Parallels That Collide
been several months since the party in Ponyís hill. Life goes on. All
our friends have taken their separate ways away from each other and
have been trying to overcome their losses. It seemed to be ages since
the whole gang was happy and vivid in St Paulís. Stear was still alive,
inventing his little inventions, Archie was overprotective with Candy
and Annie, Terry was getting along with the others, Patty was in love,
Annie was in love, Candy was in love. Even Mr. Albert was there to
complete the happy scenery.
But now everybodyís life had changed. Stear was dead. Leaving behind Patty with shattered dreams and his friends heartbroken. Terry was gone, trying to make a life of his own in New York as an actor looking after Susanna. Archie and Annie were living in Chicago and Patty after spending some time at Ponyís Home went back to Florida to live with her parents. But most of all Albert was Great Uncle William.
Candy had decided to live in Ponyís Home. This was her homeland, these two women who run the house where her mothers. She was happy there, she felt secure, unconditionally loved, protected from getting hurt again and again by people. Her whole life sheíd never hurt a soul but life was not fair to her. She had lost Anthony, Stear, Terry; she had lost her self and her smile so many times. She needed to live in
Ponyís Home to find her self again, to rebuild her strength, to get her smile back. Yes, it was time to move on.
was the beginning of September. During the summer she had stayed at
Ponyís Home with Patty and they were helping Miss Pony and Sister Maria
with the children. It was a full time job because the little ones were
a handful. The two women were grateful to the two girls but they knew
that this couldnít last forever. These two girls, so hurt and still
unhappy, should quickly move on with their lives and try to make the
best of it.
The last days of August Patty left for Florida to be with her parents and her beloved grandmother. She had decided to become a teacher. She had grown a great attachment to the children in Ponyís home. They were her joy and laughter and the only people that made her forget about Stear. So she thought it was a good idea to dedicate her life to children and that was exactly what she was going to do no matter what her parents would say. To her surprise her parents didnít have any objections when she wrote to them about her decision. Maybe she owed it to grandma Martha but then again, her parents had realized her pain and frustration and they didnít have the heart to deny her anything. Patty left with tears in her eyes and promised to come back as soon as she could. Little Steward her favourite orphan was crying in her arms
- Miss Patty, donít go away, donít leave me, donít leave us. Said Steward through his tears.
- Iíll be back soon little one, please donít cry. Iíll be back and Iíll teach you many wonderful things, I promise, said teary Patty holding the little boy as tight as she could.
She turned and kissed Miss Pony and Sister Maria and then she hugged Candy as hard as she could.
- Honey, Iíll be just fine. Donít worry about me anymore. Promise me youíll do the same.
- I promise said Candy sobbing.
The sun was almost setting leaving a purple colour in the horizon. The nature was calm and serene. Her eyes wandered around the scenery and she wheezed. She knew this was home but in her heart something was missing.
ďYou have to move on CandyĒ she said to her self. ď He is in your pastÖTerry Ö I hope youíre well and happyĒ.
She was coming down Ponyís Hill lost in her thoughts when she saw the familiar black car parked outside the house and a bunch of children playing around it. Her heart started beating fast. ď AlbertÖcould it be?Ē
She entered the house hastily looking to find his tall figure, his blond shiny hair, his enchanting smile! To her surprise it was George. She gave him a shy smile and extended her hand.
- Good evening Miss Candy, started George with his polite manners, as always, Iím afraid my visit is not a pleasant one.
- What happened George, asked Candy worried. She looked at the two women whose eyes where calm but profoundly sad.
- Miss Candy, continued George, itís Stearís memorial service in two weeks and Mr. Albert asked me to come and escort you to the Lakewood mansion as soon as possible. We can leave in the morning if itís ok with you.
Candy looked at him in disbelief.
- Is that all George?
- Well, he wanted me to inform you that the whole Ardley family will be attending the ceremony and reassure you that he will take all measures so that you wonít be disturbed what so ever.
- You mean the Rangans will be there also, said Candy firmly.
- Yes, said George lowering his head.
Candy turned to her two mothers, looked them in the eyes and said with her most sweet voice.
