Community Talent Writers Corner
Back a yard also is about community talent. encouraging, uplifting, promoting and sharing community talents. For the next few months we will be featuring a short novel entitled “The Find”. The first chapter is called Old Times. Read and enjoy. Please give some feedback. All comments are welcomed.
The windows are opened to Alberta Gibbs, author of “The Find”. An inspiring novel about a young boy. Alberta is an active member of the Back a yard community talent writers corner.
The Find – Old Times
It was always hot at this time of year. The rains had ended and the sun now majestically reigned the skies. The land was vibrant with the greenery that asserted itself after a season of island rainfall. Occasionally, there could be felt a light gentle wind that drifted inland from the sea. Today, the sea breeze had gracefully turned its attention to that of a small red and yellow house that stood nearby its shoreline. Directly, outside the house was the small figure of a young boy who stood alone sheltered under the branches of a Bread fruit tree. He held in his hands a violin which he expertly played to a scanty audience of inattentive chickens and an excitably yapping little brown dog who wagged his tail ferociously in overt appreciation
If we take a look inside the small wooden house, we catch sight of a broadly set woman standing at the kitchen window watching the boy’s performance. She is dressed to compliment the hot weather. In a khaki blouse and a knee length largely brown cotton skirt, which is well worn and patched at various places in an array and assortment of colours consisting of different fibres and textures of material.
Whilst standing watching the boy at a yellow stained and heavily chipped ceramic sink, she is washing the mornings breakfast dishes as she hums along to the tune the boy is playing. Occasionally, she would stop every few seconds from her work to gaze at the mirrored image of herself in the window. Her smile was a gratifying one that paid kind tribute to her full luscious brown lips.
The image in the window was that of a woman whose name was Talida. Known as Aunty Talida to the boy. She believed she was in her early thirties but was not entirely sure as she had never caught sight of her Birth Certificate and her father had never been confident of what year she had been born. But she certainly looked as if she could be of that age.
Nevertheless, the reflection in the window showed a woman with stunningly white perfectly formed teeth, that appeared to sparkle and reflect the seemingly last stray rays of the days’ sunshine. This was likely to be because of the distinct contrast between the whiteness of her teeth and the darkness and silky smoothness of her black skin. Her eyes were of an intense golden hazel hue that helped to grace her face with the one element of beauty her features possessed. Her eyes were of the kind that saw through you. They punched weakened holes through others lies that made the speaker feel that she could read their minds and know the truth behind their words. Her eyes made people feel uncomfortably naked when they spoke to her and that is why everyone told her everything because they believed that she knew everything.
Her broad flat nose, strongly etched eyebrows and her prominent shapely chin were features that would have been best suited to a man. But, Talida liked her face. Although, many she had met did not. She liked it because it reminded her of her father and Talida had loved her father deeply. When he had died she had her friend Maria to turn to help her with life’s everyday problems. But, when Maria had died she had no-one. Only Benjamin, Maria’s son served as a perpetual reminder of happier times.
Once a week she would make the long journey from Kingston Town to Caratel Village. It was a long bus journey from the city to the village to see Benjamin. But the trip was always worthwhile as Benjamin would always be waiting on the side of the dusty road, always eager to see her. Talida never disappointed him as she always made sure that during her visits she took a gift to him to brighten up his otherwise repetitive day. It was always the same routine for him. Milking the cow in the early morning, School, homework, chores and then milking again. It was a routine he had done for as long ago as he could remember. It bought the boy comfort at difficult times as this was the one thing that had stayed the same since the death of his mother. Everything else had changed and the change had made him sad.
Looking at him now under the fruit tree she was reminded of Maria. The way he moved, the dark brown hair, small thin body and large brown eyes were characteristic of his mother’s family. Benjamin had them all. He was the image of his mother when she was his age.
Talida’s tears began to fall like two tiny drops of warm overtly heavy rain drops rushing down her round cheeks. Turning her head away abruptly from the window, she reached for a striped red and white tea towel that hung over the back of the kitchen chair and wiped her eyes vigorously.
The washed plates from last night’s dinner were piled up in an untidy stack at the sink. She dried each one slowly with the towel. Placing each plate in a small wooden cupboard beneath it. After she had finished, Talida sighed deeply as she sat down on one of the four rickety chairs by the kitchen table.
The room in which she sat was sparsely furnished. It held a small rocking chair, a wooden kitchen table with matching chairs and a tiny two ringed gas stove. There were a few ornaments that Maria had made in an attempt to brighten up the room a little. But slowly they had grown dull and dusty due to lack of care and had lost their sparkle and homely appearance. They now stood like awkward unfound diamonds in the depths of an unworked coal pit. Misplaced and unappreciated amongst the broken chairs, shelves and unwashed flooring of the simple room.
She would have to call him inside soon, thought Talida. He still had a few more moments of playing before his father would be home. Nahum didn’t like to hear Benjamin playing the violin. He thought it a waste of time and it made the boy lazy. But Talida loved his playing. She thought the boy was gifted. Talida had big plans for Benjamin’s’ gift.
Talida began to reminisce about how she had come across the violin that Benjamin played. Mr Cutch, the owner of Mars Zone Hotel was a decent enough man. He did not pay his staff well but as compensation for his meanness he offered his workers the “privilege” (he liked to call it) to keep whatsoever of value the guests left in their rooms on leaving his third rate establishment. Whilst, cleaning a room Talida had found an old battered violin. It had been placed, along with its bow, next to a small waste basket in the room. She had not told anyone of her find fearing the guest had left it by mistake but she kept it at home for 3 weeks and to her relief no-one had claimed it. So, instead she claimed it for Benjamin.
“Benjamin, I ha sumetin nice for you. You gon love it.” she said whilst bending down to look into the eyes of the boy which always bought a smile to her face.
“What ya ha, Auntie Talida?” He said bouncing around as he often did when he became overly excited.
“Wait, a while. We almost home now. I want to show ya father when he come back from de mountain!” Talida said grasping his hand to steady him and stopping him from bouncing a little too much and knocking her over.
When they arrived at the house they sat and talked under the shade of the old Mango tree in the dusty yard, whilst sipping a cool glass of sugar water which refreshed them from the long walk back to the small red and yellow house.
“You love music don’t you? Just like your mudda. I see the way you dance and sing when the radio come on. Even the songs that ha no words mek you move. I get sometin for you that I hope you gonna love. Here, try it Benny! Try it”. Talida said urging him to take the violin from her outstretched hands.
Benjamin lovingly turned the instrument over and over in his small hands. He plucked its unfamiliar strings, stroked its body and neck and caressed its bow. Finally, he placed the violin under his chin, placed the bow expertly on the taut tuned strings and played. Benjamin played for over an hour the first time and as he played, Talida cried.
The Find Part two (The Secret’s Out)…Continue on next page for this episode!