Kathleen used to love life. She had plans, dreams, and faith in life; but that was before the accident that took it all away from her in an instant. Now that her beloved brother is dead and she’s confined to a wheelchair, her future is but a dark cloud hovering above her head. How can she ever find the will to move on and keep living without him? Even the cares of the happy-go-lucky American physiotherapist who’s helping her with her rehab therapies are all in vain. Life seems to have lost its meaning, until one night she receives an unexpected celestial visit…
Colin has been working as a physiotherapist in Dublin for almost five years, but he’s never bonded so much with a patient like he is bonding with Kathleen; there’s something about those sad blue eyes that makes him want to help her, to take away the pain that reminds him so much of his own. Having lost both his parents in a plane crash when he was only sixteen, Colin knows how it feels to have someone you love taken so abruptly away from you, and he makes it his mission to help Kathleen find her faith in life again. But something changes along the way…
Sometimes love can work miracles. If you believe.
The last few months had flown quickly. So many things had happened, including the birth of Chris and Melissa’s son. I barely had time to realize it was nearly Christmas until today, Christmas Eve. Now that I was in my mom’s kitchen, baking gingerbread cookies with my siblings just like we used to do when we were children, I almost expected Declan to walk in at any minute and help us with the decorating.
“David, can you please stop ruining those cookies?”
Our mother sounded as if she was on the edge of exasperation, but I couldn’t really understand why she had to make so much fuss about it. She’d been worrying too much about tomorrow’s lunch, and I knew it was because of Colin and his grandmother coming over. He’d spend Christmas Eve with his grandmother and his aunts, but we’d agreed they’d both spend Christmas day with us so he could officially be introduced as my boyfriend, although everyone in my family knew we were dating.
Ever since I’d told my mom I’d invited them she’d become obsessed with food and kept fussing over the smallest details. Like the gingerbread cookies. David had appointed himself Official Decorator while Maggie and I kneaded and baked, and he’d actually been doing a good job so far.
“Why, what’s wrong with my cookies?” David asked innocently, looking at me for support. I smiled.
“There’s nothing wrong with them, David. I’m sure Colin won’t mind if the gingerbread men have a silly face or Santa’s suit,” I said, and Mom snorted, shaking her head. I really couldn’t understand why she acted as if the King of England was coming to lunch. It was only Colin after all and, knowing him, he’d love David’s creativity. I looked at his last work of art and gaped at it when I realized what he’d done. “Gosh, David. Does that cookie have dreadlocks?”
Our mother’s head whipped up, and she took a step toward the table, smacking David’s head and causing me to giggle.
“Okay, okay! Got it, ma!” he said in a huff, and picked up the cookie, smirking at me. “This was my masterpiece but since no one seems to understand my talent, I guess I’ll have to eat it myself. Want the head, sis?”
I grinned and he gave me half of the cookie, popping the other piece into his mouth and munching happily.
“Hmm…delifous!” he said with his mouth full, crumbs spilling over the table. I giggled, eating my share.
“David, you’re such a child!” Maggie chided, shaking her head and playing the part of the adult for once.
“Here’s the pot calling the kettle black. You’re worse than me!”
“No, I’m not, you idiot!” Maggie retorted, throwing a dish towel at him that he deftly dodged.
“Your aim sucks, Maggie. Try again.” David looked at me and chuckled, which infuriated Maggie even more. She tossed a coaster, and he ducked his head. It hit a plastic jar on the counter and made it tumble to the floor, rice spilling everywhere.
Our mother let out an exasperated snort and David stuck out his tongue at Maggie.
“Mom!” she whined, and I stared at the scene, feeling as if we’d gone back to Christmas Eve some fifteen years ago or so when David used to love teasing Maggie just for the sake of it.
“Yes, run to Mommy, Mag. That’s all you’ve ever been able to do!” David said, in a childish tone and Maggie’s cheeks turned red with anger.
“Stop it, or I swear I’ll kick your arse!”
“You’ve gotta catch me first,” he said with a smirk, and he was out of the door a second later with Maggie in hot pursuit, cursing after him. I couldn’t help but laugh while I cleaned the mess they’d made. As my mom handed me a clean towel, she bent her head and shook it in resignation.
“You’re lucky you don’t live here anymore; sometimes I feel more like a kindergarten teacher than the mother of twenty-year-olds.”
I smiled, knowing too well how childish Maggie and David could be. Still, the silly banter that had gone on between them had made me feel a little nostalgic, and for a moment I really wished I could turn back the hands of time and be back in this house, with my siblings running around and Declan still alive. My mom must have noticed the expression on my face because a moment later she crouched down on the floor next to me and laid a hand on my thigh.
“I still think of him every single day,” she whispered, and I could hear the slight trembling in her voice. “Every time I stand in front of his grave I can’t bring myself to believe my son is buried there. When you came home today, I almost expected him to show up, too, just like he did last year—like he did every year since he left home.”
I took her hand in mine and squeezed it. I’d avoided talking about Declan, I’d never been to the graveyard with her, even though she’d asked me to, and now I felt awful about it all. I’d thought it would be best not to mention him because I didn’t want to cause her any more pain than she was already in, but I hadn’t thought that not talking about him wouldn’t erase it. Pretending nothing had happened and that he was still living in New York wasn’t going to help Mom or anyone else get over the sorrow.
“So did I,” I whispered, and my mother looked at me with eyes filled with sorrow. “I miss him, too, Mom; I still wish it had all been a bad dream, that I’ll wake up and find out the accident never happened.”
She nodded and brushed my cheek, smiling condescendingly.
An avid reader since her childhood years and being an only child, Roberta always enjoyed the company of her fictional friends from the children’s books she loved reading, while she dreamed of writing her own stories one day.
It was when she discovered novels by authors Rosamunde Pilcher and Maeve Binchy in her teenage years that she realized it was time she put down in words the stories she had kept well hidden in her mind until then.
What started as a hobby, soon turned into a real passion and a way of life, until she could no longer keep the stories to herself, and decided to get over her fears and share them with the world.
Roberta lives in Italy, but her dream is to move out of her country and live either in a thatched cottage in the Irish countryside or in a country house with a swing on the back porch, somewhere in the United States, where she would love to spend her days writing novels as a full-time job, and maybe one day even get as far as writing a screenplay for a movie.
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