12 best motivational quotes

“If you are going through hell keep going.” ~ Winston Churchill

“The best thing someone can do is to tell me I can’t do something.
Thank you for the coal. I’ll light the fire.” ~ unknonwn

“At the edge of madness, you have the best view.” ~ Natalie Hush

“There will always be haters. And the more you grow the more they hate;
And the more they hate, the more you grow.” ~ Anthony Liccione

“Take responsibility for your happiness in your own hands. Never put it in other people’s hands.” ~ Roy T. Bennett

“It’s not who you are that holds you back, it’s who you think you’re not.” – Unknown

“You know you are on the road to success if you would do your job and not be paid for it.” -Oprah Winfrey

“What you choose to focus on expands and grows.” – Unknown

“It is better to create something that others criticize than to create nothing and criticize others.” ~ Ricky Gervais

“Write it on your heart that every day is the best day in the year.” ―Ralph Waldo Emerson

“There are basically two types of people. People who accomphlish things, and people who claim they have accomplished things. The first group is less crowded.” ~ Mark Twain

“When you arise in the morning think what privilege it is to be alive, breath, to think, to enjoy, to love.” ~ Marcus Aurelius

Great Writers · Poems


I have met them at close of day   
Coming with vivid faces
From counter or desk among grey   
Eighteenth-century houses.
I have passed with a nod of the head   
Or polite meaningless words,   
Or have lingered awhile and said   
Polite meaningless words,
And thought before I had done   
Of a mocking tale or a gibe   
To please a companion
Around the fire at the club,   
Being certain that they and I   
But lived where motley is worn:   
All changed, changed utterly:   
A terrible beauty is born.

That woman’s days were spent   
In ignorant good-will,
Her nights in argument
Until her voice grew shrill.
What voice more sweet than hers   
When, young and beautiful,   
She rode to harriers?
This man had kept a school   
And rode our wingèd horse;   
This other his helper and friend   
Was coming into his force;
He might have won fame in the end,   
So sensitive his nature seemed,   
So daring and sweet his thought.
This other man I had dreamed
A drunken, vainglorious lout.
He had done most bitter wrong
To some who are near my heart,   
Yet I number him in the song;
He, too, has resigned his part
In the casual comedy;
He, too, has been changed in his turn,   
Transformed utterly:
A terrible beauty is born.

Hearts with one purpose alone   
Through summer and winter seem   
Enchanted to a stone
To trouble the living stream.
The horse that comes from the road,   
The rider, the birds that range   
From cloud to tumbling cloud,   
Minute by minute they change;   
A shadow of cloud on the stream   
Changes minute by minute;   
A horse-hoof slides on the brim,   
And a horse plashes within it;   
The long-legged moor-hens dive,   
And hens to moor-cocks call;   
Minute by minute they live:   
The stone’s in the midst of all.

Too long a sacrifice
Can make a stone of the heart.   
O when may it suffice?
That is Heaven’s part, our part   
To murmur name upon name,   
As a mother names her child   
When sleep at last has come   
On limbs that had run wild.   
What is it but nightfall?
No, no, not night but death;   
Was it needless death after all?
For England may keep faith   
For all that is done and said.   
We know their dream; enough
To know they dreamed and are dead;   
And what if excess of love   
Bewildered them till they died?   
I write it out in a verse—
MacDonagh and MacBride   
And Connolly and Pearse
Now and in time to be,
Wherever green is worn,
Are changed, changed utterly:   
A terrible beauty is born.

The Collected Poems of W. B. Yeats (1989)


If I didn’t have your love – Leonard Cohen

If the sun would lose its light
And we lived an endless night
And there was nothing left
that you could feel
That’s how it would be
What my life would seem to me
If I didn’t have your love
to make it real

If the stars were all unpinned
And a cold and bitter wind
Swallowed up the world without a trace
Ah, well that’s where I would be
What my life would seem to me
If I couldn’t lift the veil and see your face
And if no leaves were on the tree
And no water in the sea
And the break of day had nothing to reveal
That’s how broken I would be
What my life would seem to me
If I didn’t have your love to make it real

