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Lunching with Justin

 
 
aidan
 
Reply Wed 5 Dec, 2007 07:44 pm
Just some writing exercises- tenses, character sketches and dialogue writing:

How they met:

How could she have known, on that day that had dawned tired and gray (as if waning before it had even begun properly), that it would bring anything of any consequence to her life? That morning, as she had drunk her tea and eaten her toast, she had stared through the window, lost in thought and the loden sky- thinking only, 'what're the odds that it'll clear later on?' It had certainly never occurred to her that there'd be anything more significant for her to look forward to that evening than whether or not the next day's sky would dawn blue.

It happened like this. She'd been occupying her customary table, minding her own business and eating some soup, when a rather large woman entered the establishment and sat heavily in a chair at a table occupied by a pleasantly attractive younger-looking man and two small children.

'Get me a package of crisps and a cola,' the woman had ordered imperiously, at which point the man immediately jumped to his feet and hurried to the bar.

She'd been intrigued by the tableau unfolding before her, but before she could even begin to puzzle out the probable level of relationship between the four people at the table to her right, a voice over her left shoulder whispered cattily, 'So orders the cheeseburger queen of Basingstoke.'

She had turned, surprised and taken unawares by the voice, as well as startled by the cruelty, although also somewhat guiltily impressed by the accuracy of the observation.
For the first time she was aware of the neatly dressed, compactly -built man sitting at the table behind her.

'Can you fathom the pluck?' he had asked, nodding toward the woman. 'And the poor sod obeys. Must get something out of it I reckon- don't you?'

She had smiled and shrugged, answering simply, 'That's how it usually works.' Silence had ensued and she'd felt her face warm beneath his scrutiny.
To distract herself more than anything else, she had continued, 'Who can know- who's to say?'

'Yes, quite- who is to say?' he had answered. She noticed his eyes then, magnified myopically behind thick lenses and intensely blue.
He'd continued, 'I didn't mean to intrude- don't let me interrupt your lunch,' and had motioned toward the bowl that contained her rapidly cooling soup and her half-empty glass. 'It was all just so wretchedly fascinating; I couldn't leave it unremarked upon, but I'm sure you find my lack of manners appalling.'

'Not at all,' she'd aquiesced weakly, then noticing his satisfied smirk, couldn't resist adding, 'although, I do feel compelled to mention that I myself find it somewhat interesting that a man of your age and obvious breeding should find it necessary to call people names.'

His hand, which had been raising a glass of red wine toward his lips had hesitated only briefly before he had recovered his aplomb and raising one eyebrown and the glass in her direction, he had smiled and said, 'Cheers' as he rose to reseat himself in the empty chair beside her.
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contrex
 
  1  
Reply Thu 6 Dec, 2007 07:14 am
"Loden sky"? Dark green? Are you sure?

You should read "Mulligan Stew" by Gilbert Sorrentino.
0 Replies
 
aidan
 
  1  
Reply Thu 6 Dec, 2007 07:03 pm
See this is why I write on a2k- it's kind of like this enforced rewriting program. I just wrote a whole big thing - and lost it - so now I have to rewrite it.

Okay - Contrex - yes, loden, I'm pretty sure about it. I picture it as a flat, matte, kind of gray-greeny stony color - and I have seen the sky that color in various places I've lived either early in the morning, at twilight, or right before a thunderstorm. I also like the sound of it for a sky - kind of heavy-laden, it connotes denseness or oppressiveness to me at least. I did have a coat that was described as loden in the catalogue - and that was the color I had in mind, but maybe they were guilty of deceptive description and used the wrong term. Maybe I have no idea what color it really is - maybe I should have used a dictionary.

Do you really think reading Mulligan Stew would be productive or were you just being a smart ass? Laughing Either way - thanks for trying to help me (I'll just assume that was your intent).


LUNCHING WITH JUSTIN (cont) I'm changing point of view- narration here.

'I don't usually call people names,' the man had continued, sinking into the chair beside mine. 'You'll have to forgive me. The beef-witted girl at the bar seems to have mixed up my order, so I'm in a bit of a snit. I allow myself one glass of a good Merlot at lunchtime, and this is definitely not that,' he said, glancing sourly at the glass.

