She was running through the fields laughing. I heard her one night when I
was about six and she, four. She had her arms spread out like a bird and
she was just running, running for all it's worth. I had been lying in that
bed for approximately 2 hours and couldn't get to sleep. I couldn't get to
sleep if my dad promised to get me 500 pounds of candy for doing it. Sure,
I'd fake, but I wouldn't be able to do the real thing. So I decided to go
out there. Usually, when I got up one of my dad's slaves named Copia would
help me get dressed and things. But I knew that if I went to her for help,
I'd be caught. 6-year-old boys aren't supposed to be out of doors at 10:00
So I slipped on my boots and wrapped myself up tight in a jacket and left.
If you couldn't already tell, I was a very independent and grown up child.
The gigantic trees and the ocean like stature of our cotton fields didn't
scare me like they would any other 6 year old child. As, I walked through
the thick fields, I could still hear her laughter. It was getting closer,
and closer. I hadn't expect to see her up so close, I had thought that she
was still a while away from me but I guess the gentle wind of that night
had carried her voice a bit. She came headed for me, her arms still out
When we hit, I went flying to the ground, her on top of me. When she
realized what she had done, she began a horrendous screeching. " Shh, shh,
girl. It's okay! I don't mind being dirty so much. I won't tell on you. I
promise." Those were the first words I said to her. I believe that ever
since then, she knew that I was a gentle soul and I know that her fear of
me vanished. Still so, she quickly raised her tiny body off me as fast as
lighting. She stood there staring at me for a bit, and I at her.
I noticed how her skin wasn't as dark as most of the other slaves my dad
owned. Their skin was almost like the black of the night. Hers was more
like the color of the cinnamon sticks my momma liked to put in my drinks so
much. And her hair wasn't so dark and rough looking. It was a light brown
color and kinky with soft curls framing her face.
I didn't understand at that age why some slaves were so dark and yet some
were so light. When I became friends with this girl, it really puzzled me
and I wanted to find out. However, the night I met her I really didn't care
about that. I just wanted to speak to her.
When she stood there staring at me, not saying anything, I spoke. " What?
Don't ya know how to talk?" She began playing with her fingers and looked
at me defiantly. " Yes, I do. See, I'm doin' it now." She said in squeaky
but strong voice. I smiled at her. "Good." I said. She just stared again.
"Does your momma know that you're out here, all alone, in the dangerous
night?" I asked her. She stopped playing with her fingers and puffed out
her chest. "Yes. Yes she do. She said that I gotta come out here and run
around 'cause it takes me forever to fall asleep and if she spends one more
night hearin' me sing my foolish songs that she's gonna beat me so bad that
my heiny'll be red."
I chortled. I had got her to talk. " So, are you tired yet?" I questioned.
Her face softened when she saw I wasn't trying to show her up. She wiped
some excess sweat off her brow. "Nope." She replied.
It was quiet again but this time she asked me the question. " Why are you
out here?" I finally got off the ground and dusted myself off as I answered
her. " I have problems getting to sleep too." Her face lit up and her rough
little hand grabbed mine. "Fly wit me." She whispered. " What?" I asked.
She tugged at my hand. "Fly wit me! Fly wit me!" She yelled. As little as
her body was, it was surprising when she dragged my whole body behind her.
Her youthful feet began to lift up off the ground, faster and faster. And
before I knew it, I was running too. She looked back at me, her curls
blowing into her face. "You gotta stretch out yo' wings! You gotta! Or ya
won't fly!" She shouted over the howling of wind. My arms went out and I
ran and ran. With each pump, I felt more energy and excitement running
through my veins. Before I knew it, I began to fly, with Nadia leading the
way. That was one of the most magical nights of my life.