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A few weeks after the laneway experience, Maria was sitting at the table with Gabriel, Charlie, and Mary. Strangely, they were all there at the one time for dinner which almost never happened. Maria was opening a letter she had received. It was the one and only letter she ever received in that house. She read it out loud.

We would like to advise you that your great aunt, Rose Este, has bequeathed to you her property at 6 Mir St, Eraldus. You will have sole ownership of the house once the legal documents have been signed.

Everyone was as shocked as Maria. They worked out that it was only a few streets away and so they walked there excitedly. The house was dark and covered with overgrown bushes. The vines had grown up the front of the house, made their home in the soil that had accumulated in the gutters, and were happily spreading out over the roof. No one could have lived there for some time. The front gate had a tree trunk strewn across it making it impossible to open. They climbed over the gate, pushed through the bushes, and made their way to the front door. It was one of the original little council owned houses in the area. Maria loved it instantly.

It was only a matter of a few months and Maria had possession of the house, had done elementary repairs, and was moving in. Every day when she worked there, previous to moving in, Amira talked to her. In fact, Maria was not entirely sure that this was not Amira’s house more than hers. Amira told Maria that although she had two bedrooms, she was not to let anyone else live there and she was to use the spare bedroom as her healing room. She wasn’t sure how to explain to her housemates that she couldn’t share her house with any of them. She wasn’t even sure why Amira wanted her to live there on her own. In the end, she said little except that she was only a few streets away. Gabriel’s friend, Paul, took Maria’s room.

Maria was no longer a girl. She was a young woman with her own house, her own business, and her own purpose. Yet, the child in us remains. It lives in our weaknesses. It lives in our trust. It lives in our desire to hold another’s hand. It lives in our devotion to something more than ourselves.

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