’s her name?” she asked optimistically.

“Anne, but -”

“But nothing!”  Daisy anxiously checked her watch.  “What’s her full name?”

Confounded, Violet spelled out her Aunt’s full name (“Anne Margaret Greenwood”) then proceeded to tell Daisy her last known address and other pertinent family details.

“Right,” Daisy was efficient, jotting down the information in a notebook.  “I have to help my parents this afternoon.  How will I find you?”

“I’ve no idea!”

The girls finally decided that it would be sensible for them to journey to the coffee shop together.  Appreciating how this would all sound to Daisy’s mother, Violet said she would wait safely in the nearby park and they would meet at the park gates at precisely four o’clock.  Daisy loaned Violet her watch and gave her five pounds so that she could buy a snack and a drink (but not from her parents’ coffee shop).

It was ice-cold as they said farewell to each other.  A soft, powder-like flurry of snow was sweeping down from the heavy, grey skies above.  Daisy considered her new companion who was poised to walk over to the park.  ‘There, but for the Grace of God …,’ she shivered, and simultaneously registered the inappropriateness of her new friend’s clothes – a thin top teamed with lightweight trousers – so she removed her jacket and draped it around Violet’s bony shoulders.

Suppressing the urge to cry, Violet swathed herself in the cosy jacket, enfolding herself in its warmth.  She held Daisy’s hand briefly prior to setting off for the park, habitually ducking her head.

Standing alone, Daisy felt altered in some way; unburdened.  Was it a physical change that her Mum would notice, or a transformation within her that no-one else would be able to see?  Her mobile rang just as she was about to enter the coffee shop.  “Angela!  I’m so sorry, I can’t make it.  My parents need me to help them today.  I’ll make it up to you, I promise.”  She was remorseful, but unyielding.  With the friendship still in tact she strode into her parents’ thriving business where she was immediately engulfed by the stimulating aroma of coffee, intending to greet them as never before.

Daisy’s industrious father, Terry, was busy with coffee and hot chocolate orders for seated customers, and she was full of a new found admiration for him as he cheerily waved at her.  She didn’t see much of Dad, but he spent time with her whenever he could.  The long hours in the coffee shop were unavoidable and he often told her that the business wouldn’t run itself.  Why hadn’t she respected that in the past?  Moreover, Dad was plainly overworked so why had she been so reluctant to help him?

Her mother was in the stock-room unpacking bags of spiced gingerbread.  Daisy gazed with admiration at the devoted woman whom she was lucky to have as a mother, and wondered how her histrionics had been tolerated for so long.  Jean was startled by her presence, pleased to see her temperamental daughter, but dreading the next venomous outburst.  What happened next left her completely befuddled: Daisy burst into tears.

Rushing over to comfort her daughter, Jean assumed that Daisy had witnessed something terrible or that, at the very least, she had fallen out with Angela.  The whole story of the past few hours gradually came out … somewhat muddled, sometimes hysterical, but there it all was.  Daisy’s revelation was indeed something to behold.  Secretly, Jean was convinced that her daughter had simply succumbed to a well-practised con-artist who was now probably halfway back to town wearing her daughter’s favourite jacket and beloved watch, but she said nothing of her fears as she attempted to calm her and quash the guilty ramblings spilling from her mouth.

Jean updated Terry on the situation then retreated with Daisy to the upstairs office where – after much deliberation – they embarked upon the task of tracking down Anne Margaret Greenwood.  Neither had envisaged there being so many women of the same name in York, but then it was a big place compared to where they lived.  They were concerned that she might have moved districts since Violet last had contact with her.

Finally, after numerous ‘phone calls, they revealed a diamond in the rough.  “Yes, I’m the sister of Maggie Vincent, but she passed away last year.  Who is this please?”  It was only the seed of a conversation, but Jean knew they had succeeded in finding Violet’s Aunt Anne.  Her silent accusations of a professional fraudster were instantly overturned.

It was now three o’clock.  Jean instructed her daughter to collect Violet from the park.  On her return, breathless and tearful, Daisy advised that she was nowhere to be found.  Her mother assured her, however, that as they had agreed to meet at four she was probably wandering around elsewhere to keep moving in an attempt to fend off the cold.  The thought that Violet might not be allowed to loiter anywhere in the vicinity for too long (if she was as dishevelled as Daisy had described) troubled Jean.  The coffee shop was situated in a considerably upmarket area and people could be incredibly unforgiving, even at Christmas.

With a new lease of life Daisy busied herself in the coffee shop, much to the astonishment of her parents who were rather thrown by the capable, well-mannered girl impersonating their daughter.  Daisy glimpsed at the imposing wall clock above the main counter: three forty-five.  What would she do if she couldn’t find Violet?  What if Violet had frozen to death out there in the cold?  At that very moment, however, she became aware of a face at the window; she was thrilled to see her new friend cautiously peering in.  “Violet,” she breathed, her relief palpable.