'Beef-witted, huh?' I asked. I hated myself for smiling and ducked my head, ostensibly to eat my soup, in an effort to hide my amusement. When I felt his gaze resting on the top of my bent head, I lifted my eyes to meet his. 'You certainly have a way with words-very descriptive. But how do you know that this mix-up is not an isolated event and thus not an accurate description of the state of her wits?'
'The same way I know that our friend at the next table enjoys cheeseburgers,' he'd answered simply.
'Well, everyone enjoys something. It seems you enjoy wine,' I'd offered lamely.
'Yes, I do. And you? What do you enjoy?' he'd asked.
I'd hesitated a moment before answering truthfully, 'I enjoy soup. And this is quite good,' I said, motioning toward my bowl with my spoon. 'Have you eaten? You should try some.'
'No, thank you, but if you'll excuse me for a moment, I will attempt, yet again, to obtain my own preferred form of liquid lunch. Back in a tic- don't go anywhere,' he'd called over his shoulder as he sprinted jauntily toward the bar.
My soup had been eaten and my glass emptied, and I wanted nothing more than to be able to disobey him, but I was unable to leave. I hadn't learned his name, and I found myself extremely curious to know what a man such as this might possibly be named. So I'd waited obediently at the table until he returned.
'Well, it's certainly been interesting-but I realize I don't know your name and I find myself curious. May I ask what it is?'
'Hmmm, honesty- what a novel approach. Of course you may ask, and I'd be more than pleased to tell you. My name is Justin- and yours?' he'd asked extending his hand to me.
I shook the hand he offered as I told him my name.
'Ah, a Jewess,' he'd half sighed, half whispered, almost sibilantly and in such a way that I couldn't tell whether he found the idea of that appealing or repugnant.
Either way, I decided not to enlighten him. I gathered my bag and left.
0 Replies
 
justanothermonkey
 
  1  
Reply Thu 6 Dec, 2007 07:15 pm
I LIKE PIE
I like pie! Really, I'm not kidding!!
0 Replies
 
contrex
 
  1  
Reply Fri 7 Dec, 2007 01:00 am
aidan wrote:
Do you really think reading Mulligan Stew would be productive or were you just being a smart ass? Laughing Either way - thanks for trying to help me (I'll just assume that was your intent).
[/quote]

It's just that your writing style really reminds me of some of the parodies in the Sorrentino book. I'm being serious, not (I hope) a "smartass". I believe the technical term is "overwritten".
0 Replies
 
aidan
 
  1  
Reply Fri 7 Dec, 2007 04:37 am
Thanks - that actually is helpful- as that was the intent (especially having to do with the formality of the dialogue of the speech of the characters in this piece). And since there's very little description of any other sort (setting or character) I assume that's what you're referring to - so I'm achieiving my goal- hurray!

Don't feel obliged to read if you don't enjoy it and it's not your thing.
I'm having fun writing this- it brings back very pleasant memories for me - and that's mainly what it's turning into for me (I miss my friend- and he HAS given me permission to use our conversations as fodder- and his personality for inspiration- so I don't have to feel guilty about it).
And as the assignment is for dialogue driven pieces - what I have fun doing and the assignment actually fit for once.
(By the way - he loves it - commented on the accuracy of my ear and everything - and he's a published writer himself , so - who can say?)


But again, thanks for reading.
0 Replies
 
Endymion
 
  1  
Reply Wed 12 Dec, 2007 03:41 am
hope you carry on with this, Rebecca
i'll have a read over christmas
0 Replies
 
aidan
 
  1  
Reply Mon 17 Dec, 2007 07:47 pm
As always, thank you Endy...

(cont.)

The next day, I briefly thought about going somewhere else for lunch; I'm not exactly sure why. But just as I was about to step past the door, and continue down the street, inexplicably my hand reached out, seemingly of its own accord, and grasped the handle. I entered and went directly to the bar to order my food.

As I sat at my customary table to await my order, I heard the now familiar voice behind me say, "Ah, it's the skeptical Jewess. We have to stop meeting like this..."
I looked at him skeptically, "Who's meeting? I've been eating lunch here every day for three months."
"And I've only just discovered this fine establishment...your good fortune, eh?"
I smiled. "I guess that's yet to be determined. But one thing's for sure-you certainly don't lack for self-confidence," I told him.
"No, that's never been an issue for me- how about you?"
"What, now we're on to the subject of my self-confidence? I fail to see how that would be any of your concern."
"Oh, I'm sorry. It seems I've hit a nerve. Let's change the subject...what do you do for a living? Do you work?"
"Yes, I do. I teach. How about you? Do you work?"
"After a fashion. As a matter of fact I'm a teacher as well; I give violin lessons. I'll be off directly to spend an hour with one of the less obnoxious of the precocious brats I work with."
"How lucky for him- I mean that you seem to like him. I can't imagine spending an hour with you if I were someone you didn't like."
"Well, what's not to like about this boy? He already reads music, his favorite musicians are Mozart and Bono-imagine the two of them living side by side in a seven year old brain?" He shook his head admiringly.
" I have to admit I find him somewhat inspiring, in that he reminds me of myself at that age. I only wish I could fast-forward him past the inevitable bullying he's sure to encounter."
"Bullying? Why is he sure to encounter bullying?" I asked genuinely puzzled.
"Because he's male and he's chosen to play the violin. He'll be forever defending his masculinity to his peers." He smiled thinly, before adding,
"From the time I was ten years old, everytime I walked into the schoolyard with my violin case, it was as if I was wearing a sign on my forehead that read, 'Homosexual.'"
I was silent. I hadn't known what to say.
"You're surprised?" he asked, not meeting my eyes.
"Well, yes...it would never occur to me to assign sexual preference to someone based on the instrument they chose to play."
"Yes, well, actually it is all about 'what instrument one chooses to play', isn't it now?" he asked smiling.
"You know what I mean" I said, shaking my head in exasperation. "I meant, what MUSICAL instrument one chooses to play." Again, I couldn't keep from smiling.
He returned my smile. "Girls are different from boys in that regard, as well as in many others, although they do make such assumptions based on somewhat different perceptual input."
"Well, yes...I guess we do," I stuttered, unsure of what direction the conversation might take.
"Do you think I'm gay?" he asked me point blank.
"I honestly hadn't thought about it," I answered simply. I added, "Truthfully, I was much more interested in what had contributed to the harsh and cynical view you seem to adopt toward what seems to be the majority of the people you encounter."
"And just as the level of your self-confidence is none of my concern,that, I'm afraid, is not any of YOUR concern," he answered bluntly.

