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Seeking Jacob

Seeking Jacob

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Seeking Jacob

246 página
3 horas
Aug 9, 2016


The story is set in the seventies where Jacob, the main character, is a creative advertising executive for Channel GTV9 in Melbourne. The seventies were a permissive era, indulgent in music, fashion and lifestyles. There were no boundaries, it was an experimental time of free love, sex and drugs. Jacob has a close family bond which keeps him grounded but he channels his course through life in a carefree and shallow journey. Conducting his life in pleasure seeking activities till one day he encounters a challenging tragedy, tearing him away from his family and breaking the bond that he treasured. Jacob is forced to face himself and deal with the reality of loss and love. He struggles with issues of identity and is forced to look deep within himself. His life changes dramatically and Jacob has to learn to adjust but in all of the heartache there is a glimmer of hope in an unexpected situation, which forces him to look beyond himself. He finds a spiritual part of himself that he wasn?t aware had existed. It is easy to identify with Jacob and his struggles as his life is undone and then forged anew. Often amusing, funny, intensely moving and intimate in its portrayal of lives. It depicts an array of characters, places and stories which typically portrays Melbourne in the seventies. This novel takes the reader on a journey of emotional suspense through its many twists and turns, sometimes so close to reality, that the reader could easily relate to Jacob and his struggles. Many lives are changed through Jacob?s search for the meaning of life.
Aug 9, 2016

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Seeking Jacob - Sharlie Pickering


Chapter 1

It was windy and icy in Melbourne, the jacaranda tree scratched against the lead light window of the lounge room of the Californian bungalow where a group of friends sat glowering at Jacob. The chill in the room was like the day… icy. Jacob sat dumbfounded. He was accused unfairly. The tension was thick and they all glared at him silently, only the eerie scratching on the window could be heard. He liked these people, Charlotte with her creative personality, Lena, tall and statuesque, Laura, petite and pretty and Laura’s brother Drew who was lovable and easy going.

These were his friends. Jacob did not see this coming. He braced himself; he did not know what to say as he was in shock. He walked over to the fireplace and picked a book from the mantle and flicked through it. The mantle above the fireplace was filled with books and an old vase. A modern piece of art above the mantle gave the room a stamp of Jacob’s personality. The anger seemed to come from just one source; she convinced others with her tales.

The dark carpet reflected the atmosphere in the room. The mottled glass federation doors gave the room a dull look, yet the room was charming with beige and chocolate brown furniture. Creamy beige wallpaper adorned the walls to the picture rails. Jacob put the book back on the mantle and stood silently. There were magazines scattered on the floor and on the coffee table sat a Pirelli book, a seductive 60’s siren pouted on the cover, an ash tray, a packet of Marlboro, a Redhead box of matches and The Female Eunuch by Germaine Greer.

Jacob walked out of the lounge room, down the dark oak paneled hallway and into the kitchen. The kitchen was large. The back door from the kitchen, led directly on to a patio which led to the laundry. Jacob put the jug on and got a mug out of the cupboard. The walls in the kitchen were lined with dull gold and cream embossed wallpaper. Out of the window, Jacob could see the patchy lawn and a child’s swing and see-saw set; it sat in the corner of the yard unused and in need of paint. Wide mustard Laminex benches and oak stained timber cupboards dominated the room. Café curtains hung at the window in bright gold and white symmetrical circles, it gave the kitchen a modern and cheerful ambience.

The sun faded in and out on this winter’s afternoon, the cold air echoed the sharp rawness in Jacob’s heart. He pushed it aside and hoped it would subside, at least till night, when he lay alone in his bed and he could sort it out in his mind. His friends sat in the lounge room. They looked for an argument, not a discussion, certainly not silence. Laura, his house mate came in to the kitchen.

Why did you walk away? She asked angrily.

I did not know what to say, he shrugged his shoulders and his voice faltered.

She did not expect that answer so Laura yelled at him angrily, she expected him to yell back and relieve the anger that welled up within her. She wanted an emotional response. He did not have anger to give back. Call it gutless, call it aloofness but never call it unemotional. His emotions were strong and passionate but he had not learnt to express them and he was still shocked by the unprovoked confrontation. He automatically went into a numb emotional state. Conflict was not his thing.

Why did you walk away? Laura demanded. He just looked at her in silence. This caused Laura to rant about everything from his lifestyle to his personality.

Sorry, I wasn’t aware of the problem, Jacob said.

Laura walked away muttering under her breath. The others were now watching television in the lounge room. It was early 1970 and Jacob rented the Californian bungalow in Balaclava, close to St Kilda. There were two bedrooms, Laura rented one of them. There were many good pubs in the area offering counter meals and entertainment. Jacob walked down to the corner pub and had a beer; he discussed football with a fellow drinker, they talked for a while then they had dinner together and Jacob walked home, the fresh cold air stinging his face.

