Saturday, 3 March 2018

Tess And Tattoos by H.A. Leuschel

Hello and thank you very much for inviting me to ‘Just Books’!
Empathy and compassion, although similar in notion, are two different human skills. The first I would argue describes our mental capacity to slip into someone else’s shoes to understand their feelings or state of mind. As such it is therefore a skill or tool because it does not necessarily imply that the person being empathetic will also act appropriately to help the person in need. This is what compassion, a higher-level ability, can achieve when empathy is ‘used’ to accurately detect destress in another person for instance, and translates this knowledge to genuinely improve the other person’s situation.
In ‘Tess and Tattoos’, the reader meets Sandra who is able to unlock the deeply set hurt and shame that Tess has had to live with and help her to eventually find peace to move on.

A suspenseful and emotional novella exploring whether we can ever be free from our past mistakes.

In this story, the reader is taken on a compelling journey into the human mind where genuine friendship offers the key to inner peace.

Meet Tess, an elderly lady living in a care home apartment in the outskirts of Edinburgh, whose past is haunted by a wrong decision. She meets Nurse Sandra, a warm and bubbly single mother of three, who is instantly intrigued by Tess’s personality and the mystery that surrounds her.

‘Tess and Tattoos’ is one of five gripping stories in HA Leuschel’s story collection Manipulated Lives centred around psychological manipulation.


      ‘Good morning, Tess.’ She knew instantly on hearing the voice that it did not sound familiar. She was probably about to meet a new member of staff, she thought. The woman entering the living room was in her mid-thirties with an energetic step and friendly smile and eyes that conveyed sympathy. Oh well, Tess told herself, that is a good start. The nurse’s uniform was light blue, and her shoes squeaked slightly as she walked over to Tess, holding a clipboard. There was something different and fresh about this particular nurse and Tess didn’t think it was due to the brand-new shoes or what looked like an only recently unwrapped and perfectly ironed uniform. It was hard at the best of times to explain why one was drawn to certain people and not at all to others. Was it the smell? The sound of their voice or … Before she could finish her thoughts, the nurse’s hand reached out to take hers.

      ‘Hello, my name is Sandra.’ They shook hands, Sandra’s warm and Tess’s cool and dry, while both smiled. ‘I’m a new member of staff and I’m here to introduce myself.’ Sandra cupped her other hand over Tess’s, now holding it like a pearl in an oyster. Tess was startled by how comforting it felt, and a blush rose up her cheeks before she smiled coyly at the nurse. She quickly cleared her throat before managing to answer. 

      ‘Oh hello – nice to meet you! Would you like a cup of tea?’ She was genuinely pleased to meet Sandra who had somehow, within seconds, managed to light up the room and spread a soft perfume of heathers – her favourite flowery smell. There we go, maybe it is the smell. She smiled inwardly at the awkwardness of some of her thoughts. Thank goodness mindreading only goes so far. People can only guess your thoughts, never really read them.

Author Bio:

Helene Andrea Leuschel grew up in Belgium where she gained a Licentiate in Journalism & Communication, which led to a career in radio and television in Brussels, London and Edinburgh. She now lives with her husband and two children in Portugal and recently acquired a Master of Philosophy with the OU, deepening her passion for the study of the mind. When she is not writing, Helene works as a freelance journalist and teaches Yoga.

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