Just as the ensuing silence began to grow oppressive, he asked, "Where and what do you teach?"
I motioned with my hand as I answered, "Across the street. I teach adult literacy and numeracy."
"In the prison?" he asked. I could hear the surprise in his voice. Before I could respond to his question, he continued, "How courageous and virtuous of you. Again, I'm inspired- a real, live Sister Redempta in our midst."
"Sister Redempta- that's a good one, and so original. No Mother Theresa for you, Justin...but wait, I thought you said I was Jewish," I challenged him.
"No, I'd adjusted that misconception some time ago. You were named after another literary character...the one that resides at Sunnybrook Farm. Yes, that makes much more sense."
"Actually I was named for my great-grandmother," I corrected him.
"Well whatever- the fact remains, you're not Jewish are you? And just in case you're interested, I'm not gay."
As I nodded, he emptied his glass and rose from the table.
"Well, I'm off to make music, and I'm sure your lunch hour is nearly over. Tomorrow? Same place, same time?" he asked raising an eyebrow, and without waiting for an answer, strode across the floor and through the door.
0 Replies
 
Asherman
 
  1  
Reply Tue 18 Dec, 2007 10:48 am
I like this beginning, and want to know where the story goes. I've edited the material to correct the point-of-view and cropped most of the past-tense "had" words. I think that tightened the story and better focuses the reader's attention on what promises to develop into an interesting relationship. Here is the result of my edits, I hope that you approve and aren't offended by my efforts. BTW, I hope you'll contribute to the Prose Challenge Thread.

** Luncheon With Justin **

How could I have known, on that day that dawned tired and gray (as if waning before it even began properly), that it would bring anything of consequence into my life? That morning, as I drank my tea and ate my toast, I stared through the window, lost in thought and the loden sky- thinking only, 'what're the odds that it'll clear later on?' It certainly never occurred to me that there'd be anything more significant to look forward to that evening beyond whether or not the next day's sky would dawn blue.

It happened like this. I was my customary table, minding my own business and eating some soup, when a rather large woman entered the establishment and sat heavily in a chair at a table occupied by a pleasantly attractive younger-looking man and two small children.

'Get me a package of crisps and a cola,' the woman ordered imperiously, at which point the man immediately jumped to his feet and hurried to the bar.

I was intrigued by the tableau unfolding before me, but before I could begin puzzling out the relationship of the four people at the table to my right, a voice over my left shoulder whispered cattily, 'So orders the cheeseburger queen of Basingstoke.'

I turned, surprised and taken unawares by the voice, as well as startled by the cruelty, although I was also somewhat guiltily impressed by the accuracy of the observation.
For the first time I was aware of the neatly dressed, compactly -built man sitting at the table behind me.

'Can you fathom the pluck?' he asked, nodding toward the woman. 'And the poor sod obeys. Must get something out of it I reckon- don't you?'

I smiled and shrugged, answering simply, 'That's how it usually works.' Silence ensued and I felt my face warm beneath his scrutiny. To distract myself more than anything else, I continued, 'Who can know- who's to say?'

'Yes, quite- who is to say?' he answered. I noticed his eyes then, magnified myopically behind thick lenses and intensely blue. He'd continued, 'I didn't mean to intrude- don't let me interrupt your lunch,' and motioned toward the bowl that contained my rapidly cooling soup and half-empty glass. 'It was all just so wretchedly fascinating; I couldn't leave it unremarked upon, but I'm sure you find my lack of manners appalling.'

'Not at all,' I acquiesced weakly, then noticing his satisfied smirk, couldn't resist adding, 'although, I do feel compelled to mention that I myself find it somewhat interesting that a man of your age and obvious breeding should find it necessary to call people names.'

His hand, which had been raising a glass of red wine toward his lips hesitated only briefly before he recovered his aplomb, and raising one brown eye and the glass in my direction, smiled and said, 'Cheers' as he rose to reseat himself in the empty chair beside me.

'I don't usually call people names,' the man continued, sinking into the chair beside mine. 'You'll have to forgive me. The beef-witted girl at the bar seems to have mixed up my order, so I'm in a bit of a snit. I allow myself aglass of good Merlot at lunchtime, and this is definitely not that,' he said, glancing sourly at the glass.

