Somewhere Else Writers (SEW) Feb 23: Selwyn Morgan

Selwyn Morgan

Selwyn Morgan

Our current Chair, Selwyn, has written “Gwyl and Beryl” – a very short story – which you can read by visiting cirenscene.com. He explained: “This short story was completed after being set a free-writing exercise at one of our Wednesday meetings. We were asked:

‘Given a free choice, would a banana have blue hair?’.

Of course, who knows where to go from there? But surprisingly, a story came to mind of how behaviour, out of the ordinary, leads us to question ourselves and others before coming to a resolution of our conflicting emotions.”

The group are now welcoming new members to join its weekly meetings on Wednesdays at Somewhere Else Deli in Castle Street, Cirencester.  Whether you already write, or have always wanted to, but would appreciate support and inspiration, contact us via our group website. Alternatively, just leave us a message at Somewhere Else at the top of Castle Street. Members write poetry, plays, fiction and other forms of writing.  Some are published and performed, but others prefer to explore their personal potential. If you want to get the most out of words, get in touch.

Gwyl… and Beryl

Gwylim turned up at work on a Monday wearing a single cultured pearl earring. Not such an unusual sight these days, but in the Valleys of South Wales in the early 1970s it was bound to cause a stir; especially in the engineering workshop of a steelworks. After all, Gwylim was a ‘solid’ man, hard-working, dependable. He had been around longer than any of the other skilled workmen, having served his apprenticeship in the shop, 40 years earlier. But, Gwylim had changed since the recent loss of his wife, aged 59.

They had no children, ‘Gwyl’ and Beryl… not for the want of trying… and with Beryl’s passing, half of who he was had passed with her.

At the tea break, Bob whispered his opinion of the earring to Colin, whilst, at the same time, ensuring Gwylim was in earshot.

‘I hear wearing just one earring is what queers do.’

Everyone knew Bob to be mean-spirited. He was a man who saw others’ perceived weaknesses as an opportunity to salve his own inadequacies. Colin was aware of the inference being made, as were we all, and used his humour to calm the discomfort we felt.

‘Would it be in your rugby club’s communal bath you found this out, Bob?’

‘I hear they drop the soap in the water on purpose.’ said Maldwyn, who was always happy to see Bob put in his place…

Horses for courses, I say. It doesn’t matter what fences you jump as long as you get to the finish,’ chipped in Bradley, a youngster, whose ‘day release’ Technical College enlightenment made him think he could solve all of life’s problems… except his own. Bradley was unaware of his double-entendre, and couldn’t work out why Cyril replied,

‘Oh! And how many fences have you had the pleasure of jumping, young Brad?’

‘It’s just a saying! I’ve not actually jumped any fences.’

‘Who’d have thought?’ said Brian, who hardly ever said anything but was warming to the banter. We all laughed, not just for the humour he injected but for the joy of his joining in. 

The tearoom door flew open.

‘Are you buggers still here?…’ It was Bill, the foreman. ‘You’ve all had twenty minutes at least, and we’ve got furnaces to maintain.’

‘We were just talking about homosexuals and we got carried away,’ came a reply.

‘You can get carried away by homosexuals on your own time. Now, off your arses and get back to work.’

Nothing else needed to be said about Gwylim’s earring, the font of its novelty had run dry in a single sitting of the ‘tea-break committee’. It had done its job in identifying issues that could disrupt their unity of purpose and putting it to right. Additionally, few of them, if any, wanted to find the courage to ask Gwylim, ‘Why the earring?’; dealing with other people’s emotions was not what ‘men’ did. It was enough for them, and Gwylim, that they saw his earring, and used their banter to accept its significance; for, who were they to judge a man’s expression of grief, or, perhaps, his need for acceptance of who he now was? For once, they had Bob to thank; for it was he who placed the earring on the agenda.

Gwylim took the single cultured pearl earring to his grave.

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