Love Story – (fiction inspired by the man of many talents and other buskers)

The normally noisy chatter in the pub died as the didgeridoo’s deep drone rolled through the air and vibrated up through the floor. The two men on stage were oblivious to the crowd as they lost themselves in the dreamtime. Their two-year dream had come to fruition. They were used to playing in Australian hotels but with such a different audience to this genteel, respectful crowd gathered around them now. They had been lucky to get this gig so close to the Sidmouth music festival. They had planned on busking only and had been very successful so far, covering all their accommodation and travel apart from their initial airfares, from the appreciative audiences they had gathered.

Cheryl sat transfixed, lost in the large variety of tones and sounds the handsome man on stage was emitting from his instrument. One minute it was a dog barking and growling, the next laughing like the strange Australian bird the kookaburra. There were hopping sounds, car horns and pops with the constant drone at varying pitches continuing in the background. With the tapping on the side of the long highly decorated tube of wood, and the drums played by the other man the music was compelling. Being a singer herself, she knew about breathing and watched the man closely to see him draw breath. Suddenly she realised the time. She had to go. She was performing at the festival in less than 30 minutes. Saddened that she wouldn’t be able to talk to the didgeridoo player she left.

The next day as Cheryl wandered from the B & B that she had stayed in overnight she heard the unmistakable sounds of the didgeridoo and drums vibrating through the ground, drawing her around the corner. The duo was set up at the edge of a park and had gathered a crowd around them. Cheryl joined, making her way to the front where again, she sat and watched the man and his instrument. His eyes closed as he lost himself in his music. Unlike the previous night however, after each tune, the drummer talked to the crowd, willing them to fill the coffers. At the first break Cheryl and the man’s eyes locked and from then on he played to her and her alone, calling to her, enticing her, begging her, and filling her with vibrations from the depths of his being.

He joined her as soon as their session over. “Hi, I’m Matt”

“I’m Cheryl. How on earth do you manage your breathing”

“It’s simple really although until you get the concept it can be a bit tricky. It’s called circular breathing. I’ll teach you if you like”

“Yes please.” She thrilled at his touch as he showed her the techniques.

“I’m a singer and I thought it would be easy” she laughed as she tried to do it unsuccessfully.

“How about a bit of tucker then and sing with us this afternoon when we start busking again around four.”

“I’d love to but I’ve promised to go to a luncheon the festival management is putting on for the entertainers. Perhaps we can do it another time. Telephone me.” She wrote down her number on a piece of paper and gave it to him, an electric shock shooting up her arm as her hand touched his.

“I’ll give you a tingle tonight and if you’re free tomorrow….” he trailed off as he noted her vigorously nodding head.

“Til then.” She left, resisting the urge to look back: knowing he was watching after her. The day couldn’t go quickly enough. She couldn’t wait for the phone to ring and she would hear his Aussie drawl on the other end. The wait seemed interminable. When was he going to ring? She couldn’t believe he wouldn’t phone. She knew he had felt the fireworks as well. By 11pm she had given up waiting. Finding the flyer she had picked up that afternoon she rang the number on it.

“Hallo”

“Matt? It’s Cheryl.” She heard the air being expelled in a rush of relief.

“Thank God. I thought I’d never see you again. That number you gave me was wrong. Connected to an old woman. She got a bit cranky after the fourth time I tried it and by the sixth, she stopped answering. How about breakfast?”

“I’d like that” They made arrangements to meet the next morning.

Over breakfast she learnt about their six-week busking adventure. “Where do you live in Australia?” she asked not sure that she would know even when he told.

“I’ve got a beach house and a country house he told her. I spend a lot of time travelling but home really is the Sunshine Coast around Noosa. How about you?”

“I live in London. I teach but we’re on holidays at the moment. I’m here because I was invited to sing at the Festival but I’m heading back to London tomorrow.”

“That’s a bugger. Do you want to sing with us this morning if you aren’t doing anything.”

“Love to.” The morning busking was fun and the vibrant tone of Cheryl’s voice blended well with the band. They followed with lunch, more busking, then dinner. He walked her back to the B & B.

“I’ve had a super day thanks Matt.”

“Well it doesn’t have to end. Didn’t you say you were on holidays?” Matt asked.

“Yes”

“ Why don’t you come to Europe with us for two weeks. You can sing. It’d be great fun.”

“Why not. When are you going?”

“Beginning of next week. Flying out from Heathrow.” They made arrangements to meet. The tour was a whirlwind starting in Paris and finishing in Rome. By the conclusion they knew they would spend their lives together.

After a period of skyping between Australia and England Matt returned to England. They clung to each other at the airport, happy in each others arms again. They married a week later in Rochester Cathedral, where Cheryl had been christened.

A week later Cheryl was being shown her new home – Matt’s Toyota Coaster.

“You told me you had a house at the beach and a house in the country you just didn’t tell me it was the same house that moved” Cheryl laughed. “It’s great though because when we go on tour we’ll have all our things with us but most importantly we’re with each other.”

 

About Irene Waters 19 Writer Memoirist

I began my working career as a reluctant potato peeler whilst waiting to commence my training as a student nurse. On completion I worked mainly in intensive care/coronary care; finishing my hospital career as clinical nurse educator in intensive care. A life changing period as a resort owner/manager on the island of Tanna in Vanuatu was followed by recovery time as a farmer at Bucca Wauka. Having discovered I was no farmer and vowing never again to own an animal bigger than myself I took on the Barrington General Store. Here we also ran a five star restaurant. Working the shop of a day 7am - 6pm followed by the restaurant until late was surprisingly more stressful than Tanna. On the sale we decided to retire and renovate our house with the help of a builder friend. Now believing we knew everything about building we set to constructing our own house. Just finished a coal mine decided to set up in our backyard. Definitely time to retire we moved to Queensland. I had been writing a manuscript for some time. In the desire to complete this I enrolled in a post grad certificate in creative Industries which I completed 2013. I followed this by doing a Master of Arts by research graduating in 2017. Now I live to write and write to live.
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