Jean and Terry’s attention was drawn to the pale-faced urchin lingering outside who seemed frightened of being ushered away.  Daisy hurried to the door and flung it open, embracing Violet affectionately.  She reciprocated and then jerked away in fear when she saw Jean standing in the doorway.  Expecting to be admonished and then moved along as usual, she was flabbergasted when Jean beckoned her inside.

Violet was sped upstairs to the office where a spread of hot tea, sandwiches, crisps and cakes was waiting.  When she saw all of the refreshments her eyes widened, akin to an awestruck child on Christmas morning.  In fact, Violet appeared to be so overwhelmed that Jean shoved a chair underneath her in case she fell to the floor in shock.  The exhausted child began to weep when a blanket was wrapped around her, so Jean gave her a cuddle then soothingly enouraged her to eat and drink.

A short while later, Violet sat smiling appreciatively at Daisy – her stomach pleasurably full – when the office door opened.  Violet twisted herself round, expecting to see Jean who had popped downstairs five minutes earlier, but she was instead met with the sight of an elegantly clothed woman.  The lady was aghast, gawping at Violet with blatant adoration, her eyes welling with tears that began to stream down her face.  Violet’s hand quivered as she placed her teacup on the table.  She stammered, “Au … Auntie Anne?”

“Oh, thank the Lord!” the woman cried as she folded Violet into her arms, clutching her tightly.  “I’ve finally found you, my little love,” she murmured, tenderly stroking her niece’s hair.  After a few moments, she cupped Violet’s tear-stained face in her hands and announced decisively, “You’re coming home with me.”  Facing Daisy then, she gushed, “Thank you!  I will always, always be indebted to you.  I can’t thank you enough,” and then stared into Violet’s eyes again, stroking her hair and holding her the entire time.

~~~

After an emotional goodbye and promises of eternal friendship, Violet and her Aunt Anne were waved off, driving away in the sparkling, iridescent snow.  Turning to her parents, minus her favourite jacket which she had insisted Violet keep, Daisy was unexpectedly serious.  “I’ve been so ungrateful and horrible to you both,” she muttered sorrowfully.

Jean wanted to add ‘lazy’ to the list, but thought better of it.  She could see that the day’s events had greatly influenced her daughter, and she hoped it would be something that would not wear off.

“It took someone else’s bad fortune to make me realise how lucky I am,” professed Daisy, her father lovingly ruffling her hair as she spoke.  “I really enjoyed this afternoon, helping out,” she continued earnestly, “and I’d like to accept the job you’ve talked about for so long.  If you’ll still have me …,” she trailed off. 

Terry and Jean looked at each other then back at their daughter.  They were dumbfounded.

As she looked pleadingly at her parents, it dawned on Daisy that she couldn’t presume there was still a job for her in the coffee shop after the unreliability she had displayed that morning.  “I’ve changed!  I’ll prove it!”

Jean found her voice.  “We can see that you’ve changed, darling, and of course we’ll still have you.”

“Fantastic!”  Daisy beamed, “Thanks Mum!”

Terry, however, could see through Daisy’s happiness and sensed that something was still bothering her.  “What’s the matter, petal?”

“Um …,” Daisy fidgeted uneasily and looked at the ground as she spoke, “Mum … Dad … I’m sorry, but I won’t be buying any Christmas presents this year.”

The statement was met with quizzical expressions.

“I gave my Christmas money to Violet,” she choked.  “She’s gone without so much for so long … I just wanted to give her something.”

Stunned, Terry and Jean silently applauded their daughter’s generosity in the form of a family hug.  Huddled together, Jean and Terry both assured her that they didn’t expect presents from her anyway, and reminded her that the true message of Christmas was peace, love and goodwill, not presents or material things.

“Besides,” Terry beamed at her proudly, “you’ve given a priceless gift to Violet and her Aunt.  Money can’t buy that.  You’ve changed both their lives forever!”

“Yes,” Daisy smiled humbly, lowering her eyes to the ground again.

“In fact, Daisy, you’ll actually be giving all of us an invisible gift,” Terry surmised with a mischievous smirk.

Baffled, Daisy and Jean spoke in unison, “Invisible?”

“Yes,” he answered, pulling his wife and daughter even closer.  “It’s the finest gift you could give to us, Daisy.  The gift of gratitude.”

“Ooooh … I don’t think Brian will agree with you about that being the finest gift,” Jean feigned dismay, a facetious look in her eyes.  “He was hoping for another Action Man!”

The trio dissolved into laughter, the intangible rope of love – which had become so weak and frayed in recent months – was once again strengthened, infinitely tying them together.  Daisy’s parents embraced her fondly, the cold snowflakes dotting their faces and the fires of love within their hearts burning more brightly than ever.

© www.mypastmademe.com 2011