of exams (part 10)


It’s a nice feeling to sweep the porch during autumn. I just love the cool breeze that blows on my face and the way my hair dances to the lead of the wind. It was as though they were in some sort of waltz. Well, who cares if it isn’t a waltz. That’s the only form of dance that I know, and I’m sure ain’t gonna be no one to judge my thoughts. I looked at the sight I knew so well. The evening sun always set early during autumn, and night crept too early to cover the sky. Each stroke that God painted in the sky during evening is just indescribable. It’s just lovely. I miss my husband. He’s been long gone, back to God’s embrace. It’s been a while since we last hugged in the rays of the setting sun that slowly dissolved into the horizon of the northern seas.

Sweeping the porch is a fun thing during autumn time, especially the evenings. There’s not much to sweep as autumn draws to the end. I get to enjoy the scenery. Glorious! To think that I once swept in fear, fear that the trees would come alive to eat me. Silly me. Then again, anyone could have been fooled at my age back then. The shadows of the bare trees were puppeteered by the arms of the wind, and they stretched as the sun set. It looked scary, coupled by the fact that I was new at Mr. Colby’s residence. Now that I’ve worked here for so long, it’s all but a normal sight. 

Pity that young master, Master John. He must have travelled real far to get to this house. I overheard master talk to his wife about Master John’s walk to his house. The moment I saw his bleeding and cracked heels, I couldn’t help but tear. He must have had a hard life. I understand how he feels. I myself never really had a good life, till I met my dear husband. Now that he’s left me, it’s back to normal life for me. Working at this mansion isn’t that bad, except for the fact that it’s huge. Master treats us well.

Master John looks real special. He has that twinkle in his eye. Reminds me of someone I know, but I can’t remember who.

I sensed something special today. I don’t know why, but I know it’s a special day. Something in my bones just tells me that it’s going to be a day I’ll never forget.

Suddenly it happened. Music started playing out from the music room. Wait a moment! That can’t be right. Master Colby has gone off to work, and no one else in the house plays the piano. Who could it be? Surely not Master John.

Janet danced to the tune of the music with her broom still in her hand. She closed her eyes and danced like never before. She had never learnt waltz, but she had seen it. And that tune led her to start moving her feet. In her mind, she saw her husband’s face, then his whole being. She slipped into a semi-conscious state and embraced her husband. If anyone was watching her, they would have thought she lost her mind. But no, she was perfectly fine. Her body was led on by the music. She twirled and turned, stepped and hopped, all guided by John’s heart song. There was something special about it. She smiled to herself and her mind played back happy memories of her and her husband. As soon as the music changed key, Janet could feel her body slowing down, yet she had no control over herself. It was as though her body had a mind of its own. The happy memories slowly turned into sad ones. Her imaginary husband started slipping away from her. She tried desperately to hold on to him, yet he was bit by bit turning into dust that the wind carried away. “No!!!!!!!!!!!!!” she cried out aloud. “Noooooooooo...... Why?” 

She collapsed to a kneeling position then changed to a sitting position. She hugged her knees and sobbed all by herself in the porch of the mansion. Crows on the cold moss-covered wall of the mansion crowed slowly and softly as if they understood her feelings and shared her sorrows. She sobbed even harder and reminisced about her husband’s funeral as John played out that sorrowful melody line. It was painful to lose your dad, worse to lose the other half of your body.


of exams (part 9)

His heart song.

His fingers danced on the keys, as graceful as a ballerina twirling on stage, as skilful as Pele on a football. He played like he had been playing the piano all his life. The accents, the staccatos, thrills, slurs, all blended together to play out his life’s story through music. It started off in a light manner, a major key in a naive tone, representing his childhood life where it was without worries. Here and there, notes were hammered out to tell off how he cried every time he needed something. Then in the background, the bass notes, slowly altered to a minor key, and if anyone could hear it, they could feel the darkness creeping in. It was when he was 5 years old; he finally realized that life was no longer a bed of roses. He knew that he came from a poor family. He saw the pain in his dad’s eyes everyday he came back from work. Tears rolled down his cheeks as he played on. The music grew and grew to broader sounds, a more intense melody line and each chord contained more and more notes. Suddenly, he fisted the bass section of the piano and stopped. A solo melody line was played on the high register. It was a sad melody line that represented his dad’s death. He felt the hurt in his heart. And the piano was his tool to release all his emotions. His pants were wet from the tears that kept coming down. He had mucus crawling at the corners of his mouth. His eyes were closed as he thought of that moment his dad came home from work and collapsed unconsciously, never to open his eyes again.

John stopped playing and wiped his face with his sleeves. It was too much for him. He wept.