If the sun would lose its light
And we lived in an endless night
And there was nothing left that you could feel
If the sea were sand alone
And the flowers made of stone
And no one that you hurt could ever heal
Well that’s how broken I would be
What my life would seem to me
If I didn’t have your love to make it real

books · short-stories

Chapter I – Break in Tunisia

From the book “I-land – A double Irish and a Dutch

A new offer

At 2 pm on a cloudy, stormy day in Tunisia Avoka was sitting in her staff-house room at the Aladdin Club. Avoka had her laptop in front of her and was talking via Google Hangout to two guys from an Indian company, one based in Dublin and the other guy in the Indian headquarters. The forty-something Indian guy was asking her questions about online advertising, stuff like what is a cookie, what data is collected, if she knew what an iframe was and so on. The other guy, a Portuguese around age thirty or even younger, was asking her if she knew what a .jpg or .gif was and what the structure of a .html document was. The Indian guy was saying, “Ok, let’s move on from basic questions to deeper knowledge”, and the interview went on for another half hour. They then told Avoka the agency would contact her, letting her know about further steps, and they finished the hangout.

About a year ago, Avoka had applied with that agency for a job in Internet advertising in Ireland. She went through a couple of tests at that time, but the agency never offered her a job.  Meanwhile, Avoka had been offered another Customer Support role with a company called Fruit of the Loom, also based in Ireland. But because of the work conditions and some bullying issues she had left the job lately, taking a break here in Tunisia while teaching yoga classes.

A week ago, this agency had contacted her on her LinkedIn profile, and had said, the company had changed the position’s skillset and now would be interested.

So, this was the first interview with that Indian company while Avoka was on a job as a yoga teacher in the Tunisian holiday resort.

She was still interested in the job and she had agreed to these interviews.

Actually, the job in the holiday resort did not really match Avoka’s expectations. The job had been introduced to her as a position for a yoga teacher and they had talked about if she could also dance and take part in shows, which she actually had agreed to, as she had previously danced and had done kids’ ballet and jazz for more than 8 years when he was a kid. In her spare time, she also had taught kids’ dance classes herself and had also worked as a Zumba instructor, once in a while, and had a little experience presenting on stage.

But right after her arrival, she was told to introduce herself to the girl who was responsible for the evening program, which she did. Actually, her looking at Avoka said it all in one glance, “if looks could kill”. She asked, “You also did Jazz?”

Avoka replied, “Yes, I did that, too.”

Anita looked at her again “Okay, thank you”, pursing her lips. “Well, I know about it, but we are complete, I only need men.” Avoka replied, “That’s no problem, I can also perform men’s parts. I’ve previously danced as men in a folklore dance.”

Kevyn, who was the male main performer in the shows, agreed by nodding his head up and down.

Anita replied: “Yes, thank you, then I know this now and you made the effort from your site, I appreciate it. Thank you.”

Kevyn standing with wide open eyes now turning his head with a disagreeing gesture but not saying anything.

Avoka looked at Anita, well knowing she would not do a thing to ever putting her in any of the shows: “Thank’s it was nice meeting you. Got to pick up my uniform now.”

Avoka had walked over to the staff administration house to pick up her uniform – white trousers, green shirt – and she was on her period, of course. A white trouser – this could not have been any better color. She had asked the coordinator Peggy for a shop in the area to buy some tampons, who had quickly replied, “They don’t have tampons here; this is Africa!” Avoka asked, “And what do you do when you have your period?” Peggy the coordinator, said, “I always get them from guests who bring them. You can take a taxi on your lunch break; there is a Careefour where you can get something but no tampons.” Avoka replied, “Well, I’ll ask one of the girls; one must have some.” Avoka asked some of the other girls who were standing in a group, “Does anyone have tampons? I have to teach the yoga class now and the uniform has these white trousers.” Anita immediately had shot back, “No, I don’t use them.” Another girl said, “Well, I have some; wait at the pool bar. I’ll bring them over to you.” Ten minutes passed, still no one showed up and certainly not that girl Carola. Avoka returned to her room in the staff house to get changed, choosing one of her black yoga pants which actually, was agreed with the headquarters in Switzerland that for the training she could wear her own training clothes. She takes a quick look in her suitcase and all her other bags and luckily, she finds one tampon in her laptop bag so she’ll be safe to the lunch break. But so far this had never been an issue, no matter where she had travelled in every country she had been, including North African countries, she could always buy tampons, especially in the holiday resorts’ little markets. Why they wouldn’t have them here was a riddle to her.

Ten o’clock and Avoka is ready to teach her first classes, one yoga followed by a Pilates, and the participants are very pleased. Some ask when the next classes start in the afternoon. Avoka is surprised most of the participants are quite sporty and are curious about activities. From previous resorts teaching, she often had found tourists who preferred the sun lounger all day.