'Beef-witted, huh?' I asked. I hated myself for smiling and ducked my head, ostensibly to eat my soup, in an effort to hide my amusement. When I felt his gaze resting on the top of my bent head, I lifted my eyes to meet his. 'You certainly have a way with words-very descriptive. But how do you know that this mix-up is not an isolated event and thus not an accurate description of the state of her wits?'

'The same way I know that our friend at the next table enjoys cheeseburgers,' he answered simply.

'Well, everyone enjoys something. It seems you enjoy wine,' I offered lamely.
'Yes, I do. And you? What do you enjoy?' he'd asked.

I hesitated a moment before answering truthfully, 'I enjoy soup. And this is quite good,' I said, motioning toward my bowl with my spoon. 'Have you eaten? You should try some.'

'No, thank you, but if you'll excuse me for a moment, I will attempt, yet again, to obtain my own preferred form of liquid lunch. Back in a tic- don't go anywhere,' he called over his shoulder as he sprinted jauntily toward the bar.

My soup had been eaten and my glass emptied, and I wanted nothing more than to be able to disobey him, but I was unable to leave. I hadn't learned his name, and I found myself extremely curious to know what a man such as this might possibly be named. So I'd waited obediently at the table until he returned.

'Well, it's certainly been interesting-but I realize I don't know your name and I find myself curious. May I ask what it is?'

'Hmmm, honesty - what a novel approach; of course you may ask, and I'd be more than pleased to tell you. My name is Justin- and yours?' he asked extending his hand to me.
I shook the hand he offered as I told him my name. "Rebbeca".

'Ah, a Jewess,' he half sighed, half whispered, almost sibilantly and in such a way that I couldn't tell whether he found the idea of that appealing or repugnant. Either way, I decided not to enlighten him. I gathered my bag and left.

The next day, I briefly thought about going somewhere else for lunch; I'm not exactly sure why. But just as I was about to step past the door, and continue down the street, inexplicably my hand reached out, seemingly of its own accord, and grasped the handle. I entered and went directly to the bar to order my food.

As I sat at my customary table to await my order, I heard the now familiar voice behind me say, "Ah, it's the skeptical Jewess. We have to stop meeting like this..." I looked at him skeptically, "Who's meeting? I've been eating lunch here every day for three months."

"And I've only just discovered this fine establishment...your good fortune, eh?"

I smiled. "I guess that's yet to be determined. But one thing's for sure-you certainly don't lack for self-confidence," I told him.

"No, that's never been an issue for me- how about you?"

"What, now we're on to the subject of my self-confidence? I fail to see how that would be any of your concern."

"Oh, I'm sorry. It seems I've hit a nerve. Let's change the subject...what do you do for a living? Do you work?"

"Yes, I do. I teach. How about you? Do you work?"

"After a fashion. As a matter of fact, I'm a teacher as well; I give violin lessons. I'll be off directly to spend an hour with one of the less obnoxious of the precocious brats I work with."

"How lucky for him- I mean that you seem to like him. I can't imagine spending an hour with you if I were someone you didn't like."

"Well, what's not to like about this boy? He already reads music, his favorite musicians are Mozart and Bono-imagine the two of them living side by side in a seven year old brain?" He shook his head admiringly.

" I have to admit I find him somewhat inspiring, he reminds me of myself at that age. I only wish I could fast-forward him past the inevitable bullying he's sure to encounter."

"Bullying? Why is he sure to encounter bullying?" I asked genuinely puzzled.
"Because he's male and he's chosen to play the violin. He'll be forever defending his masculinity to his peers." He smiled thinly, before adding,

"From the time I was ten years old, every time I walked into the schoolyard with my violin case, it was as if I was wearing a sign on my forehead that read, 'Homosexual.'"
I was silent. I didn't know what to say.

"You're surprised?" he asked, not meeting my eyes.

"Well, yes...it would never occur to me to assign sexual preference to someone based on the instrument they chose to play."

"Yes, well, actually it is all about 'what instrument one chooses to play', isn't it now?" he asked smiling.

"You know what I mean," I said, shaking my head in exasperation. "I meant, what MUSICAL instrument one chooses to play." Again, I couldn't keep from smiling.
He returned my smile. "Girls are different from boys in that regard, as well as in many others, although they do make such assumptions based on somewhat different perceptual input."

"Well, yes...I guess we do," I stuttered, unsure of what direction the conversation might take.

"Do you think I'm gay?" he asked me point blank.

"I honestly hadn't thought about it," I answered simply. I added, "Truthfully, I was much more interested in what had contributed to the harsh and cynical view you seem to adopt toward what seems to be the majority of the people you encounter."

"And just as the level of your self-confidence is none of my concern, that, I'm afraid, is not any of YOUR concern," he answered bluntly.

Just as the ensuing silence began to grow oppressive, he asked, "Where and what do you teach?"

I motioned with my hand as I answered, "Across the street. I teach adult literacy and numeracy."

