This picture was captured from a clip I watched on Facebook a few weeks ago. It was such a profound experience watching this woman work magic with that guitar, and it inspired a story out of me. My very first Flash piece …
“Nceda, Theresa … just one song.”
She hid behind her hands and shook her head slowly from side to side, like a shy virgin on her wedding night. Through her fingers, she peeped into the camera lens. “Kuphela enye?” Just one?
“Ewe,” the man affirmed in his terrible Xhosa. The rest of the crew behind him nodded in unison.
Securing the guitar beneath her right armpit, Theresa began to play.
The cameraman rose from his crouch, camera forgotten on the tripod; his astonishment mirrored that of the entire crew. Theresa had seen it before.
The first time she saw such awe, she was only fifteen and her folks had taken her to play at the local inn. She was only seven when she started playing with the old guitar Dada kept hanging in his room – a gift from a former Portuguese boss. ‘Odeku’ hung by the strap on the wall, its stringed nose angled downwards. And Theresa stood on tiptoes and tugged at the strings.
She was gifted, Dada said, and so they took her to play many times at the Ingonyama’s palace and that one time at the inn. Richie was in the crowd that day. A few visits and many promises later, she was with a group of girls en route Jo’Burg where Richie said they would ‘blow’.
Blow, she did – the drugs, liquor, split lips and broken arms blew her mind, body and soul. And a ‘forever’ later, she returned with one suitcase and a viral infection to an empty home.
And so she turned back to ‘Odeku’.
“It isn’t just her obvious talent,” the CNN African Story anchor was saying into the camera, “it’s the ease – near boredom in fact – with which she makes such beautiful music.”
A Flash, by the way, is a really short story, usually anywhere between 20 and 500 words. ‘One song’ was also featured on ShortSharpShot … see it here.
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or not, say something about it below. And depending on your feedback, I just might do this again.
Thank you 🙂