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The kora player

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« on: 25 April, 2008, 04:01:20 pm »

Just so you know, a "kora" is a West African instrument that is essentially a harp. The musicians who play them are usually people called "Griots [Gree-ohs]"; they are oral historians.

Princes are assigned a Griot when they come of the age at where preparation for rule begins; the Griot memorizes litearllay hundreds of different songs that tell of actual stories of kingdoms past.

~~~


The kora player strums his final note.

The raucous applause drowns out all other noise; all of the listeners who do not rise up from their seats to give the musician a standing ovation stay seated in order to catch their breath and try to take in what they have just experienced.

A young man sits stunned; his dark skin is accented by the light tan of his suit. The young woman next to him smiles over at him as he turns to look at her; the white, glittering dress that clings to her body coupled with what he is planning to say is almost too much for him to be able to form words.

“Wasn’t that beautiful?” she asks him before he can speak. The young man’s eyes give a look of longing that seems to transcend all time and space.

“......What’s wrong?”

He speaks from his real mouth.

“........if things were the way.......that they were supposed to be, I would be playing that song right now....telling that story....I would know it by heart...”

Her brow furrows slightly, yet she doesn’t interrupt. The cacophony of cheers continues to rage on around them; she somehow manages to hear him perfectly.

“....I would have been taught that song by my father. He would have been taught it by his father and.....he would have learned it from his.”

His eyes glisten; tears that have been trapped behind formalities from a foreign land are almost let free.

She looks worried; she grabs his arm believing that she’ll pull him out of this trance. He must not be feeling well, she tells herself even though she knows that he isn’t sick. Her soft, worried face is only partly lit up by the light of the stage; however, he has no trouble seeing her. She whispers; he hears her perfectly past the joyous, alien sounds enveloping them.

“What.......what are you talking about? Please tell me what’s wrong.....”

 He can only stare into her eyes and continue; he breathes:

“.....and you......you would be a princess.........an elegant princess who would hold herself high ..........she would be admired by all the women in her kingdom.....”


He laughs; a sound halfway between a chuckle and a sob. Tears stream down his face.

She puts the hand of whose fingers aren’t digging into his arm over her mouth; calm rivers flow from her eyes and over her hand as she cries silently. She tries to tell herself that she is crying because she is confused and worried about him but she knows exactly what he’s talking about.

“.......and you would become a queen.....I would play that song for your song for your son, the prince. You are a queen.”



“Sir, I’m sorry to interrupt, but your appointment with the Henderson representatives is in thirty minutes. We should get going if we don’t want to be late” says the young man’s driver. The young man gets up and turns to him.

“Call ahead and let Albert and Williams know to have the presentation ready. Traffic is going to be heavy, but we’ll make it with time to spare. Bring the car around.”

“Yes sir.”

The driver exits the theatre; the young man’s tears disappear as he puts his mask back on without glancing back at the young woman. He steps outside into the cold city; he looks to the sky as the fools walk past him with grins that stretch on to infinity.
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