One Chance, One Moment (The Mandy Story, #1) by Judith Kohnen
Published June 17th 2014 by With Open Heart
Award-winning novel inspired by Barry Manilow's 1974/75 hit song MANDY, and in commemoration of the song's 40th anniversary...
Good morning, Amanda ... or would you prefer to be called Mandy?
Amanda is fine. Garry is actually the only one who calls me Mandy, and I’m rather fond of that. But yes, as a child, I’d always wanted to be called “Mandy” but no one ever did. You see, my Dad was a lover of all kinds of animals. He was especially fascinated with Panda Bears. That what he used to call me – Amanda, My Panda Bear. He was a great photographer. Some of his work was actually published in National Geographic. No, the closest I ever came to being called “Mandy” while growing up was “Manda.” Anyway, Garry actually listens to me sometimes ... heard my little childhood story and began calling me “Mandy” the day he decided to become my “friend.” There’s something romantic and special in the way he says that name. Of course, I always know when he’s mad at me, for he automatically switches to “Amanda.”
I can see that Garry has quite of an effect on you. Your eyes lighten when you talk about him. Your whole face is glowing right now.
Really? That apparent, huh? Can’t help it. It’s something about that guy. He has a way of getting under my skin. Like no other.
No other? What about past loves? Surely there were other men in your life. Your deceased husband Paul? And Eddie, right?
Paul ... a disappointment, to say the least. I did love him, and I thought he loved me. I think he did. I want to believe that he did. Eddie tries to tell me differently. When you’re with someone,though, for twelve years of your life, surely there was something. However, I do think that with Paul, it started out as a fantasy-type of love. You know, a handsome jock in high school, popular with all the girls, who suddenly decides it’s you he wants. And then he goes to college to do something good and respectable like study law, which will someday support a wife and kids. He had everything a man could want, and yet it was never enough. I trusted him, and he was not to be trusted. Only I didn’t realize this until years later. And even then, I was too naïve to believe. I thought I could save anyone. I mean, I’m a nurse, a healer. It’s what I do best. I love helping people. I have a track record of helping even the most difficult of patients. Only, I couldn’t help him, no matter how hard I tried. He got involved with some pretty corrupt people. Just how, I’m not really sure. A lot of it, I didn’t find out until after his murder. I realized then that I never really knew my husband at all.
I understand that Eddie helped you through that rough time. In fact, he was the one who introduced you to Paul to begin with. Can you expand on this?
Well, Eddie and I met in junior high school. He didn’t live far from me, though his was a much richer neighborhood. He originally grew up on an Indian reservation in Arizona – not many of them around these days, you know. He’s actually a descendent of Cochise – the powerful chief of the Chiricahua Apaches. After his mother’s unexpected death when he was twelve, Eddie came to live with the father he never knew he had – a well-to-do businessman who was married and living in Palm Beach, Florida. In school, Eddie had always been very quiet. One day, he’d dropped his books in the hall, and I stopped to help pick them up. Funny, that sort of thing usually happens the other way around, guys picking up girls’ books. From that moment on, we kept bumping into each other, and we started talking and became the best of friends. I could always depend on Eddie for anything and everything. He would go out of his way to make me happy. Which goes back to Paul. It was just a casual thing, really - him introducing me to Paul. I don’t think he ever expected an intimate relationship to develop from the meeting. But Paul’s advances sort of swept me off my feet. Paul had this terrific, suave ability of persuading people, making people believe he was more than he was.
And Eddie? You were never in love with him?
In love? It’s hard to say, as I never quite allowed myself to experience more with Eddie. I loved that he was my best friend. It wasn’t until I’d met Paul that I began to doubt what we’d actually shared. I can only say now that I love Eddie ... in many different ways. It’s hard to explain. Complicated, like he is. We’ve shared a lot of things together, yet Eddie is his own man when it comes to some things. A mystery of sorts. When it came to Paul, I could never tell Eddie the real truth of how things were in that relationship. I was afraid to. A feeling I’ve never quite understood, yet it’s almost like a warning. But we’ve shared other secrets and he taught me many things during our youthful years. He even showed me how to make my own bow and arrows from nature. I’m a pretty good shot, too! He was so much fun back then.
So you could’ve married Eddie instead of Paul?
Maybe. I think by the time he had enough nerve to tell me his true feelings, I was already into Paul. He tried once. I thought he was kidding. It was just before the wedding. Eddie grabbed me, playfully in his arms and said, “Don’t marry Paul. Marry me. I’ll teach you how to skin rabbits for dinner.” I laughed into his smiling face, but then suddenly he wasn’t smiling and he kissed me, confused me, and I ran. I think I knew then just how much I loved Eddie. But I didn’t allow it. I didn’t want to admit that I was making a mistake. And then Paul easily swayed any doubts I had to his advantage. Paul could always somehow do that. As for Eddie, you’d think that awkward moment had never happened. He had stood beside Paul as best man at my wedding and afterward had taken my hand like he’d done a thousand times before, bent down and whispered in my ear, “when you’re happy, I’m happy.”
