From the inspired Novelist- Andrea R. Piper and author of Red and Green Apples, and Black Tears…..New Upcoming Novel! “By Reason of Birth”
Here is a sneak peek for you guys! Her books are available for purchase on Amazon.com and Barnes and Noble.com
It must’ve been late. I couldn’t really tell. But everyone seemed to be asleep except for Mosher and me. I couldn’t sleep. I think it all was too much for me.
“I can’t believe it,” I said in a whisper.
Mosher was lying down with his eyes closed, but he wasn’t sleep either. “Can’t believe what?” he asked, lookin’ up at me.
“All this…Mosher, when I was in France, things were so different. We’re wanderin’ ‘round here like animals. Gettin’ beat up… for nothin’…Old Saul…” I stopped talking. The tears became choked somewhere in my throat.
“This just how it is, Racelle,” Mosher responded. He stared at me, wantin’ to comfort me, but not knowin’ how.
“But it shouldn’t be. What’s wrong with bein’ Negra? How can you let people treat you this…”
“Let people treat us!” Mosher interrupted, trying still to whisper. “Racelle, when they got the guns, you let them do ‘bout anything they got a mind to.”
I tried to dry my tears before I answered him. “But it ain’t right.” I looked into his big old bugged out eyes, as they peered back into mine. “Somebody should stand up and do somethin’ ‘bout it all.”
“Well, they have. They says we freed.”
“Yeah, we free…but free to do what? Wander ‘round, hungry and scared- breakin’ out runnin’ everytime we hear horses poundin’ the ground? This ain’t no way to live.” I stopped to think and then restarted again. “Does all Negras live like this in America?”
Mosher shook his head. “I dunno. I don’t think so. They’s some Negras that was born free Racelle. You wasn’t a slave.”
“But my family must’ve been. I just happen to go to France instead.”
We didn’t say anything for the moment.
“America ain’t what I thought it was gone be.”
“What’d you think it was gone be?”
“I don’t know…maybe Negra women in pretty lace dresses with big hats and frilly parasols.”
“What’s a parasol?” Mosher asked me.
“A pretty umbrella.” I scooted down to lay on the old piece of blanket I had. Then, I sat right back up.
“I could see Hannah in a pretty lace dress and and a pure white satin parasol,” I smiled.
“Who’s Hannah?” Mosher inquired.
“Another maid that worked with me at the Craftons’. She was like a little sister to me, I s’pose. I told her I would come back for her, but….” I thought about all the things we’d been through and how hard it’s been so far and wondered how much Hannah would’ve wanted to be with me, after all.
I cast my thoughts of Hannah aside for the moment. “Things gotta change for us,” I kept talking to Mosher. “I believe they will, too.”
“How?” Mosher asked me, although he sounded like he was being funny.
“It starts with one person. And for some reason, I feel like it could start here. I think I’m in the right place, Mosher. It…it feels different from the other places we been. I think I’m where I belong. We gone find good things here. But it shouldn’t just be here in Louisiana. It should be good for Negras anywhere. And, I mean, your president said ya’ll is free. But ‘free’ should mean that you free to move and be like white folks. Not just freed from a plantation. We should be able to go anywhere and not worry about some paddyroller comin’ after us…”
“Racelle,” Mosher began patiently, sitting up from the floor as he spoke. “That all sounds good. But I think you askin’ for too much.”
I waited for him to continue. He sighed.
“I knowed thangs were a tiny bit different in France. But we’ze just got our freedom after all our families- granddaddy after granddaddy- was born into this horrible thang. This all we know and the fact that somebody even say we’z freed, even if it ain’t all we thought it would be, is somethin’ to be grateful for.”
I didn’t say nothing back to him. I didn’t want him to think I wasn’t happy about our people being freed. I just thought freedom should look a little better than it had been.
“Ain’t fair, anyhow.” I said, barely speakin’.
Mosher placed his hand on top of mine. “The world ain’t gone stop turnin’ ‘cause of the tears of one person, Racelle.”
“What about the tears of a whole generation?” I asked him. We stared at each other after this for a few seconds. He couldn’t answer me- he didn’t have an answer and he knew it. How can a whole nation of people be so ignored? Who could answer that question? And why wasn’t Mosher just as fired up as me?
We kept starin’ at each other until finally, I got up from my spot, and moved away from him.