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Jolling Gypsy
June 25th, 2013, 02:23 AM
Hi Everyone, I brave it... please keep in mind that English is not my first language and therefore my writing style is of the easy kind... happy critiquing away!

before
Roughly 10 years back, I had just climbed out of one of life’s lows, I was sitting with some work colleagues in a pub on Longstreet in Cape Town. The background music was honestly up to shit and it so happened that right across the road was Kennedy’s Cigar Bar, an upmarket venue decorated with enormous posters portraying famous personalities from all walks of life: like JF Kennedy, Marylin Monroe, Churchill, Kim Basinger, Castro, Melanie Griffith, all drawing on fat Cuban cigars.
I frequented Kennedy’s because David would be there behind the piano playing good old celebrated tunes. As tactfully as I was able to manage, I suggested to spend our evening over there. “I am sure David is doing his thing better than what we are forced to listen to in here!” Surprisingly there were no objections, considering the age difference between us all. We walked across and from the entrance one could hear David’s lovely finger work in the back room. We settled down at a big corner table on comfortable leather seating, ordered some champagne and of course us guys had to have a Cuban just to make a point. David was in form and the other patrons seemed to be enjoying his skill, evident from roaring applause.
During one of David’s breaks, his fingers I imagine are heavily insured by Lloyds: I became aware of a strikingly sculptured backside of a slim lady in a black mini skirt, black high heels and a white blouse with a shade darker faint oriental pattern. She was standing with her left leg resting on the stage chatting to David. I was simply enthralled by what my eyes were allowed to take in. One of my colleagues gave me a gentle clap on the back of my head saying, “Hey, no funny thoughts here!”
Next time I looked up she was gone. In a minor panic I looked around the room and spotted that white blouse at a table on the opposite side of the room - and looked straight into the piercing eyes of an elderly lady! Wonderingly I kept eye contact as long as possible but finally had to look away because my eyes started to burn and water.
Two music sets later I happened to come out of the gents and, as I was walking along the passage way towards the piano sound, she came towards me. I only recognized her by her stylish outfit since I had not seen her in frontal view. I froze in my tracks and stopped her in hers. Shy as I actually am, I heard myself say, “Hi, do you want a hug?”
She looked at me like she saw a ghost and mumbled, “What?”
“Do you want a hug?”
“What?”
I did not repeat myself, but opened my arms inviting a hug. So we hugged. The kind of shoulder hug strangers give one another which as far as I was concerned was simply not good enough. So I touched her tenderly by the shoulders, looked straight into her stunningly beautiful light blue eyes and said, “Mind me showing you what a hug is?”
“What?”
I did not repeat myself but gave her a gentle body hug. We let go of one another and walked away in our respective directions.
And having climbed out of life’s depths just recently, I felt different after that hug. I say people should hug more often, because hugging falls into the same category as breathing – the former done consciously, the later involuntarily, but both are as essential as a beating heart. Hugging makes one feel good, like smiling, merely due to the production of the ‘happy’ hormone, endorphin, in the brain. If people would simply walk around with a continuous smile on their faces they would feel better, would not worry about things not worth worrying about, would not worry because they are not smiling. Similarly a simple hug, a simple body contact, produces the same effect and it is just astonishing - it works
Anyway, there I was sitting with my colleagues again glowing like I had just been touched by an angel. But not knowing of course how the beauty in the black high heels felt or thought about that rather unconventional chat-up-line. I refused to stare in the direction where she sat. David was at his best and the general mood around me was vibrant. Once in a while I dared a look in the direction of her table but was greeted every time by those piercing eyes of the lady sitting opposite her, which I deducted were those of her mother.
The evening went on and like always came to end. David had long gone, but the beauty in the black high heels and the lady with the piercing eyes were still there. My colleagues and I were ready to call it a night when those black high heels carried that beautiful creature towards me and gave me a silent strong body hug – it will stay with me always.
Ten long years later on her death bed she whispered into my ear, “Please, my last wish. Once I am gone play our CD Pilgrim by Eric Clapton for 24 hours nonstop!”Then she closed her eyes ...

after
My beauty and wife finally let go at 3 pm on her 52 nd birthday.
And predictably as soon as I got home from the hospital where she had taken her final breath, I put Pilgrim into the player and hit the start button.
We were running a guest house then. The following day I expected guests to arrive - a couple from America - and Eric Clapton was still vibrating through the air. As a general rule check-in time is between 4 and 8 pm, and payment is cash on arrival for overseas guests, but these guests arrived at about 2 pm. After the exchange of money I saw the lady guest looking in the direction of the music and I made the big mistake at apologizing for the loudness; questioned, I was forced to tell them. Yes, he was American and his girlfriend or future-ex-wife was a petite Chinese lady. Condolences from both, followed by tears from her. I showed them their room, they settled in and I went back to my chair on the veranda, continuing to listen to our CD.
Before 3 pm he came to speak to me, saying in a sociable voice, “Sorry, but we are leaving!” and handed me the key to the room.
“Why? Has it anything to do with ...”
“No, not at all!” he said.
“But then why?”
He looked at me somewhat annoyed and said, “You would not want to know!”
People!!!
And I do not know to this day why they left!

escorial
June 25th, 2013, 08:09 PM
The hug seemed a very strange request, kinda through me as I read on.

Jolling Gypsy
June 26th, 2013, 08:44 AM
Why?

BryanJ62
July 21st, 2013, 05:29 PM
Interesting. Needs some editing and clarification in some areas but I was able to see it.

Jolling Gypsy
July 21st, 2013, 05:41 PM
Thanks , Bryan. It was my first kind of serious piece, over two years back, which surely could need some editing etc.

BryanJ62
July 21st, 2013, 06:51 PM
I'd like to see more. Keep 'em coming :)

Jolling Gypsy
July 21st, 2013, 10:37 PM
:smile: Would love to however was advised not to publish extensive stuff, and to split them into episodes just isn’t right! :beaten:

BryanJ62
July 21st, 2013, 11:52 PM
Well.....work around it and see it as a challenge. You might be surprised. Sometimes we have to tweak things that at first feel wrong but in the end they turn out as good or better.

Greimour
July 22nd, 2013, 03:58 AM
I didn't mind the hug, it didn't really throw me off point. I was actually surprised by it and smiled. Odd as it may sound to people, I really (honest to goodness) did that very thing with a girl in my youth. I didn't ask for the hug, I just walked up to her and hugged her, then walked away. I didn't know her, but I wanted a hug and she looked like the perfect candidate to give me one. We started dating a week later and the relationship lasted over a year.
- Point is, I could actually relate to the section on a hug.

What I couldn't wrap my end around was the ending.
- As a reader, if it was a true life situation, I would find the ending 'odd' but I would move on wondering why the American left, I would later discard most of the story and remember only that a hug can do wonders... As a fiction story though, I feel the ending is unfinished, like the author set me up for an interesting finalé - and then decided he couldn't think of one so just ended it abruptly.

Anyway, for the most part, I liked the read. I was able to get right to the end, which considering I was the reader, that's an achievement already.
If it was badly written I wouldn't have been able to finish.
Like Bryan said, it could use work. Tweaking and fleshing out mostly, but overall, as a first serious stab at writing - it's a definitely in the right direction.

is your first language Gaelic, or am I being too presumptuous? ^_^
:3stars:


~Kevin