Wow. Sounds like he’d sacrifice anything for you.
Yeah. And he’s pretty protective too. Possibly why I didn’t share too much with him concerning Paul. He and Paul had become partners in law, which meant Eddie was often around. I was glad, because life with just Paul was a big struggle. Bad mood swings. Eddie could always pick me up when things were down. I did the same for him. I was there for Eddie when his father died just before graduation. And he was there for me when I lost both my parents in a plane crash years later. Paul had been out of town on business, said he couldn’t make it back home in time for the funeral. Eddie would be there for me, he’d said. Like that would make a difference.That’s when the real confusion began - doubts about everything, about Paul. I was noticing, too, that Eddie was changing. He was more distant, until he finally just stopped coming around. But then one day he did show up and ... I so needed him, so wanted that old friendship. And for one moment, I wanted more. Yet that day became a nightmare and changed my whole life. My relationship with Eddie has been strained ever since. He’s not the same person he used to be. And I think Paul had something to do with that. Lately, too, there seems to be something else. Something on a physical level. It’s almost like he’s bi-polar, yet ... it feels like something else.
It “feels” like?
Oh, sorry. I’m what some people refer to as an empath. I feel things, sometimes before they happen. It comes in pretty handy at times, only some things are hard to distinguish, especially if I’m connected emotionally to the situation or to the person. That’s why psychics can’t normally predict things for themselves, because they are too emotionally attached to the outcome. As for Eddie, my emotions for him are two-fold. I love him and fear him at the same time. I only know one thing for certain: if he ever needed me, really needed me, I could never say “no” to him.
What of other friends? Any women you’re close to?
A lot more acquaintances than friends, I’m afraid. Of course, I’ve loads of hospital staff that know me. And then there’s Kate. I’ve known Kate since elementary school. She and her family moved away when we were both about thirteen. I actually met Eddie around that time. Kate and I connected again nearly five years into my marriage. Her husband was a patient of mine, died that year of cancer. We’ve kept in touch since then – have met for dinner, hang out for laughs, that sort of thing. She’s a real hoot - tall and lanky, red hair, freckles. But I can’t say she holds up to Melissa. Never met anyone quite like Melissa.
Ah, Melissa. She’s a real character, isn’t she?
The craziest! And the most funny and liveliest person I’ve ever known. I feel so blessed to have met her. She’s put me into some pretty hectic spots, for like you said, she’s a real character – mischievous, sneaky, the works – but one couldn’t ask for a lovelier friend. She’s the girlfriend I never quite had and always wanted.
Unlike Daphne, huh? Yikes, that’s an understatement! Melissa’s like a firecracker; Daphne’s like a bomb and she keeps exploding everywhere she goes, messing things up. But she’s really beautiful. There’s got to be something more about her, for Garry seems to be really taken with her. I’m a firm believer in “you can’t judge a book by its cover.” I’m living proof of that, aren’t I? Garry was quick to judge me for what I appeared to be on the outside, but he’s slowly seeing that there’s so much more to me. Unfortunately, Daphne believes that her “outside” is who she really is. I try to realize, no matter how horrid she acts, that inside her is someone who has experienced a past that has shaped who she is on the inside. That doesn’t mean I accept what she does. I want to fight back. Sometimes I want to tear her apart! Yet there’s a part of me who tries to understand, to weigh things, balance things. It’s the Libra in me. I’m an October girl.
So let’s talk about balance ... this energy work you do. From what I’ve heard, it’s a form of healing that can balance the mind, body and spirit. You’ve used it on Garry, right?
Yes, and he’s starting to accept it for what it really is – healing, rather than that “hoodoo” stuff. I think he likes it most because I use touch when I provide it. My hands don’t have to touch a person for the energy to do its thing, but the warmth of a hand is healing itself and so I use both techniques – hands-on and hands-off. Energy healing is heart-centered, or so it is for me. This means I use love with intention. Love is a powerful thing. So is intention. So when I send energy, I send it with love. The key thing to know is what Einstein taught – that everything is energy. The flowers, the trees, the water, the air we breathe. Energy is in, around us, and of us. Even our thoughts and feelings are energy and depending on whether they are positive or negative, they affect our energy field. Positive, optimistic thoughts can cause us to feel better; negative thoughts and feelings will disrupt our natural flow and eventually become blocks within our body. So energy healing has to do with creating more harmony and balance to our mind, body and spirit – all those things we’re made of. I see love as the highest form of energy we can manifest. Anyone can send love and healing to another person. They need only to believe and send it with intent. The energy that flows through my hands, however, might be called a different kind of energy to some, as its source is of a higher spiritual nature. Yet, in truth, it all boils down to the same thing to me, the same substance and energy. Love.