After another restless night, he felt as bleak as the day, weary and emotionally spent after the events of the previous day. Jacob got dressed quickly for work; he worked for an advertising company in the City of Melbourne. He grabbed a scarf and a beanie on his way out as the trams were cold and drafty. He walked briskly down to St Kilda Road. The wind caused him to sniffle.

Jacob was handsome; he wore his clothes carelessly but with distinctive style. His dark shoulder length hair was ruffled and layered, framing his sensitive face, creating a bohemian aura. He had deep hazel eyes and one would think him to be a poet or an actor. People would turn around to look when he walked down the street. He was aware of this and vainly tossed back his hair, enjoying the attention.

Laura, his house mate, was still a sleep. She did not work, her friend Lena who did not work either, had stayed the night. They called themselves Band Moles. In the 1970’s, the pubs played an important role as venues for live Rock music. These pub rock gigs became one of the most important outlets of Australian Rock music. The girls had plenty of bands to choose from. It was the music scene in Melbourne, where many bands started off their careers playing pub rock gigs. Famous from this era were fledgling bands like Skyhooks, Billy Thorpe and the Aztecs, Cold Chisel, Daddy Cool and others.

Jacob and the girls hung out at their parties. Molly Meldrum a popular rock and roll music critic and the host of an ABC TV show Countdown was also seen frequently at these parties. The girls followed the bands around to various pubs and hoped to score a lover for the night and perhaps a relationship. They usually slept in after late night parties and woke up to many mugs of coffee and cigarettes, then prepared for the night ahead with beauty routines and gossip. Life was sometimes broken from this routine with a heated passionate love affair that lasted days. Saturday night parties were regular at various locations around St Kilda, Elwood, Balaclava, Elsternwick, Caulfield and surrounding areas after the bands finished their gigs.

The Federation houses in these areas were large with many bedrooms, high ceilings and open fireplaces. Double cut glass doors dominated the lounge and dining areas. Some windows were lead- light, giving the rooms an ethereal aura. The rents were high but many young people pooled their money and shared the rent. Musicians, writers, students of law, artists and young men from country Victoria who came for work shared these houses.

Jacob studied Public Relations and Advertising at Caulfield Institute of Technology. He was at college two nights of the week but often found time to join the girls on their nights out. He liked meeting people who were creative, whacky and wonderful. He lived on the creative edge of life. He loved music, art, theatre, opera, books and poetry. Jacob’s favorite modern day poet was Leonard Cohen. He listened to a variety of music. Zydeco, Blues Fusion, Jazz and Classical were just a few genres he liked. He was partial to Ry Cooder, whose music was described as Chicken Skin Music, laid-back and easy on the ear. Jacob called him the master of slide guitar when he saw Ry Cooder in concert. He also enjoyed Trevor White. Jacob saw him play the main role in Jesus Christ Superstar at the iconic Palais Theatre in St Kilda. Jacob took Charlotte to see Santana in Sydney in 1973. Charlotte and Jacob liked the same things and had an easy friendship.

The Band Moles were at the Hilton in East Melbourne having a drink one evening when a group of foreigners ogled them so the girls walked off in a huff, they asked the concierge to get them a taxi but he was too busy attending a white limousine and fussing with the group of foreigners who had ogled them. As the foreigners were whisked off, the girls realized it was Santana. A massive missed opportunity for the Band Moles, who then harassed the concierge to find out where Santana had gone for dinner but it, was a no-score night.

The music scene in Melbourne was pregnant with success. Many Australian bands became famous and then moved to America or the United Kingdom to further enhance their music careers. Australian music and movies were in the early stages of advancing to the International platform.

Sometimes Jacob would get involved in a flirtatious affair, nothing serious, just enjoying the excitement of the chase. He enjoyed being single. There were no shortage of girls if he so desired but he was busy with work and study. On Jacob’s nights out if anyone caught his eye; he dated them but never brought them home. They never found out where he lived or worked. He never talked about his private life; he was carefree, flirty and charming. He danced the night away from parties to discotheques with his friends and later he would have coffee in seedy coffee shops in Fitzroy Street or the Musicians Club in Wellington St, St Kilda. His circle of friends, included Laura, her brother Drew, Charlotte, Lena and boys from various bands, they always went out together. Jacob usually drove and was careful with strong drink. He had a secret weapon, if he had drunk too much; he had a large glass of cold milk, and this together with the icy air in the early mornings of Melbourne kept him sober.

Where do we go now? Charlotte asked.

Where ever you would like to go?

Let’s go to Babes! They are opened till early morning.

Babes was a raunchy nightclub at the Chevron Hotel in St Kilda Road. It also had a bar known as Chaps where patrons would dress in whatever their fantasy, the music and lighting mesmerized. Jacob and Charlotte danced till one am then went to the Flight Centre in South Yarra for coffee. Jacob dropped Charlotte off at home in Elwood and drove home in the rosy dawn light.

