The day had started as any other Sunday, though that afternoon there was to be a family gathering, an opportunity to introduce Thomas, her daughter’s fiance.
It was easiest to have a picnic in the garden for such events, with everyone bringing something for the table and their own drinks so that no one person had the expense of catering for a large party.
Joanna looked up and saw her eighteen month old great-niece toddling off on her own. Before she could get out of her seat, she saw Thomas kneel down in front of the child and offer her his hand. The little girl took it and …………………………………….
The scene changed from the back garden to another time and another place.
The little girl was wearing a white smock pinafore and a bonnet, the man a light jacket over a white shirt tucked into brown trousers.
Both were laughing as he tickled her under the chin, then picked her up and swooped her high up over his head.
Her giggles echoed as they rang out through the air, and onlookers turned their heads to watch Father and Child at play.
Joanna could hear various conversations as they fluttered around her head, floating in and out of range, yet she was in the midst of it all.
She could not take her eyes off the duo, her heart pounding wildly in her chest as some inner sense was telling her that what she was seeing happened many years ago, and yet it was being replayed in her own back yard.
From far away came a masculine voice, breaking through the fog and bringing her back to the present.
‘Are you OK?’
‘What?’ She shook her head as if to clear it. ‘Yes. Yes, I’m fine, thanks.’
‘You look like you’ve seen a ghost,’ Thomas said. ‘You’re terribly pale, can I get you some tea or something?’
‘No, honestly. I’m fine. Really. Too much sun I think.’
He extended his hand to help her rise, and Joanna laughed nervously.
Gently holding her elbow, he escorted her into the shady coolness of the kitchen.
‘How long have you had The Gift?’ he asked.
‘Gift? What gift? I don’t understand what you mean,’ Joanna replied.
‘Second Sight, Premonition, however you care to describe it.’
‘I haven’t got it.’
‘Ah, but you Saw, didn’t you. Me and your great niece?’
Joanna started to say something, then looked at the floor.
She began again.
‘I experienced something in my late teens, but it never came to anything, so why now?’
‘No idea. It’s only fleeting for me too, a feeling of deja vu, a sense of having already done something, a memory of a former life, or perhaps something to come?’
‘But what does it mean? I don’t understand. You were there in my back yard, and then suddenly you weren’t. Little Emma is no relation to you and yet I knew that I was seeing you with your daughter in another place years ago!’
‘Don’t worry. It’s a good sign. Past, Present and Future. You saw the Past. Here we are in the Present. For me, I saw the Future, and the little girl is your grand daughter.’