The Post Fable

0 Conversations

The Post Fables Graphic by Greebo T. Cat

Music from a Quiet Room

The steps to her room wound up and up. It wasn't really that far, but to the little legs of a nine year old, it was a trek. Natasha put her foot on the first stair, quietly. Inside the house it was unusually still. She ran up the flight and into her bedroom, quickly closing the door behind her. She wished she didn't live here. Since her mother had died though, and her stepfather loved this city, and this too big house, it was where she stayed. She hated New Orleans, it's dirtiness. And the blacks.

Her mother had taught her not to love the 'n*****s',
'Those people are no more important than that silly music you listen to.'

The words echoed in her head. From the day that she was scolded for talking to the maid, Natasha never listened to the beautiful southern blues again.

Now Natasha was living with her mother's second husband, a man she disliked, almost hated. For one, he talked to blacks. And he had a large white piano downstairs in the sitting room, that he sometimes played after they had eaten. Natasha retreated to her room to read when this happened, she could never quite keep the music away. Instead she lay under her covers and pretended she was asleep. It was a kind of escape. Natasha liked being in the very nearly dark, letting her imagination take her away from the ugly music.

Today was different, however. Her stepfather had brought an old black man into the house. He was speaking with him for a while and, as Natasha ran up the stairs, they had both begun to play music. She had closed the door, when the music began to float up towards her. This time, however, she paused before diving under her doona. The music was different today. The other instrument the black man was playing somehow changed the sounds that her stepfather was making. Natasha leaned against her door, letting the music flow into her ears, into her mind.

She created pictures in her head, from what the sounds seemed to be saying to her. Rainbows, splashes of colour, shapes and patterns. She opened her bedroom door and walked down the stairs to where the music was. She saw her stepfathers back, as he sat at the piano, moving slightly to the flow of the music.

Then Natasha noticed the old black man. He was standing the other side of the piano, playing an instrument that made the music flow together in threads, making a blanket of sound. He had his eyes closed, but Natasha knew he had sensed her come into the room, as he played even louder, almost drowning out the sound of the piano. Natasha moved closer to him, then sat on the floor at this feet, looking up as he played. She glanced over at her stepfather, who had looked her way. He smiled at her, then returned his attention to the black man. Natasha sat for what seemed hours. This time, listening took her away from the too big house and the dirty city. Then it stopped. She opened her eyes and looked straight into the black mans deep grey pupils.

'Why hello, honey. Did you like that?' His voice was deep and gravely, but somehow musical as well. Natasha nodded her head.

'Could you play some more?'

The old man glanced over towards her stepfather, a questioning look. Natasha noticed that her substitute father had closed the lid of the piano, hiding away the keys. He nodded and the music started once again. This time Natasha didn't so much as listen, although it was hard for her not to. She concentrated on the man himself. He seemed almost like a ghost, his form moving and swirling like liquid. Him and the music seemed to become one, invading every part of the room, invading every part of her, her very soul.

Then, almost in a dream, the old man had gone. She must have followed him out, said goodbye. She didn't know why. He was a 'n****r'. Perhaps she had found respect, or perhaps it was something a little more special about this old black man. But then, as he had left, so did the magic of the music. Her stepfather had resumed his tinkling on the piano and Natasha ran to her bedroom, to hide.

And as the music left, time followed. The too big house became her own. She hated it before, but now it was a stepping stone for a new life. She met many men, but only one wanted to stay with her and begin the family that was her own, not a substitute. No stepfathers. Just a loving husband, and a son she named Daniel. She longed to move away from New Orleans, but her family became more important to her than anything else. For this her friendships suffered, but she knew there was time for those later, after Daniel had grown. The years pass. Slowly, quickly. Days seemed like seasons, and the seasons seemed like days. News of her stepfather's death reached Natasha, but life continued. Her son grew older, as did she. Her life was, she thought, complete. But not so complete. A piece was missing.

Then it happened. Natasha was upstairs, away from the noise of the television. She knew Daniel was watching it, she could hear him laughing every so often. Then came the slight knocking. She had removed the bell years ago. She slowly made her way to the door. She opened it quickly and standing on her step was an ancient black man.

Natasha closed the door in the old man's face. Disgusted she returned upstairs. How could a 'n****r' have the gall to stand on her front porch? She picked up her book and returned to it angrily. But the words blurred in front of her. She couldn't read with a temper. Anger passed in front of her eyes. She threw the book to the floor and was about to go back downstairs and give the old black bastard a piece of her mind, when she heard the other sound.

The television seemed muffled by it and the sound of her son's laughter had vanished. She opened the bedroom door and stood at the top of the stairs, listening. It was music, but not music. There was something more. She slowly took each step, one at a time down the stairs. As she rounded the corner she saw Daniel sitting, not in front of the television where she had left him but, at the feet of the old black man. Natasha felt her anger rise, but then she saw the old man's face, and his eyes. The music from the saxophone bled into her heart, taking away the ice there.

She followed her instinct and sat down next to Daniel. She glanced at him. He was clapping his hands, something she had discouraged. Along with his singing and humming. But she saw only pure joy on his face, something she had never really experienced. There had been joy at her wedding, there was joy at her baby's birth, there was joy at having a family. This music however, the sound of rainbow flowing around her, was more than that. She recalled the piano her stepfather always sat at after dinner. Now she knew why he did it. The music was happiness, and her mother had been wrong. About everything. She pushed away at the memories of her mothers bigotry, and her own, swaying to the music.

Then it stopped. She looked up.
'Why hello, honey.' The same deep voice resounded in her ears.

'Hello, sir.' Natasha heard herself say.
'Did you like that?'

Both Natasha and her son agreed.

'Could you play again?' she asked. The old man smiled and Natasha closed her eyes. The music ebbed through her and she reached out to touch the man who made the sounds, but could not find him. She opened her eyes and the music played, but there was no old man, and there was no saxophone. Only her, her son and the music.


The Post Fables Archive

Hoopy Frood

17.03.05 Front Page

Back Issue Page

Bookmark on your Personal Space

Conversations About This Entry

There are no Conversations for this Entry



Infinite Improbability Drive

Infinite Improbability Drive

Read a random Edited Entry

Written by



h2g2 is created by h2g2's users, who are members of the public. The views expressed are theirs and unless specifically stated are not those of the Not Panicking Ltd. Unlike Edited Entries, Entries have not been checked by an Editor. If you consider any Entry to be in breach of the site's House Rules, please register a complaint. For any other comments, please visit the Feedback page.

Write an Entry

"The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy is a wholly remarkable book. It has been compiled and recompiled many times and under many different editorships. It contains contributions from countless numbers of travellers and researchers."

Write an entry
Read more