| The first time Greg heard the mysterious music it was a Monday morning, about 6: 30 am. The kind of Monday morning when the drizzle fell rapidly, so much so that one would be tempted to remain indoors and lie back on the bed for an extra minute of sleep which would probably cost him his job. It was February and the rain was never predictable. Greg had listened to the late night news and the weather forecast had indicated that there would be a slight downpour around Johannesburg sometime late in the afternoon.
The forecast was wrong. The climate was changing. The Monday morning downpour was definitely a surprise to Greg and to his wife Mariah, who was busy dressing up their six-year-old daughter, Naidoo, for the crèche. However the downpour wasn’t as important as the enchanting tune that was coming from nowhere. It was a Beethoven symphony in C minor, from a violin. Yes, from a violin.
Greg stopped; he was standing and fixing his tie in front of the bathroom mirror. The classical piece was really haunting and so piercing that Greg became slightly melancholic and meditative. Naidoo, his daughter was rather excited with her mum; they seemed not to have noticed anything except that it was raining and they may likely get wet.
“Sweetie, please tell Naidoo to do away with the noise!” Greg called from the bathroom. The “noise” was a popular nursery rhyme Naidoo had been taught in the crèche with the other kids to keep them busy and out of trouble. Of course she had gotten so used to the rhyme that it had become her anthem at home and Mariah felt pleased with that. At least it made Naidoo seem like a potential poet. On that morning, though, the rhyme was nothing but a piece of noise as compared to the enchanting sonata from the violin.
“I hope to know why you are displeased with Naidoo’s recitation,” Mariah reported from the bedroom. Naidoo didn’t stop; she was still muttering it to herself and her mother.
“There is a difference between noise and sound,” Greg muttered. The rhyme was nothing but a total nuisance to his sense of hearing. The solo violin continued, um- um-um-um-um …
“Who is playing this piece?” Greg asked himself. He was actually a music teacher at Moreal College in Johannesburg, and one funny coincidence was that the sonata playing was the piece he had failed twice during his degree programme. The violinist played the same piece with such skill and simplicity, it sounded like he had been a master of the symphony for many years. Greg shut his eyes in meditation and smiled to the dirge, the soulful stream of rhythm flowing from the master’s strings. He could imagine the slim but straight fingers strumming the strings in great style across the neck of the violin while the bow swung and glided smoothly and in unity.
Thm-um-um-um-um, the music continued; the sonorous tune pierced his intellectual mind and cut through to his spirit. He stood like he was in a trance and in total obedience to the orchestrated composition that was beyond his power. His spirit floated out of his body to the celestial bosom of the violin man.
Just then, Naidoo burst into the bathroom. “Daddy! We are ready!” she shouted, and jostled Greg back to consciousness.
“Oh! Ooh… really…” Greg stammered from the shock and shook his head lightly. He realized the sonorous tune had changed something about him. He seemed more prepared for the day ahead.
Greg drove out of his compound and waved happily at his neighbors, the Govenders; they were his new neighbors. They had moved into the house not even three days ago. Mariah had observed that they were likely to be classical music lovers, especially when a huge truck had come to deliver a polished grand piano, with three hefty men lifting it into the house.
“Rasla Street is becoming an artistes’ residence. You remember the Marians’ family did an exhibition last week and Justin’s wife is a writer and now the Govenders are into music,” Greg said, still driving out of his garage. He had bought his own house from an estate agent, specifically because he preferred to live in the suburbs; the CBD was getting busier and overcrowded with nightclubs and heavy traffic jams. It was too lousy for his liking and especially with reference to his creativity.
“The Govenders will make a good pair with us,” his wife suggested.
“You are right sweetie. It is nice getting to see someone I share an interest with. Just this morning one of them was practicing a masterpiece Beethoven’s symphony composition in C Minor on a violin. Imagine! A violin! I mean it was such a touch of genius,” Greg replied, still reflecting on which of the Govenders could be responsible for that piece.
Naidoo was seated at the back, reciting her rhyme animatedly. She sat close to the door window, peeping out to catch a glimpse of whatever was going on in the neighborhood. The drizzle had stopped; Greg drove carefully out of his driveway onto Rasla Street, changed gears and turned the steering wheel towards the corner of Rasla and Fandola Streets.
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Dan Akinlolu is a Nigerian born South African base writer and producer; a one time prize winning writer with South African Writers’ Circle (SAWC) and Australia’s BLM. He has contributed and published in literary journals both within and outside Africa including the prestigious University of Michigan State journal - The Offbeat (USA), Bruce Cook’s - Author 2008 publication (USA) and BLM’s E-zine (Australia); though Dan published his first poetry with National Poetry of Library, USA, he has a dynamic experience spanning media, literature, public relations and arts. He lives and work in South Africa
:) Amanda Hicks
| Jul 2nd, 2008
very nice... its funny how sometimes the more touching stories aren't drawn out novels but simple chronicles of someones day
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