At her lunch break, she takes the taxi to the supermarket and gets her sanitary stuff. In total, she pays twenty euro for that trip.

In the afternoon Avoka walks to the little resort shop. Surprisingly at the till what does she discover? Packs of tampons – o. b., of course – for about 4 euro.

In the evening, Peggy, the coordinator is standing next to Avoka, so she’s asking Peggy, “I went to the store here at the resort this afternoon. They sell all that stuff, and also o. b. Why did you say that they don’t have it here?”

Peggy, in a giggling voice and high like she had taken some pills, says, “I know but they are so expensive here.” Avoka says, “They are four euro; that’s not more than paying fifteen euro for a taxi and in total twenty for some old-fashioned sanitary shit, is it?” Peggy is starring in the air while giggling, “Yes, but he is a gangster.” Avoka says, “Responsibility just walked on by you winking, didn’t it?” This was a little too much stupidity for Avoka, and she was wondering how such a person could be a coordinator for an international, well-known holiday resort. If she had known this club was such a theatre she wouldn’t have agreed to this. She had known this club from twenty years ago when she had been here with her mum as tourists and actually liked it a lot. Usually, this club had a good reputation but the staff here now, and also, some of the guests seemed really just like freaks and presented nothing of sophisticated family holiday resorts.

On the second day of the evening program, the crew was asked to pick up the guests from the lobby to make them go to the disco, as the people had the tendency to prefer staying at the lobby bar rather than going to the disco night.  But to fill the disco was the job now and one Avoka was so pleased about, actually, so not.

Avoka did not want to make it an issue bigger than Vogue even though she did not think this should be part of her job, so she followed the crew. In the lobby, she chatted up one woman who had been to her yoga class in the morning. They started talking about where they came from and realized the woman, who was on holiday with her husband, lived in the same village where Avoka’s dad had an architecture office some years ago, before he had retired. The woman, Gabi, was working with a construction company that had worked with them on construction projects. She turned around toward her husband. “Hey, Peter come over!” Peter was standing with another couple and now walked over. The woman said to her husband, “This is the daughter of Mr Smith, the architect who we often worked for – remember the Waldorf project?” Avoka smiled, “Well, the public bidding submission for that project was done by me; I remember that well.” Peter turned toward Avoka. “So, you are Mr. Smith’s daughter!” Avoka agreed, “Yes, it’s a small world.”  Gabi started telling stories about Smith’s partner’s daughter Julia who had been at school with Gabi and who had always been very sporty and successful at school and Gabi had always admired her, or it sounded more like, some kind, of jealousy. Now she was telling that she and her husband also played tennis. Gabi suggested to her husband, “Oh, Peter, that’s really a funny story. Let’s go to the disco, that’s why Avoka and I came into the chat this evening.”

Peter called to the other couple, “Let’s go to the disco. Avoka is Mr Smith’s daughter – you know, from the architecture group in our city.” So, the two couples and Avoka make their way to the disco, a small club next to the pool bar. Some guys from the animation team are dancing and slowly the disco fills up with people. Avoka and Gabi start dancing. Some of the guests start clapping while Avoka is dancing and she gets another “I could kill you” look from Anita, the evening show girl, who now starts dancing like a freak, showing off all she has. Avoka goes back to her group and the clapping of the audience stops. She goes for a glass of water and whoops, she feels a clap on her butt. As she turns around Peter is smiling at her then going back to the other couple. Another song: Avoka dances to the Rhythm of Hot, Hot Summer and there comes the next clap and again the same guy, Peter. Avoka turns around and she sees Gabi, who has watched her husband’s action on Avoka’s butt, now standing there frowning. Avoka chooses to stand close to the wall so her butt is covered and no longer a target for those male hand moves. One more song is playing and the two couples leave.

The club manager Tommy is standing with the restaurant Chef Jake, whose wife is dancing on the dance floor and their two- year-old son is walking around in the club. They are in a discussion, now looking over to Avoka. Some of the guests come over to Avoka, wondering why a two-year old kid is in a club with loud music and smoking cigarettes. Avoka offers funny reasons and tries to bring the holiday guests to other thoughts and now asks to excuse herself, suggesting, “Best, I will ask Jake the cook himself.” She walks over to the cook, who immediately turns to Avoka. “Avoka, I heard you want to serve a fitness plate at lunch time. I can organize everything for you.” Avoka is not really impressed, but smiles. “Sure.” Avoka understands the purpose of a fitness plate served by the yoga teacher but why does this have to happen on her lunch break without any replacement for these hours? Avoka says goodbye. “Yes Jake, I think a Caesar salad or something like that. I will talk to the coordinator for available hours during Easter time. She had planned a special, but sure, a fitness salad is a great idea.”

