Cecilia Teak sat straight up, wide awake in her bed, she looked around ...
... and then just slumped down again. Today was the day, the first of many to come. 'How will I survive it?' she thought.
But from nowhere Cecilia, found some strength to get up, she slowly climbed out of bed. "I will not celebrate his birthday being depressed. He was a happy child, always smiling, he deserves more than a depressed mother on his birthday." she told herself out loud.
Like every other morning Cecilia got her journal out, read the inspirational thought for the the day. This little book was her lifeline, without it she wouldn't have made it thus far.
After a long luxurious bath, she got dressed. 'Aaah, that is much better.' she thought to herself. Now she is ready to celebrate her son's birthday.
Meanwhile on the other side of the village, Livvy Brambly was up too. She just made a fire outside her tent. First she had to boil some water for her coffee and then she will ad the oatmeal for her breakfast.
After enjoying her breakfast and coffee, Livvy sat thinking in her chair. She loved her life, the constant travelling, seeing different places every month, and till now she has been lucky to find odd jobs wherever she went, but this was not a life for a child, and she knew she should settle down, for Max's sake. "Will Sugarbush Valley be the place?" she wondered loudly.
Livvy quickly cleaned her camp area, closed her tent and went off, today she will have to make a decision about her life.
Cecilia made her way into the little village, she was quite surprised just how much she was enjoying the peacefulness of every day life in Sugarbush after being used to the bustling city life, which she thought she loved.
As she walked past the Boutique, she decided to venture in. 'Would it be a sin to spoil herself with a gift on her son's birthday? Maybe not!' she thought.
"Cecilia! Good morning!" Willow Thistlethorn greeted Cecilia as she walked in. "Morning Willow, surprised to see you here?" Cecilia asked puzzled. "Well yes, but Camilla and Charles had to go to Grinpa for some new purchases, and I offered to manage the store for the day." Willow explained. It was then that Cecilia noticed a stranger.
"Hello Cecilia, Blanka Buttermilk. Pleased to meet you!" Blanka introduced herself. "Hello Blanka, oh look at your little girl, her dress is gorgeous." Cecilia complimented.
"So Cecilia, anything specific you are looking for? I'm no sales lady, but I will try to assist you the best I can." Willow asked hesitantly. "Well, I'm not really sure if I should get something, but it won't hurt to look around. Cecilia explained. "Of course, let's see if something jumps into your hands." The two women giggled together over Willow's joke.
And like luck would have it, Cecilia found something. "I think it suits you perfectly." Willow commented. "I don't know, it feels so selfish?" Cecilia told Willow about Nollie's birthday, and still needed some assurance. "Oh nonsense, but it is your decision." Willow said encouragingly.
In the end Cecilia bought the bag. As the Square was one of her favorite places in Sugarbush Valley she decided to go there. The Darwin's salted caramel popcorn was always a delight, and Nollie loved that.
"Good morning, ladies." Cecilia greeted friendly. The women gathered in the square was quite surprised by the upbeat sound of Cecilia's greeting. They all have heard the rumours, but none was sure if it was true.
"Hey Cecilia," greeted Ellema, "what a beautiful handbag you have." Cecilia blushed, she hoped that no one will notice, but it was so pretty, it was hard not to. "I have to agree with El, did you buy it from the Boutique?" Hildie asked.
"Thank you, yes I have, I thought to treat myself, but I think I suffer from buyer's remorse." Cecilia blushed scarlet red. "Oh nonsense, we mothers need to indulge ourselves sometimes, as long as you don't do it every day, and the rest of your family don't suffer because of your spending, I don;t see anything wrong with it." Shirley responded. "You are too kind, thank you. I might then just keep it." Cecilia shyly answered.
"Poor woman, I wonder if the stories are true, either way, I don't ever want to be in her shoes. If something should happen to Abi or Marci, it would drive me crazy." Bethanie remarked to Hildie. "Time will tell, but yes for now we can just support her, and welcome her in true Sugarbush style into our community." Hildie replied.
Cecilia ordered her salted caramel popcorn form Shirley and settled on a nearby bench. She noticed her friend, Kelly Bassett enjoying and ice cream and waved him over. "Good morning Cecilia. You look stunning as ever, this morning." Kelly complimented, ever the charmer. "Thank you, Kelly. I never took you for a sweet tooth?" Cecilia remarked looking at the ice cream. "Well, who can resist these." Kelly laughed.
