It didn’t make no sense to me her talking about escape. I slapped her hard the first time she said it to me. The master had been good to us–especially Isabel. He gave her scraps of meat straight from his own plate. He let her keep some of the eggs from the chickens. Once when the hen was old and could lay no more eggs he let Isabel and us have it. Boy, we ate good that night.
I lost two wives before Isabel, both sold to masters far away. Ten of my children were sold and taken from me, all before they was nine years old. But when I married Isabel, it was like a gift. We had five children together, three sons strong and fit for the fields, two daughters as strong as any man. They was good young’uns and I got to watch them grow up. My boys worked alongside me. We was blessed; everybody on slave row said so.
Could be because she was young or maybe somebody else put them fool thoughts in her head about being free. I tried to whup some sense into her, me being much older and wiser than her. We was blessed by the Man above to win the favor from our master. No slave could ask for more. No slave should. Our only purpose was to please our masters. To do so was to please God.
But Isabel was determined. When I told her I won’t going nowhere and if she brought it up again I’d tell Master, she shut up. I thought the matter was resolved. I thought she got them fool ideas out her head and saw things my way.
That’s why I was so shocked when Master Collins swung me around when I was working the fields asking where Isabel was. I couldn’t even answer. My mouth hung wide like an opened door.
I cursed her for her foolheartedness and her selfishness. The master whupped me good he was so mad. He searched for her and found her a week later working for some innkeepers. He demanded she be returned and instead they bought her from him right then and there for $20. Then as he mounted his horse they told her she was free.
I nearly died when I heard. It seemed such an impossible dream, a fool idea. But she got it and I couldn’t help but hate her for it. Slaves ain’t supposed to want to be free. They slaves.
But she free. How can that be? I wish the master had brought her back home and whupped them fool ideas out her because now we all got them, and ain’t nothing the same.
©2018 by D.L. Lunsford