A hug for luck..!
“How’s your mother?” I asked, remembering that the last I’d heard she was an alcoholic. I’d seen her at her mother’s funeral, her two sisters trying to help her stand on her feet as she looked blankly at her mother’s coffin. “Bob,” she had said, looking up, “Can’t hug you!” “You can!” I said.. “I smell,” she slurred. “It doesn’t matter,” I said. “Ah but your wife will know it’s Sabrina who hugged you, my drinks smell Bob, come close and see, how the booze smells!”
I went close and hugged her, and her eyes smiled at my own tearful ones. I remembered that last occasion as her daughter stood outside my door, a little girl still, “I’m Sabrina’s daughter,” she said again. I smiled and called her in. She came in, her eyes as bright as her mother’s but no alcoholic haze. “Mummy’s okay,” she lied, and for a second a cloud went past those eyes. “So what can I do for you?” I asked. “I’ve got a job,” she said brightly, “I’m a salesgirl, that’s why I’ve come to you.”
“You’ll do well,” I said. “You think so uncle?” she asked, her eyes puzzled, “How would you know? I have to sell soap, and it’s not easy.” “You’ll do well, because in your eyes people will see honesty, and they will buy your soap!”
“That’s what mummy said!” “What? That I would buy your soap?” “That you would look me in the eye and tell me something that would make me a master sales girl. That’s what mummy said you did to her!” “What did I do?” I asked. “That when everybody called her a drunkard, a boozard, when everybody avoided her, you always hugged her!”
I laughed and she got up. “You’re going?” I asked. “Yes,” she said, “You’ve given me enough ammunition for my first sales day, but uncle…” “Yes?” I asked reaching for my wallet, “You want me to buy something?” “No!” she said. “Then what?” “Just give me a hug for luck!” I did and she smelt of fresh soap.