The house on Pine Ave
The House
In country where everyone walks with their heads downward and summer begins in December, there were two girls, who lived in a house on Pine Avenue, which was not really an avenue, but a short dead-end street. They were a singing mermaid and a little fairy.

Once a tall bearded friend of the mermaid, who was in love with her magic voice, decorated the corridor and the living room of the house with a 200 meters luminous garland. Last time the bearded man himself appeared on Pine ave long time ago, but the fairy lights did their job: all the guests were saying that the house was magical.

The girls knew about it even without the little lights.

Everyone who came to the house once was always coming back. Sooner or later. Without any exception, everyone fell under the charm of creaking floors, antique wooden furniture, a cosy kitchen with multicoloured ceramic and glass utensils, a welcoming living room with a piano and colourful carpets, a sofa and bright motley pillows. The house wrapped a guest with warmth and let him leave in a good mood and peaceful thoughts when it was time for the person to move on.

But the girls were also aware of the other traits of the magic house.

It was built in 1870 in then-popular Victorian Gothic style, which came from good old England. These houses are among the oldest in the city. There is a dozen of them on Pine Avenue, all painted in different colours. The roof slopes of each of them are decorated with carved cornices, and the buildings are separated from the street by a fancy laced metal fence.

The girls called their place — the gingerbread house.

One-story with two bedrooms and a narrow corridor stretched along them, creaking doors, a small living room and a medium-sized kitchen with a window in the ceiling welcoming the sunlight, with a triangular roof and a bay window in one of the rooms. A tiny backyard with a table was full of pots of flowers, where even a neighbours' fragrant Jasmine bush crawled over the fence willing to join the magical space and parties. The girls were having dinners in the yard with friends from time to time.
The singing mermaid
Once upon a time, when she was very young, the singing mermaid was in love with a boy who came to the land of eternal summer from capricious refined France to study. He was in love with her too. They were a beautiful couple. But then he left and her heart broke.

Although he had asked her to come with him, she could not go. She was young, patriotic and felt a strong bond with the country where she was born, a bond that she could not break. All her songs were either about love or about her country. Those were two things she knew the best and was inspired by the most. She was sure that she would lose her creativity by breaking away from her roots. That was how she had explained it to herself then. As she grew older, she realised that there was more fear in her heart than patriotism. And it was the fear that kept her from following the one she loved.

If only she had been more courageous then!

Ten years later, she still called the friend of her youth 'love of my life', learned his native language and had a lot of admiration for French people. She hadn't known much about him since they'd parted. Only that the boy became a politician like his father, was still handsome and lived in Paris.

The singing mermaid fell in love many times and was even engaged once, but thoughts of him never left her, and feelings for other men were never so beautiful and never filled her heart as entirely as her love for chéri. She dreamed that one day he would return to her.

And so eleven years later he sent her a letter that he was about to fly across the ocean for his friend's wedding. And he was dreaming to see her again.

The singer, of course, was over the moon. She sent all her male fans away and reorganised her whole week in order to see him.

They set a date. However, for some reason, he seemed reluctant to be alone with her, and invited her to dinner with his friends. Mermaid, on the contrary, wanted to meet tête-à-tête. He resisted, she insisted. He refused. And she said that in that case, he could forget her name altogether, as well as the path to the gingerbread house.

Of course, he remembered the way to her place, despite the fact that he had not been in the city for more than ten years. And he rang her doorbell as she was finishing her third glass of wine, having washed her face with tears thirty-three times. He hugged her, stayed for dinner, and then they talked until morning.

"Nothing has changed between us," — the singer told her friend little fairy the next day. — "Although he didn't say anything, I know he feels the same way. He has a girlfriend in Paris. They've only been together for three months. But he didn't want to compromise himself. I don't care, I was happy even just to talk with him again. When you know that your feelings are real, it's enough just to be beside each other."

— Did you tell him you still want to be with him?
— No.
— What have you got to lose? Maybe there won't be another chance to talk for the next ten years.

Fairy princesses do not take the first steps. They lose the crystal stuff and wait for the Prince to find them in the city of millions by the size of a shoe. But those tales were written a hundred years ago, and since then society made a number of new demands on the fair sex. So the next day the singing mermaid went to a ball in a form of a barbecue on the Bondi beach, organised by friends of the prince, a ball to which she was not invited. She went there specifically to tell him how she felt.

Courage is almost always rewarded. It turned out that he felt the same way about her. And he was afraid to be alone with her, lest he disturbs her way of life with his outspoken confessions. And he always thought of her and always wanted to be with her. And even though of leaving politics and return to the country where he spent his youth with her. But now he must return to France.

They talked all night again, going over the possibilities of their reunion in time and space. This time she will go to France for him, first only for the new year holidays, and then in April to the festival, where she is invited to perform, and then for good… Because now she is a confident well-known singer and also knows French! And then in a year or two they will return to down under and will live here happily ever after.

He flew home. She was happy and started to plan the trip, expecting him to confirm their joint plans for the near future.

A week has passed. She was sorting through her bedroom when a small bottle of perfume slipped out of nowhere and fell to the floor. Before she could gasp, the glass landed on the carpet and shattered, filling the room with the scent of perfume. Exactly the same she'd given her beloved one years ago as a present. "The bottle must have been in his pocket and fallen out, that sleepless night spent talking," — she thought… as if carrying perfume in a pocket was absolutely common for the French. "How sweet that he is still faithful to this fragrance! Now my room smells of his perfume," — the singing mermaid smiled. But then the shadow run through her mind and at that very moment she realised that deep down inside there is a knowledge — something bad is about to happen.

