I'm running this story here first just to see what type of response it gets. It's a serialized story of four short chapters. If it goes well - I'm writing it week to week - I'll expand on it:
He sings, his voice as thin as tissue paper. Not saying that it's a delicate thing. He can tear your heart right out, by god. His song is a sad, plaintive thing. All of them are. He's begging us, begging me, to listen, to try and understand the pain. It's just him and his guitar. Every weekend he's up there on that tiny stage in this dark pub on the edge of a mining town.
And he's beautiful. Not in the rock star way. His nose is maybe slightly crooked and his face can look a bit drawn in the wrong light. Sometimes he lets his hair grow long and then seems to forget about ever combing it. But his eyes are rocks of wisdom and sorrow. His fingers chisel through that pain. They're the only ones that seem to know how.
His name is Nick.
During the week he works in the mines like me. I see him, but I doubt if he's ever seen me. He doesn't seem to see anyone. In that we are similar. Both of us keeping to ourselves. I don't know what's on his mind and more than I know the day I'll die. My own mind is filled with thoughts of home. Of my da. He's dying, you see. Ain't no use in trying to deny that. He's been dying for a couple of years now, every day worse than the one before. My da is a good man. He's worked in these mines since he was 13, even before he met my poor departed ma. They got him in the end, though. The mines get a lot of us. They're selfish places and you should know it going in. I mean, they're called "mines." It's right in the name, ain't it?
Da knows how important these weekend trips to the pub are to me. Especially when Nick is singing. He insists I go. "Git," he says in between deep, phlegm-laden coughs. "Go see your singer friend."
"We ain't friends, Da," I tell him. "I don't even know him. Just like to hear him sing."
"Well, go hear him sing then. I'll be fine here with your aunt Beverly. She takes good care of me. Now, git. Have yourself a good time." If he had any money, he'd give it to me.
Auntie Bev takes good care of him, it's true. But I still worry. He's my da. I worry I won't be there when the mines take him. Eventually I'm convinced, though, and I head to the pub once my auntie arrives. And so, here I am.
What's this, then? Deep in thought, I was, and he looks straight at me. I'm in the very back of the pub, keeping to myself and leaning against the wall with a beer in hand, but I swear he looked right at me just then. Oh, my heart, my breath. Right at me! I never seen two prettier stones in all my years in the mines. I better pay up and leave. Ain't no way the night will get any better than that. Man oh man. This is something to tell me da.