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Chapter 1
Monday 5:45:pm

As she packed she sang like she’d never sung before,
And finally she knelt upon her suitcase on the floor.
She pulled the zip around her from the left side to the right
And smiled as her treasures disappeared out of sight.

Her ticket in her pocket, her suitcase by the door,
She whispered out the words that she had belted out before:
“I am going travelling to find out who I am.”
I shall see Peru and India. I’ll live in Amsterdam.”

I’ll find a place to find myself. I’ll maybe change my name.”
I just can’t live another day where every day’s the same.”
In Rome it will be different. I can rent a little flat.”
I’ll drink coffee in the square. I’ll adopt a little cat.”

I’ll say my name is Barbara, that I come from far away.”
I shall start to talk to God – yes – every evening I shall pray.”
I shall learn to cook alfresco; dance the salsa; drive a car;”
I shall watch the sky at night and learn the name of every star.”

She cast a final gaze on the place she’d once called home
And excitement played her spirit at the thought of life in Rome.
All the lights now off, her final rent cheque in the post,
She had even said ‘goodbye’ to the flat’s unwanted ghost.

And right on cue the doorbell rang – the taxi must be here!
But when she opened up, the face she saw was filled with fear.
It was her neighbour, Mrs. Mandalay. Her eyes were wide and dark.
Her voice was tight and strangled like a dog without a bark.

“Veronica! I’m sorry but my husband’s fallen down.
“I dialled 999 but they’re the other side of town.
“I don’t think he is breathing – his face is turning blue.
“I’ve rolled him on his side but now I don’t know what to do.”

Without a moment’s thought the two were running down the hall,
They knelt by Mr. Mandalay – “Don’t you leave me, Paul.”
He looked up at his wife with the fear in his eyes:
The fear only felt by someone just before he dies.

“This is not correct,” said Veronica aloud,
And deep in her subconscious mind, she blew away a cloud,
And behind the cloud, as fresh as the day she wrote them down,
Were instructions to resuscitate a man about to drown.

And now, with strength she had forgotten lay inside her
Veronica yanked up the man, his wife, aghast, beside her.
She pulled him back against her with her arms across his chest,
And she prayed as she convulsed him out of cardiac arrest.

Mrs. Mandalay was screaming now, with all her might.
“Don’t you leave me, Paul, you bastard! Come on! Where’s your fight?
“This is not your time. D’you hear me? Not your time to die!
“If you want to stay with me you’re going to have to try!”

Her words were sharp and poignant as they fell upon the ears
Of the man that she had chosen to be married to for years.
And as if, on hearing her, he had decided she was right,
The man expelled a chunk of cheese,
Fell upon his bended knees,
Air rushed in like life’s first breeze,
And all the world went bright.

Click here for a list of all the poems in the Veronica chronicles . . .
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