"In the prison?" he asked. I could hear the surprise in his voice. Before I could respond to his question, he continued, "How courageous and virtuous of you. Again, I'm inspired- a real, live Sister Redempta in our midst."

"Sister Redempta- that's a good one, and so original. No Mother Theresa for you, Justin...but wait, I thought you said I was Jewish," I challenged him.

"No, I'd adjusted that misconception some time ago. You were named after another literary character...the one that resides at Sunnybrook Farm. Yes, that makes much more sense."

"Actually I was named for my great-grandmother," I corrected him.

"Well whatever- the fact remains, you're not Jewish are you? And just in case you're interested, I'm not gay."

As I nodded, he emptied his glass and rose from the table. "Well, I'm off to make music, and I'm sure your lunch hour is nearly over. Tomorrow? Same place, same time?" he asked raising an eyebrow, and without waiting for an answer, strode across the floor and through the door.
0 Replies
 
aidan
 
  1  
Reply Tue 18 Dec, 2007 04:43 pm
Thank you Asherman- how kind of you! I'd started this thing as an assignment for an informal writing group and gist of it was to tell the same story from different points of view and using different tenses.

I had so much fun writing the assignment part though (laughing at memories) that I decided to keep going with it. I had planned to continue in first person/ present tense as you edited it.

I saw your prose writing thread. I would like to contribute something - but it takes me so long to come up with a plot. I have a story I wrote and posted here some some months ago, but I'm sure it's over the word limit. That tendency (wordiness)- in addition to plotting- are what I know to be my areas of weakness.

But I'll think of something- though it won't be until after Christmas. I have to leave this weekend to help my parents move out of my childhood home (now there's a story- they moved into that house when I was three years old, ...but anyway, they've sold it to downsize and the new owners (a young couple) are having them move two days before Christmas- can you imagine?!)
And then on Christmas eve, my daughter and I are off to England until New Year's.

But I thank you for your edit, kind words, and invitation to participate.
Hope you are enjoying the season - Rebecca
0 Replies
 
Endymion
 
  1  
Reply Wed 2 Jan, 2008 12:21 pm
Rebecca


Like Asherman, I want to know what comes next.
I like the way you end the second part - following those last few words with silence as you watch the man walk out.
It's reflective.

Hope you had a good holiday
Peace
E
0 Replies
 
aidan
 
  1  
Reply Thu 3 Jan, 2008 05:34 am
Hey Endy- happy new year to you too. I do have some ideas for carrying this forward- and hopefully things will coalesce so I can actually get them written down.

I did have a lovely holiday. I spent two days in London and the rest traveling around Wiltshire, Berkshire, Hampshire, and environs. I saw alot of places I'd wanted to see but hadn't had the time to get to when I lived there. I also revisited Somerset. It was lovely-even in the winter grayness - maybe even moreso- because everywhere I went it was quiet and pretty deserted. That desolate, solitary sense is what I particularly like about my walks in the UK.

It was also nice to have a native Londoner, and a historian no less, as our tour guide. We walked all over London, visited Oxford where we ate at the Eagle and Child (where Tolkein and C.S. Lewis used to hang out) and Winchester, Avebury, took a longboat down a canal...and I came away feeling more than ever that England is the most fascinating country in the world (at least to me). How lucky you are to live there...

Happiness and peace to you in the new year Endy - Rebecca
0 Replies
 
Endymion
 
  1  
Reply Fri 4 Jan, 2008 03:56 pm
Ahhh, but did you get to eat hot chestnuts at night, while crossing the Thames to St Paul's?

By Dickens, this time of year, it has to be done :wink:

Please continue - i'll be reading

Happiness and Peace to you too, Rebecca
0 Replies
 
aidan
 
  1  
Reply Sat 5 Jan, 2008 05:40 pm
Endy said:
Quote:
Ahhh, but did you get to eat hot chestnuts at night, while crossing the Thames to St Paul's?

By Dickens, this time of year, it has to be done


Nope, didn't do that, but I did see the Lamb and Flag where Dryden almost got killed in a fight and I was told that I saw Eric Clapton's little secret mews hideaway in London...I say I was told that I was because I can never tell if I'm having my leg pulled or not by the particular individual who told me that this very nondescript little house was Eric Clapton's...do you know if he has a place in London? I'm sure he does somewhere, but let's just say I'm not convinced that I wasn't being told that this particular one was it for the entertainment value of my gullible exciteability over the fact that I was actually seeing it and standing on his doorstep.

Anyway - procrastinating still- but this will be it. I wanted to share with you what was my favorite day of my holiday- Oxford and the Huckleberries:
http://i85.photobucket.com/albums/k46/aidan_010/huckleberries.jpg
I know you like Celtic music, as do I. These guys were great- really skilled and energetic. The little guy on the electric fiddle was amazing. If you ever get the chance, you should go to one of their gigs and check them out live.


Lunching with Justin (cont.)

