There's a new face in Zac's (new to me anyway). He's of slight build, wearing a red coat, and with alcohol on his breath. He sits at a table and his eyes are focused somewhere way beyond the confines of the room. I guess that he has stumbled across the place and is grateful for somewhere warm indoors to spend an evening; I think he will be asleep before long.
We're continuing in the run-up to Christmas with a look at Mary. I'd told Sean I had written a 'Mary monologue' and he'd asks me to read it. Before that we look at the places in the Bible that Mary gets a mention. A very world-wise view is expressed of how it would have been for both Mary and Joseph: a pregnant unmarried girl and the man who has to decide whether to take her on or cast her off.
Redcoat isn't asleep but is following intently. He has always felt that Joseph is undervalued. Several times he interrupts and in a rambling, drawn-out fashion - the pauses typical, I think, of a drunk getting his thoughts together - makes this point. Given the chance, I would exchange knowing smiles with someone. If I had been in charge I would have been tempted to step in, in one of the pauses, and carry on with what I was saying, hoping he would get the message, but Sean waits patiently until he is sure he has finished. Others speak up and acknowledge the truth of what he is saying, giving him respect. Then Sean asks me to read.
As Lily says afterwards, 'You could have heard a pin drop,' while I read.
In my superior writer way I think I know who will appreciate my writing; who will 'get' it. I am so wrong. There is a buzz of acknowledgement when I finish; I am stunned.
Then Blossom reads aloud Joseph's monologue. I can hear his voice tremble as he reaches the end; a phrase has struck home with him.
At the end of the bible study the first person to come and speak to me is Redcoat. 'That was incredible,' he says. I am humbled.
Yes, the people I think will get it do; but there is so much more than that. Others speak to me, those with whom I have exchanged no more than a nod and smile. Tonight I feel totally accepted.
The gift of writing is a fabulous God-given one. I have approached publishers with my monologues but 'no-one reads monologues these days.' They're obviously intended for a smaller, more specialised audience.
P.S. I say, 'smaller'. That word seems somehow out of place in the same post as one that mentions Blossom. He is larger than life, in so many ways.