Avoka leaves the club walking, along the pool and back to the staff house. She’s simply happy for that day to be over.

Chapter II

Messages from Hunt

Seven o’clock in the morning and Avoka hears the pinging of her phone: “A good morning coffee cup from Hunt.” She smiles and sends a message back. “What a lovely thing to start the day” and sends a song, Good Morning, Good Morning, with a remake video of a traditional 50s couple. Hunt replies with “love it” and a big kiss picture…

Get the book here

books · News · Reading · short-stories · Stories

Chapter 6 – Californian Sunshine

from the book

Magnetic – Again, just a girl!

Sunday morning Flo woke up in San Francisco. Bright blue sky, the sun already shining high with temperatures over 25°, she felt like waking up in paradise. Flo was sharing a room with her friend Ella who had picked her up at the airport. A beautiful French girl who she knew from a science project she had worked on earlier in the year. She had arrived with Byron who was a study friend of Flo’s brother Max and a few years older than the two girls Flo and Ella. Max and Byron were studying law in Oxford. For Ella and Flo, this was the summer holiday before they would start their study, hoping their applications were accepted. Ella had her applications running on a top University in the UK as her interest was not so much the scientific laws but the law from a legal point of view. For Flo, Sorbonne was the only choice.

The four had a full breakfast, making plans for the day. They would stay in San Francisco for the first day, running errands, catching all tourist highlights. The legendary Golden Gate Bridge, the famous Alcatraz prison in the morning followed by a hop on and off bus tour in the afternoon which allowed enough time for the girls to drop off for their shopping sessions in between. One minute they were walking the nine-story Westfield San Francisco Centre, the home to fancy designers and fashion stores, the next minute they speeded through the maze of local art shops and boutiques. Not to forget near the Golden Gate Park, Haight Street the site of the legendary hippie haven of Haight-Ashbury with a vibrant mix of independent record stores, bookstores, and vintage threads spanning every era of the last century. Finally, they enjoyed the stunning views of San Francisco on board of a Californian Sunset Cruise at the end of the day.


The next morning they kicked off their road trip. In a small rental van, they were driving all day passing through Yosemite National Park with only a short coffee break. At seven o’clock in the evening, they arrived at a little motel. The receptionist gave them the keys to their rooms. To his surprise and with a slightly irritated look in his eyes as he thought this were two young couples who would share the room each, the two girls would take a room together, instead and so did the guys.

After a quick freshening up, the four took a short walk than stopping at a little bar near their motel. Somehow, they felt like set back into a western movie from the late 18th century. A few guys in lumberjack shirts, and cowboy boots who looked older and more carved than the wooden bar chairs, were hanging around. In the corner a nostalgic jukebox playing some country music. Florence and Ella were stunned, this looked even old western or like an American crime movie with a death in the middle of nowhere.

“This guy looks like he kills people for his daily bread,” Ella whispered, and the others were laughing.

“Well as you know, this is the Death Valley, the name must come from something, doesn’t it?” Byron joked, knowing this was not the reason for the Valley’s name. The guys in their lumberjack shirts looked the same kind of irritated at the four.

“Oh, they look scary.” Max agreed.

“Yeah, but who scares who, they seem to think the same of us, I guess,” Florence replied.

“Okay let’s take the table at the window, there is at least a little light,” Byron suggested.

“Yes, and it is close to the door,” Max added. The girls laughed. The boys ordered some lumberjack steaks the girls had a soup and salad. The food arrived quickly, and the steaks were served, with a little bigger size of a knife.

“Mmhh, I don’t want to know what else these knives have been used for.” Byron joked and tried to scare the girls a little more.

“Ha, ha, not funny!” Ella pointed at Max, who imitated a kind of slaughter with the knife on Ella’s salad plate.

“So, you enjoy the steak, have you just arrived here?” One of the guys on the bar was shouting over.

“Yap, we arrived this evening,” Byron replied.