I arrived late to lunch the next day. Justin was sitting at what I considered to be my regular table. His customary glass of red wine raised halfway to his lips, he nodded at the empty chair and cup of steaming tea across from him. "I took the liberty of ordering your tea- I 'm glad you arrived before it'd gone cold. I was beginning to wonder..." He pushed the sweetner and pitcher of milk across the table to me.
"Busy day at work," I explained as I sat, gratefully warming my hands on the teacup. "I got a new student today...he's.."
"Yes, yes, I'm sure he's very interesting, but I was thinking about our conversation yesterday and there's something I'd like to ask you before I forget."
"Oh, okay." I mentally prepared myself as I sipped my tea.
"I was wondering if you play an instrument, and if you do, which one it might be."
I smiled. "I play the piano." I put the cup down in the saucer and looked him straight in the eyes. "Does that mean I'm gay?"
I watched his face closely, half expecting a frown or some other sign of irritation. Instead he smiled broadly back at me.
"Hmm...let me think about this...female....piano....no, no, you're definitely hetero..."
"Whew, that's a relief...I mean, it's what I've always thought about myself, but if you say it's so, then I know it must be true." He smiled again and I finished my tea.

As we were rising from our chairs to prepare to leave, an imposing dark-haired bearded man approached the table and introduced himself as Nicholas _______. Justin shook his hand annd when the man turned to nod at me, I offered him mine. He smiled charmingly as he told me gently, in heavily accented English, "In my country, men do not grasp the hand of a married woman."
I stood silent, gathering my wits to respond, but before I could speak, Justin interceded explaining, "We're not married. Alas, she can only wish that were so...."
I turned to look at him in utter amazement as he continued, "This is my sister, Redempta....I mean Rebecca."
I shook with silent but barely concealed laughter as the man looked earnestly into my eyes and said , "I could not help but notice that you used sweetner in your tea. You would do well to use honey, pure honey, nothing artificial. It will aid your digestion. Also, every morning a small breakfast of yogurt and handful of almonds- you will notice improvement almost immediately in condition of hair and skin."
Grinning widely and by now inwardly quaking with laughter and unable to speak, I simply nodded. He turned back to Justin who said, "Thanks mate...I've been trying to help her with that for years."

As Nicholas left, I turned back to Justin. He simply looked at me, eyes widely innocent and asked, "What do you think that was about?"
"What, his behavior or yours?" I asked.
"Well, I know what my behavior was about- just a bit of fun," he answered. "But our friend Nicholas, he was quite an imposing and impressive bloke, don't you think? What do you think he does for a living?"
"I don't know..maybe some kind of business man. He appeared fairly prosperous."
"I was ready to say that I thought he might be some sort of an academic...almost but not quite. He just didn't seem quite switched on enough..."he trailed off, clearly musing the puzzle over in his head.
"Speaking of being switched on...and back to my new student...
He's a delightful young man, but very educationally needy. He's from a traveling family and has never been able to attend school. He doesn't know his alphabet or even how to tell time. I simply won't be able to devote the one to one time he will need in order for him to progress," I stopped speaking as I noticed him looking at me skeptically.
I dipped my head as I continued, "I was thinking...someone as literate and articulate as you are, and a teacher to boot could really make a difference to him as a volunteer tutor in my classroom. Is that something you might consider doing one or two mornings a week?"

He snorted. "I can't think of anything I'd find more tedious. And besides, it sounds entirely too charitable...what would be in it for me?"
I smiled, "Well, you'd have three hours at a time and an audience in front of which you could ridicule me mercilessly on a daily basis." I waited hopefully.
Finally he said, "Well, you do know how to tempt a fellow...I'll let you know tomorrow."
0 Replies
 
aidan
 
  1  
Reply Sat 5 Jan, 2008 05:40 pm
Endy said:
Quote:
Ahhh, but did you get to eat hot chestnuts at night, while crossing the Thames to St Paul's?

By Dickens, this time of year, it has to be done


Nope, didn't do that, but I did see the Lamb and Flag where Dryden almost got killed in a fight and I was told that I saw Eric Clapton's little secret mews hideaway in London...I say I was told that I was because I can never tell if I'm having my leg pulled or not by the particular individual who told me that this very nondescript little house was Eric Clapton's...do you know if he has a place in London? I'm sure he does somewhere, but let's just say I'm not convinced that I wasn't being told that this particular one was it for the entertainment value of my gullible exciteability over the fact that I was actually seeing it and standing on his doorstep.

Anyway - procrastinating still- but this will be it. I wanted to share with you what was my favorite day of my holiday- Oxford and the Huckleberries:
http://i85.photobucket.com/albums/k46/aidan_010/huckleberries.jpg
I know you like Celtic music, as do I. These guys were great- really skilled and energetic. The little guy on the electric fiddle was amazing. If you ever get the chance, you should go to one of their gigs and check them out live.


Lunching with Justin (cont.)