- You donít have to worry about me; after all Iím still an Ardley. Iím ready to face them. Besides what more can they do to me? Albert will be there too. Donít be sad. Iíll come back when the memorial is over.
- If you say so my child then we should help you pack, replied Miss Pony and gave the young girl a warm smile.
- Yes Candy, you know we are with you and weíll be expecting you back soon, dear, added Sister Maria still looking concerned.
They showed George to the guest room and went to help Candy pack her bag. George went in the room after thanking the women. He gave Candy a condescended look and closed the door behind him.
ď You are a strong young lady Miss Candy. I know everything will go well. Sir William and I will make sure of it. But I couldnít tell you about Miss Annie. All in due time.Ē
The next morning Candy was packed up, she said her farewells to the children and hugged her mothers who were in tears.
The black, imposing car started its journey and the two passengers stayed quiet for a long time.
Candy was thinking about Lakewood. Her life there, when she was a child with Anthony and Stear and Archie, her faithful companions, her guardian angels, her saviours, her best friends. Her beloved Anthony, how much she had missed him through the years! She was going back and her feelings were mixed. She longed to see her Sweet Candy roses again. She wondered if anyone would look after them like he did once. But now everything was different. Two of her beloved friends were dead and the pain was still so acute. How could she ever get over their death? These boys were the first people who believed in her when she left Ponyís Home. Poor ArchieÖhe was devastated. This memorial service couldnít be that good for him. She should be strong for him and Annie.
Her thoughts were suddenly interrupted when George spoke.
- I wanted to tell you something more last night but not in front of your mothers, started George seriously.
- I knew it. I just thought that the right moment would come and youíll tell me on your own without my asking, replied Candy with her soft voice.
- Miss Candy, Iím afraid your dear friends have some problems.
- My friends? Please be more precise. What happened?
- Miss Annie and Master Archie no longer speak to each other. And Iím sorry to say that, but I think Miss Eliza had something to do with that. Thatís why Sir William was so worried about you. But he couldnít go through the ceremony without you.
- Oh, my poor Annie! She must be devastated! Did Archie say anything about what happened? Asked Candy worried.
- No, he didnít say a word and he kept closed to himself ever since. But things got worst now that the memorial service is getting closer. He is always in a bad temper and avoids getting out of his room. Great Aunt Elroy is really worried about him, added George and looked into Candyís eyes.
- I seeÖ dear Eliza opened her mouth again and ruined everything. Thatís why Albert is worried. Heís afraid Iím going to have a quarrel with her again, said Candy and closed her eyes with despair. Eliza is never going to have feelings for others what so ever!
- Well, are you Miss Candy? Are you going to have a quarrel with her? Asked George.
- No, George. Iíll never put Albert in an awkward situation again. He has done so much for me. Iíll be grateful to him all my life.
So their journey continued in silence. Both of them had a lot to think about. George knew the fragile state of mind in both men in the house. Archie was more like a ghost lately. Walking around the house, silent and sad. He missed his brother terribly and after he broke up with Miss Annie he was worst. Albert had to conform to all the high society rules and he was getting more and more distant. Their only hope and joy was this tiny, fragile, blond girl sitting right next to him. She could turn their world around with her smile like she did many times in the past. George was counting on that. This was why he admired Candy with all his heart. She had the healing power. Not only because she was the nurse of the body but of the soul as well.
On the other side of the car Candy was lost in her own thoughts. Her friends needed her once more and she should do everything in her powers to help them. What could Eliza have said that would upset Annie and Archie so much? George said they had stopped talking to each other. Things were more serious than she could have imagined. And Albert caught in the middle. Not having a person in a sober state to talk to. She should have gone to Lakewood sooner but her heart wasnít ready yet. On the other hand being preoccupied with all these problems might have taken her mind of her own. So that was why George seemed so worried since the moment she saw him. He knew this wouldnít be a fun trip for her. She felt grateful she had told her everything, he was treating her like an adult and not as a child any more and she felt she should be more responsible and helpful to him. Yes, she decided she would do everything in her powers to help her friends and George as well.