“Don’t tell him where we’re staying!” Ella whispered.

“Ah, then you had a long day in the car, didn’t you?” The guys started a little conversation with the natives from this Valley, the few they had. They explained the dangerous extremes of Death Valley with its silent beauty. The Death Valley could be dangerously cold during the winter months. Storms in the mountains could produce sudden flooding on the floor of the Valley, while the air temperature during the summer has been as high as fifty-seven degrees Celsius. The guys explained. “But you guys are here at a good time. It is not getting too hot yet.” One of the lumberjack shirts said.

The dinner was followed by a little game at the pool table. Ella was meanwhile at the jukebox, pulling her coins then selecting some more modern types of songs for a playlist, which was hard to find. But there she had found some good ones, and after her second beer, she found herself in the arms of Max with a slow dance to an interesting version of “Let’s Fall To Pieces Together” by George Jones. Ella was laughing about the music. Max was looking at her and couldn’t bear his smile. Just two seconds later their lips were falling to one piece together.

Florence who was still at the pool table with Byron trying to hit the last balls was looking over to her brother slightly irritated but who did not recognize her gaze as he was lost in Ella’s kiss. Florence looked at Byron.

“What is this? Did you know they had something going on?” She questioned.

 “Well, no, I guess this is something new, I don’t think they did that before, didn’t they?” Byron laughed.

“Oh, well I mean.” Ella was speechless and did not know what to say, she was the youngest in the round. Byron was almost 10 years older than her. Her brother was almost twenty-five and Ella twenty-three. Florence was the only one who did not hit the adult state by law yet and was the sweet seventeen. While Byron had just shot number eight and with this finished the game.

“Do you want another round, or do you like a little dancing, too?” He asked Florence with an ironic underlying tone.

 Byron was the typical womanizer. Well he saw it different but there was hardly one woman who would not want to fall into his arms, and he had quite a reputation on that. While Florence had her admirers, she wasn’t a girl for country bar flings. She knew Byron since years as her brother’s friend and he was more like a kind of brother to her, she would never think of a slow dance to that kind of music with him.

“Are you serious, that song?” She giggled.

Byron laughed and ordered another round of pool and drinks.

Just a few drinks later, Florence found herself in the arms of Byron dancing to one of those songs where you just could not help but all you wished for the guy you danced with to get closer and kiss. And this was how they spent the next half hour dancing, kissing on the bar’s dancefloor to Ella’s playlist.

While Ella and Max already had left. Quiet as it was. Everyone had already left, and they seemed to be alone in the part where the pool table was placed. Meanwhile Florence was leaning at the pool table and Byron was slowly leaning her backward looking at her with his irresistible smile. While she was lolling at the pool table there was nothing that could stop them now.

Early in the morning, the two walked over to the motel next door. As Flo’s room was occupied, Max and Ella were peacefully sleeping, Byron generously offered his room.

“You want to join my bedroom?” Cynically he asked as she had no other choice and of course, this was all she wanted right now lying in his arms.

“Oh, you are gentlemen like, aren’t you?” She smiled. And the two went over to Byron’s room and got lost in the early morning hours. Florence woke up feeling like in heaven. Byron was holding her tight, looking at her, caressing and gently kissing her. He loved holding her in her arms and was surprised about himself and last night’s action. Not what he had had in mind. For him as well, Flo had always been more like a little sister to him, but right now this felt so different. Despite, she was so young, but the whole situation was kind of awkward, and he did not know if it was a good idea to tell Max that he had gone down on her so fast. On the other side, he did not want to think at all and let things happen as they happened. Byron looked at Flo, asking her how she felt about the situation, which was unnecessary as it was written all over her face. She had a grin flashing from ear to ear, and she was longing for kisses and something more. Although both agreed that they would not tell anything about last night and that they had only kissed. Max probably was not amused about what had happened on the billiard table the previous night. Flo quickly put her clothes on walking over to the other room where she had all her stuff knocking at the door.

Ella and Max had spent time together even before the trip but without telling anyone.  They did not make a fuss about it now. Florence suggested to take her things and leave the two on their own.

She came back to Byron’s room, who was just under the shower, which left her even more dazzled. He smiled at her and winked to join him.

At eleven o’clock, both new couples were sitting at the breakfast table. Everyone had a bright smile in their face, which spoke for itself, and discussing how to plan the day.


