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Death of a New Song: The End

I have been working as a freelance writer for the past 2 years or so

Old song

death-of-a-new-song-end-of-a-song

Winter

On a slightly cloudy and cold Thursday afternoon, Rob arrives at Mrs. Cotten's home to find her sweeping and re-arranging some flower pots on her porch

Hi, Mrs. Cotten. He greets the old lady while approaching the porch

Oh, Robbie, she responds; turning to meet him. Thank God you're here. Here, she gestures at one of the pots. Move this one all the way to that end for me - She points to one corner of the porch furthest from the front door

The boy lays his bag near the boor and slowly drags the pot; taking care not to tip it over

Very good! She comments as soon as the pot reaches its destination. Turn it a little? She instructs the boy with a finger motion suggesting a counter-clockwise turn

The boy does so only to be stopped with an affirmative, Perfect!

Now! She exclaims. Where should we put these two? She points to two smaller pots next to the broom

The boy inspects the porch in its entirety and recommends a space below the window

Mmh - She takes a moment to consider it. Alright, let's see how they'll look.

Rob moves the two pots, one at a time, and does his best to align them with the wall below the window

Mrs. Cotten takes a few steps back for inspection and appears pleased with the results

I like it. She comments. What do you think?

Yes. He replies. And now there is more space for your chair –He comments pointing to a rocking chair behind her

Mrs. Cotten Lets out a chuckle - That there is, dear. Alright, take your bag; let's go in. She sets the broom on one corner of the porch near the door and follows the boy into the house

How's the song coming along? She asks as she makes her way into the living room

I think it's ready now. He replies, going through his bag to find his notebook

Really? Let me see

The boy flips through the pages and hands her the book

This one, He points to the page with his lyrics

Alright, let's see what we have here. Hand me those glasses. She directs his attention to a pair of reading glasses on a table before him. And get yourself a glass of juice in the kitchen.

The boy hands her the glasses and removes his hooded denim jacket before hurrying to the kitchen - Anxious for feedback

Meanwhile, Mrs. Cotten goes over the lyrics, taking note of his progress on the song - The two have been through this for a few weeks now:

Gone by Robin Brown

They come at dawn
Always at dawn
But we were far gone
Lord, they saw us
But we were far gone
Like the stare or a dying calf
Oh, so far gone

Cos I heard his call
Oh, so loud and clear
Like the horns of heaven
I heard him call

Tis only for a moment
And we'll be out of sight
Cos we'll be long gone
Far away gone
Like the stare of a dead calf
Too far gone, oh

Yes, I heard the call
Like the horns of heaven
So loud and clear
I heard him call

In to a new dawn
Where she won't frown
On to a new porch
Cos we'll be long gone
So far gone

More changes? He asks upon recognizing a familiar look on her face as soon as she lays the book on her lap

Well, first let's see how it sounds on the piano, alright?

Yes Ma'am

Alright, she concludes with a reassuring smile before revisiting the lyrics - Still, she understands they have a long way to go

The boy is soon done with his drink and promptly takes the empty glass to the kitchen

Are you ready? She inquires once the boy returns to the living room

Yes, Ma'am. He replies. All ready.

Alright, I want us to try something different. She hands him the book. I want you to sing the song without any accompaniment first. She explains. Can you do that?

Yes. I practiced a little last night. He explains; again flipping through the pages to find the lyrics

In the next two hours, Rob attempts to sing but finds that he has to keep making modifications to his lyrics for the song to sound right - All with Mrs. Cotten's help.

All this effort is not wasted, however, as the boy eventually gets a hang of it – Singing his heart out and letting his voice sour for an audience of one

Mrs. Cotton, loving this performance, does not hold back from showering the boy with heaps of praise as they transition to a short break

Porch

death-of-a-new-song-end-of-a-song

Some 20 minutes later

Ready to continue? She inquires after 20 minutes or so of rest

Ready! He rejoins

Good, Now I just want you to hum the song. She explains. Not sing, just humming

OK,

He takes a moment, sighs, and starts humming with much more ease than he expected. This proves to be a much easier exercise compared to the first

Satisfied with the performance and a reassuring smile from Mrs. Cotten, Rob takes an opportunity to repeat the humming, singing in parts with also Mrs. Cotten lending her voice

Yes! that was just perfect! She comments - Her spirits raised to the roof as the boy claps for himself, smiling uncontrollably

Alright, get yourself another glass of juice then we'll continue on the piano. She suggests

Can go to the piano now? He requests – Hoping to maintain the current pace

OK, OK, she concedes. But get me a glass first. I could use a drink

The boy waste no time - Hurrying to the kitchen and returning with a fresh glass of orange juice then straight to the duet bench like the enthusiast he's become

OK, we'll start with a simple accompaniment, Ok? Just the basic chords then we’ll move on from there. She instructs the overly eager young man before taking a sip of juice

No sooner does Rob start playing than there is a shy knock on the door; bringing his performance to a halt

Father's path

It's alright. She puts the glass of juice on a stool next to her and goes to answer the doors. You continue; I'll get it. She insists

It doesn't take long for Rob to recognize a high-pitched voice as soon as Mrs. Cotton opens the door and starts engaging the visitors – Sending a shiver down his spine

The interaction outside quickly escalates into a confrontation with Mrs. Cotten being pushed back into the house with brute force – Her attempts to grab onto the walls for some balance but it does little to break her fall as she lands onto the floor. Accidentally taking down some framed photos with her

The boy can barely move or let out a sound

You get out of my house this instant! She shouts –Struggling to get back on her feet. I’m not afraid of you!

Shut up, Bitch. Ripostes one of the men before instructing his partner in crime to find something of value – Anything worth stealing

Mrs. Cotten finally gets to her feet and attempts to push him back but is again shoved down.

Her screams for help forces the other buffoon to pull out his gun and fire a warning shot in the opposite direction; only for the bullet to finds its destination through the boy’s lungs and into his heart.

Rob falls back on the piano seemingly unaware of what just happened – Not a word from his lips, not even a sound

Upon witnessing this, the second man immediately splints past the shooter and out the door in a chaotic fashion; the shooter only following suit once the consequences of action fully register

In a state of shock and confusion - Oh, my God, No! Mrs. Cotten struggles to her feet; slowly moving towards the boy only to stand still when she realizes the severity of the situation. God, No! She weeps

She then tries to lift the boy, but clearly lacks the strength to do so; resolving, instead, to dragging his body out the front door and onto the porch.

Robbie!? She cries as a small crowd starts making their way to the front lawn of her house. His eyes only give an empty stare.

I curse this place! She utters as some men attempt to free the boy off her hands and rush him to the hospital

Mrs. Robinson, just arriving at the scene from work immediately collapses to the ground upon laying eyes on her boy

© 2021 Kimani Maruge

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