by Anna Writer
The beginning of my novel, the rest to come.
The manor was abuzz with activity. Footmen carrying suitcases from the Grand hall to awaiting horse's and buggies. Ma and Pa whispering to each other in a discreet corner of the great hall. Nana was walking slowly down the grand staircase, clutching the banister and her walking stick. There was something off about nana, she didn't smile at me like she usually did and she kept her head down. "Mister, hey mister" I said to a passing footman. "Well hello Miss Sara Jane, what you up to?" "Can you tell me what's going on?" "Na, ya know I ain't supos ta gossip Lil Miss, go'n and play na." He was no help, why wouldn't he tell me what was going on? Didn't it involve me? Everything involved me. "Ma, Pa, Mama, Mama." I yelled across the hall, trying to be heard as there was so much noise. I ran towards them, dead set on getting an answer to my question. "Ma, what is going on?" as my right foot stomped the ground; "Run along Sara Jane, this has nothing to do with you." I was one and three, practically a grown woman, why was I being treated like a child. I stormed upstairs to my room, threw open the tall wooden door, and slammed it shut. That would teach them. As I sat on my pink velvet chair, arms crossed, a pout forming, there was a slight knock. I sat. A little louder this time. I sat still. "Sara Jane, come out here please." My nanny was not going to get me out that easy. "Sara Jane Newsome, NOW." I knew she was mad, but I didn't care, no one would tell me what was going on, I was an adult, I could handle it. -Thought- maybe nanny knows what is going on and came to tell me. As I walk to the door, head held high, my reddish blonde hair flowing past my shoulders and down my back, an air of confidence that would not go unnoticed, if I had anything to do with it, I opened the door, looked my nanny straight in the eyes, "If you can't tell me what is going on, I have no words for you." She smiled that smile that said, 'don't even try'. "Miss Sara Jane, you my dear are not old enough to be privy to everything that goes on, now if you would be so kind, we have school, so get your tushy up to that school room, now." Poppycock and bull, I thought, I will find out, just wait. If I went to the schoolroom now, there was no way I would find out what was going on. I had to know, it was do or die at this point. "I will be right there nanny Mae." My sweetest smile was all it took for her to turn around and head towards the schoolroom.
The tiny devil was on my shoulder, egging me on; "Go ahead, slip back down those stairs, see what's going on, school can wait." As the tiny angel said; "Oh no, don't do it, school is what you need right now." I flicked that angel right off my shoulder, with my devilish smile, I crept out the door and onto the first few steps, ever so quiet so I could listen. "I don't care if she doesn't like it, she has to go, I can't keep putting up with her nonsense." My mama had better not have been talking about me. "Gloria, dear, it's so far away, she won't have any family near." At least my pa was on my side. "Gerald, she is getting to old for us to take care of, we don't have the proper doctor's or nurse's here." What the heck was she talking bout. "Now Gloria, we can afford anything she need's, you just don't like my mama." Phew, they were talking bout nana. I ran as fast as I could to the school room, before nanny had a belt to me for being tardy.
"Sara Jane, what took you so long, I left nearly fifteen minutes ago young lady." "I'm sorry nanny, I did not mean to take so long." My smile nearly leapt off my face, I was forcing it strong. She took the excuse, and my lessons commenced.
I loved the wide-open space of the plantation, especially when they got done picking the cotton. I would run through the stalks, weaving in and out. As I was coming to the slaves at the very end of the land, I stopped dead in my tracks. He was beautiful, bronzed skin slick with the sweat of the day. He had to be my age maybe a year or two older. Why hadn't I seen him before, I knew all of them by name, was he new? I had to find out, but Pa would beat me if I asked him, 'I know' Samuel, he knew everything and he would be discreet. I'd have to wait until they were done, I couldn't be seen talking to them.
Dinner was usually my favorite time of day. Cook always outdid herself. Now, the food was fine, it was the air in the room and lack of talk. I spooned ranch mashed potatoes, white gravy, steamed veggies, greens, and baked beans onto my plate, while waiting for Pa to cut the ham. "So, what was all the commotion earlier," I asked no one in particular. "Well I guess you will find out sooner or later, your mother has made it clear that Nana is not welcome here." "Gerald! That is not true, she needs to be where they can constantly keep an eye on her." "So, Nana is gone?" As my ma held my hand, and looked at me imploringly, "Yes dear, she went to Washington, D.C where they have the best medical facilities." "Will we get to visit her?" "I'm not sure sweetie, we will have to see." My Pa put a couple of pieces of ham on my plate and gave me, the look, that told me the conversation was over.
After my bath, I knew that Pa would be in his study, smoking cigars and drinking scotch until way into the early morning. Ma would be drowning her sorrows in her room with spiked tea. This would be the perfect time to talk to Samuel. Nanny usually was asleep and all of the house staff would be downstairs conversing with each other or doing whatever they do. I snuck out of the back-servant's door and ran as fast as I could to the slave's hut. He was in number two, he had a wife and three children ranging in ages of 2,7 and 9. I knocked rapidly and waited as patiently as I could. It didn't take long for the ragged door to open revealing an aged black man with wrinkles all over his face, spots that marked most of his upper half, I'm not sure what they were called, and callused hands. "Ms. Sara Jane, what ya doin here?" "Samuel, I need to ask you a very important question." "Wa bout." "I saw a boy today in the fields, he looked new, do you know who he is?" His toothless smile was wide, when he said; "haha ya don found ya a whiper snapper ay." "Samuel, who is he." I practically begged. "Why tha be da new'n miss, he came here from auction, two nights past." "Thank you, Samuel, I owe you." I yelled, as I ran back to the house, I didn't want to get caught.