The scent did not stay for long. Strangely, it disappeared the next day, although French perfumes are known to be very persistent. And in the evening of the following day she received a letter from her prince. He said that despite the fact, that he loved her, and that feeling was the most present one that ever lived in his heart, he was not ready to change his life now. It's too complicated, too sudden, too unexpected, too inconvenient. He doesn't ask her to wait for him. But he is certain that they are meant to be together, it's inevitable and one day it's going to be the right time for their reunion.

''Never ever write to me again,'' — she replied, dropping her tears. And wrote a sad song about him.
The little fairy
One day a little fairy made a wish. Fairies rarely ask anything for themselves, but she really wanted to fall in love.

The same day on the ocean shore she met a boy with golden hair, flowers on his shoulder and a bird on his chest. Maybe it was colourful flowers to blame, or the bird, or the boy himself, but she immediately got it — he is the one.

Although he was young, he was a decent man and told her that in a distant country, where he came from for studying, a red-haired Rapunzel was waiting for him. He would love to stay in the country where summer begins in December, but it was time for him to go back home: his best friend had a misfortune being very sick. The boy with the golden hair felt that it was his duty to be by his side during these dark times. Apart from that his girl became pretty tired and bored of years of separation. He decided to leave the country he became attached to and the ocean he fell in love with and return to good old Europe where his life would be planned for 150 years ahead.

The next day, after the fairy met the prince, she found a small succulent flower in a glass pot in a store. Usually, fairies are so busy doing their duty to make people's lives brighter that they do a very poor job of caring for those around them. No matter how many plants and hamsters the fairy got, they did not keep her company for long. But she liked the octopus-like flower so much that she bought it in and took care of it to the best of her ability.

The boy did not plan to fall in love and had already started to pack his belongings to leave, but mortal are incapable to resist fairies' magic. They both plunged into a feeling so new to them and began to meet pearl sunrises and watch pink sunsets together. He was becoming more and more doubtful of the correctness of his decisions, and the future life in Europe began to seem colourless and empty.

Everything that he considered important faded. Tears welled in his eyes, and fear gripped his heart as he thought of leaving the little fairy and the ocean. They sat on the edge of the cliff together and watched the dolphins playing in the water. He told her about diving, a wonderful mysterious world that laid under the water, and his favorite creatures — octopuses that were funny and cute and that one day he wanted to get a tattoo of an octopus on his arm. He found his fairy-tale: he looked into her blue eyes, hugged her tightly, inhaled the smell of her hair and sea salt, and wanted to stay with her till the end of days. She also wanted them to be together forever and to ensure that their connection would never end, she got a tattoo on her shoulder — a bird exactly like his.

But he remained true to his promises to Rapunzel and his duty to be near the friend who was in trouble. Six weeks later, the boy with the golden hair left the land of eternal summer.

He returned home, not knowing what to expect. He asked himself questions to which he had no answers. Will he be able to be back with his girlfriend? Would he be able to stay away from the little fairy? His thoughts were confused, his heart was breaking, and he could not find peace. He wanted to talk to her and know what she was doing at every moment of her day just as he did when they were together. He was afraid to hear her voice because even when he read her messages, reality faded and he was thrown back to the fairy-tale world in which he spent 6 weeks.

But being a decent guy, he wanted to keep his promises and gave his previous life a chance. He stopped those across-the-ocean talks and did his best to live consciously in the present moment.

As months passed the golden dust from the fairy's wings, which she sprinkled on him had been washed away by the autumn rains of Europe. And her spell had lost its power over him. Their story now seemed like a dream, the colours of which were still bright, but life with Rapunzel and their plans became valuable and meaningful to him again.

Now and then the fairy was looking at the octopus-flower in the glass pot, remembering the day when joy and hope settled in her heart. She was surprised that the flower held up so well, unlike its predecessors.

She longed for the boy with the flowers and the bird and decided to tell their story to people so that they would believe in fairy-tales again. And so she wrote a book.

The boy sometimes thought about her and their little fairy tale as well, and in gratitude supported the publication of the book. The little fairy was touched and thrilled and became very happy. ''Maybe he is still in love with me?''. But that evening she saw her octopus-flower in the glass pot wither — suddenly crumble, scattering its senseless tentacles on the ground.

Remembering the singing mermaid's story about the perfume bottle, she realised this was the gingerbread's house way telling her that everything was over. And despite the fact that no one knows what the future will bring, now it was the time to turn that page and write a new story.

Much later she learned that the same evening the flower withered, the boy with the golden hair proposed to the red-haired Rapunzel.
— Do you think the house is talking to us?
— Looks like it. And we probably need to learn to listen to it.
As it obviously knows more than we do.

Once it is translated and published (As PDF and ePub) I will be happy to share the digital copy with each supporter.

My book is for those who recently went through a divorce or a break-up. Or who is in the process of separating from their loved one but still remain very close.

The book is for those who are in a relationship. It does not matter if it is a stable one or you find yourselves in crisis. What matters is that they are valuable to you, and you want to keep them.

The book is for those who feel disappointed in the idea of family, of love. For those who have stopped trusting others and themselves. For those who have lost faith that happiness could be possible again.
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