This is an extract from Rebecca – A Way Back. Here, Rebecca is again on one of her jaunts into the history of her family’s old house, although for the first time, she is seemingly stuck, this time in 1945, post WW2. She is talking with a French Canadian soldier, Etienne that she met in this tome zone. Although blighted by missing her real family, she has grown fond of this man who has stayed in England after the war.
Aside, Meredith is R’s guardian angel, a muse from 1853 who is always by her side.
Over the coming days, although Rebecca felt comfortable amongst these people, in particular Etienne, she was constantly wondering how long she would be here. The days turned into weeks, and those weeks turned into months. Often, when alone, Rebecca would sob uncontrollably, fretting for her real family. Surprisingly for her, she found solace in Etienne, and although she fought hard against her emotions, she was falling in love with this man. No matter how low she felt, he lifted her with his presence. One such day, when she was feeling particularly low, having again unsuccessfully tried to find her way home, he joined her by the lake.
‘My distant Cheri. I feel you carry a weight that none of us could possibly understand. I sense your anguish and all I can offer is my mortal soul, my heart, and my endless affection. Je t’aimerai tourjours.’
Rebecca turned and holding this man’s hand, she replied, ‘one day, I too will love you always. Please understand that right now I carry heaviness in my heart. In time, I know it will ease. Be patient my dear Etienne.’
Over the coming months, Rebecca often searched for a way home always hopeful Meredith would guide her. One such day, having again been unsuccessful, she sat by the lake, considering her future. Trying to find some comfort, remembering Meredith had told her was here for a reason, she mumbled, ‘what is that reason.’
‘Future girl, I am here.’
She turned knowing it was Meredith, but was shocked to see an extremely elderly woman standing in front of her. Nonetheless, she was both delighted and relieved to see this woman, so smiled, and held her hand out, trying to mask her surprise.
Meredith stepped forward and in spite of her frail body, cuddled Rebecca in an enchantingly familiar way. Although she was overjoyed at seeing Meredith, her emotions were mixed with a deep routed sadness, being reminded of her real mother. The two sat and chatted for an age about Rebecca’s current mission with Etienne and Judith’s family. Often, she asked how long she would be here. Each time though, Meredith seemed to avoid the question.
Having chatted a little more about Judith, she felt compelled to ask once more when she would be home with her real mother. This time, Meredith stood back.
‘My time here is short, and you will soon find yourself without me. My spirit needs to rest now. One thing you must know before I go. Between us, this time, our mission is one that will bring salvation to many. You are here for several years. Fear not though, in time all your questions will be answered. Go gently through this life, and smile always, mostly be happy, love and be loved. The day will come, and you will be back with your family as if this never happened. So, please live the life you find yourself in and allow yourself to be unafraid. I must go, but know you have brought joy to my life where there would have been pain. For that, I love you my future girl.’ She then cuddled Rebecca, again reminding her of her real mother.
With tears streaming from her eyes, Rebecca could feel this woman’s frail body slipping away. She stood and watched as Meredith, with her hand held out, gently faded into the evening air.
Rebecca sat silently, with her heart in turmoil. Meredith’s kind, reassuring words were conflicting with her anguished thoughts of not seeing this woman again, a woman she’d become dependent upon. Her despair was compounded further, stuck in this era, and unable to find her way home. At least now, she knew that one day she would be back with her real mother. An hour turned to two, and trying to focus her thoughts, again considered Meredith’s words. She’d always known Meredith’s departure would come, but right now, it offered little solace. Trying to be positive, she wondered what kind of salvation she was referring to and how it would involve her. In the past, she had always drawn comfort, knowing that Meredith would be there guiding her way. She was gone now, and Rebecca knew she had to find her own way. She knew that Meredith would have wanted her to be strong and feeling a little easier, she consoled herself, knowing she had a new mission, albeit unknown.
A moment later, Etienne walked towards her. She was surprised how pleased she was to see him, and unable to contain her feelings, stood and cuddled him. He cuddled her back, and it was just what she needed. She had never felt this kind of emotion towards a man, other than her father, and occasionally her brother, Tommy. This though, was a completely different sensation. She stood back and holding his hand, could see and feel his selfless compassion.