BY NED EGAN
Two lovely summer months went by. The Aussie girl was more popular than ever with most people. But the odd one had doubts. Aggie’s old poison kidded a few. A very few.
Then, one day, a letter arrived for her. Registered. So the Postman said, anyway. Probably solicitors advice about makin’ ‘the claim’, go Aggie.
Next day, Miranda caught the bus into Town. When she returned that evening, she was looking both happy – and sad. It had been a gorgeous sainted day in early autumn, and the fields were sweet and dusted with gold from the hay-making, and the thrushes and blackbirds sang their tiny sweet hearts out, in the little wood behind Nuala’s cottage.
As they sat listening to these carefree choristers, Miranda said – “I have something to tell you”. Nuala knew it was sad news. And so it was. “I must leave in the morning” the Aussie girl said, “the money for my return ticket has arrived, and the company I work for can’t hold my job forever.
“Having met you, I know now why I loved Michael so much. We were both foolish not to try harder. But we were only young – not much more than children..” With that, Miranda broke down, badly, for the first time since she’d arrived.
When she’d recovered, they had a drop of brandy as a toast to their friendship, and then went to bed.
The hackney car arrived early next morning. A last hug, and Miranda was gone. Nuala could hear the old car growling up the hill, gears crunching, scraping round the corners. And then silence, as it dropped down the far side.
She was as lonely as could be, and went straight up to ‘Michael’s Room’, where Miranda had spent sixty-two very happy nights. As she sat down on the bed, she saw an envelope on the pillow, with “To Nuala” written on it.
Inside was a brief note. In it, Miranda thanked Nuala for her love, and her acceptance of a young stranger. She wished to be remembered fondly to the locals – and especially to Aggie – whom the innocent girl hadn’t seen through.
In the last few lines, Miranda apologised for not throwing money around – she had been saving it up. For a special purpose: she needed a “round sum”.
Her last words were: “look under the pillow, Nuala.”
Which the good woman did. An envelope, witha small note inside it went: “Nuala, we won’t meet again. I’m away now to make a new life. I will never forget you – and your lovely sweet son. This little bit of money came up for me yesterday – I had a small plot of land and my car sold. I hope it will enable you to buy out your house. Goodbye, and God Bless you, from your loving daughter, Miranda.”
With the note was a Bank draft – dated the day before.
For ten thousand pounds. Sterling.
The opinions, beliefs and viewpoints expressed by the author do not necessarily reflect the opinions, beliefs and viewpoints of The Kilkenny Observer.