Spain, March 1502
I stepped off the carriage, my veil pulled tightly over my face. "This is the house, Senorita," the driver said.
"Gracias," I said quietly. I looked up at the big townhouse as I walked up the walk. I climbed the steps as though they were a mountain. Emotionally, they were. I knew that some people were being upset about this entire situation, however, what good did it do? Some people were upset at the families who were housing them, but it wasn't their fault. It was Queen Isabella's.
I knocked on the door, and waited. A slave opened the door. Her skin was darker than night-sky and her hair was rough. Not smooth like Spaniard's hair, or like my own hair. "Aliyah Aladin?" she asked me.
"Si," I responded. I was fluent in Spanish, but it was not my native tongue. The slave motioned me in and I entered the fine house. It had beautiful tapestries and fine oil paintings. The slave entered a room and curtsied before a man in a chair.
"The Moor," she said to the master.
"Show her in," he said. The slave came back to me and motioned me into the room. The slave didn't seem to talk much at all. I followed her, and saw a handsome man seated before me. He was dressed in velvets and satins. Across from him was a woman dressed in a gorgeous dress of taffeta. "Your name?" he asked.
"Aliyah Aladin," I replied. He stared at me for a moment before continuing.
"You're a liar," he venomously said. "Your name is Alicia de la Vasquez. And don't you forget it. I'm being kind enough to adopt you, heathen that you are, into my family. I'm going to be very kind. I'll let you live in the house as if you were my own daughter, and I'm going to let you interact with my daughters as if you were their sister. Margarita!"
The slave returned. "Fetch the young mistresses!" She left again. "Now, take off that ridiculous veil so that I may see you," he barked at me.
I gathered my courage for my response. "No, I will not. Would you have your daughters walk into a house and bare themselves naked?"
"No, I would not. But I would have them show their faces. Now, moor, remove the veil!"