Next stop Las Vegas. The city was just one and a half hours away, and the four had booked one of the legendary shows, David Copperfield’s magic show. But now they were standing a half-hour away from the city in an unexpected traffic jam. And despite it was in the middle of the summer and Las Vegas was a city build in the desert, a sudden snow shower came down.

Find out if you like the whole story, get the book here


10 empowering, motivational quotes

“It doesn’t matter how good you are or how bad you are—in the wrong elevator, you’re going to get hosed.” Frank Slootman, CEO of Snowflake

“Dream it, wish it, own it!”

“Don’t think about what might go wrong. Think about what might go right.” ~ Unknown

“There has never been anyone exactly like you, nor will there be anyone with your gifts and abilities in the future. Stand up straight, smile and share your uniqueness with the world today.” ~ Unknown

“Don’t wait until everything is just right. It will never be perfect. There will always be challenges, obstacles and less than perfect conditions. So what. Get started now. With each step you take, you will grow stronger and stronger, more and more skilled, more and more self-confident and more and more successful.” ~ Mark Victor Hansen

“We are all born mad. Some remain so.” ~Samuel Beckett

“Real love moves freely in both directions. Don’t waste your time on anything else.” ~ Cheryl Strayed

“At your absolute best, you still won’t be good enough for the wrong person. At your worst, you’ll still be worth it to the right person.” ~ Karen Salmansohn

“You must not be afraid of your uniqueness and you must care less and less what people think of you.” ~ Robert Greene

“Good habits are as addictive as bad habits but much more rewarding” ~ Harvey Mackey


10 best motivational, empowering quotes

“Never wrestle with pigs. You both get dirty and the pig likes it.” ~ George Bernard Shaw

“The best things in live make you sweaty.” ~ Edgar Allan Poe

“Where you find yourself in daydreams that’s where you should go in reality.” ~ unknown

“If people are doubting how far you can go, go so far that you can’t hear them anymore.” ~ Michele Ruiz

“We are all born mad. Some remain so.” ~ Samuel Beckett

“Real love moves freely in both direction. Don’t waste your time on anything else.” ~ Cheryl Strayed

“At your absolute best you still will not bee good enough for the wrong person. At your worse, you still be good enough for the right person.” ~ Karen Salmansohn

“You must not be afraid of your uniqueness and you must care less and less what people think of you.” ~ Robert Green

“Not all storms come to disrupt your life, some come to clear the path.” – Anonymous

“Too many people overvalue what they are not and undervalue what they are.” Malcolm S. Forbes


Happy New Year – quotes

“Each year’s regrets are envelopes in which messages of hope are found for the new year.” ~John R. Dallas Jr.

Burning sparklers, Happy New Year

“New year—a new chapter, new verse, or just the same old story? Ultimately we write it. The choice is ours.” ~ Alex Morritt

“The secret of change is to focus all of your energy, not on fighting the old, but on building the new.” ~ Socrates

“We all get the same 365 days. The only difference is what we do with them.” Hillary DePiano

“365 new days. 365 new CHANCES.”

“2020 THE END. Happy New Year”


Merry Christmas everyone – lyrics Shakin’ Stevens

Snow is falling all around me
Children playing having fun
It’s the season of love and understanding
Merry Christmas everyone

Time for parties and celebration
People dancing all night long
Time for presents and exchanging kisses
Time for singing

Christmas songsWe’re gonna have a party tonight
I’m gonna find that girl underneath the mistletoe
We’ll kissed by candlelight

Room is swaying, records playing
All the songs, we love to hear
All I wish that everyday was Christmas
What a nice way to spend the year

We’re gonna have a party tonight
I’m gonna find that girl
Underneath the mistletoe
We’ll kiss by candle light

Snow is fallin’, all around me
Children playing, having fun
It’s the season, love and understanding
Merry Christmas everyone
Merry Christmas everyone

books · Reading · short-stories · Stories


from the book Blossom Hill – a London lovestory

Mia had just left the shuttle at Folkestone after passing through the Euro-Channel from Calais and traveling the fifty-mile route through the world’s longest underwater channel by train with her car—thirty-seven miles undersea in just thirty minutes. She was excited. North London University had offered her a place, one of the rare limited places in her subject. The university offered only fifty places a year for her area of study. Mia planned to move in with her boyfriend who had found an apartment in an old North London villa and share with several students.

