The Keyboardist

I once met a man in 2015 down the street who always
sang and played a Keyboard from evening till night
to the kindness and cruelty of our neighbourhood.
He touched its sixty-one keys with such deftness that
the notes and sharp and flats made us lucky in our ears.
Until his death, to some he was just a keyboardist.
And to others, a man whose soul was divided. But to me,
he was a Samaritan who told his goodness with melodies.
Each chord, each octave and scale was his bidding to obey.
And before anything else, before he became what he was to me,
he was first a man. Descent and persistent. And a
whole cloud pregnant with supplications.
Every evening our neighbourhood ate dinner with the tunes from
the man’s keyboard. His voice washed the food down bellies
with the flux of inheritance that was his
wordings soothing ears, a mix of minors and semitones.
One story had it a few years ago, in one October,
he had settled with his keyboard at a spot where three roads
converged. There, he played songs no one ever heard before.
The songs were strange yet melodious, rippling the air, that the
spirits left their realm to come behold the keyboardist.
If it were in another Universe, this would have been believed easily.
Yet, with such a man, believability wasn’t that distant, especially
for some of us who have witnessed the things his fingers and voice
had done. The magic they performed, and the illumination they conjured.
This man, in the one thing he was known for, which is playing
his keyboard with gust, glee and elation, did it with triumph and to his best.

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