After finishing their treats, Kelly and Cecilia got up to go. "Well, I have to get back to my bus driving." Kelly sighed. "Yes, and I have a few errands to run." Cecilia remarked and got up too. They waved to Ellema and Shirley as they past them.
Cecilia accompanied Kelly out of the village, she wanted to go to the bakery which was situated on the edge of the village. Here they bumped into Livvy Bramble. "Livvy, good to see you!" Kelly greeted. "And you too, hello Cecilia." Livvy waved. "What are you up to?" Kelly inquired. "Have you decided if you will be staying in Sugarbush?" Cecilia looked perplexed "You mean you are only here for a while?" Livvy smiled, "That is what I'm trying to find out. I think it is time to settle down. But you know once a gypsy, always a gypsy."
And then something astounding happened, which not even Cecilia thought she was capable of. "Dearest Livvy, come with me, let's find a nice spot, and have a cup of tea, and then I will tell you why you should stay in the Valley." and nonchalantly she took Livvy by the arm and marched her into the village. Kelly smiled, 'The lady and the gypsy becoming friends, how odd.' But Kelly was relieved that both of these women have finally found some peace.
The two woman found a spot at the Sylvanian Market tea room, and settled in. Arvey was instantly there to take their order. She also thought what an odd couple, she has seen Cecilia around the village, but never Livvy.
The two ladies chatted for hours. Both opened their hearts to the other, finally shedding the hardship that they have been carrying around for some time, relieved that they could finally share their deepest feelings with someone, Cecilia her son's death and Livvy how her son has been put into foster care because of her nomadic existence.
Finally they got up, thanked Arvey for the multiple pots of tea, and with promises of returning soon, they waved her goodbye.
At the Supermarket, it was finally time to say good bye for now. "Thank you, Livvy for listening, your insight gave me such strength." Cecilia declared. "And you for convincing me to stay, to get a secure work, and to win my son back." Livvy remarked with tears in her eyes.
It was in the supermarket that Livvy's decision to stay gained some more favour. "Hey, aren't you Livvy Bramble?" A friendly cat greeted her. Livvy smiled shyly and nodded. "Welcome to our village, I hope you are happy here." Myriam affirmed
Even the Supermarket manager introduced herself to Livvy, welcoming her to the store, behaviour that Livvy is not used to, as gypsys are mostly treated as intruders and criminals.
Livvy shopped in peace, without someone following her every move. She wanted to stay so badly.
After she paid for the groceries Mrs Redwood waved her off, and told her to come again. It was wonderful to finally be treated like a normal critter.
Livvy approached her camping site slowly, being certain that it would probably be wrecked and her things stolen, it has happened so many times in the past, that she half expected it.
But to her surprise everything was there. Even the firewood that she chopped that morning, and it was evident that no one snooped around her tent, as it was exactly closed, the way she left it.
Then it dawned on her, she will stay here, she will settle down here, and the maddest of all she wanted to stay. Finally Livvy Bramble has found peace.
Unaware of her friend's breakthrough, Cecilia made her way to the bakery. It was strange how light hearted she felt, after the chat with Livvy. Once again Livvy was the perfect example that one should not judge others on their look and background.
She went inside, and was hit with the delicious and comforting smell of freshly baked pastries.
"Good morning, Cecilia. Good to see you out and about. How can we help you?" Tamsie greeted.
"We have a celebration today, a birthday party actually, so I think cake is in order." Cecilia smiled
After much deliberation and some difficult decisions, Cecilia finally settled on something for each family member that she knew they would enjoy. "You are going to have a wonderful party." Tamsie remarked. "Thank you for supporting us."
Cecilia thanked Tamsie for her help, and quickly left. She was in hurry to get to her family now.
She found them in their room in the Commune. Arthur was reading a story to the girls.
"Celia! There you are, we missed you? Are you ok?" Arthur inquired. Cecilia instantly felt guilty, he must've been worried. "I'm sorry, I shouldn't have stayed away so long, but I had some errands to run." she apologised. "No need to apologise, I understand. I'm just glad you are back. Something smells delicious, what did you buy?"
"I bought some cake and treats. I think it is time for a party. Nollie would've liked that?" she explained. Arthur looked puzzled, "A party? Honey, are you sure?" Cecelia smiled reassuringly. "Yes, I am sure, it is time to move on. Obviously, I will never forget, it will still hurt for a very long time, but we need to start celebrating Nollie and his life, and stop acting as if he never existed."
Arthur took his wife into his arms, kissed her and hugged her tightly. "Oh Cecilia, I am so proud of you! And I like your decision very much!"