Chapter 2

On Sunday afternoon, Jacob often visited his parents who lived on the north side of Melbourne. Sometimes he visited his sister Jessica, a lawyer, who lived in a terraced house in Carlton. He chatted for hours with Jessica and her friends then they usually walked to a local Italian restaurant for dinner. After a glass or two of claret, he would go home. Jacob always went for a run at night to keep fit. He liked the cold fresh air on his face and it gave clarity to his thoughts. This weekend he chose to stay with his parents, he hoped the air would clear at home with Laura, but Laura was already distracted with a new lover and had forgotten the grief she had caused him.

His parents were old and longed for the patter of tiny feet, but never brought the subject up. Jacob and his parents had a deep respect for each other, something precious, Jacob admired his parents. He had seen them go through some tough times due to the loss of a business and their family home. His parents always put his sister and himself first in every circumstance.

Theirs was a comfortable relationship, like well worn slippers. Jacob and his mother Jill went for a long walk and chatted about the beautiful homes and gardens they passed by, in the older and established suburb of Essendon. Jacob often helped his father with gardening and odd jobs. His mother cooked his favorite meals and after dinner they sat in the lounge and listened to classical music as they sipped on his father’s favorite, ginger wine. On cold nights his father would make him traditional eggnog with rum while they watched the football together on television. Jacob’s father was an Essendon fan of Victorian Football League. Jacob also became an Essendon fan. From a young age, he went to the Melbourne Cricket Ground with his father when Essendon played. The MCG was cold and windy. Jacob remembered the Four-N-Twenty meat pies, steaming hot; it warmed his hands and dripped tomato sauce down his jacket.

After the game they caught the train home, rugged up and proudly sporting their team colors, with red and black scarves and beanies. After the game his Mum always had steaming mugs of soup and a hot roast dinner waiting for them. His father Ken always said It’s essential that we appreciate the ordinary He said this because Jacob was creative and tended to live in an idealistic world. It was Ken’s way of keeping his son grounded.

The long wet windy winter was over and the plane trees along St Kilda Road started to shoot little buds of green leaves. Thick winter coats were replaced with lighter jackets. The air was crisp in the morning and pleasant through the day. On Saturday, Jacob mowed the lawns, dug and fertilized the garden beds then planted petunias, because that’s what his father did. He finally fixed the gate and swept up all the leaves.

What are you doing? Asked a sleepy Laura, from the back door.

Tidying up, isn’t it a great morning?

Goodness, is it morning? I am going back to bed, said Laura.

Jacob smiled on the inside, that was part of Laura’s charm, he thought.

Charlotte walked out yawning.

What is all the noise about?

Charlotte had slept on the couch, after a night out with Laura and Lena. Charlotte was his favorite, she laughed at his jokes, and they had a lot in common. Often they went to the movies together and talked about the movie for days over cups of hot chocolate. Sometimes they argued and ignored each other for days then danced all night together at some party. Charlotte and Jacob did outrageous things together; they dressed up as Romeo and Juliet and walked the streets of St Kilda.

One time they were pulled up by the police in St Kilda Road at three in the morning, they were dressed up as Bonnie and Clyde and carried guns. They were warned after their plastic guns were confiscated. One balmy warm night they got drunk and lost in the Fitzroy Gardens, they fell asleep in the sheltered area of Captain Cook’s Cottage. They were woken up by security guards in the morning. Jacob piggy backed Charlotte for part of the way home then they caught a tram back to Jacob’s place. Jacob was careful. He knew he could fall in love with Charlotte. She was intelligent, funny and a good friend. Theirs was a relationship of trust.

Charlotte sat beside him pulling weeds carelessly, her auburn curly hair tumbling down her bare shoulders, she made coffee and they sat on the newly mowed grass and enjoyed the warm sun. She pulled her dress up so her legs could tan; Jacob rubbed his hands up and down her legs gently as they lay in the sun. Laura’s brother, Drew wandered over and lay in the grass near them. Drew always brought his little Terrier, Angus with him. Lazy silence filled the air except for bees buzzing around some wild flowers, growing nearby.

Spring in Melbourne can be delightful with soft breezes, trees sprouting new leaves and birds tweeting loudly as they built nests in the trees. Girls in short summery dresses hopping on trams or walking to work, the days were getting longer and warmer. People got active, they organized picnics and barbecues. They walked along the beaches and built sand castles, the brave ones swam in the cold water. After months of being indoors rugged up around the fire, they came out to dig their gardens and play ball with the dog. They planted flowers for summer and spring cleaned their homes.

Soon Jacob and his friends opened a bottle of sparkling wine which they sipped from champagne glasses. Laura and Lena joined them in a nebulous conversation. They all lay on the lawn and sunned themselves like lizards. Angus the Terrier opted out for a sleep on the patio in the shade.

Jacob woke up startled, it was a nightmare. His stomach cramped with fear. Jacob recognized the fear; he had felt this fear often when he was a little boy. His parents sat with him through the night, till he fell off to sleep again. Sometimes he remembered the nightmare vaguely……….he had been taken away from his parents and he felt lost. As he travelled to work on the tram his

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