Jazz: The Loneliest Monk

  • Share
  • Read Later

(10 of 10)

Nellie flies around through the narrow paths left between great piles of possessions, tending to his wants. Clothes are in the sink, boxes and packages are on the chairs; Monk's grand piano stands in the kitchen, the foundation for a tower of forgotten souvenirs, phone books, a typewriter, old magazines and groceries. From his bed Monk announces his wishes ("Nellie! Ice cream!"), and Nellie races to serve; she retaliates gently by calling him "Melodious Thunk" in quiet mutters over the sink.

Nellie and the few other people who have ever known Monk in the slightest all see a great inner logic to his life that dignifies everything he says and does.

He never lies. He never shouts. He has no greed. He has no envy. His message, as Nellie interprets it to their children, is noble and strong. "Be yourself," she tells them. "Don't bother about what other people say, because you are you! The thing to be is just yourself." She also tells them that Monk is no one special, but the children have seen him asleep with his Japanese skullcap on his head or with a cabbage leaf drooping from his lapel, and they know better.

"I try to tell them different," Nellie says, "but of course I can't. After all, if Thelonious isn't special, then what is?"

*She is the daughter of the late British banker Nathaniel Charles Rothschild and the sister of the 3rd Baron Rothschild. But she takes her title from her 20-year marriage to Baron Jules de Koenigswarter, a hero of the French Resistance who is presently French Ambassador to Peru.

  1. 1
  2. 2
  3. 3
  4. 4
  5. 5
  6. 6
  7. 7
  8. 8
  9. 9
  10. 10
  11. Next Page