In Veronica’s story we move on to 1966, two years after Kathleen’s marriage, and the day before Jonah would be eleven years old. She’s still working at Mary’s café, but Mary’s mother Violet is ill at the moment so Veronica is running the shop alone.
After work and a bath, she sits in her nightdress and dressing-gown reflecting. She thinks about Jonah and wishes that she knew how he is. She decides to write to her mother that night and to post the letter the following day before her planned walk with Arthur. They’ve grown quite close over the past few years in friendship. A year ago, she’d told him about her life in England and her friendship with Kathleen. She’d finally told him about the baby, even though she’d worried that the revelation might end their friendship. He’d known all along that there had been something that she hadn’t felt free to tell him. He’d comforted her as she cried in his arms. He’d wanted to do something to help her to become reconciled with her family but she’d refused at that time.
The following day, as she walks with him, he remarks how quiet she seems. She tells him that she’s finally written to her mother, but worries how it will be received. He tells her not to worry. She tells him that she doesn’t know what she’d do without him as her friend. He asks her why she’d never married and she tells him that she doesn’t feel that she deserves another chance after how she’d abandoned Jonah. He tells her that, if he hadn’t been so much older than her, he’d have already proposed, and that he’d loved her for a long time. She tells him that she’d loved him too, but had always thought that he was too good for her. He tells her that he couldn’t say anything before for fear of scaring her off – after all, he was old enough to be her dad. He asks her out to dinner for the following night.
On the way to the restaurant where they are to celebrate their declaration of love for each other, they walk by the spot on the river where they first met. They pause, looking again at the river and he proposes marriage to her. She’s thrilled and, over dinner, they plan their wedding for six-weeks time. She moves into his apartment with him until they decide where they will live permanently. The days following in that week are a blur as she buys a dress and they book the church and a restaurant. Mary, the café owner, will be maid-of-honour and a friend of Arthur will be best man.
The bliss evaporates instantly when a letter arrives one morning from England. She fears what it might say, and waits for Arthur to be with her when she opens it. In fact, when they are together that evening, she’s trembling as she asks him to open it and read it first. He does so and tells her that it’s only good news from her mam.
Betty, her mam, thanks her, in the letter, for writing, and that she’s been praying for her. She passes on news about her sisters, who are now grown up and married. Her brother, Tom, works with Albert and Robert is a mechanic. She informs her that Kathleen and Albert have split-up and that she’s married someone else. She assures her that Jonah is well and loves Kathleen, as she and all at the farm love him. She begs Veronica to come home to see all her family.
Veronica cries with relief. Arthur tells her that they can go and see her mam while on their honeymoon. He asks her whether she’d like Kathleen to know. She says that she would, but she wouldn’t want Kathleen to think that it was because of Jonah, and she worries that if she went to the farm she’d be met with hate in their faces. She resolves to write to Betty to tell her about her planned marriage.
Tomorrow – Betty gets some letters
Today’s featured photo is the last in the series from Eyeries on the Beara Peninsula. I took it while walking from the cottage where we were staying on the approach into the village. I used my Pentax K3-ii cropped sensor 24MP camera with a 16-85 mm f/3.5-5.6 lens at f/16 and 16 mm. The shutter speed was 1/20 secs and the ISO 400.