I arrived late to lunch the next day. Justin was sitting at what I considered to be my regular table. His customary glass of red wine raised halfway to his lips, he nodded at the empty chair and cup of steaming tea across from him. "I took the liberty of ordering your tea- I 'm glad you arrived before it'd gone cold. I was beginning to wonder..." He pushed the sweetner and pitcher of milk across the table to me.
"Busy day at work," I explained as I sat, gratefully warming my hands on the teacup. "I got a new student today...he's.."
"Yes, yes, I'm sure he's very interesting, but I was thinking about our conversation yesterday and there's something I'd like to ask you before I forget."
"Oh, okay." I mentally prepared myself as I sipped my tea.
"I was wondering if you play an instrument, and if you do, which one it might be."
I smiled. "I play the piano." I put the cup down in the saucer and looked him straight in the eyes. "Does that mean I'm gay?"
I watched his face closely, half expecting a frown or some other sign of irritation. Instead he smiled broadly back at me.
"Hmm...let me think about this...female....piano....no, no, you're definitely hetero..."
"Whew, that's a relief...I mean, it's what I've always thought about myself, but if you say it's so, then I know it must be true." He smiled again and I finished my tea.

As we were rising from our chairs to prepare to leave, an imposing dark-haired bearded man approached the table and introduced himself as Nicholas _______. Justin shook his hand annd when the man turned to nod at me, I offered him mine. He smiled charmingly as he told me gently, in heavily accented English, "In my country, men do not grasp the hand of a married woman."
I stood silent, gathering my wits to respond, but before I could speak, Justin interceded explaining, "We're not married. Alas, she can only wish that were so...."
I turned to look at him in utter amazement as he continued, "This is my sister, Redempta....I mean Rebecca."
I shook with silent but barely concealed laughter as the man looked earnestly into my eyes and said , "I could not help but notice that you used sweetner in your tea. You would do well to use honey, pure honey, nothing artificial. It will aid your digestion. Also, every morning a small breakfast of yogurt and handful of almonds- you will notice improvement almost immediately in condition of hair and skin."
Grinning widely and by now inwardly quaking with laughter and unable to speak, I simply nodded. He turned back to Justin who said, "Thanks mate...I've been trying to help her with that for years."

As Nicholas left, I turned back to Justin. He simply looked at me, eyes widely innocent and asked, "What do you think that was about?"
"What, his behavior or yours?" I asked.
"Well, I know what my behavior was about- just a bit of fun," he answered. "But our friend Nicholas, he was quite an imposing and impressive bloke, don't you think? What do you think he does for a living?"
"I don't know..maybe some kind of business man. He appeared fairly prosperous."
"I was ready to say that I thought he might be some sort of an academic...almost but not quite. He just didn't seem quite switched on enough..."he trailed off, clearly musing the puzzle over in his head.
"Speaking of being switched on...and back to my new student...
He's a delightful young man, but very educationally needy. He's from a traveling family and has never been able to attend school. He doesn't know his alphabet or even how to tell time. I simply won't be able to devote the one to one time he will need in order for him to progress," I stopped speaking as I noticed him looking at me skeptically.
I dipped my head as I continued, "I was thinking...someone as literate and articulate as you are, and a teacher to boot could really make a difference to him as a volunteer tutor in my classroom. Is that something you might consider doing one or two mornings a week?"

He snorted. "I can't think of anything I'd find more tedious. And besides, it sounds entirely too charitable...what would be in it for me?"
I smiled, "Well, you'd have three hours at a time and an audience in front of which you could ridicule me mercilessly on a daily basis." I waited hopefully.
Finally he said, "Well, you do know how to tempt a fellow...I'll let you know tomorrow."
0 Replies
 
SULLYFISH66
 
  1  
Reply Sat 5 Jan, 2008 07:32 pm
I really like your work, and liked it even more after it was edited by Asherman. Can you see how he tightened up the dialogue and sentence structure?
Laughing
Please continue . . .
0 Replies
 
Endymion
 
  1  
Reply Sun 6 Jan, 2008 01:23 pm
Hi Rebecca

I like the banjo (tried playing one once but no good - after the bass, it was like strumming cheese wire). I like the sound though - a kind of semi-percussion instrument. I don't know too much about Clapton - but i heard a rumour at a festival once, that he fell asleep during his performance. Apparently the crowd didn't give him any trouble for it... just waited quiet until he woke up again a few minutes later. Now that's something special - even if it was just a rumour! He's a great guitarist. I like his song Let It Rain -
I'm glad you've posted more here. I'm interested in the kind of work (teaching) that you have so much experience in. i feel privileged to be reading along.

Thanks for the tip on the band, btw

Peace, Endy
0 Replies
 
aidan
 
  1  
Reply Sun 6 Jan, 2008 05:18 pm
thanks Sullyfish.

Endy- You should listen to Layla (by Derek and the Dominos). I tried to find a youtube video that did it justice, but all of them are later versions- and don't do the orignal justice (in my opinion).

I can believe that Eric Clapton fell asleep on stage. He had a long bout with alcoholism and drugs. It's interesting - I like his old stuff (when he was struggling) so much better than his new stuff (since he's been clean)
But I heard an interview he did with Bob Harris the other night when I was in England - and he said just the opposite - he likes his newer stuff better - probably reminds him of happier times.

