The Trumpeter in the Sky
Fanni Sütő | Terri Kelleher
My grandfather’s flat hid in a thin street of New Orleans, in the shadow of a dark place which was once called the House of Rising Sun. The scent of spices and magic filled the air and the noise of the city was flowing down the streets like the graceful river Mississippi. My grandfather’s place was the sanctuary of my childhood; everything resonated with music, the ancient floorboards creaked with blues and the kettle always whistled a melody. Stories played hide-and seek in the corners, shooting fearful glances at the ghosts of the ancestors who gathered at the threshold and bit your ankle if you didn’t pay careful attention to raise your foot high above their head.
My grandfather was so old that he couldn’t really tell the number of his years anymore. He hardly had any wrinkles but his hair was white and fluffy like cotton flowers and his feet were reluctant to take him out of the house. His favourite pastime was sitting on his patio in an ancient rocking chair, covering his knees with the quilt my mother made for him from the rags of my old blue jeans and the dresses of my sister. Grandpa just sat there, watching as the world hurried past him. When we visited him, he would tell us tales about the simple facts of life or the lives of simple people. Time was leaving him behind, consuming him in leisurely bites.
It was his failing eyesight that grieved him the most. However, he was unwilling to wear glasses because, as he told us, the ancestors wanted him to see them better. Sometimes when he deemed the hustle and bustle of the street too loud or the solitude of the flat too silent, he called to his old companion, his still shiny trumpet. His fingers caressed the slender brass neck like back in the good old times and he kissed the trumpet the same way he was kissing the lips of chocolate-eyed Orleans girls in his youth. When my grandfather was playing, the universe stopped for a moment to listen and the stars drew a bit closer to enjoy his mellow melodies. They wept every time and sometimes they even cried so hard that the rain began to fall.
On a fog-coated evening the stars decided that it was time to call my grandfather away and let him dwell with them in the sky. From that moment on he could give them a concert every night.