So many questions, so little time. Yet I must ask one last question. If you could wrap up your experience with Garry, what would you most wish to achieve from this journey with him? That’s a loaded question. I think it would have to do with him learning some things. Things we all probably need to learn. I’m certainly learning some things myself. More patience, for one. Endurance, strength. I’ve learned from Garry, Nicolas, Melissa, Dan, Mariam, and yes, even Daphne. We all make a difference in another person’s life – whether we intend to or not. Each moment with someone influences us in one way, shape or form. We either choose to give out goodness, or not. And as a recipient, we choose to accept what someone else has to give, or not. It’s all about living our power and choosing the path we were meant to walk on. It’s all about not allowing someone, or some situation, to take our power away, but rather to choose to look beyond ... to choose the gift and then make it work in our lives. I am not the same person I was before I met Garry. For one thing, I know something more about love, especially when it comes to loving a man – what it feels like inside without any doubt or qualm or fear. As for him, I just want him to trust me and to really know me, inside and out. I know I haven’t made it too easy for him, for he still knows so little about me and my past, yet he should know enough by now, have learned that when I say something to him, it’s the truth. I believe he’s learning how love is much deeper than skin. He’s learning how to love someone from the inside out, for it’s there where the “gift” is – the truth of who we really are. One might compare that “who” inside of us to a rising sun, for as we learn to love another person, it’s that shining brilliance within them that grabs us – the true beauty of who they are; and it appears like a shining star, warming us and filling us with magnificence. I’ve already begun to see that beauty inside Garry. He’s loyal and honorable. And my hope is that he’ll learn the importance of forgiveness, for it’s with forgiveness that we can find true peace within and connect with that which is most essential to loving life and living each day with more abundance and prosperity. I wish to share with him what I’ve been learning – how the power of words and positive thinking can manifest what we desire, how “like attracts like.” Yet it takes more than just words to make a dream reality; it takes action. Determination, discipline, and dedication. It’s what I’ve had to work hard at to be where I am today. Maybe if Garry would start listening more to his intuition –isn’t he?
Well, we’ll certainly find out, won’t we? Thank you, Amanda, for allowing this time out in your day for the interview. And thank you. I can’t wait to see what happens next. All I know is I can only live “this moment” – “the now” – for it’s the most important of all moments. If I can make this moment count, then maybe tomorrow will be good.
Judith has always been a romantic at heart. She adores writing, poetry, music, singing, dancing, teaching, education, and caring for others. It is her hope that through her imaginative talents that she might become a source of inspiration for her readers. Part of her life's path is empowering others toward healing and teaching them how to use their own imagination and intuitive abilities. Along with over 200 pages of poetry, Judith has written numerous songs and short stories, a couple of children's plays that were actually performed on stage, and has begun her first screenplay. She finished her first novel, One Chance, One Moment, in eight months and while in search for a publisher, has revised the story numerous times to make it the best it can be. She is currently working on her second book, For The Love Of Mandy – Book Two of the Mandy Story. Judith loves helping other writers. She served as newsletter editor for Virginia Romance Writers for four years and has coordinated and judged VRW's HOLT Medallion Contest and their FOOL FOR LOVE Contest many times. She has also freelanced for various non-profit organizational newsletters, most of which were entertainment reviews, inspirational articles, and articles on writing. A teacher of mediumship & intuitive development and a professional background in registered nursing, hypnotherapy and natural healing arts, Judith is now doing what she’s most passionate about – writing! She encourages you to do what you’re passionate about too. “Live for the moment,” she says, “for this moment is the most important of all moments.” “A Feel Good Romance with Suspenseful Thrills … a love story that will capture the romantic at heart while weaving thrills throughout the plot – creating ‘one’ thrilling read.” - Allbooks Review International “… a novel that is impossible to put down. Fans of romance will find themselves absolutely riveted by the story as the suspense and tension becomes as unbearable for the readers as it is for Garry and Mandy.” - Book Reviewer List A recent developmental by a Writer's Digest 2nd Draft Critique Service Editor praised Judith as "a talented writer with a solid story." ONE CHANCE, ONE MOMENT was noted as being "engaging, funny, touching, and often full of surprises and thrills" and what is certain to be "a story destined for attention."