One Tiny Miracle...

By: Carol Marinelli

CHAPTER ONE

A NEW DAY.

A new start.

Another one.

Walking along the beach, Ben Richardson was head down and too deep in thought to really notice the glorious pink sky over the smooth waters of Port Phillip Bay. He had been accepted for a position as Emergency Registrar at Melbourne’s Bay View Hospital and would be there in a couple of hours to start his first day, only there were no first-day jitters as he made his way along the beach—after all, he’d had plenty new starts before.

This would be his fourth job in the three years since Jennifer’s death...no, it was nearly four years now. The anniversary was coming up soon and Ben was dreading it. Trying and failing not to think about it, trying and failing not to constantly think how life should be, had they lived. Had he stayed put at Melbourne Central, had life not changed so dramatically for him, he’d have been starting to apply for consultant positions now. But staying there hadn’t been an option—there were just too many memories there for him. After six months of trying, Ben had realised that he couldn’t keep working in the same place that he had once worked with his wife and had accepted, after some soul-searching, that things would never be the same again, could never be the same again. So he had moved on to Sydney—which had felt right for a while, but after eighteen months, well, that restless feeling had started again and he’d moved on to another Sydney hospital. Only it had been the same tune, just a different song. The place was great, the people too...

But it just didn’t work without Jen.

So now he had returned to Melbourne, but on the outskirts this time, and it was good to be back closer to his family and amongst old friends again.

No, he wasn’t nervous about this new start—the difference was that this time he was looking forward to it, ready for it, excited even by the prospect of finally moving on.

It was time.

He had decided to live by the beach and take brisk walks or jog each morning...except on day three after moving in he’d already pressed the snooze button on his alarm a few times!

Ben picked up speed, even broke into a jog, his large, muscular frame belying his deftness, and all too soon he reached his destination—the house that he had had his eye on for a couple of weeks now.

While working through his notice in Sydney, Ben had made the trip down to find a home close to the hospital. Looking online, speaking on the phone with real-estate agents, he had found several prospects to view over the weekend, determined to secure a home before he started his new job—deciding that maybe if he owned a property then he’d be more inclined to settle for longer.

The real-estate agent had been showing him a typical bachelor apartment, a new development along the beach, with gorgeous bay and City views. It was bright and airy and had all mod cons with the bonus of a huge balcony which would be nice when he had friends or family over. It had everything, really, and Ben had come close to purchasing it that day, but, standing on the balcony as the agent sorted out the documents, Ben had seen the house next door. An older house, it jutted out a touch further onto the beach than the apartment block. The garden, which had direct beach access, was an overgrown green oasis compared to the swish decking and clear-walled balcony that he’d stood on.

Instead of looking at the glorious beach, Ben had found himself gazing into his potential new neighbour’s garden. A huge willow tree shaded most of it, there was a slide and swing and a trampoline, but what had really caught Ben’s eye had been the boat parked along the side of the house—a man in his forties had been hosing it down and he had looked up and waved as they’d stepped out onto the balcony and Ben had given a quick nod back, only realising then that the man had actually been waving to the real-estate agent instead of himself.

‘I’ll be with you shortly, Doug,’ the agent called, then took a seat at the well-positioned glass table, sorting out brochures and papers and finally locating the contract.

‘Is it on the market, then?’ Ben asked.

‘Sorry?’

‘The house next door—is it for sale?’

‘Not yet,’ the agent said with a noncommittal smile. ‘Have a seat, Dr Richardson, and we’ll go through the small print.’