A few weeks after her wedding to Arthur, Veronica lies in bed, listening to the rain against her window and thinking about the letter she’d received the previous day from Kathleen. It had invited her and Arthur to visit them at the farmhouse and to meet Jonah. She’d talked it over with Arthur the previous evening and they’d decided that a one-night stay might be best – in case the visit didn’t go well. As she lies there, she worries, praying that Jonah will like her.
At breakfast that morning, she asks Arthur if she should do a painting of Jonah based on the photo of him that Kathleen had given her. Having seen that Veronica paints well, he encourages her to go ahead with the idea. She decides to do two versions – one for her own home and one as a gift for Kathleen. Arthur agrees, saying that Jonah may like it too. Some time later, when it was finished, they both think that she’d made a good job of it.
On the day of the visit, as Kathleen drove alone to the station to collect them, her heart was pounding. She could see that Jonah was nervous about it now that the time for the visit had arrived. She knew that Sean would help to keep Jonah’s mind off it until they arrived. Kathleen’s mam and dada were no less anxious, but felt that the visit would probably go well as long as Veronica didn’t expect to take Jonah back.
In the car, Veronica was quiet, but Arthur kept the conversation flowing. He was worried for his wife – he knew how much it meant to her. As they reached the farm, Kathleen could see the worry in her friend’s face and reassured her. Sean saw them arrive and told Jonah that Veronica would be worried too. The little boy went straight to Veronica, took her hand, said, ‘Hello,’ and asked her would she like to see his chickens. Seeing Kathleen’s approval, she told Jonah that she’d love to see them.
Kathleen, Sean and Arthur were all relieved that Veronica now seemed to have relaxed. Arthur thanked them and told them that they had no idea how much this visit meant to her.
Jonah and Veronica got on well together. He asked her how he should address her, and she asked him to call her Veronica. She asked him questions about his chickens and he promised, after a cup of tea, to introduce her to his pigs . Everyone was now relaxed after the stress of the morning. Arthur was looking again at the painting by Veronica in the kitchen that he’d noticed on his previous visit. He pointed to the male figure and asked Veronica if it was of Albert. She nodded: she still hadn’t seen Albert since she’d left England. She asked Arthur to bring the other painting in.
She handed it to Jonah, telling him that it was a gift for the whole family, but she hoped that he’d open it. Jonah recognised himself straight away. Kathleen was overjoyed and thanked her, saying it was a perfect present. Jonah wanted the Grandys to see it, so they walked over together for their lunches. The necessary introductions were made and the visit continued to go well. After lunch, Kathleen’s grandad, Arthur, Kathleen, Veronica and Jonah went for a walk. Jonah told Veronica all about the big fish he’d caught and asked her if she’d do a painting of him with the fish. She said that if she could borrow the photo she’d promise to do it.
The visitors stayed overnight in Kathleen’s old room – the room where Jonah had been born. Arthur tells her that he thought Kathleen had been worrying that she might wish to take Jonah away from her. She assures him that all she wants is to get to know him. She knows for certain now that she’d done the right thing in leaving him with Kathleen.
The following morning, even though Kathleen was up early, she was surprised to find Veronica walking in the yard, looking as if she’s been crying. Veronica tells her that she feels that she doesn’t deserve to be so happy after how she’d treated her so badly. It had meant the world to her for Kathleen to be at her wedding. After raising with Kathleen what Arthur had said, she promises her that she’d never dream of trying to take him from her. He’s Jonah Connelly now and all she wants is to be his friend – and hers too.
Kathleen assures her that she’ll always be her friend – as will Jonah. Veronica asks Kathleen if she’s OK with her doing the painting of the fish for Jonah and Kathleen agrees that they’re all dying to see it when it’s completed. She asks whether they can all come up to Dublin, see the picture and .have a day out together. Veronica says that they’d love that.
The two women agree that after breakfast, they’d all go for a drive before Veronica and Arthur leave so that Jonah can show them where the fish lives.
The story concludes by reporting that the following January, both women gave birth to baby girls within a day of each other. Veronica and Arthur were now living only eight miles from each other. Jonah was delighted with both his baby sisters. There would be a joint baptism service and Jonah would meet his nan and all his aunts and uncles from Veronica’s side. Albert would come too with his new wife.
This blog concludes my summary of my wife’s second novel. I hope that anyone who’s been following it has enjoyed reading it as much as I’ve enjoyed proof reading and blogging about it. I’ve now reformatted it for kindle and published it as an e-book via KDP for her. She has now given it a title – ‘Friends for Life.’
I’ve started work on a new book, but I don’t know where it’s going yet. I have a beginning and some thoughts about the middle but I have no idea how to bring it to a satisfactory conclusion. I’ll begin blogging about my progress tomorrow, but if it doesn’t look as if it’s going anywhere I’ll find an ending and kill the story – unless someone can, at that point suggest an ending.
Today’s photo is of the Skelligs – a couple of islands off the Kerry coast in the West of Eire. I took the shot with my Pentax K3-ii again but this time I used a 200 mm f/2.8 lens at 200 mm and f/11 with a shutter speed of 1/60 secs and ISO at 100. I rested the camera on a gorillapod.
My featured photographs, from tomorrow until early January, will be all black and white conversions to reflect the dark nights and, in many cases , the season.