abi and willa stood in miss ferns doorway, staring at her with wide eyes. abi's lower lip was quivering slightly and willas face was flushed with quiet fury.
'now get along out of here, both of you. i tell you i wont teach no dark girl.' miss ferns round face was angry and spiteful, as she glared over her pointed glasses. without a word, willa grabbed abi's moist hand and pulled her out the door.
they didn't stop until they reached the park. abi was sniffling but with the braveness that typified her family, she was managing to hold back tears. willa slammed into the seat of one of the swings and began pumping back and forth with a vengeance. the full skirt of her pink cotton dress billowed with the wind. abi stood watching and waiting for her best friend. after a moment, willa dragged her feet to come to an abrupt halt. she studied abi for a second.
'i will never, never NEVER take another piano lesson from her.' she declare quietly. abi shook her head.
'willa, you can't say that. you love the piano so much.' she reminded her, her voice soft and singsong. willa stared into abi's face. she hopped off the swing and walked over to wipe one tear from her chocolaty skin. abi tried to smile. willa suddenly smiled too.
'i will show her. just wait.'
* * *
willa's mother was furious, possibly even more than willa herself. she didn't want willa to go back to miss ferns house again. but willa had changed her mind. to her piano lesson she would go.
she walked into the piano room, her head high and her lips pressed together. her golden auburn curls were topped with a big blue bow, to match her dress. miss fern seemed to have forgotten the incident, sitting in her normal pompous spot in a cushioned chair beside the piano. her floral daydress was buttoned up her ample front and her hands folded across her lap. willa didn't say a word as she set her book on the piano. then she began to play. after a few notes everything sounded discordant and off key. she continued to play, a little smile on her lips.
'that's enough willa, what in the world?' miss fern ordered. 'why aren't you playing any of the sharps or flats?'
'i'm not using any black keys.'
'why on earth not?'
'i'm only using the white keys.' willa turned and looked miss fern right in the eye. 'they must be better since they're white.'
miss fern went white. she looked about to slap willa, but willa didn't flinch. she just kept staring at the old lady, her blue eyes calm and steady. after a long moment, miss fern took a deep, shaking breath.
'your lesson is done.' she whispered. willa rose and took her books. she walked to the doorway, then turned around.
'the color of someones skin doesn't change who they are or how important they are anymore that it does the piano keys. and you need every last one of them to make a song. you need every last one to make music.'
then she walked out the door without another backward look.
xxx i've had this idea floating around for a while... i may develop it further someday, i don't know. it's supposed to be set in the 1960s, i don't know if i was able to get that across in this short of a piece.
racism makes me so mad, it's so utterly ridiculous.xxx