Anyway - download Layla and listen to it- then you'll hear why people were willing to watch him sleep until he woke up just to have the chance to hear him play.

Thanks for reading my story - I'll talk to you about teaching anytime Laughing - it is a passion of mine for sure.
Speaking of passions - I wanted to tell you that the piece you did on Death Diary (about London) was inspiring. I didn't comment - because Ms. Olga said exactly what I would have said - so all I could have said was "ditto" but I did think to myself- "He's a REAL writer now - and I can say I knew him when.... Laughing
You really are you know....
Have a good night-Rebecca
0 Replies
 
Endymion
 
  1  
Reply Tue 8 Jan, 2008 09:44 pm
Hi Rebecca - I'll have the whole album by the weekend (ordering it)

Although i have heard something by Derek and the Dominoes somewhere before - sometime. Can't remember -

: )


Hey - my writing? I feel like i want to experiment more with it..
i don't know what i mean exactly - but i'm working at it.
So if it all seems weird and crappy tomorrow, don't be surprised.

Like i said to Olga 7 months ago, I feel like there is something I need to write - but whatever i come up with - that's not it.
At the moment I have about 20 pages of beginnings of things that i've gone so far with and then thought no - that's ****.
At the moment, i'm looking at HOW i write something...

I may have to re-write the London piece - not instead of but as well as...

Hmmmm......

Anyway, back to YOUR writing Laughing

Please Continue
0 Replies
 
aidan
 
  1  
Reply Sun 13 Jan, 2008 06:53 pm
Lunching with Justin (cont.)

The next day, I entered the pub intent on apologizing for my forwardness the day before. The preceding evening, after doing some thinking, I'd realized what a spot I had placed him in. I barely knew him, he barely knew me, and I'd asked him to commit to doing something that perhaps he had no interest, inclination or preparation to do.

"I'm sorry for...." I began. He interrupted me- "Don't start groveling before you've had your tea," he said nodding at the table in front of the empty chair across from him. There again was a steaming cup of tea, along with a small pitcher of honey beside the sugar bowl and sweetner packets in a ceramic container. I smiled as I pushed the honey aside and emptied two packets of Splenda into my tea.

"Uh-uh-uh," Justin shook his index finger at me. "Remember...condition of skin and hair."
"I only like honey on biscuits," I informed him. I saw the confusion on his face, and continued, "American biscuits - bread- not cookies."
He simply nodded.

I sipped my tea.
"Anyway, what I wanted to say was that I'm sorry for putting you on the spot like that. I don't know what got into me...I was just feeling sort of desperate for some help. I felt ineffective yesterday- I just wasn't able to meet his needs..." I finished weakly.

He looked at me in amazement. "Do you really consider that to be your role? To meet his every need? Blimey, I'm glad I'm not a woman...I'm under no illusion that that's what I need to do for anyone."
He took a sip of his wine. Looking over the rim of his glass at me, he continued, "I hope you realize that the majority of those men over there are looking for nothing so much as a teat at which to suckle. They don't want a teacher so much as they want a mother."

I was taken aback. "And you know this because...?" I asked.

"Because I'm a man," he answered.

"And is that all that you'd deem a woman suitable for?" I asked.
For the first time since I'd met him he seemed at a loss for words. I continued, "If so, I'd be surprised. In fact, I'd have pegged you for someone, who even as a baby, had rejected the breast," I said smiling to dispel any possible sting in my words and the awkward silence.

"Although I cannot be sure, as this subject would not have been deemed appropriate for me to broach with my mother, I'd be willing to bet that her breast was never offered me," he said, smiling thinly.
It was my turn to be at a loss for words.
He noticed my discomfort and continued, "I was raised by a nanny. Breastfeeding was not deemed socially acceptable in either the era or social circle in which I was reared."
I nodded. "Is your mother still alive?" I asked, genuinely curious. I found myself wishing I could meet the woman who had produced this person.
"No, she died twenty years ago," he said as casually as if he'd been reporting the weather.
"Do you miss her?" I asked. He tilted his head and looked directly at me.

"My, aren't we full of questions? But okay, I'll play along....No- not really. She was nothing if not demanding and imperious. She treated me as if I were some alien she had spawned for whom she had neither understanding or affection. To be honest, I felt more of a sense of loss when my labrador died than I did when my mother died. She was more interested in her garden and Peruvian prayer beads than she was in me, and she always made sure that I was aware of that. Her death was a relief to me."

I sighed. "Well, I guess that worked out okay for both of you then," I said smiling hesitantly. I immediately regretted it, fearing he'd find my comment cruelly flippant. I hadn't meant it that way.
But as soon as he spoke, I realized he'd understood.
"You are absolutely precious," he said smiling. "You really do just want everyone to be alright, don't you?"
I knew he was being condescending, but I couldn't deny it.
"Nevermind-let's take a walk," he said grasping my elbow, and helping me rise from the chair. "I need a cigarette."
0 Replies
 
 

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