When he finally regained his composure after the shock of Saoirse's sudden departure, Walter picked himself
up and looked out over the countryside. The view from the ledge was breathtaking, yet this was the first
time he had noticed it. While Saoirse had been there, all his senses had been focused on her. Now they were
open to receiving magnificence and beauty. The myriad of colours and shapes presented by the rolling
landscape touched him like they had never done before. Many times had someone said to Walter,
'What a beautiful view!' At such times he would mutter agreement but had never been able to muster
the enthusiasm that the tone of his companions' voices revealed. This time he really got it and he
stood for a few moments silently drinking in the splendour. He caught himself humming 'Top of the World'
by the Carpenters, a song that only a year ago he would have cynically mocked as soppy nonsense.
After a few moments Walter breathed in sharply, breaking the trance that he had entered without knowing
and he turned and headed back down the spiral staircase to the Leprechauns' cavern. The going was much
easier on the way down and he soon reached the cavern, following the wall until he once again found himself
at Magic Dara's. He was struck by the fact that he could not hear any of the revelry which he knew to be
going on inside until he opened the door and stepped over the threshold. When he did so, it was like being
suddenly hit by a wall of music and laughter.
Through the throng he picked out Seamus who was sitting at a large table with a small crowd of people
gathered round him listening intently. Walter was quite familiar with this sight. Many times he had witnessed
Seamus spin one of his enchanting yarns. He knew not to interrupt his flow and so he pushed his way
through to the bar where Dara greeted him with a friendly and knowing smile.
"You feeling better now, Walter?" Dara asked, already knowing the answer.
"Yes I am. Thank you. I really mean that. Thank you." Walter replied.
"You're welcome, my friend. That is what I am here for. Well, amongst other things." Dara graciously
accepted. "Can I get you a drink?"
"Umm. Yeh. I'll have a Guinness," Walter answered. Before he could blink, Dara had placed a Guinness
in front of him and when Walter offered to pay, he waved his hand in dismissal. "This one's on the house,"
said Dara. "Just so long as you promise to give us a song."
"Ah, I don't know, it's been quite a while since I've been in front of a crowd. I'm not sure whether I am
ready for it," Walter said. As he spoke the words, he became suddenly aware how they seemed to puncture the
bubble of freedom, peace and elation that had surrounded him since he last spoke with Dara. Dara looked
Walter straight in the eye, managing to repeat his question simply by raising his left eyebrow a couple of
millimeters. Out of Dara's sight, Walter made a fist with his right hand and then said, "What am I saying?
Of course I will give you a song. I am Walter the Sofa Elf. I was born to entertain." Dara's questioning
look turned back to a warm smile. He nodded to his assistant who went over to where the band were playing
and whispered in the ear of the bodhran player. As he did so, a chorus of laughter rose from the group who
were gathered around Seamus' table, indicating that he had reached the end of another ripping yarn. Walter
took the opportunity to go over and talk to his cousin before he started another one.
"Ah, Walt! Oi wondered where you'd got to," Seamus said as he saw Walter approaching.
"Have you seen Saoirse anywhere?" Walter immediately asked.
"Oh, dat's where you've been is it?" Seamus said with a hint of laughter in his voice. Walter suddenly
remembered the kiss that Saoirse had given Seamus when they first arrived at the pub.
"Oh, listen, sorry mate, I didn't think. If I've overstepped the mark .... " Walter said apologetically.
"Aaah, don't you worry 'bout dat, Walter. Saoirse belongs to no man. Jaysus. The chance'd be a foine ting.
Saoirse does what Saoirse wants to do. Sure, Oi've been lucky enough to share her company from toime to
toime. But if today she's chosen you, Walt, den good luck to you cuz. Don't get me wrong, moind.
Dat doesn't mean she is easy. Far from it. De feller who manages to tame dat one will be a lucky
As he finished speaking, Dara's voice came over the microphone.
"Ladies and gentlemen, it is now my pleasure to introduce a special guest from over the water.
The cousin of our fine friend Seamus, and a big hit in his home town of Sheffield, England, please
welcome to the mic Walter the Sofa Elf." Polite but uncertain applause was suddenly interrupted by
a drunken heckle from the back of the room.
"Asking an elf from England to sing! Moight as well ask a mouse to keep an oye on yer cheese," the
"Yeh, or ask your barber to give us a hair cut. Shut up, Sean O'Gill," Dara put the heckler in his
place and raised a laugh from the rest of the crowd, then he stepped aside and beckoned Walter up
onto the stage. Walter sprang out of his seat and bounded up to the microphone. He took his position
and quietly said something to the members of the band. He was so clearly in his element now, vibrant
and confident in his movement and expression. His presence commanded the room to fall silent.
He started the first few bars of Happy Cow. The band quickly picked up the melody and began to
accompany him with brilliant ease. The end of the song was greeted with a loud cheer from the crowd
and many calls for more. Walter turned to the band and they began to play the song again, only this
time they raised the tempo. Walter began his reprise and the floor began to fill with dancers. The
pub door opened and in came Saoirse. From his new vantage point, Walter was suddenly aware of the number
of heads that turned as she glided across the room to once again mesmerise Walter with her dancing.
With every turn of her body she looked deep into Walter's eyes and gave him a captivating smile.
Let Go Page 2 >>
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