A further ninety-minute drive through Kent, making her way through South London and the Blackwall Tunnel, Mia had to take a break to refill her tank. She stopped at a gas station, filled up and went to the cashier. For some reason, her card failed and, of course, she hadn’t enough cash.

Mia was a slender girl, standing five feet four in her sandals. She was simply dressed in jeans and a T-shirt and she blushed bright red when the Point of Sale rejected her credit card. This had happened to her once before when she had accidentally exceeded her limit, but this time the card was seriously creased, the result of her sitting on it during her long trip from Germany. Despite Mia’s general level-headedness, she could be careless at times.

Everything happens for a reason. “Do I need to wash cars now?” Mia asked with a smile. Turning towards the customer behind her, she said, “Does your car need some polish?”

The man, a handsome thirtysomething year old, athletically shaped with dark blond hair laughed. “No, love, it’s just coming out of the car wash now, but I imagine you would do a better job.”

“Well, is there an ATM machine close by?”

“No, not that close,” the cashier said. “The next cash machine is about fifteen minutes away.”

“So, what can I do? Would you accept me leaving a deposit like my ID card? I would come back later with the cash. I’ve just come from Germany and I’m moving to North London. I could leave my address and telephone number with you.”

The cashier shook her head, but the handsome guy behind Mia said, “I can take it on my card and you can come to my office next week and pay me.”

“That would be great; I don’t know what to say.”

“It’s okay,” he replied. “And I got the number of an attractive German, right?”

The two exchanged addresses, phone numbers, and the man paid using his card. Mia felt ashamed but surprised that someone was so generous.

“You made it all the way from Germany with one tank filling?” He smiled and continued, “Don’t worry; I had a similar situation lately, so I know how it feels and someone helped me out, too. My name is Jason. Anyway, I got your car license, so I will find you if I have to.”

Mia thanked him again. “I will pass by your office tomorrow and leave the fifty pounds for you at the reception.”

Jason nodded, “Any time. See You.”

On her way-out, walking over to her fully packed Ibiza, Mia noticed that only one other car had stopped at the gas station. It must be his—a shiny Porsche 911.

Mia had planned to pick up her boyfriend Bo at his old address and then drive over to the new flat. When she arrived, Bo was standing, as always, talking with his landlady, an attractive African woman from the same country as him. She was a little older. She had a little boy and always had her eyes on Bo. She looked at Mia with hardly the friendliest Hello.

Bo grabbed his one suitcase and he and Mia drove over to Lordship Road, to the old villa where they would move in. Mia parked the car and followed him inside.

They were standing in the dark entrance hall, trying to find the light. Mia, excited, finally found the switch. Wrapping her hands around Bo, wanting him to kiss her, and Bo standing there with his hands in his pockets, cold as ice. Mia would have expected a jumping heart, an intensive hug, and a long sweet kiss, anything but this. She had waited all summer for this moment. A cold shower was running down her back. All she felt was a moment of nothing, knowing this love had been an illusion, all this sweet talk on the phone, cards, presents and whatever. The moment she had waited for had turned into a moment of no emotion at all. All she felt was disappointment. The illusion of love she had held had just dropped down to the hall and into the basement!

Normally she would have turned around and be gone, but she had just left one life behind and she didn’t want to give up another—her dream study-place she had worked so hard for. She closed her eyes for a moment, taking a deep breath and thought, “Okay, this is better than no love at all, and at least I got my study place. This is what I came here for; I will manage; I won’t give up that, too.” Mia felt as if she had hit an iceberg while on board the Titanic and all her love was drowning. All she could do was let go and keep herself together.

Mia unwrapped her arms and with a fresh, friendly smile, said: “Alright, the light’s on, now you find the lock with the right key, it’s a really cool house.” Bo opened the apartment door, but the light switch inside didn’t work. The electricity in the house used a point system, which meant you had to purchase credit and charge on a meter in the corridor. With the help of her lighter, Mia made it to the bathroom. Bo, opening the bathroom door, said: “Ah, here you are.”

“Yes, here I am,” Mia replied with a grin.

“I got to go back to my apartment, I left something. I will be back later on,” Bo said. This was nothing new; Bo always had something to do. Every phone conversation had been like this—except that she had somewhere to go this time. It had happened so often that he would accompany her and for some reason managed to make her arrive late for her appointments or whatever she had to do, or miss them altogether.

“Yes, and buy some points for the electricity charge,” Mia shouted from the bathroom. She was alone now in the dark.

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