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Death of a New Song: Part Five

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




Some minutes past 3, Rob, who has been preoccupied with the Piano, hears a knock on the door and rushes to answer – Well aware of who is on the other side of the door judging from the nature of the knock.

Hi! Exclaims Mrs. Robinson as soon as the boy opens the door

Mom! He almost shouts; full of excitement - Partly because he couldn't wait to show her what he'd learned. Mom, you gotta see this... he continues and hurries back to the piano

In a minute, honey- She walks into the living room with two small paper bags just as Mrs. Cotten wakes from her nap

I must have overslept - Mutters Mrs. Cotten as she sits up. What time is it?

I'm so sorry. We must have woken you. Mrs. Robinson lays one of the bags on a small stool closest to her and takes a sit - setting the other on the floor, next to her feet.

No, don't be silly. Retorts Mrs. Cotten - I expected him to wake me up sooner. She then stands to pick the two used glasses and plate on the stool but Mrs. Robinson beats her to it.

I got it, Lizzie. Mrs. Robinson insists and heads to the kitchen with the dishes. I got you some more fruits and vegetables... She concludes as she disappears into the kitchen

Mrs. Cotten responds with indistinct murmurs characterized by appreciation and mild complaints - Mrs. Robinson has made a habit of doing some shopping for her since she started teaching the boy; the only way she can repay her kindness

There is some juice in there. Pour yourself some... Mrs. Cotten shouts from the living room as Mrs. Robinson cleans the few dishes in the kitchen sink – Meanwhile, the boy practices some of the chords he learned that afternoon with all the enthusiasm in the world

Moments later, the dishes are done and Mrs. Robinson returns to the living room with three fresh glasses of juice

Rob! Mrs. Robinson calls the boy while serving Mrs. Cotten a glass of juice

Take this to the kitchen - She gestures at the bag on the stool as soon as the boy runs into the room

Thank you, dear

Paper bag


In the next half hour, Mrs. Robinson cleans the newly used dishes and the kitchen counter before helping Mrs. Cotten prepare dinner; Potatoes, carrots, and green beans being some of the main ingredients - The boy still preoccupied with his piano chords

You didn't even get to hear me play. The boy complains once he learns it's time to leave

Alright, let me hear what you got. Mrs. Robinson gives in upon his insistence

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The boy immediately hops on the duet bench and takes a moment to compose himself

Are you ready?

Mm-hmm. She responds with some anticipation

Having taken a moment "like the professional he is" the boy proceeds to play all the major and minor chords - Amiably describing each to the full delight of his mother - For a slight moment, he almost looks and sounds like a complete stranger as he engages the keys; exuding nothing but zeal.

Meanwhile, Mrs. Cotten emerges from her bedroom in a multicolored poncho - He learns so fast. You have yourself a very talented young man right there. She explains as his mother nods in agreement

I don't even know what to say. Her hands clenched together over her mouth. That was amazing, honey! She declares

Satisfied with his performance and the reception it received, Rob starts packing his little bag as the two women conclude their little chat

We have to be going now, Lizzie. Mrs. Robinson explains; picking up the other small bag from where she had placed it.

Oh, how time flies. She complains before they all start walking towards the door. And you! Addressing the boy- Remember what we talked about?

Yes Ma'am.

Alright, you have a lovely evening, now. She tightly wraps the poncho around her. And say hello to your mother for me.

I will, Lizzie. See you tomorrow.

Mrs. Cotten and the boy then exchange smiles before she waves them off and retreats to the house

Back home

Rob immediately goes for his ball as soon as they get home and starts playing by himself on the front lawn while his mother attends to other duties in the house. It doesn't take long for the other kids to join him with the atmosphere becoming increasingly lively as the game intensifies; much to the dismay of Mrs. Robinson - Partly because they might wake up her sickly mother, but mostly because things tend to go missing whenever they come around.

The rest of the evening is characterized by the same pattern of events as most other nights -That is until Rob, while taking a bath, hears loud knocking at the front followed by his mother screaming and wailing - It is a cry that is all too common in this community; one that has become familiar to all the mothers, wives, and children in the area.

Dazed and dejected, it takes him some minutes but he eventually makes his way to the living room to find his mother surrounded by several women trying their best to console her.

Come. The grandmother whispers, her arms reaching for his.

The boy runs to her embrace, sobbing until he falls asleep. Sometime later, he is woken by one of the women to eat something.

Despite her efforts, Rob only takes a few spoonfuls before giving up on the meal entirely.

Shortly after, the grandmother emerges from her daughter's bedroom (where most of the women have gathered to be with the newly widowed Mrs. Robinson). She sits by the boy with the intention of explaining the tragedy that has befallen the family but decides against it; He can barely keep his eyes open

Six days after his death, courtesy of a drug-related shooting, Mr. Robinson is finally laid to rest. As is customary, words heard in every other funeral in the community are once again recited here: We lost a good man, he was taken too soon, we must create better opportunities for our young men, we must not let this happen again in our community and so forth

In the months that follow, life slowly returns to relative normalcy - Mrs. Robinson returns to work while the Grandmother decides to stay with the family a little longer following her recovery

During this period, Rob's piano skills and passion also expand and exceed expectations, earning him some fame in the local Church

© 2021 Kimani Maruge

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