To Kill a Mocking Bird EpilogueA Story by A.G
This was an assignment I had to do after reading Harper Lee's "To Kill A Mockingbird".
It had been 15 years since the trail, 15 years since the death of Tom Robinson and 10 long years without Jem or Dill. Who would’ve thought that that broken arm could’ve resulted in cancer? No one, that’s who.
“Mama, I thought we was going to see uncle Jem today. It don’t look like him very much.” The baby hanging onto my arm looked up at me with big black eyes. His black skin shone in the afternoon sun and his full lips were partly opened just waiting to ask a question. His eyes full of wonder, his mind full of thoughts; it made me remember the days I looked at a particular house with those eyes.
Of course the house and its inhabitations were long gone but the memory remained. The legend of Boo Radley was now a bed-time story I told little Timmy when he refused to go to bed. The ghost I had so strongly believed in rested in peace along with Jem and Atticus. How I missed them both, but I didn’t have time to mourn very much. My job and little one needed me.
“Mama look over yonder!” Timmy pointed towards the church. The old priest was conversing with a Negro man of fine built. He was tall and muscular with a full set of curly black hair and a full lower lip. In way he looked a lot like his father. Gilbert Robinson was the eldest son of Tom Robinson and ever since his father’s death he had spent countless days trying to prove his innocence as best he could. I was now part of the countless days.
After Atticus’s demise I took the liberty of continuing his work. He seemed to have gotten more pressure from neighbouring counties when news of Tom’s death spread. I reckon it was a set up, calling it a “death” when it was a murder. I ain’t never gonna be a as good a lawyer as Atticus was, but if there’s even a thimble of a chance that I could clear him name I wasn’t about t give up. Jem wasn’t here to be a lawyer, so I was the next best choice. That what I’d like to think at least.
As Timmy pulled my hand towards the church doors, a smiled spread across my face. Looking at the bigger picture, Maycomb County hadn’t changed much from before. There were the little things that would have made Atticus proud. Like my chat with Miss Stephanie Crawford the other day.
She was going on about some black girl who had started to hang around the streets looking for work. She went on and on about how shameful she was, and how she reckoned someday a man would come and do her in. She said to me “I tell you Jean Louise, one of these days we’re gonna have us a negro president.” Then she went on about her dislike for my work. That’s when I realized it. Through her entire dialogue she had called the black girl a ‘negro’ instead of ‘n****r’.
Likewise, the white men of the town decided the First Purchase was not fit to be their gambling ground and moved to another location. Now, it looked more like a church rather then a shabby old building where Negros gathered to pray to God.
Dill had written much about his adventures as well. After he had left he sent mountains and mountains of letters but he never came himself. Each letter mentioned less of us and more of his theories and ideas. Eventually he had completely forgotten about our plan to marry. Atticus died around the same time and with Jem having cancer I was ready to give up on life. It was Calpurnia who saved me " gave me a strong beating to whip me back into shape.
“I’ll be goin’ to the Lord before ya’ so you ain’t got no business tryin’ to cut in line ya’ here?” she had hugged me dearly afterwards saying that it would be alright. I don’t recall having cried so much before. Cal was now too old to care of me, and I was too old to be taken care of so we switched places. I took care of her now, but she refused to move into my new home. Said she had to draw a line somewhere. I didn’t object when she insisted but suggested she come live closer. It wasn’t evident in the beginning, but we knew the townspeople did not approve. It was clear on their damn faces when they looked at the working woman with a Negro child walk on their streets.
As I entered the church those same faces turn to look at me. Some were full of disgust others with welcome. Their soft “Hello”s or “G’mornin Miss Finch” were barely audible though. I nodded to give them a silent reply. The priest was absent at the moment. I took my seat next to Mr. Robinson who stuck out like a weed among grass. His cloths weren’t fine, his skin not fair but his God was the same. “Mr. Robinson, what are you doing here? I don’t think they’ll let n****r come in here. I can ‘cuz I’m a white woman’s baby,” Timmy looked at the older man with a smug expression of superiority. I smacked him on the back of his head
“Tim, go ‘round talkin’ like that and you gonna end up like Boo Radley, alone with no friends!”
“But mama-” he pleaded “Now hush, the sermon is about to start,” I would have no talkin’ back from a child of mine. Adopted or not.
I had found Timmy huddled up in a corner when I had gone to visit the Robinson family. He was all skin and bones and just about ready to die. I reckoned he was lost so I took him with me. Helen told me his parents couldn’t afford to feed him so they abandoned each child at a different place. I fed him, clothed him and pretty soon I became his new mama.
The hymns began perfectly. Evers since Cal’s sight had weakened I had begun singing to her. Eventually I memorized most of them. The one we sang today brought back many memories and even though I knew nothing would ever go back to the way it was, I knew things could only get better. I don’t know how I knew, I just did.
There’s a land beyond the river,
That we call the sweet forever,
And we only reach that shore by faith’s decree.
A warm hand clutched mine. I looked down and saw little Timmy smiling at me. He too had memorized each word. The little boy then turned to the man next to him and held his hand as well.
Outside the wind blew softly, the children played and the birds sang. And long after the wind stops blowing, and the children stop playing, the Mocking bird will continue its song and never die because everyone knows it’s a sin to kill a mocking bird.
© 2011 A.G