A Brotherly Hug

In his iconic love lament ‘If’, US songwriter David Gates started the lyric by poetically inquiring of his beau:- “If a picture paints a thousand words, then why can’t I paint you?”

It’s not clear from the refrain’s subsequent lines how his love responded to the question. However, with a little mischief on my part, I’d like to think her response went along the lines of “Of course you can paint me, darling… Can I have two coats of magnolia emulsion on my back and a coat of gloss on the front.”

As you’re probably wondering what elicited such a random notion on my part, I thought I’d clarify what manifested such arbitrariness. After all, Gates (who is no relation to Microsoft chief Bill, or Heaven doorman Pearly) is clearly not referring to decorating his lover with gloss and emulsion… Or indeed any other decorative product for that matter.

The first two lines of his romantic prose lay bare his torment at being unable to express in the written word what seems easier to portray in the outward appearance of a painting. Having an advantage of being output to the naked eye, pictures can more freely represent emotions and the human condition.

Well, that’s what I think those locutions mean, anyhow… Although, if truth be told, my interpretation of those thirteen words’ meaning could be just a steaming pile of pretentious horse manure.

Anyhow, the reason I’m writing about the former Bread frontman’s words in this piece is, after learning this morning’s writing workshop prompt word of ‘painting’, they were the first words which popped into my conscious mind.

So in a nutshell, this work of literary genius/detritus (delete where applicable) is a narrative I originally commenced at the aforementioned workshop. Twice weekly Zoom meetings which afford me, along with a few fellow scribes, opportunity to put metaphorical quill to parchment.

Thankfully during the class my brother Ian, who’s staying with me for a couple of days, didn’t leave his bedroom in his boxers and inadvertently expose himself to my fellow Zoom attendees… Or break wind… Although, to be honest, the flatulence is never welcome with open arms!… Only open windows!

As my younger sibling lives 100 miles north of my West Yorkshire home, I only get to see him every couple of months or so. When we do rendezvous we always give each other a big brotherly bear hug upon meeting.

Yesterday, when he arrived I was stood by the mailboxes at the apartment block entrance. With having a parcel under my arm I was only able to afford him a mild squeeze when greeting our kid.

Consequential of this he felt moved to tell me “Don’t worry, I’ll give you a proper hug when we get to the flat.” Despite appreciating our kid’s loving comment, hearing this promise led me to tell the resident collecting his post beside me, “By the way, he’s my brother… Not my lover!”

Despite my comment potentially painting me as a fella with homophobic tendencies (which I haven’t), I felt the need to put the record straight to this stranger who lives in the same apartment block… Hopefully this stranger wasn’t gay and offended at my assurance.

Anyhow, I need to nip out to buy a suitcase for next weeks break in the sun, consequently, I’ll bring this piece to a conclusion. I’d rather stay and write more, but as I’ve no desire to make the journey to Fuerteventura with 22kg of clothes under my arm, I really need to go.

Incidentally, this literary picture painted around six hundred words not a thousand.

Leave a Reply